Retail

How Airport Accommodations Tap Into Mobile Technology (And Sleep)

Airport

To serve travelers looking to get some rest at the airport, hospitality concepts are providing spaces to help consumers relax and catch a nap. While new concepts such as sleeping pods and capsule hotels are coming on the scene today, Minute Suites was founded in the late 2000s with the company offering rooms with sofa beds at busy airports across the United States such as Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW). The company claims that it doubled in size last year and has secured contracts to double in size again this year to arrive at 12 locations.

The suites have sound suppression systems and come with a thermostat, which consumers can set at the temperature most comfortable for them. And, for security, the suites come with solid woodgrain doors with deadbolt locks. The facilities also include a staff member, who is well trained and looks over the location, the company says. These attendants also engage the guests: many will ask if customers would like them to knock on the door to remind them to wake up before the end of their stays, Minute Suites Co-Founder and Director Daniel Solomon said in an interview with PYMNTS.

Solomon said the room takes the form of a functional office suite (albeit a comfortable one.) As for the furniture itself, the suites come equipped with daybed sofas that Solomon said are custom-made and comfortable for sleeping. The daybed sofa also has a pull-out trundle bed, so Solomon noted that two people could rest comfortably in the company’s rooms. To stay in one of these rooms, consumers can either arrange a stay through a walk-in visit (Solomon said a good chunk of business is still walk-up traffic) or be part of referrals the company gets through airline partners.

Hospitality Innovations

The company, however, released an app a few months ago, and Solomon said it is approaching 10,000 users. Minute Suites is encouraging travelers to download the app, which lets them reserve a suite online. The app asks consumers where they are going, what time and day they would like to stay and, when consumers register, the app puts the card on file, much like the app of a big hotel chain. “It’s seamless,” Solomon said, noting he thinks that will eventually become the dominant way travelers book suites. He also said travelers who walk up to the counter can pay through a traditional credit card transaction.

Solomon also noted the company provides an hour of free time to Priority Pass members. As a result, the company’s app will ask travelers if they are booking through a direct payment or Priority Pass booking. The latter option will take them to a separate pathway. (Alternatively, members can show their cards at the counter.) Beyond that first hour, the company offers Priority Pass members discounted rate for more time. And Solomon noted, “we see a fair share that will upgrade and spend some more time with us.”

Sleeping Capsules

Beyond Minute Suites, upstarts such as Sleepbox have come on the scene. That firm seeks to provide an alternative to brick-and-mortar hotels by offering modular sleeping capsules that can fit into existing buildings. In airports, capsule hotels like Sleepbox could have appeal as both business and leisure travelers can face the same travel challenges, such as delays, layovers and 11-hour-long flights. In terms of tired travelers, “they want to rest a little bit before their next flight,” Sleepbox Co-Founder and CEO Mikhail Krymov told PYMNTS.com in an interview last August.

To stay in a Sleepbox, consumers can download a mobile app that allows them to book a room and then check in to their capsules one hour before arrival. When consumers arrive at a place where there is a Sleepbox, they go straight to their rooms and open the capsule with their phones or a code. Travelers who desire human interaction, however, can book a unit with a staff member at the front desk as they would at a traditional property (as is the case with MinuteSuites).

From capsule hotels to suites, hospitality innovations are looking to help travelers catch up on their rest with the help of small form-factor lodging environments that could come to airports across the country in the future of travel.

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