Book a hotel by the minute

By |April 24th, 2017|@MagazineOnline, Destinations, Hotel, Los Angeles, New York, Region - North America, Travel Technology|Comments Off on Book a hotel by the minute

A hotel room can be the ultimate reprieve for weary travelers.

In the past, road warriors, tourists and even locals would have to book at least a one-night stay to benefit from the privacy and comfort of a hotel. Not anymore.

The Recharge app allows users to book luxury hotel rooms by the minute.

The service launched in San Francisco during 2015 and expands to New York on Monday, according to Bloomberg. As many as 16 New York hotels will be available on the Recharge app this spring, with prices ranging from $0.83 to $2 per minute plus a 14.75 percent lodging tax.

Participating hotels include the Arlo SoHo, The Pierre and The Quin, among others.

Whether staying for 20 minutes or two hours, guests will have full access to the room. They can take a nap in the bed, refresh with a shower or take advantage of the Wi-Fi to catch up on work.

The app is free to download and available on iPhone and Android devices.

Once installed, users can seek out the nearest hotel and book their stay. The billing cycle will begin either 30 minutes after they’ve booked or once they receive their key depending on which comes first. Users will click the “check out” option when they’re done and be billed for the exact number of minutes they used the room.

Recharge is similar to Paris-based startup in that it provides travelers with a more suitable stay at a better rate while allowing hotels to make money off rooms that are typically left empty during the day. However, Recharge users have more control over the start, end and duration of their stay.

“Imagine if you could only park your car for 24 hours, and that was just the only option,” Recharge Labs founder and CEO Manny Bamfo told Bloomberg. “All we’ve done is put a parking meter on some of the greatest hotels in the world and allowed travelers to decide on their clock when to come in and come out.”

According to Bloomberg, Recharge properties in San Francisco are pulling in six-figure profits annually via the by-the-minute service. Hotels don’t need to rely on unsold inventory either since more than one-third of rooms are usually unoccupied during the day.

So far, Recharge has proven to be a hit among long-distance commuters, redeye air travelers and families, including nursing mothers. Users are also returning to the app, with 75 percent becoming repeat customers.

It’s unclear where Recharge will pop up next. Bamfo hinted at the possibility of expansion into major cities like Chicago and Los Angeles but told Bloomberg the company will seek out demand and geographic diversity, as well as analyze customer feedback and requests before rolling out elsewhere.