From Plane to Room: Discerning travelers know what they want in airport hotels.
What makes an airport hotel perform? Participants in Business Traveler’s forum sound off with their opinions on what works in a great airport hotel. The commentary covered the globe with remarks on airports from A to Z. Over 45 airports around the globe got mentioned. Popular threaded discussions included attributes of airports and their associated hotels spanning several global cities including: Hong Kong Johannesburg Dubai Vancouver Milan Paris Bangkok Munich Aukland Singapore Los Angeles Copenhagen Abu Dhabi Guangzhou Frankfurt Notably in the past there was often a stigma associated with an airport hotel. Could that negative connotation have changed now that many airports are becoming more of a destination in their own right? Or could it come from the aerotropolis effect as airports become more than launch pads for airplanes, and grow into economic hubs and centers of commerce?
Regardless of the reason, travelers are looking at many factors in choosing their airport hotels.
Proximity: The location was a large factor in choosing to stay at an airport hotel. Several accommodations were noted for having plane-to-room, just through the double glass doors, and even “within customs”as a strong reason to stay near the runway.
Activities: Museums, spas, fitness centers, gardens, cinemas, local breweries, temporary office space, and meeting and even event space for up to 2000 attendees. Take a swim in one the rooftop pools before, lounge with a perfect view of the city while planes take off and land or even indulge in five-star dining. Today’s runway hotels offer a long list of activities – for those just passing through as well as those spending the night.
One business traveler even commented on the amenities and activities for one specific airport hotel,“I could quite happily spend several days between flights there!”
What Travelers Want
One common element that emerged from all of these discussions was the hotel’s proximity. Most travelers – who are very selective when choosing their airport hotels – specified those that were actually on-airport versus those that had a short train or bus ride to their accommodations.
Amenities: Sleep for a few hours or stay a few days – the traditional hotel model does not apply at an airport hotel. The traveler often has the option to book for the length of stay needed rather than by the traditional standard day. Some truly rare and singular ingredients are spicing up some airports and airport hotels; consider such worthy contributions as a Beererie, which offers a menu of over 100 local, regional and imported beers including many micro and craft brews. Even local food trucks add to the epicurean ambience.
In addition to good food and a brew, Business Travelers sound off on amenities that speak to them when staying at one of several
These are just a few of the deciding criteria that can lead to thumbs pointing upward or downward on an airport hotel.
A Pain in the Flight!
The largest turnoff is arriving at an airport with a planned stay only to discover the property is not truly on-airport. There were several exceptions taken as Business Traveler readers debated what dictated the distance for an airport hotel to still be consider on-airport. It appears from the dialogue that a short walk“across the street”is still an acceptable distance for an airport property.
The other consideration was the distance of the airport to the city center. If the airport was a short distance, it made more sense to stay downtown for the local experience of the region or city. Finally, the transportation required drove a significant amount of discussion. There is a decided lack of interest in boarding a train or mass transit to get to an airport hotel.
In a broad sense, there seemed to be an inclination toward, say, a 15-minute walk versus waiting for a bus or train that arrives at the hotel in about the same amount of time. I believe the distaste for properties that require transit is captured in this Business Traveler’s comment;“I personally loathe the so-called airport hotels where you have to wait for a bus – what a pain after a flight!” The entire airport hotel dialogue is best summed up in the philosophy of one Business Traveler reader who looks for an airport hotel that is“just a pair of sliding doors away from the airport and has a great team with excellent business facilities.” BT