Accommodations over hundreds of years have changed but something stayed the same…

The hospitality industry dates back to the beginning of civilization. There is evidence that lodging facilities have been offered during biblical times. From antiquity to the Middle Ages, sheltering travelers, and often their horses, was rudimentary. Guests wouldn’t freeze to death but they wouldn’t be getting a warm meal either. For the next 600 years, much about the industry would change. But not much over the last 50 years would change in the way people would secure their reservations. The proprietors of early hotels, much like their modern day counterparts, would determine when guests could check in and when they could check out. In 2015, a paradigm shift occurred in the hospitality industry–or did it? Renting a day use hotel room, is this some kind of April Fool’s joke?

Necessity is the mother of all creation

Today there is a hotel for every whim. But the hospitality evolution took many incarnations to get to where we are today. During the dawn of antiquity, the Greeks were the first to have pools on their properties by developing thermal bath technology. The Romans took care of their traveling government workers by building mansions. In the Middle East, bare bones lodging for long distance caravans was established along much-traveled routes. The Middle Ages saw religious institutions renting rooms to weary folks on-the-go.

 

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In the 1400’s a boom in the industry occurred when hundreds of thermal spas cropped up around the Czech Republic, which is still known as a spa destination. Simultaneously, meals were added to the lineup of amenities offered at some of these early accommodations.

Around 1650 saw the first public lodging open up in the United States. The birth of an industry in the New World had taken hold.

Industrial revolution facilities hospitality

By the nineteenth century, hotels were becoming ubiquitous. New York City was a leader in the proliferation of hotel availability. Holiday resort destinations around the Mediterranean also sprang up. The mid-1800’s saw the first wave of hotel branding. No longer where accommodations just rented out rooms in an abbey or mansion. Hotels were built with the sole purpose of housing travelers. The first exciting amenities included indoor toilets, doors with actual locks, menus to chose from, and lifts for luggage. Customer-service had entered into the vernacular.

High-end hotels started employing the best architects, artists, designers, composers, conductors and chefs of the day. Luxury was their calling card, and the more exclusive, the better.

Modern conveniences

The twentieth century saw the advent of hotels for the masses. Seaside beach towns, mountain ski resorts, and the club village (ie – Club Med) combined comfortable accommodations with built-in activities. The 1960’s saw the industry explode when affordable transportation became available to the average person. By 1980, hotels start catering towards targeted clientele; transit hotels near airports began popping up in order to accommodate business travelers, and so on.

The nineties offered online reservation systems, but not much else in hospitality and customer service progressed. Where were the new modern conveniences the contemporary traveler would demand?

Have your brioche, and eat it too, when you want to!

Sure, by the 21st Century people could book reservations online. But where was the flexibility? In 2008, an online company brought the hospitality industry back to the Middle Ages. By offering rental rooms inside people’s homes, they met one need: the ability to check in at a negotiated time. But, at what price? Foreign hair strands in the bathtub, someone else’s dirty dishes in the sink, a complete lack of privacy. This was hardly a forward-leaning leap in hospitality.

The next progressive revolution in customer service took place in 2015. That’s the year HotelsByDay created a web-based hospitality service that people need: day booking hotels offering half day stays. Half day stay hotels allow people to only book the time in the hotel that they require. The service isn’t as sanitary, as say indoor plumbing, but the flexibility it provides is revolutionary. Day booking hotel partners include customizable features like early check in and late check out.

Custom hotels allow both business and pleasure travelers to enjoy the amenities the hotel has to offer in a convenient and cost-efficient way. They may not look out for your horses but they will ensure you’ve got all the comforts of home and allow for booking only the time frames that you need.

So folks can book the hotel that meets their needs, for only the time they require and there’s no hidden downside? Is this some kind of April Fool’s joke? Welcome to the modern age: You can now rent hotels for the day–and that’s no joke. The “next big thing” in the hospitality trend is happening now, and it’s no April Fool’s!

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Denise LeBeau

Denise is a professional editor, writer, and columnist. She was assistant curator to Robert Rauschenberg for 12 years, creating content for press releases, publications, and films, along with managing the digital archives. Over the next 12 years, she was a web managing editor for a national animal agency. She currently has a column in a popular cat publication and works as a freelance editor with clients ranging from tech startups to Washington DC think tanks.