WFH Fatigue Creates New Work-From-Hotel Trend

As many grow tired of working from their homes, a new remote work option is trending: work-from-hotel. 

Image via Marriott Bonvoy

We are over one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people are sick of working from home. According to a report by CNBC, over 69 percent of employees cooped up in their homes complain of feeling burnt out and even depressed.

With few signs that remote work is going away anytime soon despite recent eases in COVID restrictions in some countries, a new remote working trend has emerged: work-from-hotel.

The Work-from-Hotel Setup

In the work-from-hotel setup, remote workers pay a monthly membership fee to be able to stay and work in any of the company’s managed properties.

A pre-pandemic study by Magid found that unlike “free” loyalty programs, subscribers try to get as much value as they can from the subscription since they paid for it. They are also more likely to renew their membership.

The study went on to say that the greatest challenge for hotel companies is to find the right subscription offering at the right price point. The need for coordination between brand management and individual properties and the deep investment of hotel brands to their loyalty programs also add to the reluctance to take up the subscription model.

However, with the hospitality sector down on its knees due to the COVID-19, there’s no better time than ever to overcome the hurdles that this new setup brings. A monthly recurring revenue could be life-saving for these companies.

Combining Work and Vacation

The flexibility of being able to work remotely, along with the work-from-hotel offerings, has spurred a “workcation” trend for remote workers.

In fact, according to a recent HotelsByDay survey, 77 percent of remote workers would consider signing up for a work-from-hotel subscription as long as the price is right.

For remote workers tired of being stuck at home, the work-from-hotel setup serves home comfort and office convenience in a beautiful setting. There’s also peace of mind in being able to travel and work and know that the rest of your necessities are being taken care of by the hotel staff.

Here’s a rundown of the hotels that have already jumped the subscription bandwagon and what they’re offering.

Image via Citizen M

Citizen M Global Passport

Freelancers and digital nomads who want to “travel the world without missing a beat at work” can avail of Citizen M’s Global Passport. For a flat monthly rate of around $1,500, members can obtain 30 days of hotel stays per month. That’s about $50 per night.

Members can choose from the Dutch chain’s international network of 21 properties. To name a few, there’s London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Taipei. Per location, subscribers can stay a minimum of 2 nights to a maximum of 29 nights.

Other perks include $10 breakfasts and a 25 percent discount on all foods and drinks. Currently, this work-from-hotel scheme is capped at 1000 passports.

Lennert de Jong, Citizen M’s chief commercial officer, said that the Global Passport is meant to be an alternative to renting in big cities for itinerant remote workers. “We saw that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the Netflix of the hotel industry and provide unlimited nights at a fixed price,” he further stated.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand even launched an app for contactless stays. Members can use this app to check in and out of the company’s hotels and more. They’re also accepting cashless payments to minimize interactions.

Image via Marriott Bonvoy

Work Anywhere with Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott International’s Work Anywhere With Marriott Bonvoy is a three-tiered program that’s available in any of their 2,000 plus locations worldwide.

The Day Pass is intended for those who are looking for a workspace near their home. Members in this tier have a 6:00 am to 6:00 pm access to a guest room with high-speed Wi-Fi. This entry-level package also includes a complimentary bottled water and access to business facilities like printing, fax, and scanning equipment.

The second tier called Stay Pass is basically just a Day Pass with an overnight stay. Members also get a $10 meal voucher as well as access to public spaces, hotel amenities and fitness facilities.

Finally, there’s the Play Pass which is perfect for workcationing. Perks include access to a dedicated business concierge, semi-private workspaces, supervised kids’ activities, and curated experiences depending on the property location.

In a research conducted by Marriott, 42 percent of the surveyed 400 business professionals in the US expressed interest in a work-from-hotel scenario as a way to change up the monotony of quarantine remote work. It’s also a way to address issues like lack of a dedicated workspace in spatially-challenged homes, inability to work uninterrupted, and insufficient Wi-Fi.

According to Stephanie Linnartz, Group President – Consumer Operations, Technology & Emerging Businesses, Marriott International, their Work Anywhere With Marriott Bonvoy program can help remote workers be more productive and achieve a better work/life balance.

Image via Inspirato

Inspirato Pass

Unlike other hotels, luxury travel company Inspirato has been offering subscription services since 2019. It’s goal is to minimize unbooked inventory without tarnishing its reputation by offering discounts.

The $2,500-per-month Inspirato Pass allows subscribers to choose from the company’s Pass Trip List of high-end vacation homes, five-star hotels, and luxury cruises and experiences around the world with no nightly rates, taxes, or fees.

For an additional $300, members can grant their adult children or parents access to the membership via Family Sharing. Note that there can only be one active reservation at a time.

The Denver-based firm allows two to 60-day stay. The regular subscriber, however, travels every six to eight weeks and only stays an average of four nights, according to the company.

Inspirato founder Brent Handler said that they’re already seeing a 30 percent increase in booking activity compared to the same time last year.

A Win-Win Proposition?

With the hotel and travel sector completely devastated by the pandemic, adoption of the work-from-hotel model by remote workers and digital nomads could be a huge shot in the arm for the industry.

Based on the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021 report, the pandemic obliterated 10 years of job growth in the hospitality sector. Almost 4 million hospitality workers lost their jobs in 2020 and hotel occupancy crashed to a historic low of 24.5 percent last April. Full recovery isn’t expected until at least 2024.

For remote workers, one of the biggest challenges with working from a hotel is the potential hit in productivity. Most hotel rooms simply are not properly optimized for workspace ergonomics; a small desk, uncomfortable stool, and poor lighting are the norm. Before settling in, workers should inquire about what facilities and accessories the hotel can provide to offset these shortcomings, such as a laptop stand, a proper office chair, and dedicated areas around the hotel that allow you to work more comfortably and also stand with your laptop from time to time.

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