Quest Apartment Hotels has taken HM for a tour of what it describes as its ‘Room of the Future’ – a new and enhanced apartment design template being installed in all new complexes being opened and available to be retrofitted to existing properties on request of a franchisee.
While certain small details will be flexible to suit each individual region, much of the apartment design makes up Quest’s new brand standard and is being progressively rolled out across the Australasian network. Central to the modified apartment layout is a brighter colour scheme, new furnishings and a modernisation in the construction of kitchenettes. Essential to the redesign has been a need to maintain a residential feel across all apartment sizes, in order to help guests settle in more quickly and readjust to their everyday routine as they would at home.
“What we say we’re delivering here is a better than residential experience or better than an in-home experience,” says Quest Project Manager, Jake Knox.
One of Australasia’s long-stay specialists, the serviced apartment operator knows it needs to be able to cater for guests looking for only one night right through to its company record, which saw one guest stay a mammoth 546 nights, or around 18 months, in one stretch.
The new-look Quest apartment is a mixture of carefully placed dark, svelte and sophisticated walls and fittings, juxtaposed with bright, vibrant textiles including colourful bedspreads and runners. At Quest Orange, whilst the town may be red in the face from explaining to visitors that it doesn’t grow oranges (they’re in fact better known for their apples), that doesn’t stop the city’s Quest property from adopting an orange bed-runner, if for nothing other than kicks. Nice touch!
“Aesthetically, I think it’s quite a modern look typically to what, if you look back, to what was done previously. We really have come a long way,” Knox adds.
“So even though we’ve evolved the product, at the same time we haven’t compromised the functionality of it,” said Quest Design Consultant, Kia Yang.
“For example, there’s a good food preparation bench, which is encouraging our guests to have that flexibility and to make a meal in their room as opposed to just eating out, and to use that space.”
Quest General Manager – Growth, James Shields is a pivotal figure in the brand’s growth, regularly seen at construction sites and very much playing a hands-on role overseeing the next new Quest property and ensuring its look is on-brand.
“If you take an apartment, turn it upside down and took everything that fell to the ground out of the room, it would probably resemble a residential apartment anywhere in Australia. So really, after the revision of the furniture brief, Fur-niche has really delivered to help transcend the guest experience.”
Fur-niche Managing Director, Jo Street, says the primary objective from the furniture brief was to create new brand standards and to try and create that “Quest look” so that guests staying at different Quest properties would encounter the same look, save for some local personalisation.
“Orange gives kind of a country feel. The colours, patterns and fabrics are trying to make it look and feel like being in the country. The personalisation might be offering bar stools or timber bench seating or an ottoman – something like that.”
“Bench seating also creates a bit of a multipurpose functional area, so you can work there on your laptop if you like, or read the paper or later in the evening, have your dinner there as well,” Shields added. “It’s about creating spaces that have different uses but which are used efficiently as well.
“The entertainment unit can double as a study desk,” Knox adds.
Depending on the size of the apartment booked, guests may find a larger washing machine along with a separate dryer, rather than both combined into one unit to save space. The key is functionality and providing guest facilities. Even if multiple appliances can be combined together, a guest experience may be improved by offering separate units. A two or three-bedroom apartment, in properties which offer accommodations of that size, may include a full-size dining table complete with comfortable seating, crockery, cutlery and all the trimmings needed for a full dinner party, if a guest’s heart desires.
“As we think about the evolving needs of the customer dynamic, it’s driven by the length of stay, which influences the product, especially in regional locations. I would say, with the furniture historically, we’re really much more design-led than we’ve ever been previously. It’s a bit like ‘this is how we’ve always delivered the furniture’ and even when I look at some of the colour palettes, I’m almost a bit taken back by some of it because its quite uncustomary to what we’ve done but if we’re going to stay relevant to the extended stay and corporate traveller which is increasingly Gen Alpha, which will predominate the workforce in ten years’ time.”