A recent hourslong stop at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport served as a vivid reminder of just how valuable having your own small space can be at times. That’s value the hotel industry shouldn’t pass up.
The idea of any sort of micro hotel located past the security checkpoints at hotels isn’t a new or particularly novel one. But surprisingly it’s not something you see represented in the massive portfolio of some of the industry’s largest players like Marriott International and Hilton.
I had a recent experience at one of these airport micro or pod hotels recently that reminded just how valuable of a service they offer, and how it’s not strikingly different than what those large hotel players already do well.
Just to set that stage for you: I was at the end of a days-long work trip and through a combination of circumstance and my own poor planning, I was facing down an hourslong period (running on relatively little sleep) stuck at the beehive known as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Just as I was resigning myself to sitting uncomfortably and unhappy in some neglected corner of that busy intersection of humanity (or trying to drink enough to numb myself to the constant stream of noise and interruption), a coworker pointed out to me the existence of just such a micro hotel called “Minute Suites.”
So instead of wallowing in my traveling misery, I spent the next three hours sitting in a quiet, softly lit room by myself, napping on a comfortably large couch for a bit before relaxing watching some TV from my Netflix account on a screen embedded on the wall of the room.
This serenity was only interrupted about 15 minutes prior to the boarding of my flight as a front desk attendant peeked in to ensure I didn’t miss my flight home. This much needed serenity ran me roughly $60.
Even from my brief encounter, it didn’t take an MBA to discern this is a pretty successful business model.
The “hotel” my mini-stay was at had five rooms, from what I could tell, each rented out by the hour. They were each occupied the entire time I was there with a waiting list of people trying to get in.
If you assume my stay was average (I have no evidence one way or another if it was) and extrapolate that across the day but assuming a dip in demand during the night hours, you’d end up with something like 500% occupancy.
That’s some admittedly fuzzy math, but it helps illustrate the point that there’s a clear demand for this kind of product. And the fact is, I’d never heard of or interacted with Minute Suites before that moment. If you had offered me an alternative with some tie in to Marriott or Hilton, with the trust that comes with those flags and the perhaps even the possibility to either earn or spend loyalty points with that stay, I would be all over that in a second.
So can we please make this happen like yesterday? A world where I can find this sort of wonderful airport oasis in my time of greatest need just by opening the Marriott or Hilton apps (or maybe those apps would be able to geolocate me and let me know a room at one of these things was available) is the world I want to live in.
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