Many professionals, whether they like it or not, are now having to learn about working remotely and all the distractions that can come with doing their jobs from home, be it their dogs barking, their kids playing loudly, or simply that the relaxing atmosphere of home just isn’t conducive to having a productive day of work.
Recognizing that demand for a quiet place to work has risen as remote working has abruptly been thrust upon local residents due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many hotels in Goleta are using their ample vacancies to address that demand by offering day rates.
Though some hotels have been offering their suites at day rates for a few weeks now, the joint effort was announced Tuesday in a press release from the Goleta Chamber of Commerce and includes hotels such as the Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, and Pacifica Suites. According to Ramada by Wyndham Director of Sales and Marketing Drew Wakefield, the Ramada was the hotel that initiated this idea, which he credited to its General Manager Tom Patton. With a flat rate of $75 per day plus tax, the Ramada’s day use hours normally run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. However, Mr. Wakefield said this window can be stretched according to what customers need for their work, be it longer hours or weekend days.
“We set them for 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. but we are flexible to assist anyone working. We are here for them,” he said.
Helping local businesses through this difficult time was the main impetus for offering day rates, but it is also a way to keep the hotel in business by utilizing the many vacancies it has had since COVID-19 caused the tourism industry to dry up. While local professionals can spend the day working at the Ramada for a flat fee, first responders and medical workers who have been inundated with work from the health crisis and worked double shifts as a result can stay overnight for a discounted price. Assisting local businesses that have been forced to shift to remote working is the top priority, but Mr. Wakefield explained that keeping the Ramada in business is also important because it offers those battling the coronavirus crisis on the front lines a place to stay.
“We have to do something to keep our employees employed and be here for all our clients,” Mr. Wakefield said.
Though only certain people are using the hotel’s suites to stay overnight, the Ramada is giving each room a thorough cleaning no matter how it was used. Even if a customer didn’t lie on the bed at any point while using the room for his or her workday, the Ramada’s staff treats the room as if the one-day renter was a regular overnight guest.
“Our cleaning crew goes in and does everything as if someone stayed in the room. Everything is cleaned, everything sanitized, everything is vacuumed,” he said.
Other hotels offering day rates have similarly heightened their cleaning protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic and are making no distinction between day use and overnight stays. Best Western Plus South Coast Inn, offering a $75 plus tax day rate between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., has increased sanitation procedures in “high-touch areas on the whole property,” according to Assistant General Manager Nicole Weland. Like the Ramada, Best Western Plus South Coast Inn adopted the idea of offering day rates to help both the community and its business.
“There are so many industries affected by COVID-19 and California’s shelter-in-home, and we wanted to come up with something that would be mutually beneficial,” she said.
Located near Goleta’s high-tech area, the Hilton Garden Inn is partnered with some of the city’s local corporations and chose to help out its partners’ employees after some of them reported having trouble with Wi-Fi connectivity when attempting to work remotely. To fill this need, the hotel is offering its boardroom-like meeting spaces with public bathrooms for a day rate of $50 plus tax, and its private rooms with private bathrooms for $80 a day plus tax. Because these offers meet the specific needs of Goleta companies and simultaneously give the hotel some business at a time it has few guests, Hilton Garden Inn Director of Sales Patricia Kimball called them a “win-win” and emblematic of “a partnership.”
“We rely on each other heavily in our community,” she said.
Hampton Inn is offering not only a daily rate of $65 for the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., but a half day rate of $45 for five hours anytime within that time window. There is also one boardroom available for a full day use price of $50. Still hosting overnight guests, Hampton Inn is taking advantage of its abundant availability by offering what the hotel’s General Manager Christine Heinrich called the “good-neighbor rate,” a half-off discount of the Hampton Inn’s regular rate of slightly more or under $200. Ms. Heinrich told the News-Press she hopes the good-neighbor rate will meet the needs of anybody who lives with other people and is looking to maintain distance during the health crisis.
“Our primary motivation is to help people out,” Ms. Heinrich said. “Especially if people have loved ones who are high risk, and then they have that option of separation.”
According to the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, other day rates offered at Goleta hotels include $75 plus taxes for between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at Pacifica Suites, and $149 for between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Rooms at The Goodland Hotel can be booked for day use on www.dayuse.com.