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Hotels Are Staying In Business By Turning Rooms Into Offices

  • Hotels Are Staying In Business By Turning Rooms Into Offices

    It’s no surprise that the travel industry was hit hard financially due to the pandemic. Marriott reported a $720 million loss in 2020. Several hotels were temporarily closed, like Omni Hotels and Resorts which closed more than 40 locations, while others may never reopen. The Wall Street Journal predicts that 20% of New York’s hotel supply could close permanently. The hotels that have remained open have had to pivot and learn to accommodate changes and adapt to the new normal, like nearly all industries, to stay afloat.

    In the beginning, hotels were staying in business by offering space to essential workers to safely quarantine away from their families at discounted rates. They were also used as quarantine spaces for anyone flying or not able to stay at their home. As the pandemic continued to delay travel, the hospitality industry had to reinvent yet again.

    Hotels started to offer workspaces, spa services, private or in-room offerings, and day passes. As many employees said goodbye to their offices, remote workers spent all their time within the same four walls. A study of 400 business professionals showed that 42% of them would consider working from a hotel room. Working from home doesn’t have to mean quite literally, so that’s exactly how the hospitality industry sought to innovate. Here’s how major hotel chains are leveraging their space.

    Marriott Bonvoy

    Marriott launched its Marriott Bonvoy Work Anywhere platform with three packages: Day Pass, Stay Pass and Play Pass. These new initiatives have the remote worker and working parents with young children in mind, so there’s an option for everyone.

    The Day Pass is ideal if you’re on the road or if you’re looking to switch up your workspace from time to time with room access from 6 am to 6 pm. You also have access to WiFi, office equipment, food and drinks. If you do book a day pass, as a member you’ll receive an array of snacks to keep you going, earn 10 points for every dollar spent on eligible hotels, and 10% off on gift shop purchases. If you’re either a Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite or Ambassador Elite, you’ll also be able to use the lounge where available. Day passes are available for Marriott Bonvoy Members in cities including Atlanta and Washington D.C.

    If you’re looking to unwind after work or if you need more time away from home, the Stay Pass grants you the same features as above along with extra hotel amenities including the pool, fitness center, and you could even score free breakfast or a cocktail depending on where you stay. You can also earn points as a Bonvoy member. This option is available in cities like Dallas,

    The Play Pass is tailored for families with working parents. Benefits include supervised activities for the kids and office spaces for the parents, access to hotel amenities and facilities, use of all business spaces and equipment, and a business concierge to help you with your work needs.

    Members earn points on eligible purchases and receive all of the basic benefits. Play Pass is available all over the world including locations in Hawaii, California and Mexico.

    Imagine working from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Hawaii or the Westin Cozumel in Mexico during the day and spending quality time with family after hours.

    WorkSpace by Hilton

    Last year, Hilton rolled out a program similar to Marriotts, shaking up the idea of work-from-home. This pilot program is available across the U.S. and UK, with varying prices and offerings based on locations. . Hilton offers desk space, complimentary WiFi, a variety of tea and coffee, free bottled water and options for food and beverages where available to keep you energized throughout the day. Imagine working from one of the properties in Hawaii or a winter getaway in Colorado.

    When you try Workspaces by Hilton the first time, you can earn 10,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. Moving forward, you can continue to earn Hilton Honors Points towards free stays, stay credit and receive access to the executive lounge. Hilton also promises to deliver on a cleaner stay through their CleanStay program and partnership with RB, the makers of Lysol and Dettol.

    Working from Mandarin Oriental

    Mandarin Oriental has also jumped on board with the day-use passes. The day use pass includes complimentary WiFi, dining credit and access to hotel amenities. All you have to do is bring your laptop and you could be working from Boston or New York from a sweet office set up. The Mandarin Oriental New York lands you a view of Central Park and the city skyline, all you have to do is bring your laptop.

    Work from Hyatt

    Now offered in more than 60 locations across the globe, Hyatt’s remote program, Office for the Day, has become super popular. Another benefit is rewards can be used on these stays, or you can choose to earn points for future stays. Office for the Day includes a private room from 7 am to 7 pm, including access to hotel amenities, and dining and parking discounts.

    For those who may want to venture out to one of more than 100 participating hotels for a few extra days, the Work from Hyatt extended stay packages are available until September 12th, 2021. Along with a workspace, you’ll receive food and beverage daily credit, upscale resort amenities and waived resort fees. On top of that, all resort locations in Latin America are offering complimentary, on-site Covid-19 testing until May 31, 2021, to make your travel plans more convenient.

    If you are looking further afield, Hyatt also has an option catering for those looking for month-to-month or more stays. The program, called the Great Relocate, is in over 100 destinations outside of the U.S. The minimum stay starts at 29 nights through December 31, 2021. The Great Relocate package includes housekeeping twice a week, access to the gym, airport or train pickup, IT concierge services, 3 hours of the board meeting room usage, laundry services, along with 25% off food and beverage.

    Selina Co-Live

    Selina is a chain of budget hostels that are now all over the world, originally started by two friends in Panama. Hostels typically include dorm rooms, common spaces, and community living to lower costs but also to foster a community, which is less than ideal during a pandemic.

    During the pandemic, they launched their CoLive package which allows guests to book month-to-month stays that include beautiful co-working spaces, a shared kitchen, free wellness classes and activities, on-site facilities like a swimming pool, library, movie room, and a welcome drink upon arrival. The hostels are only at half capacity to adhere to Covid-19 protocols. They’re also pet-friendly. Essentially, Selina is creating an ideal ecosystem for the ever-growing number of digital nomads to work and travel.

    Selina offers a variety of rooms, whether it be a community room, micro room, standard or a suite with their signature upcycled yet trendy design. Since its inception, there have been several changes and price hikes. At this time, they’re limiting their co-living packages to 300 participants per month in order to prevent overcrowding.

    There’s tiered pricing based on location and demand, for example, a month-long stay in Tulum or New York City costs more than stays in Mexico City or Cancun. What’s more, you can change locations up to three times per month across different cities and countries which serves as a benefit to digital nomads on the go. Between the flexibility, coworking space, prime locations, and affordability, this is a no-brainer for the remote worker who wants to travel the world.

    Bottom Line

    This by no means is a comprehensive list. You’ll find boutique hotels, budget hotels and hotel chains offering all sorts of deals and benefits, including waived resort fees, stay for a few nights and get one night free, and the opportunity to earn more points. Some have employed robot concierges, while others allow you to rent fitness equipment and build your own gym in your room and others stock their in-suite kitchens with ready-made, high-quality food.

    Reinventing the wheel has been common in the Covid-19 era. As things progress and travel picks back up slowly, hotels will do their part to accommodate the current climate while staying creative. Many hotels in resort locations have started to lure travelers with on-site Covid-19 testing as that has been one of the newest hurdles to traveling. More and more hotels that are open will look for ways to be more convenient, accessible and safe. There’s also chatter of using hotels as mass vaccination sites to reach the public. However, the hotel industry will unlikely have a full recovery for years to come.

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