60 Seconds with Go Native
This month we catch up with Business Development Director, Sarah Gaze, who duly fills us in on all things at Go Native.
Tell us about Go Native Sarah, what accommodation options do you offer and where?
Our story began in 1997, when we set out to give people unique places to stay, along with a truly authentic experience of the local neighbourhood. Today, we have an eclectic collection of buildings in a rich mix of neighbourhoods all across London.
We provide serviced apartments, currently over 550 in London, with a new aparthotel opening up on the South Bank in London at the end of the year next to the Globe Theatre. 2018 will see the launch of new properties in Glasgow and Manchester also.
We offer full apartments, not individual rooms, so guests have the space, freedom and flexibility to do what they want, when they want – whether that’s cooking up a favourite dish in the kitchen or ordering a takeaway for a lazy night in.
Our apartments are expertly furnished to match the identity of the neighbourhood, so whether you’re staying in Dalston or Mayfair, your apartment will honour the character of the area and be furnished accordingly.
Part of having an authentic local experience is knowing what to do and where to go, so we also recommend the top spot for a late-night cocktail or two and the best place for a coffee the morning after.
We have dedicated teams of ‘Natives’ that work around the clock to support our guests so even though you have the privacy that an apartment provides you also get that reassurance during the stay with us.
Please tell us a little about your role at Go Native
My main role is to grow sales via our business partners and travel management companies, we were one of the first providers to load our content on GDS to enable agents to easily book our properties and of course corporate clients via their SBT’s.
There are a number of ‘myths’ surrounding serviced apartments, such as large deposits are needed and length of stay is at least a week, so I have a big education challenge which means no two days are the same, making my job lots of fun.
I am really lucky to work with a fantastic and passionate sales team, we all believe there is so much untapped potential and the best part of our roles is getting out and in front of clients.
What are the 3 key things you would like TMCs like CTM to know about your service?
To start with, we don’t ask for deposits and agents can book us for one night if that’s what the client is asking for.
I think there is a general ‘fear’ around the booking process for agents, it’s actually very simple via GDS or we have a dedicated team who are happy to help via email or call, even if it’s just a product question.
The serviced apartment sector can been seen as just a 'long stay offering' rather than a real alternative to a hotel, but generally apartments offer 30% more space and cost less than a hotel of the same star quality. If your corporate clients are up for sharing say a two bedroom two bathroom then that will drive even further cost savings. Our travellers often use lounges for meetings, you can’t do that in a hotel room!
What are the key differences between service and apartments and aparthotels
Aparthotel’s all have 24/7 receptions so travellers check-in at reception, this means the pay on arrival option is available. Our latest aparthotel on the South Bank also has a gym, communal meeting areas and ‘The Pantry’ where you can find complimentary essential items for cooking, and some treats of course.
Full serviced means you receive confirmation from us via email and use a main door access code and then a second code to collect your apartment key. We provide lots of information before arrival about the location and how to log on to the free Wi-Fi once you have arrived.
What new services / products do you have currently for business travellers?
We are rolling out ‘Handy’ service which offers each guest a complimentary hand-held mobile device providing unlimited national and international calls and local area information guides, enabling travellers to benefit from destination specific content and feel at home from their first night.
Our first aparthotel to have these, in London's Monument, has seen an average take up of 70% usage which is fantastic. Travellers are seeing these as a real benefit and enhancement to their stays.
A refurbishment programme is underway, St Martin’s Court has been completed this year too. We work with Conran who design and provide all apartment furnishings.
In 2018 we launch two fully refurbished aparthotels in Glasgow and Manchester. These will have additional facilities such as a restaurants and even a barbers in Manchester.
What do you provide for corporate clients?
Reassurance; the vast growth in the sharing economy such as Airbnb has actually helped grow our sector and bring this to a larger audience, but I hear a lot of feedback from corporate and TMC clients about regulation and duty of care not fitting this model. We have a big responsibility and ensure all of our apartments are fully compliant with regulations and we take guest safety very seriously.
We are working with all GDS’s and therefore corporate clients can book via CTM or their chosen SBT and we will look at individual clients for negotiated rates.
Please ask your CTM Account Manager for more information about Go Native’s portfolio.
Do you have a favourite apartment / aparthotel in your product range and what makes it special?
That’s a difficult one to answer! I would say apartment 11 in Mayfair, the penthouse for the summer months, it has a gorgeous private roof terrace off the main lounge. For the winter it has to be Creechurch, the building is an old tea warehouse in the City. It’s full of charm and next to one of the only 8 (out of the 97) parish churches within the City of London that survived the Great Fire of 1666.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Some of our buildings have really interesting histories, such as Empire Warehouse, an old Victorian tea warehouse. It sits on historic Bear Gardens, the site of a bear-baiting pit in Tudor times.
America Square apartments is another interesting one. The square was originally built in 1768 was dedicated to the American Colonies following rapid trading growth, just 16 years before independence. Part of the site sits on a substantial part of the Roman City of London wall. We still seem to trade quite well with the USA!
Our Manchester building was originally built as a cotton warehouse - we love a warehouse. in 1867, cotton bails were stored before being brought and distributed to mills in London. It is the only one remaining.
Learn more about Go Native
Check out their properties on their website and follow them on social media too: