Hotels Roll Out the Welcome Mat to ‘Super Commuters’

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“That package has really been popular with suburbanites coming in from all corners of Chicago,” said Mr. Kelsey, who noted that midweek business at the Hoxton has outpaced other hotels in the city — at the end of 2021, corporate bookings were three times higher than the wider Chicago market.


March 3, 2022, 5:01 a.m. ET

At reStays Ottawa, a boutique hotel that opened in the Canadian capital in 2021, the marketing director, Claudine Hart, reports a pattern of single or two-day stays, with business travelers comprising 80 percent of midweek guests.

At the San Francisco Proper Hotel, which is on Market Street, within walking distance of companies like Twitter and Uber, Mario Bevilacque von Günderrode, the general manager, said midweek occupancy rates are climbing at the same pace as weekend rates. “We actually started to change the way we do business and the way we cater to our clients following this trend,” he said. The hotel has made sure their room service menu is available 24/7 and all of their food and beverage outlets are open; last month they also added a complimentary car service for trips to nearby offices.

John Gilligan, the general manager of Canopy by Hilton Washington D.C. Bethesda North, used to rely on government workers to fill his midweek rooms. That traffic has yet to return, but there’s a new kind of regular: commuting employees of Total Wine & More, the liquor superstore whose headquarters are within a 10-minute drive. “We’ve seen them coming back quite frequently,” he said.

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A new U.S. strategy. The White House unveiled a virus response strategy that aims for a “new normal,” but much of it will need congressional funding. The plan includes a “test to treat” initiative that would provide antiviral medications to patients as soon as they learn they are infected.

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Some former city dwellers now facing hourslong commutes have considered renting pied-à-terres in their former urban homes. But skyrocketing rent prices — nationally, the cost to lease an apartment is up more than 10 percent, and in cities like Boston and Orlando, they’ve jumped more than 25 percent — have made regular hotel stays a more affordable option.

Bob Schmidt, 61, is the co-founder of a New York City-based financial-technology company, The Guarantors. A lifelong New Yorker, he moved to Cape Cod with his wife in January 2021 when work was fully remote, but shortly after began commuting into the office for a few days at a time, once every three weeks. He’s thought about buying a small apartment to use when he visits, but he crunched the numbers and realized it would cost much more than his hotel bills. And it would also force him to commute to the same neighborhood.