Basic economy, hotel edition: This luxury hotel wants you to pay up to access the pool and gym

Dec 19, 2020

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Prior to the pandemic, “unbundling” was one of the biggest buzz words in the airline industry.

Unbundled fares typically just include a seat and little else, with each optional amenity (seat selection, checked bag, etc.) an additional cost a passenger can choose. Ultra-low-cost-carriers such as Ryanair have always unbundled fares but in recent years, major airlines followed suit with basic economy. Even some business class products are now going the way of unbundling.

Now, imagine something similar — but for hotels. As first reported by Milelion, this Andaz in Singapore seems to be repurposing the unbundling scheme for the hotel world.

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The ‘room only’ rate

The Andaz Singapore is a luxury, five-star property near Singapore’s famous Marina Bay at the intersection of the city’s Kampong Glam, Little India and Bras Basah Bugis districts.

Amenities include a 25th-story rooftop pool with sweeping views and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. During the pandemic to ensure appropriate social distancing, both are open but require reservations (for the pool) and a special access keycard (for the gym).

However, both of those amenities are off-limits if you book the lowest “room only” rate in December through Klook, a popular Hong Kong-based online travel and activities agency.

Andaz Singapore room (Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)

Yes, that means you can stay in the room — but won’t have access to the hotel’s prominent public spaces including the gym and pool.

Here’s the exact verbage from Klook about what’s included in this unbundled room:

Room Only Package: Kindly note that this package is only entitled to a 1-Night Stay in a King Bed / Twin Bed Room with in-room minibar, once per stay and all day refreshments at Sunroom on Level 25. This package does not include Breakfast, Swimming Pool Access and Gym Access

The rate further states that the gym and pool are already fully reserved for the month of December, hence the restrictions. However, as Milelion notes, this isn’t the case as bookings for both amenities are still available as of this writing.

This is the first instance I have seen of a room rate at a full service, premium hotel that didn’t include specific on-property amenities that you’d typically be eligible for.

Does this signal anything about the future of hotel pricing?

With just one example to note, probably not. But this shows the possibility that properties may pilot similar pricing schemes to maximise revenue at a time when travel demand is low.

In this instance, the gym and pool have little added cost to a hotel for an additional guest. But if implemented correctly, hotels can incentivise a potential guest to “upgrade” to a rate that does include those amenities, for example.

After all, that’s how basic economy has been marketed by airlines thus far. Carriers don’t necessarily want you to be booking basic economy — what they want is for you to pay more for the privilege of a standard economy ticket.

That’s why you see messages that are so clearly skewed to upgrading during the booking process, such as this below:

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Bottom line

The Andaz Singapore seems to be testing a “room-only” rate through a third-party channel. While we don’t know the future of hotel pricing, in the current environment of limited travel, I wouldn’t be surprised to see other creative solutions to spur more bookings.

We reached out to Hyatt for comment and will update this story should we get more information. 

Featured photo courtesy of Andaz. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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