I came across an article this morning about a new app that lets you rent hotel rooms by the minute. I’d heard about hotel charging by the hour, but not by the minute. Intrigued? I was too.
Founded in 2015, the company/app is called Recharge, and it was started with business professionals in mind. When you go from meeting to meeting all day, sometimes it would be great to just have a place to freshen up and take a shower or nap and this company gives you just that.
Recharge is just a fledgling company, so the hotels it has partnered with are only in the San Francisco area right now. Properties currently include the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Park Central San Francisco, and Stanford Court.
The ability to pay by minute at the flat fee of 66 cents per minute or $40 per hour gives you flexibility to take a nap, take a shower and prepare your speech while looking in the mirror, hit the hotel gym for a quick workout, make some calls, and well, recharge and take a deep breath before continuing on. There’s no pressure to book in advance as the app shows you what is currently available, and you won’t get kicked out past a certain time.
If you need the room for more than 3 hours ($40×3 = $120), it may make sense at that point just to book a regular night at a hotel if the rate is low enough. However, San Francisco hotels tend to run expensive so even at the 3 hour mark you may find it still a better option to use Recharge. I’d think that most folks would use about 45 minutes on average though, which is just $30. That’s probably enough time for a quick shower and a couple calls.
The Recharge app shows you nearby hotels that you can book, and the process seems just as easy as regular hotel bookings.
After you book via the app you check in at the hotel front desk, head up to the room, and when you are done you check out via the app. For those that might try to take advantage of the system by checking out on their app before actually vacating the room, the company has built in a $250 fine if hotel cleaning staff finds them in the room after they supposedly left.
I downloaded the app, and found it to be easy to navigate in. You need your name, email address and phone number to sign up, and then you can search to see what is available around you. When I searched, both the Park Central San Francisco and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco showed as available, but not the Stanford Court hotel. Fair enough.
Most rooms that Recharge guests don’t need as deep a cleaning as those where guests have spent an entire night, and the hotel doesn’t have to deal with different pricing structures. It also gives them extra money for rooms that would otherwise go unused. Even though Recharge is targeted at business travelers, this could definitely make sense for those traveling on holiday. It’d also be great for layovers.
For an upcoming trip passing through Vancouver BC, my flight arrives around 1am and the connecting one departs around 5:30am (plus there’s customs to go through). The only hotel IN the airport is the Fairmont, but the overnight rate is a steep $300. There’s a day rate of $200, but it is only offered between 8am and 8pm. It would be ideal to use something like Recharge to grab a quick nap and shower for just $120. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll be there in time.
A difficulty on the side of the Recharge is that they’ll need to get individual hotels to agree to work with them rather than the entire chain. That’s time consuming, so while I’d love to see Recharge suddenly be available all over the globe, it isn’t realistic.
There are reports that some Starwood properties are working to implement Recharge, so that is promising. I’m also encouraged to see a Hyatt property as one that Recharge has signed with. Keep in mind that since bookings are made via third-party, I wouldn’t expect to see any loyalty program perks and you don’t stay at the property very long anyhow.
One possible drawback on the side of the guest is that because you don’t book in advance, what happens if you need a room during a busy convention and hotels in the city are all sold out? It is doubtful the hotels would set aside rooms solely for the lower-priced Recharge quick stays.
If you want to give Recharge a try, you can use my referral promo code and get $20 off your first stay.
Here’s a link to Recharge’s app page.
Enter promo code (in the top left hand corner before booking): MELINDA973
If you use my referral code I’ll also get $20 off my next stay after yours is completed. You don’t have to use my referral code, but if you do I appreciate it. I didn’t see any terms & conditions about the promo code so even though it is possible you’d get a free stay if there for just a short period of time, there may be a minimum stay requirement.
Overall, I think Recharge is a great idea and I hope it expands to other cities. Do you see benefit to booking a hotel for a short stop?