The hospitality industry has undergone many challenges because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Occupancy rates have plummeted due the imposed travel restrictions all over the world and business travel has been halted indefinitely. With the shift to ‘work from home’, this can be an opportunity for hotels sitting idle with their high vacancy rates. Properties situated near areas with a large pool of labor that have shifted to ‘work from home’ may be able to convert their spaces and rates for those people who are needing a ‘work from home’ alternative: taking the ‘home’ out of the ‘work from home’ equation.
Many employees were not ready for the shift to a full time ‘work from home’ schedule. Whether it be space limitations, or a full house where they don’t have the quiet environment they need from distractions, many employees have had to adjust and make a make-shift situation with what they had. For some, needing a ‘work from home’ alternative means they simply just need a change in scenery to avoid the onset of ‘cabin-fever’ of working and living in the same place.
Hotels offering short-term rentals and day rates may just be what they are looking for. This is especially true for hotels located near traditional commuter hubs in suburban or metropolitan areas. A location that’s close to home (but not home) would be an ideal location.
The Ongoing Trend of Welcoming Day-Guests
Even before the pandemic, many hotels were always looking for ways to attract non-guests to their properties with things like upscale restaurants, swanky bars or clubs, instagrammable lobbies and other hotel amenities like spas. There are hotels that do shy away from non-guests but the consensus here is that the general trend has seen hotels at least open up lobbies and ground floor areas as communal gathering spaces that serve as an amenity for guests and locals.
Hotels are now finding that transitioning their traditional overnight accommodations to becoming more transient and work space focussed is helping their bottom line. It makes their property more viable and popular during a time where travel for business and leisure have both halted. This ‘work from home’ alternative is happening at just the right time and is helping to offset low occupancy rates.
Considerations for the Daily Business Traveler
This ‘work from home’ alternative may seem like a luxury to your typical worker, but are quickly gaining appeal due to its many benefits. It offers a unique work space with a quiet environment, free from any distractions or inconveniences like that of your home. Yes, we’re talking about your cat that loves to steal the spotlight (and screen time) during your zoom meetings. You’ll be able to be ultra-focussed in a cleaner and controlled environment than a crowded office until it’s safe for office spaces to open up again.
In addition to the advantages that your typical hotel would offer like mobile booking, rewards programs, and overnight accommodations to name a few, more and more properties are tailoring offerings to the daily worker. Things like:
-Re-configuring a room to better suit their work space needs like desks, lighting and power.
-Offering F&B packages for the typical worker like lunches and a la carte snacks.
-Offering meeting spaces for video conferences or in-person meetings when available.
These spaces offer your daily worker the comfort and quiet environment and amenities that they aren’t able to achieve at home.
Attracting Remote Workers
Getting in contact with a project manager will give you guidance on your initial exploration and into how to shift your property to attract more remote workers and manage the changes you want to make. An experienced project manager has industry contacts, budgeting and scheduling expertise, and will give you direction on how to best make use of unused and vacant space.
Sustainable upgrades to consider when converting your current space to appeal to people looking for a ‘work from home’ alternative:
-New ‘office’ type furniture, or rearranging existing furniture
-Additionally power and data capabilities as well as video conferencing bandwidth
-Re-configuring communal spaces like f&b, spas, gyms, and lobbies for social distancing
-Modified meeting rooms to enable social distancing
Converting your space to appeal to people that are looking for an alternative remote workspace solution does require work and will have its challenges. However, getting on this now will help hotels to offset low occupancy rates and will continue to increase in popularity as many people are looking for home office solutions during this period of extended ‘work from home’ era. Many offices aren’t looking to re-open offices until late 2021, and many others are looking to abandon the traditional concept of an office space entirely.