Thursday, 15 October 2020

Opinion: Work from hotel packages are a natural evolution for the industry

 

Joon Aun Ooi, president APAC of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Given that many workers around the world are still working remotely or have yet to return to the office full-time, work from hotel packages are increasingly being offered by hospitality groups as an alternative way to generate revenue while tourism numbers – and, hence, overnight guests – remain depressed.

Aside from presenting an alternative to working from home, the concept of spending the day working from the comfort of a hotel room appeals by presenting both a functional and aspirational experience.

For people who lack privacy and space at home, hotels are able to provide a quiet, conducive setting for work and access to business facilities at a relatively affordable price. Of course, some guests are simply looking for a change of environment, and the amenities at hotels are an attractive benefit. They can make use of the gym and pool to unwind after a hard day’s work, or as a break in the middle of the day. Some hotels even offer healthy meals and refreshments, which is a great addition.

Working from the comfort of a plush hotel room offers both a functional and aspirational experience

With many work from hotel packages to choose from, there are a few aspects that can help a hotel stand out from the rest. Being flexible and attentive to guests’ needs and being able to deliver personalised and memorable experiences will always be a differentiating factor. Each guest will present a different set of requirements – everything from getting some printing done or having specific allergies or health issues – and being able to cater to them on an individual level is key. This is where the art of hospitality comes into play.

Each guest will present a different set of requirements… this is where the art of hospitality comes into play

Beyond providing them with a clean and comfortable room to work in and a strong, stable internet connection, hotels can also offer additional resources to meet guests’ business needs. These include a stationery kit, ergonomic furniture, printing capabilities and private meeting spaces, or the rental of AV equipment for video conferencing and filming.

Of course, a large part of the hotel experience is in enjoying the facilities – so having half-board meal options and access to leisure amenities such as the gym, pool and spa services will be an attractive perk. Hotels can also be creative in their offerings to add value or establish partnerships with local businesses in the vicinity to make it more attractive to potential guests. Some hotels also allow you to bring a friend to join you for the day or even have your pet along for an additional fee!

Many work from hotel packages allow guests to avail of facilities such as a fitness centre of swimming pool

This concept is not entirely new to the industry, and we’ve seen several variations of this in the past, such as day-use rooms for guests attending meetings and events to rest in between sessions, or for guests in transit. Indeed, hoteliers have always been creative in driving revenue – whether it is through the sale of overnight or day-use rooms, themed hotel rooms (Ramada by Wyndham Incheon offers a kids-themed room with a play castle or car-shaped beds for instance) or even through ancillary offerings.

Hotels need to continue to be innovative in their approach to launch packages and services that people need in this new era

As for whether work from hotel packages will persist in the future as tourism gradually returns to normal, this is likely to be primarily dependent on governmental regulations on when people will be allowed to return to the office. What’s important is that hotels need to continue to be innovative in their approach to launch packages and services that people need in this new era and also to ensure that their businesses remain sustainable.

If there remains a demand for such work from hotel services to the extent that they provide an attractive and cost-effective source of revenue, then these packages are likely to continue until the world fully gets moving again.

SEE ALSO: This hotel group is the very first in the world to go completely vegetarian

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