More tourists choosing apartments over hotel rooms


Smith Travel Research, a firm that tracks travel trends, recently reported that although annual hotel room occupancy fell 1.5% industry-wide through November 2008, for extended stay hotels, occupancy rose by 3.5%.

Sure enough, press releases from the apartment hotel companies keep crossing my desk, claiming their niche of the travel market isn't doing as badly as the other ones. The luxury extended stay brand AKA bragged about a 30% leap in revenue in January compared to a year before. I've even been seeing word spreading in newspapers as far away as Indonesia.

The trend makes sense to me. Contrary to their name, not all extended stay hotels require extended stays. Some will let you hang out for just a few days, and most of them cost about the same as a four-star hotel room does -- and often less. They're usually bigger than standard hotel rooms, which enable you to fit more people if you're not alone. And since they come with a kitchen and often laundry facilities, they allow tourists to settle in and experience destinations a lot better than if they had to rely on high-priced hotel laundry services and restaurants. In addition to enriching a travel experience, that saves money.

Originally published