The resort’s day passes offer travelers luxury on a budget

“It’s a great way to escape and feel like you’re in a five-star hotel, but you can’t afford accommodations,” Buller said.

Day passes at hotels and resorts provide guests with access to amenities without the cost of reserving a room. Bowler said she booked daybeds and poolside services, and found a permit offering a room where her husband could work from his laptop.

Hotels and third-party partners are making day passes more readily available to help bridge the gap between travel-conscious consumers and luxury prices.

A typical luxury hotel room in the United States from January 1 to April 6 will cost about $400 per night, according to CoStar, a global provider of real estate data, analytics and news. These rates are about 1% higher than the same period last year.

Luxury hotel room rates in July are expected to be 85% higher than in the same month in 2019, before the Covid pandemic, according to luxury travel company Virtuoso.

“People are thinking again about travel budgets,” said Hayley Berg, chief economist at travel site Hopper. “They are prioritizing spending on vacations, more than consumer goods.”

in reconnaissance Conducted in July 2023 by Booking.comMore than 60% of respondents said their cost of living would determine their travel planning in 2024, while just over half said they would likely pay for accommodation upgrades.

A majority of American travelers said they would be willing to pay for day tickets to use the amenities of a five-star hotel without staying there, according to a Booking.com press release about the survey. The survey included nearly 28,000 adults from 33 countries who said they plan to travel in the next 12 to 24 months.

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Consumers who indulged in the luxury of travel after Covid restrictions were lifted fueled the “revenge travel” trend, which led to increased demand for luxury accommodation, Berg said. The trend has “pretty much run out” now, she said, and many travelers are working on smaller budgets.

Day passes “give people exactly what they want” and provide a separate revenue stream for hotels, Berg said.

“Hotels get an additional revenue stream by providing exactly what they already have,” she said.

One such hotel is the Virgin Hotels New York City, in Manhattan’s Koreatown neighborhood. On May 8, the hotel opened its rooftop pool for the second time, with day guests having the option to use the amenities.

Featuring sky blue tiles surrounded by black and white loungers, the pool offers guests views of the Empire State Building and city skyline.

Customers can reserve a lounge chair at the pool or upgrade to a cabana and invite up to four other people. The cabana includes complimentary services and refreshments such as wine and fruit. Billiards Club Day Pass users can also have their own butler, depending on their choices. A day pass to the pool club starts at $130.

“Everyone needs a little escape,” said Sarah Payton, head of partnerships and programs at the hotel.

In May 2023, the hotel partnered with ResortPass, a site that offers one-day access to luxury hotels, resorts and spas, often at a discounted rate.

ResortPass, which launched in 2016, has a 95% share of the dayguest market, according to the company, and has partnered with more than 1,300 luxury hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria, JW Marriott and Fontainebleau.

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The day guest platform served more than 3 million users and introduced access to day tickets in more than 250 cities for prices as low as $25, the company said.

“What we can really do is enable people to have a more local way to escape without going far,” said Michael Wolff, CEO of ResortPass. “I think it complements other types of travel, and perhaps serves in their place.”

The average ResortPass customer purchases all-day access at a cost of about $165, the company said. Customers who buy day passes through ResortPass often spend more at the pool or other hotel amenities than overnight guests do, Wolfe said.

“Our guests spent an average of more than $250 on-premises, and often a little more,” he said.

ResortPass is currently working on a membership-like program for customers who frequently use day passes, and is expected to announce it later in 2024, Wolf said.

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