When spending the night at a hotel is just not necessary, a new company is offering another option for travelers: the day stay.
HotelsByDay, a website and app that launched in February, kicked off with options in New York. It lists a handful of South Florida properties — most recently adding the Savoy in South Beach — and is working to add more inventory.
The service is geared toward business travelers in town for a quick meeting, long-haul sojourners with a several-hour layover or just locals who want to get away for a few hours. In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the company is also finding interest from cruisegoers who might have several hours between the time their ship arrives in port in the morning and their flight leaves later in the day.
Company co-founder and chief operating officer Nathan Stevenson said the “microstay” or “intra-day” trend started in Europe, but his company wanted to “make it something that all Americans can use.”
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“We think that what we’re doing is different, it’s positioned differently,” Stevenson said. “It’s kind of the Uber of the space. And it’s really taking off.”
A search for Miami properties for April 13 showed five options available at different hours and price points: the Miami International Airport Hotel, Sofitel Miami, Edgewater South Beach, Savoy Hotel Miami Beach and Metropolitan by COMO. Fort Lauderdale has the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port. The MIA hotel is available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or 2-6 p.m. for $55 or 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for $95, while a room at the upscale Metropolitan by COMO goes for $179 for use between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or noon-5 p.m.
Hotel consultant Scott Brush, who is based in Miami, said the service seems best suited to hotels in Miami Beach, near the airport or in downtown Miami.
He said some hotels have been more willing in recent years to offer a “day rate,” but a traveler would have to make several calls to find that option.
“He’s got an app that tells him these are the hotels that do it,” Brush said. “This eliminates that calling around.”
Unlike the seedy no-tell motels of Biscayne Boulevard history, rooms are not rented by the hour but available for a chunk of four hours or more; security measures include credit card checks, required photo identification and tracking of IP addresses.
“We basically use the eyes and ears of the front of house at all of our hotels,” Stevenson said. “We’re very strict on the use of it.”
He said hotels that have signed on realize they could be making good use of available inventory.
“Hotels love it because we’re taking rooms that they haven’t sold,” Stevenson said. HotelsByDay takes a commission from each booking.
Kenneth Miranda, area revenue manager for the Metropolitan by COMO in Miami Beach, said his hotel signed on a few weeks ago and will have its first “intra-day” booking through the site on Monday.
“What sparked my interest was it pretty much gets some incremental business for mainly weekdays on days we most likely wouldn’t sell out,” he said. Miranda said he thinks locals looking for a brief beach getaway will also find the option attractive.
“To get into some of these really high-end hotels, you have to spend for the full night and maybe you just want a day at the pool or a day at the beach,” he said.