Five months ago hotels hit an all-time low with four out of five rooms empty. Has it really been five months? As bad as things have been for the hotel industry overall it was profitable in July and into August, though things may take another turn for the worse because we’ve just passed the traditional seasonal peak.
On the basis of desperation, while hotel chains have promoted new cleanliness standards that individual properties have – or have not – followed, they’ve also allowed properties to cut back on basics for customers. Here’s a hint: Holiday Inn cutting back on pillows isn’t really to protect you from coronavirus. Marriott ironically even put off when hotels would have to offer keyless room entry to save money, even while promoting how their use of the technology promotes social distancing.
Meanwhile Marriott lets hotels get away with not honoring elite benefits during the pandemic, hotels charge resort fees for closed amenities, and properties don’t service rooms during your stay to save on housekeeping.
Hyatt is a promotion for working or doing school remotely from their resorts with discounts and extra amenities on long stays. The description is striking to me, “the Work from Hyatt package covers the essentials, including workspace options, housekeeping, free high-speed Wi-Fi internet access and discounted or complimentary laundry, and is highlighted by hotel-specific ‘perks'” They are highlighting that this promotion comes with housekeeping.
That’s great as far as it goes – and it’s important as a differentiator right now – but it underscores just how sad many hotel stays have become, and how in the rush to conserve cash on the backs of guests compromises key ways hotels distinguish themselves fromh Airbnb. Why be excited about most hotel stays nowadays? The industry is pushing itself far away from Hyatt Regency’s claim that it’s good not to be home. Making the hotel stay value proposition less attractive doesn’t bode well for bringing guests back.