At a time when hotel bookings are down across the board and Americans are still being advised not to travel, opening a new hotel is a risky prospect. But travel site Kayak is up to the challenge and is opening a new Miami Beach property later this spring. This hotel, however, will be a far cry from the hotels guests are used to -- and that could be the key to its success.
Bringing technology into the fold
Kayak's Miami Beach hotel will offer a number of technology upgrades that guests are apt to appreciate in the age of COVID-19. These include touchless check-in, digital door locks, and a mobile app that allows guests to connect with hotel staff virtually. For example, guests will be able to request extra toiletries through an app instead of having to pick up the phone and wait for someone from housekeeping to answer.
As for the hotel's location, Kayak specifically chose Miami Beach because it's one of the site's most popular year-round destinations. Not only that, but flight searches to Miami are down just 24% from pre-COVID levels, compared to searches for all destinations, which are down 50%.
Guest appeal on more than one level
Kayak's new hotel will be impressive from more than just a technological standpoint; it will also look chic and sport a lush, landscaped pool deck. And location-wise, it's in a prime spot. Not only is it near the Miami Beach Convention Center, but it's also close to the beach itself. Best of all, the hotel is being positioned as a moderately priced property. Room rates are slated to start at around $229 a night, though they'll likely evolve as demand ebbs and flows. But to be clear, the goal is to make the hotel affordable and accessible to guests.
Will more hotels follow suit?
It may be too late to get in on the action as far as Kayak's Miami hotel is concerned, but real estate investors should definitely pay attention to the aspects of the property that make it unique. In fact, if more hotels adopt similar technology, it could create a positive shift in the industry, as guests may be more drawn to updated, savvy properties that recognize the need for a contact-free stay.
Of course, the success of the new hotel will hinge heavily on how things progress in terms of the pandemic itself. 2020 was a dreadful year for hotels with record-low occupancy rates, and bookings aren't expected to get anywhere close to pre-pandemic levels in the course of 2021, as per the American Hotel & Lodging Association. But still, this new property gives real estate investors reason to be hopeful. If new hotels of this nature can thrive in the near term, and existing hotels upgrade to follow their lead, it could help spur a surge in bookings that help hotels recover from the misery that was 2020. And also, having new players in the field just plain sends the message that hotels aren't dead -- especially those that update accordingly.