Sick of working from your kitchen counter? Marriott thinks you might be.
This morning, the world’s largest hospitality brand announced it’s rolling out a new work from anywhere program that will open more than 2,000 of the brand’s properties for day rates featuring a desk, Wi-Fi and access to a hotel’s amenities.
Both the hospitality and airline industries have gotten creative to replace revenue lost by business travelers, a crucial segment for the travel industry. Offered as day passes, stay passes or play passes, each essentially allows Marriott guests the opportunity to work from the brand’s hotels without having to spend the night—though they can, of course, still spend the night—in exchange for loyalty benefits.
Earlier this month, United Airlines announced that it was partnering with rental agency Peerspace to bundle flights alongside office spaces. And Hilton is piloting a program similar to Marriott’s called WorkSpaces by Hilton, which gives guests a room, a desk and internet access for a day rate. To nab a room with Hilton, guests need to call the hotel offering the rooms while Marriott’s passes can be purchased online.
The brand expects day passes, which block out a room from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., to go for anywhere between 25% to 50% less than an average stay. But prices will fluctuate from property to property. For a day pass, for example, a room at the New York Marriott Downtown is $89 as of writing while an overnight stay on the same day is about $120. Stay passes will cost slightly more since they are essentially a night stay plus an earlier check-in and later check out.
Play passes offer a working space from the brand’s luxury resorts, made for businesspeople taking their families on vacation and still needing an office. This is increasingly more common as families can educate remotely from anywhere.
“I don’t know what kind of volume we’re going to get, but we believe these all represent new demand patterns and new revenue opportunities for the hotels,” said Peggy Fang Roe, Marriott’s global officer of customer experience, loyalty and new ventures. “We’d rather be iterating in the market with our consumers than just waiting and seeing what happens.”
The new offerings should be easy enough to test and troubleshoot. Hotel occupancy in the U.S. is still down 30% year over year, according to leading hotel research company STR, which tracks benchmarks in the hospitality industry. Marriott alone lost $232 million in Q2, with revenue per available room (RevPAR) down 84% worldwide. Occupancy after that point was hovering around 34% in July, but the U.S. national average has since risen to roughly 50%.
The brand will be leaning on its loyalty program—143 million members strong—to get the word out about the offerings in addition to social media buys. It will also unveil programs in and around cities where its corporate partners are already located.
While Fang said that none of the corporate partners had guaranteed or committed to booking rooms, they were consulted and involved in the products rollout. Fang said the inclusion of meeting rooms for small groups and offsites would be a natural progression for the brand.
In 2013, the brand rolled out Workspace on Demand, which rented out Marriott’s lobbies and public spaces by the hour, giving businessmen a place to plug into the brand’s Wi-Fi. While Fang called the concept “before its time,” it’s still available in select properties and are booked through the short-term workspace startup LiquidSpace.