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Thursday, August 20, 2020

With corporate headquarters still closed, 'work from hotel' becomes Florida's next hot remote-office concept

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2020 at 6:16 PM

click to enlarge The Grande Lakes Orlando resort's expansive pool area - IMAGE VIA GRANDE LAKES ORLANDO
  • Image via Grande Lakes Orlando
  • The Grande Lakes Orlando resort's expansive pool area
As weeks turn into months, the reality of being stuck at home while working and juggling family responsibilities is becoming exhausting to many. At the same time, hotels nationwide are facing a slowdown thanks to fewer people traveling. Now a new trend is emerging, called "work from hotel," and Orlando looks to be at the forefront.

Grande Lakes Orlando, home to the region’s first JW Marriott and an ultra-luxurious Ritz Carlton, is offering three different packages designed for families to get away even while the duties of work remain.

All three packages include complimentary self-parking and other amenities. Two of the three packages include connecting guestrooms, with one being able to be used as a makeshift office if needed. But poolside cabanas, with Wi-Fi, can also be reserved as remote offices.

The new “Work From Resort” program adds a new level of offerings to the already impressive resort. A Business Butler will be on-call to help ensure Wi-Fi, printing, and other business duties can be taken care of. Multiple Zoom friendly spaces have been identified around the resort to ensure video calls go off with a hitch, no cheesy digital background needed. For those participating in the Work from Resort program, check-out times have been adjusting to an office-friendly 5 PM. Personalized childcare options and evening family-focused entertainment are also offered to ensure that the entire family enjoys the working vacation.

Grande Lakes Orlando Area General Manager, Jon McGavin, explained why the resort’s size allows for families to vacation together yet still provide quiet workspace for those requiring it. “Our Work from Resort program enables families to take a break from their daily routine and build memories together despite working schedules. Grande Lakes Orlando offers a tranquil setting on 500 acres with three pools, golf, spa an array of outdoor activities for all ages.”
  • Image via Grande Lakes Orlando
Grande Lakes isn’t the only resort embracing the Work From Hotel trend. The London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills has begun renting rooms, now updated with office furniture instead of beds, on a monthly and annual basis. In Charlotte, North Carolina, the ultra-luxurious Ballantyne Hotel has converted meeting spaces into office suites that can be rented on a weekly, or longer, basis. In D.C., the Hamilton Hotel is offering daytime rates with guests checking at 9 AM and out in the early evening.

Disney World may be the ultimate example of the trend with the entire NBA now holed up in a handful of on-site resorts.

Even entire countries are embracing the remote work lifestyle with Bermuda now offering a one-year 'Work from Bermuda' certificate that allows non-Bermudians to make the island nation their home office until next summer.

Earlier this month, MGM Resorts launched the ‘Work From Vegas’ campaign, targeted toward West Coast and Texas workers. The new initiative came after the company reported $1 billion in losses last quarter.

It’s too early to tell if the Work From Hotel trend will be enough to offset the significant dip in travel that has impacted hotels. Still, it is indicative of the broadening understanding of what a hotel is.

In recent years, more hotels have begun recognizing locals as an important demographic to appeal to. During the Great Recession, cheaper ‘staycations’ were popular (and seem to be rising in popularity once again), and in recent years many hotels have begun using their public spaces as actual public areas that welcome a wider swath of guests than just those who are staying overnight. Marriott partnered with famed Studio 54 co-founder Ian Schrager when developing their EDITION flag of hotels to ensure public areas are vibrant community spaces. Schrager was an early advocate of viewing hotels as something more than just a place to stay overnight, creating must-see venues within his Public hotels.

Back in Orlando, the Grande Lakes Resort recognizes that the entire reason for this trend is the ongoing pandemic. As such, they’re offering expanded al fresco, cabana, and in-room dining options. With the acknowledgment that Orlando is a family-focused destination, offerings include plenty of family-friendly events, such as monthly competitions that have giveaways including complimentary future stays at the resort.

More information on Grande Lakes Resort’s Work From Resort promotions is available on their website.

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