The demand for ‘micro-stays’ – counted in hours, rather than nights – is growing, as hotels seek to develop beyond the traditional ‘per night’ model and consumers look to services on an ‘app for that’, instant-demand basis, according to former hotelier Guillermo Gaspart.
Consumers hoping to hire rooms for just a few hours include businesspeople looking for a comfortable, Wi-Fi-connected place to work for the afternoon as an alternative to busy coffee shops; a visitor to a sick relative in hospital who needs somewhere to sleep for a few hours; or a city shopper who needs somewhere private to get ready for a night out.
This mentality comes from consumers’ growing ‘there’s-an-app-for-that’ approach, who look for quick and on-the-go solutions, and hotels must be ‘creative and resourceful’ to compete in today’s Airbnb-style marketplace, Gaspart said.
Hotels that could benefit most from this system could be those in strategic city-centre locations, or near airports.
Gaspart, who also founded the booking platform ByHours.com to capitalise on what he sees as the growing demand, said that his largest market currently is Spain. ‘Micro-stays’ at hotels there run for three, six, or 12 hours, with an increase in average revenue of 100,000 euros (£84,298), and an increase in RevPAR of up to four euros (£3.37), he claimed.
He said: “There is an exciting gap in the hotelier market for short term room use. Consumers are increasingly demanding clever solutions that will make their lives more comfortable and efficient. The demand is there and UK hoteliers have a massive opportunity to boost their occupancy when thinking more widely than just the traditional booking model.
“It is crucial that hoteliers do things differently to suit the needs of the modern consumer. It is no use resting on your laurels and breathing a sigh of relief for the Airbnb 90-day limit [imposed in London earlier this month].
“There will be new Airbnb propositions and other smart services, and to survive hotels must be creative and resourceful with what they have.”
The ByHours.com hotel booking platform was launched in 2012, and allows hoteliers to increase occupancy several times’ a day, by reselling rooms when they are empty, for three, six, or 12-hour slots, with no reduction or increase in prices.
The 'micro-stay' suggestion comes in light of much discussion this year about how hotels can open themselves up to passing trade - by making lobbies and public spaces more open, for example - whether inviting locals to use services, or by offering deals to working businesspeople looking for good Wi-Fi and coffee.