- Rachel Hosie
- Hotels are offering guests the chance to experience the splendor of a luxury suite for up to 70% off the usual price.
- The catch is that the offer is for a day stay, rather than overnight.
- The rise of so-called “daycations” has allowed hotels to boost their revenue at a time when Airbnb is posing a threat.
- While some people book daycations as a treat to enjoy a hotel’s facilities, for others, it’s simply a practical option when travelling.
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Think of a luxury hotel suite and what springs to mind? Lavish decor, incredible views, a roll-top bath big enough to fit a family … and a price-tag to match.
But what if there was a way to experience the sumptuousness of such a suite for a fraction of the cost of an overnight stay?
Enter, the “daycation.”
This growing trend sees hotels across the globe offer up rooms to rent for the day, allowing guests to enjoy the hotel’s amenities without staying overnight.
There are various platforms for booking daycations, one of which is DayBreakHotels, which lists hotels ranging from chains like Radisson and Hilton to the five-star Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair, London or Alexander House in West Sussex, UK.
- The Athenaeum
“There are so many beautiful hotels around the world with amazing facilities on offer, but most overnight guests are rarely able to enjoy them properly and many others would love to experience the luxury of a hotel stay, but can’t spare the money or the time,” said cofounder and CEO of DayBreakHotels, Simon Botto.
“For those who wouldn’t usually splash out on an extravagant stay at a hotel or a spa visit, this is the perfect way to get a taste of luxury for less. For others, perhaps parents, it’s an ideal way of relaxing without the complications of an overnight stay.”
A daycation can cost up to 70% less than a room’s overnight rate.
To put this into context, if you’re looking for somewhere to kill a number of hours near the airport, you could get a day stay in a double room at the 4-star Park Grand London Heathrow for £48 ($61), which would usually be around £144 ($182) a night.
At the other end of the scale, a daycation suite at the Athenaeum would set you back £360 ($455), while it would usually be over £660 ($833) for a night.
According to Joanne Taylor-Stagg, the General Manager of The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, the concept of the daycation is “still quite niche” for most people, but the hotel has seen an uptake over the past two years.
- The Athenaeum
“Having a ‘daycation’ often makes staying at a luxury hotel a much more affordable prospect,” Taylor-Stagg told INSIDER.
“Most commonly guests tend to use the spa facilities, or enjoy a lovely lunch in the restaurant or order in-room dining whilst relaxing in our plush rooms.”
She said the Athenaeum’s entry-level superior room is the most-booked for daycations, offering guests cosy comfort and luxury.
But are most people just using them for, well, daytime pleasure of the adult variety?
“Whilst we certainly do see mostly couples booking these stays, we cannot say what takes place behind closed doors,” said Taylor-Stagg.
“A lot of couples will enjoy a leisurely lunch or afternoon together before heading off to the spa for some pampering.”
- Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images
A ‘daycation’ can be practical
Some guests book daycations for special occasions in their home cities. Data from host management service Airsorted – a platform which allows people to book accommodation on various popular travel websites – found that the number of guests booking in their hometowns is on the rise across the UK, with 9% of properties booked in the capital coming from Londoners.
Spending an entire day at a hotel can be pampering for some – think spa, lunch, and a long bath with room service.
I went to check out London hotel Pestana Chelsea Bridge for a daycation, and was initially concerned I’d be bored spending the day in a hotel. But with a workout in the (pleasingly empty) gym, a swim in the pool, and a long soak in the bath, I found there was actually plenty to fill the day.
For others, however, the opportunity to book a hotel daycation is a practicality rather than a treat.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, hotels by airports are handy for those with layovers or travellers who wish to nap in between long-haul flights.
“As we’re right by Heathrow Airport, the majority of the guests who book day use rooms with us tend to be travelling; so they’re looking for somewhere to rest up for just a few hours either before or after flying into Heathrow, but don’t necessarily need a room overnight,” Jason Nixon, General Manager of Doubletree by Hilton Heathrow Airport, told INSIDER.
- Daybreak Hotels
He said that the majority of daytime guests are solo business travellers, but the hotel does get some families and couples, too.
“We’ve seen groups of friends who are flying away together use it as a meet-up place, and make use of not only the hotel’s restaurant and bars but also the fitness centre: a great way to start a vacation or celebration,” Nixon added.
“Business travellers tend to take advantage of the business centre facilities and the super-fast WiFi.”
$5 million in additional revenue
- The Athenaeum
One of the aims of companies such as DayBreakHotels is to help hotels boost their revenues, what with the threat posed by the rise of Airbnb.
A 2018 study found that Airbnb has led to an average 1.5% loss in revenue for US hotels, but offering day stays can help them boost profits by 10-20%, DayBreakHotels claims.
Indeed, the company says that in the last year alone it has helped its 180 London hotels earn an additional £4.5 million ($5.7 million) in revenue.
However, with rooms typically available from 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. for six to eight hours, a daycation booking can mean a hotel misses out on the opportunity to rent the room out for the night. But there are ways around this problem.
“Most hotels have housekeepers working later than 6 p.m., which means hotels can turn the room around quickly should they have a guest staying that night,” Nixon said.
“For hotels that can’t do this, they may sacrifice an overnight booking with a daytime one – but usually the rooms available on DayBreakHotels would go empty anyway, so the platform is helping hotels fill rooms.”