Back in college, I studied abroad in Panama City, Panama with a plan to take some upper level Spanish classes because I was only like 9 credits away from completing a minor on Spanish. But after signing up for the class it turned out I was the only person who enrolled so they canceled it and instead I took a Psychology elective titled ‘Human Sexuality’ where we met M/W/F and did things like spend 90 minutes discussing the female orgasm (I was the only guy in the class) and once we even took a field trip.
That field trip involved taking out a school van and driving around the city to meet with prostitutes to ask them about their jobs (if they liked it, how they got into it, etc.) which was completely fine because that’s a legal profession in Panama. During that field trip, I learned about the ‘Push Button’ which is a hotel that’s rented by the hour where the hotel room is hidden behind a garage door so you can drive up, press the button, drive in and conceal your car while having an affair for a few hours, and then go back to life. I was told it’s a popular option for politicians and famous people.
Since that field trip, I’ve been a healthy skeptic of any hotel that allows people to pay by the hour. And that brings me to the latest from Marriott where members of the Marriott Bonvoy program will be able to purchase a Marriott Day Pass which gets them a 6am to 6pm hotel room with all sorts of other amenities. This is a program designed for people who are currently working from home during the pandemic but are looking for a change of pace and want to get out of the house for a bit. Maybe it’s for a day of back-to-back-to-back meetings or perhaps it for something else…
The hotel chain is offering a new “day pass” and other options for members of its Marriott Bonvoy travel program in some cities as a way for them to work remotely while still getting out of the house.
Day pass guests get a hotel room from 6 am to 6 pm with Wi-Fi, desk space, a chair and lots of electrical outlets. Guests also get to enjoy coffee, bottled water and food offered by the hotel, as well as access to on-site business facilities with printing, fax and scanning equipment and other perks like the gym and pool, depending on what each hotel has.
Marriott is offering the day pass package at hotels in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Phoenix, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Singapore and Toronto and it plans to add more locations.
Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott International’s group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, said the company’s new options provide guests with “a familiar alternative when choosing where to work.” (via NYPost)
Some of the locations are offering a ‘stay pass’ and ‘day pass’ and even a ‘play pass’. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the vast majority of people getting a Day Pass will use it for legitimate business purposes but I can’t stop myself from wondering what all of those people who were having affairs did when various states went into lockdown back in the Spring and how those people have coped since then with a lot of offices remaining closed.
From a practical perspective, Marriott NEEDS THIS to survive for the time being. With business travel still down and the vast majority of Americans only traveling locally the hotel business is forced to continuously adapt and this is a savvy way for Marriott to use its empty rooms. Marriott reported Q2 losses of $234 million back in August.
Bringing lots of people back into hotels each day obviously creates similar problems to what you might see in an office building with a shared supply of oxygen and increased person-to-person exposure but I trust Marriott as a chain more than 99% of hotels in the world and I legitimately needed office space for the day I’d definitely look to this as an option.