Singapore-based hospitality brand Ascott ties up with Chelsea FC as part of European market strategy

Ascott-Chelsea FC
L-R: Adriel Lares, Chief Financial Officer, Chelsea FC; Serena Lim, Chief Growth Officer, Ascott; Kevin Goh, Chief Executive Officer, Lodging, CLI and Chief Executive Officer, Ascott; Claire Cronin, Chief Marketing Officer, Chelsea FC; Casper Stylsvig, Chief Revenue Officer, Chelsea FC; Tan Bee Leng, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascott; and Beh Siew Kim, Chief Financial & Sustainability Officer, Lodging, CLI. Photo courtesy: CapitaLand

Ascott, the Singapore-based hospitality brand, has tied up with Chelsea FC, one of the top football clubs in England.

This makes Ascott the Official Global Hotels Partner of the Premier League club. It will also take over management of the 232-unit stadium hotels at London’s Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, from July 2024.

Strategic expansion in the European market is one of the main factors behind this partnership. An Ascott media release said that the stadium hotels would be “rebranded as lyf Stamford Bridge London in 2H 2025” — lyf (pronounced “life”) is a hospitality concept of Ascott that promotes social spaces.

lyf Stamford Bridge
Ascott assumes management of lyf Stamford Bridge, the 232-unit hotels at London’s Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, from July 2024. Photo courtesy: CapitaLand

The release said that the expansion strategy of Ascott, the lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment (CLI), included “the addition of six new properties to its European portfolio, marking the debut of The Unlimited Collection brand, and expansion of the lyf brand in the region”.

For Chelsea FC fans, the tie-up means the facility of booking customised stay packages, and also exclusive rewards if they sign up for the Ascott Star Rewards programme.

Experiences to be offered under “rewards” include “VIP visits to the club’s private training grounds and meet-and-greet sessions with the men’s and women’s football teams”, reported The Straits Times.

Select tickets with benefits like pre-game refreshments will be offered to higher-tier members of the reward programme.

Kevin Goh, Chief Executive Officer for Ascott and CLI Lodging, said, “As a global tourism and business hub, Europe plays a key role in Ascott’s expansion plans. The diverse and dynamic nature of its hospitality sector offers plenty of scope for Ascott to drive more successful partnerships with owners.”

He also said, “We expect franchise management to be our next pillar of growth in Europe, where market conditions are conducive for this business segment. For our existing owners, we will continue to deliver sustained value by embarking on asset enhancement initiatives that elevate the stay experiences of guests.”

Lee Ngor Houai, Chief Operating Officer, Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), South Asia and China, Ascott, said, “Our European portfolio has been delivering strong performance, driving average daily rates of almost 30 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, our properties in Europe far exceeded all other markets in terms of revenue per available unit (RevPAU) and contributed to almost 16 per cent of Ascott’s global revenue.”

Also, Europe serves as a “significant source of guests for Ascott’s extensive network of hotels worldwide”, said the COO. “In 2023, travellers from Europe contributed to about 16 per cent of Ascott’s global hospitality business…. We are targeting to almost double this figure to 30 per cent by 2028, placing Europe as a top three source market for Ascott.”

Speaking of what the Ascott-Chelsea FC partnership meant for fans, Tan Bee Leng, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascott, said that the tie-up would leverage “the club’s massive global fanbase of over 600 million people worldwide and its premier position in European football”.

ST reported that Singapore was “a leading candidate” to host ‘The Famous CFC’, the world-renowned global tour for Chelsea FC fans. Ascott now becomes the presenting partner of the event.

Chelsea FC football match
A Chelsea FC football match. Photo courtesy: Instagram/chelseafc

“People are looking for authentic immersive experiences, and when we looked at the whole spectrum of experiential travel, we found sports tourism to be one of the most robust segments in terms of that strong mass appeal,” Tan said.