Fitness membership? Check. Streaming account? Naturally. Meal set service? For sure.
How about your hotel subscription?
Whether for pleasure, work, or long-term accommodation, hotel operators hope that on-demand stays could be their next must-have membership as the competitive travel industry tries to expand its reach.
InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, and Accor are among the major names to introduce or consider monthly payment plans as hotels seek to attract troubled remote workers to a change of scene.
Hotels aim to attract new customers with a range of subscription services.
GoodLifeStudio | E + | Getty Images
For monthly prices between USD 1,100 in Singapore and USD 1,970 in Indonesia, InterContinental guests can already enjoy different access to the work areas, rooms and facilities of InterContinental as part of the new “Work from Hotel” packages. Meanwhile, Accor announced to CNBC’s Global Traveler that it is “considering monthly subscription fees” as it is considering converting rooms into private gyms and even recording studios.
For its part, Marriott announced that it will announce plans in the coming weeks.
But it’s not just company employees who are looking for hotels. After the huge rise of subscription giants like Netflix, Peloton and Spotify During the pandemic, more and more hotels are looking for subscription models to give them a way forward.
Last month, luxury travel group Inspirato claimed it was the first of its kind to be entirely subscription-based, expanding an existing all-you-can-travel model and launching a second at a reduced price.
For $ 2,500 per month, the Denver-based company offers subscribers the option of staying in 300 properties worldwide with no room rates, taxes, or fees as part of its one-year Inspirato Pass membership. Meanwhile, a newly introduced $ 600 monthly Inspirato Club option grants access to the group’s collection with additional nightly fees charged.
The luxury tour operator Inspirato gives members access to its collection of 300 vacation homes, hotels and resorts for a flat monthly fee.
The company states that there is no defined limit on stays, although the typical subscriber travels every six to eight weeks for an average of six nights and has a maximum of 60 days of stay.
The move marks a departure from the 10-year private club’s previous reliance on high registration fees and responds to “increased demand for subscription-based services” in other sectors, said co-founder and CEO Brent Handler.
In fact, the stars’ hotelier Andre Balazs also said last month he would transform the legendary Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles a members only hotel.
Even high-end brands don’t just use the monthly model.
In August, Panama-based boutique group Selina announced it was renting 50% of its rooms monthly payments of around $ 500. Elsewhere, the Dutch chain CitizenM launched two subscription services for its international network of 21 properties in New York, Paris and Amsterdam.
For US $ 600 per employee per month, companies with a corporate subscription get unrestricted access to the typical “living rooms” of the hotel as well as three nights’ accommodation and the use of conference rooms. With a separate Global Pass subscription, members can get hotel stays of up to 30 days per month for around $ 1,500 or $ 50 per night.
Lennert de Jong, CitizenM’s chief commercial officer, said the deal – which is currently limited to 1,000 applications – is designed for flexible workers and travelers as an alternative to renting in big cities.
CitizenM’s New York Bowery Hotel is one of the chain’s several hotels offering subscription packages for corporate and remote workers.
“If you can work from home, you can really work from anywhere,” he said. “We saw this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to become the Netflix of the hospitality industry and offer unlimited nights at a fixed price.”
The main hurdle for many of these players will, of course, be the travel restrictions that brought the industry to its knees in 2020.
Although some hotel subscriptions are aimed at locals, few will find this model scalable. And while the appeal to hotels with blocked monthly revenue and larger customer data is evident, the benefit to users may be less.
“It’s not clear what the value proposition is That would be the case during the pandemic when travel restrictions and consumer sentiment are different around the world, “Ceridwyn King, associate professor in the School of Sports, Tourism and Hotel Management at Temple University in Philadelphia, told CNBC’s Global Traveler.
“Additionally, this particular crisis, and the way it has dramatically paralyzed the global travel business almost overnight, can make people less inclined to get involved,” she added.
For its part, Inspirato had to convince members to resume payments in March, April and May at the height of the lockdown, in exchange for freezing fees in July, August and September. Handler told the company suffered little abrasion during the reporting period a Extension rate of 97% in June.
However, the need to adjust hotels is clear and monthly travel payments could benefit both hotels and consumers.
Travel start-ups such as London-based BeRightBack were there even before the pandemic. For the equivalent of around US $ 65 per month, the subscription service grants customers three trips per year to 60 European destinations.
Guided travel company Trafalgar is now hoping to attract travelers in 2021 with trips paid for in monthly installments at today’s prices.
InterContinental Singapore offers 12 hour daily access to its work area as well as additional hotel facilities for a monthly flat rate.
InterContinental Hotel Group
Robbie Kellman Baxter, advisor to Peninsula Strategies and author of The Membership Economy, said now is a good time for hotels to try such models.
“Changes in consumer behavior – social distancing, such as less travel and more remote working – create opportunities for new offerings and new habits. Now is a good time to experiment as the friction … is little about what customers look like for new solutions, “she said, advising hotels to consider the needs of their core customers.
Kellman Baxter added, however, that such transitions could take some time to bear fruit: “You can’t accelerate subscription gains – you have to play the long game.”
This may not be the quick fix the hotel industry needs right now.