Pret A Manger founder Sinclair Beecham's London hotel, which uses a budget airline-style pricing tariff and famously launched with £1 rooms, is offering the use of its bedrooms between 10am and 4pm on weekdays, as a way to utilise rooms during normally empty hours.
Robbie Bargh, managing director of consultancy the Gorgeous Group, praised the move. "Filling otherwise empty rooms at key parts of the day for meetings and client briefings is a great idea," he said. "We definitely need to have a more open approach to looking at how we maximise revenue: rooms by the hour gets my vote."
Paul West, managing director at Ignite Marketing agreed, predicting that the concept would be copied elsewhere in London as there was definite consumer demand.
But Gerard Greene, managing director of pod-style hotel chain Yotel, which also rents hotel rooms by the hour at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, warned that the scheme would work not as well in a city centre.
"It's a good idea - we do it - but I'm not convinced it works in a city centre," he said. "There are costs associated with it which might affect its profitability - laundry costs £3 a room, cleaning £6 - that's almost £10 before you start. There will be some money in it, I imagine, but it's more of a PR story than anything else."
The Hoxton hotel will be renting out rooms by the hour between 10am and 4pm.
By Gemma Sharkey
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