With vacation and business travel tanking, struggling hotels are targeting a different kind of guest—remote workers.
The pandemic has forced most nonessential office workers to work from home, and not many have returned to the office. According to a recent Gallup survey, 62% of Americans are now working remotely. But after five months of cramped quarters, family interruptions and Zoom fatigue, some may be ready for a change of scenery.
That’s the thinking of several hotels, so they’ve put together “work-from-hotel” packages to snag the work-from-home crowd and bring in much-needed revenue.
The Marriott brand has been especially active in targeting this market. In Washington, D.C., locals can book a private guest room for the day at the JW Marriot with all the essentials needed to be productive. It requires a three-month commitment, but for $2,000 per month, customers get weekly housekeeping services, a 20% savings on food and beverage, access to the fitness center and savings on larger meeting spaces, if needed.
For New Yorkers who are feeling claustrophobic working out of tiny apartments, the New York Marriott in Brooklyn offers a similar daily deal for urbanites. Guests who sign on get a large room with a sitting and work area, plus the bonus of a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan skyline. Foodservice at The Bar and Brooklyn Pantry includes local coffee and Brooklyn Winery vintages by the glass.
The JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa offers a small private meeting room from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for up to three attendees. For $100 per person per day, the deal includes coffee, a salad or sandwich lunch, parking, enhanced Wi-Fi and a screen set up for social distancing meetings. Reserved lobby space is $75 a day. Marriott hotels in Savannah, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C., have similar deals for $99 per day.
Another Florida property, the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes has a “work from resort” package that caters to the whole family. In addition to a guest room, the hotel can provide a business butler who will arrange a remote office location on the grounds, including a poolside cabana equipped with Wi-Fi. The nonworking members of the family can book a Grande Lakes Ranger who will arrange a personalized activity schedule to keep the kids busy from 9 to 5.
“Workations” like this are becoming a popular hotel amenity. Some are marketed to execs who want to take a break from their pandemic routine. The Element Basalt-Aspen in Colorado has rooms with scenic views of the mountains, kitchenettes and outdoor patios; hiking, fishing mountain biking and other outdoor activities are available for after-work relaxation and exercise.
For those who can travel out of the U.S., the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico has workations designed for couples and families who want to combine work and play. Packages include fully equipped offices, customized menus with plenty of working lunch options and plant-based choices and services that can assist with homeschooling.
“Many parents are struggling with the demands of balancing their work schedules with homeschooling and it was important that our workation program allow for each member of the family to get the personalized services and environments best suited to their priorities, tasks and needs,” said James Hughes, GM of the resort.
Once work or school is done for the day, guests can enjoy barbecues on the beach, golf, water sports and other amenities.