Extended Stay Hotels: Opportunities and Growth in a Post-Pandemic World
By David Ashen Principal & Founder, dash design | March 28, 2021
Some conclusions we come to are obvious, intuitive even. To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way business and leisure travelers feel about heading out of town, on a plane or staying in a hotel is hardly a stretch. However, when it comes to considering what's next, it's wise to go deeper.
Data-driven insights company Morning Consult studied "return to travel habits" and the survey, updated in early February 2021, revealed some intriguing sentiments. Among the key takeaways were that, since April 2020 and up through mid-January 2021, the percentage of consumers who felt comfortable going on vacation rarely strayed beyond 33 percent. For those Americans who did venture out, 41 percent felt safe renting a car, nearly a quarter (23 percent) were ready to ride in a plane or take a train, and 22 percent felt comfortable on a bus.
From here, we can deduce that leisure travel will look different for some time to come and that savvy hotel executives should consider the implications of consumer sentiments and how patterns might shift based on new habits and prolonged fear. Furthermore, with many conferences going virtual or being postponed, and fewer face-to-face meetings last year and into the first half of 2021 and possibly beyond, business travel and the hotel stays associated with it, are also bound to change. Even postponements and cancellations of major sporting and cultural events, such as the Olympic Games, Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon, the Met Gala and Tribeca Film Festival, have wreaked havoc on hotel occupancy rates.
With every setback or shift comes an equal area of opportunity and the likely beneficiary of the change in traveler habits seems to be limited-service hotels. When limited-service hotels were conceptualized, it was mainly with the work traveler in mind. Brands like Home2 Suites, by Hilton, and Residence Inn, by Marriott, answered a real need for road warriors and were set up like little efficiency apartments for the most part.
The BBQ grills, outdoor courtyards, basketball courts, small or full-size refrigerators and stovetops, and basic cooking equipment could make any business traveler feel like they had a home away from home. They did the trick; these hotels were perfect for three-day stays, one-week jaunts and month-plus long-term work assignments and therefore cropped up in suburban areas, off highways, near office parks, and even in more urban areas.