< PrevNext > 9. Extended Stay Is Here to Stay By Donna M. Airoldi / January 25, 2021 / Contact Reporter Share Last year, extended-stay brands, particularly the economy and midscale segments, saw less dramatic declines in revenue per available room and occupancy than most traditional hotel brands. That trend will continue in 2021, even as vaccines are more widely distributed and more business travelers return to the road. Several surveys and reports—as well as anecdotal conversations with travel managers and experts—suggest more guests will want rooms with kitchens so they can control their food supply (and a lot of traditional hotels still have not fully reopened their restaurants). They will want more space for social distancing and for working from their rooms. And they will want less interaction with staff, from check-in to housecleaning to check-out. Extended-stay properties provide that. Companies also will be more cost-conscious when it comes to travel—not that they weren't before the pandemic, but price will be an even bigger concern, especially after seeing how productive employees could be working from home and conducting virtual meetings.Further, there will be increased demand for longer stays from business travelers, at least for this year and possibly into 2022. Many of the current extended-stay guests are from the health care, construction and supply chain and logistics verticals, booking weekly or monthly stays, and that mix likely will continue this year. The average length of stay for guests staying seven nights or longer had increased year-to-date through September 2020 for both extended-stay and traditional hotels, according to a report from The Highland Group and Kalibri Labs. Traditional hotels saw the ALOS go from 12.8 to 15 nights, while extended-stay hotels saw an increase from 22.8 to 24.7 nights.Deciding if a trip is necessary won't be taken lightly, and when it is approved, the traveler won't be hopping in for a day then hopping out. They'll need to make the most of their travel commitment, and that could mean seeing more customers over several days and allotting more time between meetings, or getting internal teams together for longer periods to rebuild those relationships and take advantage of time together to brainstorm after being separated for most of 2020. I can hear the apartment-style lodging suppliers like Airbnb for Work, Sonder, Mint House and myriad others saying that what an extended-stay property offers is exactly what they provide, only with even fewer touchpoints and better amenities. That may be true—and extended-stay guests may have helped some of those companies during the pandemic. But there also is the risk of the unknown with those options. Who is the owner or manager? Do they have any control over the regular residents in their buildings when it comes to mask wearing or social distancing? Will they remain in business? The pandemic already has felled Stay Alfred, Lyric and a few others. BTN also found in a recent survey that while 6 percent of travel buyers consider Airbnb and alternative accommodations more important than before the pandemic, 10 percent said they were less important. That's a net loss. Still, they have their appeal, and perhaps 2022 will be the year these lodging options gain more of a foothold in corporate programs.In the meantime, major hotel companies will keep their eye on extended stay. In 2020, Extended Stay America added seven properties in November, Red Lion Hotels transitioned its GuestHouse International brand to extended stay in October, new company StayAPT Suites launched last January and opened its first property in October, and Choice Hotels launched a midscale extended-stay brand, Everhome Suites, last January.Don't anticipate any new extended-stay brand launches in 2021, but new-build deals signed this year could favor extended-stay properties.