7 options I'd consider before booking a work-from-hotel package
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Working remotely from a resort sounds like a dream. Rounds of golf, walks on the beach, frozen drinks by the pool, new Zoom backgrounds and -- oh yeah -- work.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some employees are working from home indefinitely. As a result, numerous hotel brands have unveiled work-from-hotel packages to help fill empty rooms. These packages are all the rage with travelers looking to break out of a stressful work-from-home situation. And they can make it easy to work and play.
But, none of the work-from-hotel packages have compelled me to book. So, today I'll describe how to decide whether a work-from-hotel package is right for you and why I don't expect to book one anytime soon. I'll also describe seven alternate options for working remotely while traveling that are more appealing to me.
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Is a work-from-hotel package right for you?
You have the go-ahead to work remotely. And you've found a hotel with a remote work package. Hyatt currently offers Work from Hyatt packages and several MGM Resorts hotels offer Viva Las Office packages. Plus, many individual hotels and resorts offer remote work packages, including the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island and the Grande Lakes Orlando.
So, should you book a work-from-hotel package?
What makes a work-from-hotel package different from a standard rate varies. It's worth considering how much value the package provides and how much -- if any -- of a surcharge you're paying. For example, if you need silence to work, you may not want to use a shared coworking space. If you have children and the hotel offers schooling help, this may be worth a lot.
If cost is your primary concern, a remote work package may not be for you. After all, you can find lodging with a good workspace in most destinations for less than these packages cost. And, since you'll spend a lot of your time at the hotel or resort working rather than relaxing, it may be hard to justify splurging.
Why I'm not booking a work-from-hotel package
I've looked at many of the work-from-hotel packages and haven't been impressed. By nature, I'm a budget traveler who strives to get good value from my points, miles and cash. And, frankly, most of the packages I've seen cost more than I'm willing to pay and don't provide excellent value.
Sure, many packages include extra perks. But, I'd get perks like early check-in, space-available upgrades and breakfast as an elite member in multiple hotel loyalty programs. And, I could purchase other perks such as massages and pool cabanas as needed.
Of course, part of the reason I'm not booking a work-from-hotel package is that I've lived on the road working remotely for over three years now. I even worked remotely from an all-inclusive resort for a month last summer using Choice Privileges points. So, I know that I don't need a remote work package to work effectively (or frugally) on the road.
Now, stay with me as I share seven alternative possibilities for taking a remote work trip that I'd consider before booking a remote work-from-hotel package.
Book with points
I have plenty of points and miles in my accounts but no trips booked for the rest of 2020. So, it would be tempting to book a workcation with points to conserve cash.
Everything I need to work remotely -- high-speed internet and a comfortable place to work -- is already provided by most hotels. Since I don't need most of the perks included in remote work packages, I'd consider booking an extended award stay at the destination of my choice.
- Marriott Bonvoy: If I redeemed Marriott points for a stay of five nights or longer, I'd get every fifth night free. However, Marriott uses peak, standard and off-peak pricing. So, I'd get the night costing the least points free instead of the actual fifth night.
- Hilton Honors: Silver, Gold, and Diamond members get every fifth night free when redeeming Hilton points for a standard room on stays of five nights or more. Hilton subtracts each fifth night as the average number of points needed per night on your stay. But, it's only possible to get up to four free nights per stay.
- IHG Rewards Club: Cardholders of the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card and IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card get a fourth reward night perk when they redeem IHG points. This benefit makes every fourth night on reward stays of three nights or longer cost zero points.
Maximize hotel promotions
There are also multiple current hotel promotions that I could use instead of booking a work-from-hotel package. For example, I could earn over $360 in points and perks on a $517 all-inclusive stay. Or, If I renewed or enrolled in the InterContinental Ambassador program between July 30, 2020 and Nov. 15, 2020, I could earn a free night certificate worth up to 40,000 IHG points. To earn the free night, I'd only need to stay once with InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent by Jan. 31, 2021.
Plus, Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt and Radisson Rewards all offer bonus points on each stay. And, many properties currently offer inexpensive cash rates. So, I could earn tons of points through promotions without spending a lot.
There are ample options in Mexico to maximize lucrative promotions while staying at upscale hotels. So, I'd likely go to Mexico if I wanted to maximize promotions.
Even if you're not ready to travel internationally yet, there are some excellent options for maximizing promotions in the U.S. For example, you could use Choice Hotels' stay twice, get 8,000 bonus points promotion while staying at surprisingly inexpensive Cambria hotels in many downtown areas, including Denver and Dallas. Or, you settle into a domestic Courtyard by Marriott property and earn 2,000 bonus Marriott points every day of your stay when you book using the 53M promo code.
Negotiate a long-stay deal
Some hotels offer a long-stay discount or quarantine package when booking online. For example, I’ve seen 10-40% discounts for stays of three or more nights. So, I'd check to see what type of long-stay rates are offered online before booking a work-from-hotel package.
At some hotels, it's possible to negotiate a long-stay rate with the hotel manager. Usually, it's easiest to do this in-person after staying with the hotel for a short time. But, I'd make sure to negotiate that my long-stay rate would earn points in the hotel's loyalty program.
Book a vacation rental
Another way to get an excellent long-stay rate is by booking an Airbnb or other vacation rental. For example, many Airbnb rentals offer lower rates for more extended stays. But usually, you'll need to stay at least a week to see these discounts.
Some vacation rentals also offer less expensive monthly rates. It's also possible to negotiate a lower price with Airbnb hosts in some situations. However, doing so can be controversial and may not be well-received by the host. So, I generally avoid negotiating the rate unless I have a compelling reason to do so.
One benefit of booking a vacation rental for your remote work trip is home-like amenities. For example, in a vacation rental, I often enjoy having:
- Multiple large workspaces
- A full kitchen
- Sleeping space that is separate from workspace
- An in-unit washer and dryer
Many extended-stay hotels offer these same perks. But, extra space in a vacation rental can be useful if your partner also works remotely or you have children who are schooling remotely. However, ask the host before booking about the Wi-Fi quality and any Wi-Fi usage caps.
3 outside-the-box options
Since my work and living situation is extremely flexible, I'd also consider a few outside-the-box options. For example, I'd consider a high/low travel strategy where I work during the week and splurge on the weekend. Using this strategy, I could work during the week from a hotel or vacation rental that provides just the basics at a great value. On weekends I could splurge on a resort or luxury hotel for rest and relaxation. A bonus of this strategy is that I could maximize multiple hotel promotions.
Another option is to rent an RV and travel domestically. I've done a few RV relocations for $1 a day, including one RV rental during the pandemic. RVing is a great way to road trip in the U.S. while maintaining safe distancing from others. After renting an RV, I actually decided to buy an RV to use as my mobile work and quarantine space during the pandemic. And, I'm far from the only traveler who has purchased an RV during the pandemic to keep traveling.
One final option I considered was temporarily moving to a country that would let me work remotely abroad. Although this is an appealing option, moving abroad is a big commitment. And, some remote work visas are difficult or expensive to obtain. So, although I decided not to move abroad during the pandemic, it might be a feasible option for you.
Work-from-hotel packages are certainly popular now. And, booking a work-from-hotel package may be the right choice for you. But, I'd consider other options first.
After all, I've had success working from various lodging types in my last three years as a digital nomad. And, there are plenty of current hotel promotions and inexpensive rates that are more appealing to me. Plus, some of the alternate options described in this guide would provide me more value or a better experience.
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