Hotel Day Passes: With Occupancy Shrinking, Marriott Creatively Pivots
Pre-pandemic, if someone purchased a day pass, they would likely be arranging a spa getaway with girlfriends, trying out a new gym, or planning a family trip to an amusement park.
Now Marriott Corporation is offering a different type of “Day Pass” for remote workers seeking a break from working at home. Depending on one’s living situation, the lures may include more space, greater privacy, fewer distractions, and the chance to work uninterrupted.
The Day Pass allows guests to check-in to a Marriott property at 6AM and stay in their guest room until 6PM. While there, they can make use of all on-site business facilities including printing, faxing and scanning.
Members of Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program—which couples Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest—also receive complimentary welcome amenities. In addition to being able to accumulate more points for eligible hotel charges, they’ll be offered healthy snacks, gift shop discounts, and lounge access for those with Platinum, Titanium or Ambassador Elite status.
A creative pivot
“Given the pandemic’s dire impact on the travel industry, the lodging sector in many parts of this country has had to find new and creative ways to drive even incremental occupancy and demand as most business travel, meetings and conventions, and a lot of leisure travel has simply evaporated this year,” says Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International, a tourism and travel market research firm.
“This is a clever way to help provide a patch that generates some business in a way that is in line with consumer/traveler sentiment,” he says.
The perks of working in a hotel
Prior to launching the Day Pass program, Marriott surveyed 400 business professionals in the U.S. who participate in the company’s research community (not all of them members of Marriott Bonvoy). Some 42% said that they would work from a hotel guest room to address their “current realities.”
- Desire to break up the day-to-day monotony
- Not having a dedicated workspace environment and feeling claustrophobic in small apartments
- No boundary between work and personal life, especially for families managing remote learning for kids
- Inability to focus and work uninterrupted on important presentations, projects and meetings, and
- Competing for insufficient Wi-Fi
"Working from home has advantages, but it's also necessary to get out of the house as well,” says sociologist Tracy Brower, PhD.,”Getting away from home provides for healthy separation between work and life, and it contributes to wellbeing because it gets us moving and infuses some much-needed variety and stimulation.”
Marriott has also created two sister programs to help address pandemic work-life balance issues. “Stay Pass” combines a Day Pass for work with an overnight stay. “Play Pass” is for those seeking to work while also getting away—even with family.
“In some ways, Marriott’s ‘Day, Stay, and Play’ passes could generate some incremental revenue for the hotels during a bad time while simultaneously satisfying some individual/family needs or cravings that could boost morale a bit,” comments Eylon.
Who will pick up that tab?
“The question will be whether companies will be open to paying for their employees to do this, and, if not, will employees/families be willing to pay for this out of their own pocket,“ says Eylon. “Either way, this type of creativity will be needed in the near term until a vaccine or significant treatment for the virus is readily available and the pent up demand for travel can release full force to drive back hotel demand and occupancy.”
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