What if a guest walks up to your hotel reception and asks you to check him in for couple of hours? It may raise a lot of suspicions in your mind but it should not be misconstrued for romantic assignations. There are many business travellers and jet laggers seeking accommodation on hourly basis.
The concept of providing hotel room to guests on hourly basis is called micro-stay. Based loosely on the concept of capsule hotels, micro-stay is also referred to as day-stay, short-stay or capsule stay in many countries. Micro-stay concept became famous in Europe during the economic downturn when fewer people were traveling. This concept is now catching up in America and India.
Works in favor of the traveller
Hotels have started selling rooms to travellers who seek accommodation for a few hours. Micro-stays work best for guests with a long transit layover or business travellers who have scattered meetings. Many hotels located near the airport and stations in Europe offer these concepts as these guests are willing to pay to spend few hours in a hotel rather than using the lounge. Many hotels have dedicated rooms & housekeeping to cater to these guests.
Many popular hotel sites like dayuse-hotel.com, between9and5.com & byhours.com list hotels that offer rooms for certain hours & cater to the traveller segment. These rooms are mostly given at discounted rates from the usual daily fare. These rooms act as a second office (for travellers seeking rest between meetings) or second bed (for jet lagged travellers seeking rest between flights). Many American hotels are also following suit such as Hilton Garden Inn Chelsea (New York) and the Sofitel (Miami).
Micro-stay concept is a good way for hoteliers to boost revenues as hotels can increase room inventories by selling one room, twice a day.
Travel & tourism research manager, Michelle Grant, Euromonitor, says “Hotels needed ways to boost their revenue hence they started renting guest rooms for less than 24 hours.”
Lisa Clarke, chief executive of Rally, a Seattle marketing firm, takes overnight flights to the East Coast to meet with clients and conduct interviews. She often rents a hotel room in Newark or Atlanta for a few hours when she arrives. “I schedule my first meeting for the late morning, so I have time to take a nap, shower and prep for the day ahead.”
Daniel Welk, VP Operations, India, Hilton Worldwide says, “Customers are given the option to rent out the room for a few hours while transiting and can use the gym facilities as well.”
(Quote Source: New York Times)
Powerful Marketing Strategy
It is definitely a powerful marketing strategy for hotels as they can attract many visitors to their hotel, offer discounts and increase their room sales. Hotels offer a minimum of 4 hours and maximum of 8 hours. Hotels can charge guests some percentage extra for any additional hour spent. If guests exceed 8 hours then the room is considered a full-day.
The Lalit chain of hotels has a ‘day-use’ check-box facility on their website to attract such guests. Hospitality consultants are of the opinion that hotels are trying hard to sell their rooms, by any means. So this works as a best marketing strategy for hotels.
Online travel agency Cleartrip offers a section on their website which is called “Quickeys” for business travellers and according to the research, it is observed that “Nearly 40% of room bookings are last minute check-ins for an appropriate duration of six hours.”
Hotels have realized the importance of this trend and have started offering micro stays.
What are hotelier’s offering?
President of Austin-Lehman Adventures, Dan Austin, offers rooms to travellers who have overnight international flights to rest before they depart. For hotels, it is a resisting offer as it gives them a chance to increase their revenues.
Thompson hotel in New York started offering shorter meeting room rentals based on client requests. They mostly cater to the film & fashion industry.
Bill Carroll, teacher at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, is of the opinion that “Hotels own a physical asset 365 days a year and they need to maximize revenue for every square centimeter 24 hours a day.”
Seattle Hotel 1000 offers beverages, snacks, high-speed Wi-Fi and a place to work for $15 and up to $35 a day. The hotel is open to both hotel guests as well as the public.
Marriott International built “Workspace on Demand” by converting some of the lesser used hotel space into meeting rooms that can be rented by the hour.
Westin Hotels is moving ahead by offering powerful sound systems, printers, whiteboards & Xbox game systems in meeting rooms. They have named it “Tangent”
Just like big brands, small & mid-sized hotels can also cater to this growing segment of guests as there are times when the hotel rooms stay vacant for days. If you offer short-stays to guests, you are sure to increase room inventories, make extra profit and keep your rooms occupied. Guests will also benefit from this offering as no one likes to pay extra. Everyone prefers to pay for what they use! Think about it.