Old-school motels, especially many along Route 66, might be finding newfound popularity because there is less risk in contracting COVID-19 versus modern hotels.
Yahoo! Finance reports in a new article:
“In outdoor corridors, people feel safe,” said Mike Riverside of the Asian American Hotel Owners Assn. “People can go directly to their rooms” and potentially reduce exposure to the coronavirus.
Outdoor-facing, low-rise motels and hotels also stand to benefit from being typically reached by car, unlike big resorts and urban hotels that rely on air travel to deliver most guests. With many still apprehensive about flying, drive-to destinations are widely expected to be the first beneficiaries of the gradual return of pleasure jaunts away from home.
“There is pent-up demand for leisure travel and nobody is too excited to share an elevator,” said Patrick Scholes, an analyst who follows the lodging and leisure industries for investment bank SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. “For the moment, it definitely does give you an advantage” to have outdoor corridors in your hotel.
Motor courts, then motels, sprang up starting in the 1930s through the 1960s. Hotels started to become preferred by many travelers because they were considered safer because of their inner hallways and lobbies.
Now, those shared hallways and elevators in hotels suddenly are less desirable because coronavirus can linger in the air for nearly 15 minutes after it’s expelled by an infected person.
Brian Ahir, who owns 10 indoor and outdoor lodging establishments in California, said his outdoor properties are doing better because of that potential lack of COVID-19 exposure and less expensive cost, in general.
Hotel architect Michael Strohmer said the pandemic is causing him and other designers to rethink lodging. He said travelers also may have shifted their priorities permanently.
“People may be reluctant to get packed into airports and planes,” he said. “You’re starting to see the value of road travel again and the nostalgia of a simpler life in the past. Going back to Route 66 and driving to Arizona as a family vacation rather than flying to Hawaii might be more interesting to some people.”
If you’re looking for COVID-safer motels along Route 66, our Lodging page provides a good listing of many.
(Image of the 1930s-era Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri, by Jim Grey via Flickr)