AROUND 40 members of the serviced apartment industry came together for its first south coast networking event at Tapas Barcelona in Southampton.

The event for members of the ASAP (Association of Serviced Apartment Providers) was sponsored by Town or Country.

Welcoming members to the event James Foice CEO of ASAP said: "It’s fantastic to hold our first ASAP regional event of 2018 in Southampton, the first time the industry has met on the south coast.

‘It’s great to see the city confirmed as one of the top 10 fastest growing in the UK and to hear from our operators and agents that the sector is growing so strongly in this part of the country."

Sponsor Town or Country was set up 35 years ago by the Batley family, which spotted a gap in the hotel and leisure sector and asked the question: "Why pay for a small hotel room when, for the same price, you could have your own apartment?

The firm started with 32 properties and now has nearly 90 including a 16th century converted church and apartments at South Western House and is run by Nina Batley, daughter of the founders.

Sharon Wood, Town or Country's business development and partner relations manager, said that most of their customers came from the corporate sector and the business had not been effected by the rise of businesses like Airbnb which gave private homeowners the chance to rent out accommodation

She said that guests stays ranged from three nights to a month.

Sharon said the event had been a great success.

"it was fantastic evening raising awareness of the industry and our buoyant city."

ASAP has 189 members, who collectively operate more than 100,000 apartments in 17 countries and offer three million bed nights per year.

Photos by Dave Dodge Photography