The Waldorf Astoria Park City is one Hilton property selling reservations geared towards remote workers.
Courtesy of Hilton
- Hotels are eager to bring business travelers back to their properties.
- Some chains have launched packages geared specifically toward remote workers during the pandemic.
- They advertise having quiet spaces, free Wi-Fi, and laundry services.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused travel demand to plummet.
To cope, some major hotel brands have pivoted, creating new reasons for travelers to book a stay at their properties.
In recent conversations with Insider, executives at Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and Four Seasons each said they had developed offerings to appeal specifically to remote workers looking for a change of scenery.
It’s part of a trend that the hotel industry calls “bleisure” travel, or trips that combine aspects of both business and leisure.
Mark Vondrasek, chief commercial officer at Hyatt, said the company has a set of options under its “Work from Hyatt,” offering meant to help consumers “manage work-and school-life balance within the comforts of a premium resort experience in the US, Mexico, Canada, Caribbean, and South America.”
Hyatt’s offerings range from “office for the day” passes that start at $65 a day to month-long stays at select hotels in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India.
“Check email poolside, take your lunch break on the beach, enjoy a swim in the pool after school, or sneak a massage after your big meeting. Transform your work from home routine into a memorable working vacation,” the promotional page for Work from Hyatt reads. It adds that Hyatt properties offer “private work areas and high-speed internet.”
The packages also include other benefits like daily food and beverage credits, complimentary or discounted laundry services, free Wi-Fi, and waived resort fees.
“The Work from Hyatt package was born out of listening to our World of Hyatt members who told us, don’t try to pull me toward the traditional trip I took in the past,” Vondrasek said. “Right now, I want a different kind of trip, one where I can do work but when I’m done, step outside and enjoy a nice location.”
Marriott’s “Work Anywhere with Marriott Bonvoy” program offers similar benefits.
“Our hotels have often been havens where business travelers can focus and get work done,” said Stephanie Linnartz, group president of consumer operations, technology, and emerging businesses at Marriott International. “The program brings back that productive opportunity in a familiar and trusted environment taking into consideration the ‘new normal.'”
Similarly, Wyndham CEO Geoff Ballotti said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday that “work-from-hotel bookings continue to increase.”
It makes sense that hotel companies would roll out programs that are very explicitly geared towards working professionals.
Before the pandemic, business transient travelers accounted for as much as 60% of business for major hotel chains like Hilton. They provided reliable occupancy year-round as well as during the workweek, and hotel executives say these travelers also tend to be among their most loyal.
The AHLA along with other industry groups and experts predict that business travel will be the segment of travel that will take the longest to recover, after leisure travel. Bank of America analyst Shaun Kelley also recently predicted that the firm isn’t expecting business travel to fully return until 2025.
Some hotel executives say their companies simply cannot survive without business travelers, meaning that adjustments made by international hotel chains have proven quite necessary in the current climate.
At the same time, however, many in the hotel industry are optimistic that they can bring travelers back well before companies begin sending their employees out on business trips again.
“With the switch to primarily remote working, and the flexibility that offers, we anticipate an increase in so-called ‘bleisure’ travel where guests can work from anywhere in the world,” said Ben Trodd, senior vice president of hotel sales and marketing at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Four Seasons itself rolled out an offering during the pandemic called “Extend Your Stay,” which gives travelers staying at a Four Seasons property for at least 30 days access to benefits like regular private fitness sessions, personal concierge services, and consultations with chef and spa experts “to customize a wellness plan.”