By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky
The back-to-work siren call typifying September hasn’t had the universal impact as prognosticated during the summer because of, among other causes, safety concerns from the Delta Variant and because working remotely (from home) is just too good a perk to pass up for many. This in turn has opened up a new niche of travelers for select hotels to seize upon.
Enter the ‘supercommuter’, the suburban or exurban digital professional who journeys well over an hour (possibly over two hours) to reach a given business destination, often in an urban center, for work, but only at an infrequent rate of once per week or twice a month. With such a long drive or train ride, the return trip may be too much to undertake following a long, grueling day at a physical office location. Instead, wouldn’t it be better if the parent company hoisted said employee up at a nearby hotel for the night, thus allowing the fatigued worker to hit the road with fresh eyes the following morning?
While this may seem to be just another use case within the purview of a general corporate rate or subscription agreement, it’s important to highlight what differentiates the supercommuter from other guests within the business segment. As a start, many of these long-haul travelers will be arriving at their respective offices via their own personal vehicles in lieu of a car service to and from airports or train stations. Hence, such amenities as free parking (or vouchers), valet and snacks for the road should be packaged into a rate to make it more attractive.
Secondly, in all but a few cases, supercommuters will be visiting their own places of business for collaborative sessions rather than dropping in on clients’ offices for training seminars or prospective clients to give a sales pitch. This slight change in modality may necessitate higher demand for office spaces within hotels that can facilitate small group projects.
As an example, a late afternoon brainstorm in a downsized company headquarters may spill over into the evening hours. For a change of scenery, several members then decide to regroup back at the supercommuter’s hotel suite, assembling for a roundtable discussion in a connected room or a meeting venue downstairs that can be conveniently booked by the hour via an app.
As hotels search for ways to reinvigorate this stagnant segment, appealing to the needs of the supercommuter may be one possibility that works in tandem with or mutually exclusive to the currently in vogue programs focusing on working from a hotel (WFH). From that previous scenario, you can thus see how a WFH rethink of your suites or connected rooms can have legs beyond the immediate behaviors associated with our current pandemic state of mind.
While this niche traveler disposition is obviously not a gamechanger in any means, the near future of successful hotels will be marked by finding those pockets of revenue during the industry’s exceedingly gradual return to healthy occupancy numbers. A small win is still a win. If you happen to own or operate an urban hotel looking to negotiate some new corporate contracts, then factoring in the specific desires of the supercommuter may help you get the business.
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Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or speaking engagements please contact Larry or Adam directly.