As the hotel industry continues to face staggering losses due to COVID-19, a handful of properties in Vancouver are pivoting the business — and joining others around the world by offering day-use rooms for people who find working from home too distracting.
No longer catering to volumes of tourists, some hotels are shifting focus toward a new demographic: people who are itching to get out of the house and into a quiet, private space to work.
“They are adapting to what the world looks like right now,” according to travel expert Barry Choi, who says the hotel-as-office trend is gaining traction.
One of the biggest draws — discounted rates. Guests aren’t staying between the typical 4 p.m. check-in and 11 a.m. check out, so rates can be up to half off regular overnight stays.
The Georgian Court Hotel in downtown Vancouver — which launched the service on Wednesday — offers stays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $99, a 34 per cent savings from an overnight stay.
The idea is proving so popular that the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond, B.C., sold out of its day-use rooms on Friday and Sunday.
Yannis Moati is the CEO of HotelsByDay.com, a third-party website with 1,500 hotels worldwide that offer day-use stays.
“We’ve increased our number of hotels by 400 per cent just in the last three months of this pandemic,” Moati said.
Bookings in Canada are growing faster than in the U.S., he said, with Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa among the top 10 cities in North America booking day-use rooms.
Daytime guests want what they can’t get at home: a proper desk and chair, dedicated work space, room service, hotel pool — and a room they don’t have to clean when the day is done. Moati says 62 per cent of people who book on his site come back for more.
Re-imagining revenue streams
Creating this new niche is a concrete step toward re-imagining what the struggling hotel industry could eventually look like — and Moati says the idea is to eventually monetize every part of a hotel.
“They’ve added revenues for inventory that would otherwise be sitting empty all day,” he said.
“They have to look at the overall picture of the real estate of the hotel and optimize every single asset they have.”