Hotels aren’t just for nightly stays

LOS ANGELES—Sometimes, the best parts of a property are its amenities, whether it’s a pool, spa, fitness center or even on-site activities, which can give it resort-type appeal. Now, guests don’t have to stay overnight at a hotel to experience all that it has to offer.

DayAxe provides day passes for hotels, offering a way for guests to freely use amenities and for properties to earn incremental revenue.

Tatiana Maskaron, founder of DayAxe, explained that getting hotels to catch on to the new format was challenging at first, but soon, owners understood its value.

“The early days were difficult; hotels were skeptical of the idea and no one wanted to go first,” Maskaron said. “I personally did more than 100 meetings here, in Los Angeles. Everybody took a meeting, wanted to see what it is and how it works, but nobody wanted to be first. A few progressive general managers finally took the plunge and once it was live, other hotels could see the concept in action and came in droves. Today, we have hotels lining up to sign up for our platform and earn extra revenues from their property.”

DayAxe currently operates in eight U.S. markets—Los Angeles; Miami; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Orange County, CA; San Diego; Palm Springs, FL; Napa, CA; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, AZ, in more than 50 hotels.

Founded in L.A. in 2017, DayAxe began with demand tests to see if customers would be interested, which brands they wanted and at what price point.

“We approached all major hotel ownership groups—Host Hotels & Resorts, DiamondRock, Pebblebrook, Ashford, Sunstone, MSD Capital and many others—to help us get approval on the program. Owners got super excited for their hotels to earn incremental revenue. We onboarded brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont and InterContinental, which were looking to see how the program will earn incremental revenue without diluting the overnight guest experience,” Maskaron said.

The idea for DayAxe was born out of the founder’s own amenity-seeking experiences, admitting to crashing pools in the past. “It was very embarrassing. That did not stop us, of course. Now that we have families and kids, we can’t sneak in anymore. I was looking for a way to be able to get into nearby hotels without having to worry about getting kicked out,” she said.

From a guest perspective, she identified a strong need, but one of the first major concerns from properties was the fear of this being public access. Maskaron met this with registering guests and requesting that they keep a credit card on file, along with controlling how many daily passes are offered and blacking out dates during peak times.

“Right now, the market for day access to hotels is nascent, but more and more hotels are seeing it as a new and viable way to generate incremental revenue. We are working on new solutions to onboard hotels en masse so that we do not have to suppress the supply,” Maskaron said.

For the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, CA, DayAxe—which the property has used for two years—met a frequent demand.

“DayAxe provided a solution to an often-posed question, namely, how can the locals who support our restaurants have the opportunity to enjoy our pool?” said Matthew Lehman, GM of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. “We had requests to use the pool previously, but I was surprised at the number of guests who have made use of the spa and fitness facilities.”

According to Maskaron, the ability to monetize all underutilized amenities of a luxury property from a broader base, not just overnight guests, is where hotels are seeing revenue come in, especially from locals.

Properties can target customers resembling their overnight guests within nearby communities, which also helps promote the brand and hotel events. Revenue also comes from F&B outlets, which day-pass users also have access to during their time at the property.

“In the age of Airbnb and new hospitality technologies, it’s increasingly important to find new ways to monetize a property in innovative ways, to appeal to new and broader customer audiences and to build a more positive local awareness,” Maskaron said.

Guests have two options with DayAxe: They can purchase a general pass a la carte or subscribe to a membership program that allows them to access a number of hotels per month, depending on the price tier they select.

DayAxe charges hotels a percentage of sales on a revenue-share basis. Anything that guests spend on property is free of commissions.

“DayAxe makes sense for any property looking to generate more revenue from its amenities, particularly its pool experience,” said Brian De Lowe, president/co-founder of The Kor Group and Proper Hospitality. “Most properties have downtime, weekdays for some, weekends for others. DayAxe offers a plug-and-play platform to enable us to not only monetize amenities and F&B during off-peak times, but also control the experience and pricing.”

Maskaron said that the customer base is skewed toward women ages 25-45, with approximately 70% of local customers who live in or around a property’s neighborhood, the rest being other kinds of travelers (those on their last day of vacation, red-eye flight travelers or those with a long layover).

“Hotels with event programming sell the best,” Maskaron said. “Guests come to hotels for amenities and entertainment, whether it’s a pool party or DJ spinning poolside, or a live band on Wednesday afternoon. We see locals going to a hotel to get a quick workout and to unwind poolside after work or on weekends. Families rent cabanas to host a special occasion or just to spend quality time together.”

Maskaron said DayAxe is looking to expand into areas that are warm in the winter, like Miami or Phoenix, to help service demand and overcome the seasonality hurdle. Ownership is optimistic that services like DayAxe will continue to find ways like this to bring in revenue.

“The industry is thirsty for innovation and becoming more savvy about driving revenue and profitability,” De Lowe said. “Companies like DayAxe, which can deliver innovative services that generate growth, should continue to grow and prosper.” HB

To see content in magazine format, click here.