Since its very beginning back in 2003, The Akaza Team has been gathering its guest's comments on the apartments offered and services provided. The purpose of the questionnaires is to ensure that a high service level is provided and that the apartments have the facilities which the guests request.
Another factor of interest has always been to find out why people rent apartments instead of a room in a hotel, a question which gives many different answers.
Why choose an apartment?
Privacy, Freedom and Breakfast at home are some of the key words from our clients' questionnaires, and they describe very well what out clients are looking for when they choose type of accommodation. Our main clientele is the independent traveller coming to Barcelona, mainly for leisure, and they belong to two different segments: couples between 30-60 years old, and families travelling with children. Geography wise, the majority come from Scandinavia: a total of 36.36% of which a 24.16% is from Denmark.
The high percentage of Scandinavian in general and Danish specifically visiting Barcelona has raised my curiosity towards why this specific Danish / Scandinavian target audience chooses an apartment over a hotel during their stay in Barcelona.
Lots of Coffee
One of our Danish guests stated as a reason to why she chose an apartment "Masser af kaffe" (In English: "Lots of Coffee") - a comment that might be seen as irrelevant for our agency to analyse on, however, dealing with the Danish clientele, it is an obvious and very descriptive comment closely related to Cultural Values.
Normally, the cultural values are used to describe a country, like for instance Denmark, as a tourist destination / product, however, can these cultural values be transferred to a more personal level and thus describe the way a Danish person acts when he or she is on vacation in a foreign country? There seem to be a tendency of a transfer of national cultural values from our client's home country, in this context Denmark, to their preferences regarding their vacation in Barcelona: "Cosy", "Informal", "Oasis" and "Freedom" are four of the six cultural values used to describe Denmark as a tourist destination and applied to the replies received in the questionnaires, these cultural values are key words when choosing accommodation as the vast majority of our Danish guests say: privacy, freedom and breakfast at home.
Privacy in Barcelona
Families travelling with children tend to choose an apartment over a hotel in order to have one space for everybody and thus have more privacy to do family things, like planning a day out while enjoying breakfast quietly at home. "Cosy" and "informal" is all about the family spending time and doing things together in a relaxed atmosphere.
The couples also seek accommodation in order to feel at home even though they emphasize being among the locals in the smaller districts of Barcelona as an important factor for choosing the apartment. For both segments matter to enjoy their privacy but still have the freedom to do whatever they desire together.
Freedom in Barcelona
Our Danish guests choose an apartment in order to have the freedom to get up whenever it suits them, eat breakfast at 2pm, or have dinner at mid-night. They choose the apartment in order to have their little oasis in the city centre of Barcelona where they can find a personal space to relax from the stressful day and streets which surrounds them, and to do whatever suits them the best in order to make their vacation perfect.
Price and Design
But not only privacy, freedom and breakfast at home are important: some of our clients mention price as being an important factor when choosing accommodation as, in their opinion, when coming with larger groups, the total cost is cheaper than a hotel. Many of the Danish guests mention that the design of the apartment gives them a special feeling of being "at home" as opposite to the white walls and cold hotel rooms with no personal feeling to it.
Reasons and Expectations vs. Actual Product
Our main clientele, the Danish guests, prefer to have their little oasis in the city centre of Barcelona where they have their privacy and the freedom to do family things together. The key words, therefore, are, as the title very well describes: Privacy, Freedom and Breakfast at Home - with lots of coffee!
In order to meet our main clientele's preferences and cultural values, we offer a great variety of apartments all over the city centre of Barcelona: from cosy one bedroom, 35 m2 apartments in the old fisherman's neighbourhood of Barceloneta where you will get a good feeling of staying between the local people to fashionable 2 bedroom apartments in the trendy Borne area which gives you the privilege of being in the areas of Barcelona with the most atmosphere with the freedom to stay inside your little, private oasis planning your night out.
We can offer you modern 3 bedroom apartments with access to a swimming pool in the quiet areas of Poble Nou as well as a 4 bedroom apartment which sleeps up to 8 persons in the absolute city centre of Barcelona.
Akaza S.L values customer service as being the core of its business and by constantly evaluating our guests' comments and suggestions, we have come to the conclusion that our guests value an apartment over a hotel due to different criteria which we seek to bear in mind when finding new apartments to list on our web site.
Apart from apartment rental and personalised customer service, we also offer our clients complete travel packages, airport transfers, ticket service for main Barcelona events like for instance tickets for FC Barcelona, and excursions in and around Catalonia.
Our current office is located in el Born in the city centre of Barcelona and, currently, we have five people working here from all over Europe: Ireland, Holland, France, Denmark and Sweden which means that we speak several European languages. From the end of September 2007, we will be moving to a larger office in Barceloneta which means that we will be closer to our apartments and clients.