How Hotels Are Trying To Entice Travelers To Return

by | Aug 9, 2022 | Travel

From this summer’s air travel chaos to staffing shortages in hospitality sectors around the world, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel persists to this day.The hotel industry continues to move toward recovery after years of unplanned losses, though experts believe full recovery remains several years away. A recent report from the American Hotel and Lodging Association notes that room revenue for this year is expected to surpass 2019 numbers on a nominal basis, but when adjusted for inflation, revenue per available room might not reach pre-pandemic levels again until 2025.AdvertisementThe data is perhaps not surprising, given the increased interest in vacation rentals through Airbnb and VRBO during the peak of the pandemic. Many travelers expressed their preference for renting a private home that allowed for distance from others, the ability to cook their food and space for the whole family to gather. But that doesn’t mean the hotel experience is kaput. Below, industry experts share how hotels are trying to entice travelers to return to these familiar accommodations ― and some good deals you might be able to take advantage of in the process. Emphasis on workspacesSince March 2020, many office spaces have closed for good, while others remain significantly emptier as flexible policies allow workers to come in only a few days a week or as infrequently as they wish.Business travelers, who previously may have worked out of their company office in a different city aren’t necessarily doing that anymore. And even those who don’t travel for business are taking advantage of the opportunity to “work from anywhere” and explore new destinations once they sign off for the day. As a result, many hotels are now marketing themselves as ideal workspaces for those “bleisure” travelers.Advertisement“Since so many people are working from home, we’re seeing incentive programs for hotels,” Jessica Nabongo, travel expert and author of “The Catch Me If You Can: One Women’s Journey To Every Country In The World,” told HuffPost. “They’ve put together different setups around various properties, so people have spaces to work.”Marriott International’s efforts to reinvent the Sheraton hotel brand began before the pandemic, but the chain’s newly designed lobbies’ focus on communal and private workspaces has become even more relevant over the past two years. Revamped properties in metropolitan areas like downtown Phoenix, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado, feature modern tables and counters, comfortable seating, coffee bars and other new settings that encourage work and collaboration. Sheraton Phoenix Downtown is one of the many revamped Sheraton properties with an emphasis on communal and private workspaces.“Our lobbies are designed with spaces to gather in small groups for remote work but we also offer enclosed, sound-proof booths for video calls or solo working space,” said Amanda Nichols, a global brand leader at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “We’ve been hearing from our hotels that guests and locals are becoming regulars in their lobbies, choosing to meet up with clients or colleagues at the hotel while some offices remain closed.”Non-overnight guests can take advantage of these sorts of workspace options by conducting business from publicly accessible hotel lobbies, or, in the case of Sheraton, by purchasing a day pass for 12-hour access to a private room and on-property business facilities. AdvertisementLong-term stay dealsRemote and hybrid work models also give people the opportunity to spend much more time in a destination than they could when they needed to be in the office five days a week. Now, instead of a weekend getaway to a new city travelers might plan a trip from Wednesday to Tuesday, working during the weekdays and spending the rest of the time exploring local attractions, restaurants and shops. Hotels are responding accordingly with deals that encourage visitors to choose their properties for these long-term stays. “Miami Beach hotels are providing travelers with opportunities to extend their stays through length-of-stay offers and remote work packages, catering to the new bleisure nomad,” said Steve Adkins, chairman of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority. “For example, Dream Hotel South …

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