For the hospitality industry, the global pandemic has changed prior the norms, where booking hotel rooms by the hour is the future of hotel stays.
The world witnessed a shift in mid-2020 when hotels began offering guests “a work from home accommodation away from home.”
Marriott offered members in its Bonvoy travel program the chance to book a hotel room from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m, which includes Wi-Fi and desk space.
Hilton and InterContinental hotel chains also joined Marriott in offering work from home packages.
“In the big scheme of things, the pandemic was one of the best things to happen to the hospitality industry,” Yannis Moati, CEO of HotelsByDay.com told Travel Noire. “At that onset of the pandemic, bookings went down by almost 90 percent. Things were sinking, and we didn’t know if we would ever come out of it, and then we saw a monumental shift.”
Moati started HotelsByDay.com in 2015 – five years before the global health crisis – after working as a travel agent for more than a decade. What he found years ago is his clients wanting something more than a night booking. They wanted something quick that they could work out of for a few hours.
So he fixed the problem through his platform by giving guests a place for long layovers where they could work, relax, and refresh.
“The model only grew from there. Customers started buying our packages at hotels at airports, to hotels in resorts and in city centers because customers wanted to buy passes by the day for their families and friends.”
That model is the monumental shift that Moati says saved the hotel industry from going under in 2020. While things are far from normal, industry leaders found that work from home packages were picking back up faster than nightly stays because people were tired of home.
“We saw a 178% increase in work bookings as in people booking from 6 am to 6 pm because hotels had everything a co-working space could give you, plus a pool and a gym,” says Moati. “Business as usual in the hotel industry is over.”
Even though travel increased summer 2021, the American Hotel & Lodging Association found in a new survey that business travelers plan on traveling less this fall – which is typically the main source of income for hotels this time of year. A lack of corporate travel could cost the hotel industry an estimated $59 billion in 2021.
That’s why Moati says it’s imperative for the hotel industry to be flexible.
“It doesn’t make sense post-Covid to keep a hotel, this humongous asset just for nightly stays. Merchandising is now a part of the future of hospitality where you as a neighbor can go in to the hotel for the restaurant or for the pool pass, gym passs, parking pass, a co-working space, or working from a room if you want privacy,” adds Moati. “Expect more flexibility on demand, and check-in and check-outs that fit your schedule.”
TN fam, would you consider booking rooms by the hour? Do you think it’s worth it?