As the weeks roll by, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that many workers do not want to return to the factory-inspired ideal of sitting in an office five days a week. But it is also apparent that many don’t necessarily want to be sitting in their homes five days a week, either. So it’s unsurprising that money is being invested in “third places”: spaces that offer an attractive environment, a bite to eat, and perhaps a bit of socialization.
It’s a shift that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the hospitality industry. Walloped for periods of the pandemic, many hotels are now betting that the routines established in the crisis have permanently changed the ways in which we travel, whether for work or for pleasure (or increasingly for both).
Just a few of the changes coming: larger rooms with well-equipped desks to further entice guests to book longer stays that combine work and leisure; co-working spaces or even dedicated co-working floors; memberships to entice locally based workers to book work-away-from-home stays; airy outdoor spaces. If hotels have their way, the acronym WFH could develop an entirely new meaning.
Business conferences will probably be returning (and already are). Quickie road-warrior trips for singular meetings probably won’t.
These are insights from Adam Patrizia, who we spoke with recently. Patrizia is a veteran hospitality consultant previously worked as head of customer relationship management at André Balazs’ US properties and as chief marketing officer at Hotel Insider. Here are excerpts from our conversation, edited for space and clarity:
How are hotels adapting to changes in how we work, how we travel?
The pandemic sped up what was a natural progression in the hotel industry. There was this movement towards either very large convention and resort-style hotels and very small, experiential lifestyle hotels. The industry was bifurcating to those poles, and in the middle, we started to lose those road warrior, boutique-style hotels that didn’t really serve a purpose anymore.