|Staying During the Day at Marriott.|
By Roland Wildberg ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Monday, 12th August 2013
Exclusive Feature: Hotels are the safe harbour in daily wild life; they do offer space for both leisure and work as well.
You believe that a hotel is nothing more than a collection of beds completed with a credit card reader? Some colleagues seem to believe this, for example, the inventor of the French Super-budget chain "Formule 1", reduced literally to the satisfaction of the naked need to sleep.
But of course good hotels have much more to offer than just a place for the night. They are also a place for the day, for parties and conferences, and of course for meetings of all kinds. In many countries, it is still common, to arrange an official meeting whether personal or professional, in one of the best hotels nearby.
On many trips, we also learned to appreciate hotels as always accessible retreats, as absolutely safe place, as a neutral state in which everyone can present themselves without loss of image. Since then we received interview partners of all types in a hotel. In this quasi public area, no one has to worry about unpleasant surprises worry.
And our lesson seems to be the talk among many others, too: Why not visit a hotel more frequently during the day? Recently the both prestigious and venerable Marriott group to their online room booking application have added a new option: the reservation of jobs. "Workspace on Demand" is the name.
It is not intended that you sublet the antechamber of the hotel manager or the concierge lounge. However, seats in the lobby, small meeting rooms or community tables at hotel rooms are available in large numbers. What a clever idea – selling a product on a totally new premise. It is similar to a ice cream kiosque owner who usually closes during Winter and suddenly decides to open for hot wine. May at most double your occupancy rate.
According to a recent study the demand for mobile jobs will explode in the near future. Well, it is at high level already: Worldwide, the number of mobile employees is currently estimated at 1.3 billion people. Sure not all will be able to pay Marriott rates, but it will remain still enough to afford the noble hotel chain.
The concept is currently tested in 30 Marriott homes in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, and St. Louis and allows booking by the hour. That new product is adapted to the changing work culture and high cost pressure of the company: employees are increasingly encouraged to book an external working space, in order to save scarce capacity in their own company.
Many companies such as British Telecom "overbook" today even deliberately to reduce their work space, because they assume high travel activities of staff and thus expensive office rental. The consultancy Accenture have abandoned fixed office locations for their employees at whole last year. More and more outsourcing to freelance contractors reduce the staff, more and more virtual teams work locally and meet only sporadically for coordination meetings.
This helps another offer by Marriott, responding to the trend: Workspring offers small conference areas, which are also by the hour. A meeting with Wi-Fi and other onference infrastructure costs from $50 US per hour. The US channel CNN quoted a Marriott manager: "Customers confessed, they did slip into the lobby, to tap into our Wi-Fi - even in the parking lot some did, who sit in their cars for surfing." That had driven the idea to offer job space. Westin Hotels & Resorts has developed similar product "Tangent".
Others will follow their most expensive possession - a necessary development in a world, that of real estate. Hotels cannot exist without real estate, so they should make the most profit of it.
This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.
Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams. For more info: www.4Hoteliers.com/itb.
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