As the hospitality industry has struggled to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic, one brand has actually body-surfed the lockdowns and zoom-shifts of business travel and has emerged post pandemic to expand its offerings.
Extended Stay America has added 25 new or repurposed suites and branded them as a new “Premier” offering, designed to give users more comforts and added value. The company is also rebranding its name from Extended Stay America to Extended Stay America Suites to better communicate the current product offering, although the “premier” extended stay suites will currently be limited to the initial 25 new or renovated properties, only one part of the company’s over 650 current locations.
Bruce Haase, Extended Stay’s President and CEO says that while major hotels have closed or have been threatened with closure, “We actually have survived the pandemic quite well. We did not close one property.”
Haase says the upgraded locations, all of which are currently online and fully bookable, could be compared to shifting from economy to premium economy on an airline like Delta. It is not pricey luxury, but you will get added room, amenities and other creature comforts that make the investment worth the price.
The Premier Suites feature newly built or renovated guest rooms with upgraded design elements, signature bedding for more comfort, a free health-centered breakfast bar and bigger flat screen TVs. The Premier suites are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
Haase says that one reason for Extended Stay’s robust pandemic thrive is the fact that “our business travelers are people who need to be on site for what they do. We get a combination of blue collar and white-collar employees. We call them ‘grey’ collar workers: often in construction or government. They have to be where the work is, and Zoom is not a solution.”
Haase says that in addition to the business travel component of their base customer, an added leisure element also arose. “Families traveling together on road trips who wanted to stay safe and self-isolated were one,” he says. “Another was the business traveler who saw the added amenities of a five-star property being stripped away due to Covid. That traveler would find a safe, self-sufficient suite at a fraction of the cost. It remains to be seen if we’ll keep attracting that element.”
The Premier Suite location in Arizona, for instance, is the Extended Premier Suites-Phoenix-Chandler-Downtown. The hotel is close to the Chandler Fashion Center mall and spring training facilities. It is also a minutes-long drive from Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale. The hotel has an on-site laundry, fitness center, and pet-friendly rooms along with signature bedding, fully functional kitchens, free healthy breakfasts, and free wi-fi.
The newly renovated Extended Stay America Premier Suites-Providence-East Provide is cheek-by-jowl to the Rhode Island Museum of Art, Roger Williams Park and the Providence Performing Arts Center, as well as Providence’s plethora of great downtown restaurants and one of the nations’ first shopping malls, the Greek Revival Providence Arcade.
For families, the Extended Stay East Providence also makes a great jumping off place at value prices for a holiday that can include day trips to one of America’s last “best” places: Block Island, accessible from Providence by the Block Island Ferry.