A new year, a new way hotels should be doing business.
Every industry has its own standard accepted practices of how a product is priced and sold. We all know that sticker price is not what a car really costs, and tips at a bar or restaurant aren’t really optional. Though it makes perfect sense to be able to pay for just the channels you want, cable companies only sell packages. Sometimes business practices are just done the same way for so long that they stay that way.
The hospitality industry has established very specific rules for what their product is. Hotels usually adhere strictly to the check-in after 3pm and leave before noon rule. Now, compare that with renting a car. Avis and Enterprise will rent you a car for a full 24-hour period, definitely a different concept of renting.
What if hotels adopted the rent-a-car model? Think about the convenience of not having to worry about checking in and out at specific times. Just arrive at the hotel whenever you want, and leave sometime in the next 24 hours. Rather than enforcing a strict, and often inconvenient, schedule hotels should be accommodating to travelers. Right?
24 hour stays could be a huge competitive advantage!
Clearly there are some disadvantages to this plan, offering more room time at the same or similar price is a major drawback. Giving guests a longer period of time and not knowing when they check out will result in higher operating costs and lower room turnover.
There’s a reason hotels have been so set in their 3pm to noon schedule. It’s easy and cheap.
24 hour stays provide such a convenience factor it would have the potential to drastically improve a brands loyalty. It would also bolster a brand’s claim of putting customers first!
Also, brands can get the marketing benefit of 24 hour rooms without actually renting out their rooms for 24-hour chunks. Most people aren’t going to stay from 12pm monday till 11:59 Tuesday. They will come at a convenient time and leave at a convenient time, likely less than a full 24 hour period.
Who knows, maybe we’ve become so conditioned that guests will stick surprisingly close to the 3pm till noon schedule, even though it’s not required.
Testing the Water
24 hour rooms aren’t a completely theoretical idea, they have been implemented before, but only in small, restricted ways. Starwood has a program based on the concept of 24-hour room options, but it requires a certain level of membership in the Starwood preferred guest program.
Other brands, like Meritus have used the idea of 24 hour stays as a short term promotional technique.
Unfortunately these examples miss the true potential of 24-hour stays.
Novelty, or a game-changer?
Are 24-hour stays a novelty or a gimmick, or could they substantial change the way hotel stays are thought of?
If a brand utilized the idea of 24 hour stay as a core part of their business, and not as a limited promotion, they could really differentiate themselves in a market that sometimes border on commoditization.
The idea has been used, but never to the extent of basing a brand’s identity around it. Maybe an established brand could have a sub-set of properties: Holiday Inn 24. Sheraton 24-hour stay etc. The possibilities are endless.
Though we know it’s unlikely to catch on, we’re hoping somebody will give this idea a shot.
Sometimes it’s just interesting to think about shaking up the status quo. Just because everyone else is things a certain way doesn’t mean that that is the best way.
What do you think, can 24 hour stays be the way of the future? Leave us a comment and let us know!