When Kathryn Valdes travels somewhere for more than a week, she skips a hotel and rents an apartment or vacation rental instead.
“An apartment has a kitchen and a sitting area to gather,” says Valdes, a retired program manager from Mahomet, Illinois. “A hotel has no private area to relax with others.”
Another must-have amenity: a kitchen. Valdes loves to visit farmers markets while she’s on vacation and prepare her own meals. Most hotel rooms don’t have kitchens.
With the summer travel season just ahead, there’s good news for travelers like Valdes. Hotels, in an effort to keep long-term guests who want a more home-like experience, are adding amenities that may make Valdes and others rethink their plans to stay in an apartment.
There have always been extended-stay hotels, of course. But the segment is expanding. It grew to 123 million room nights in 2017 from 107 million room nights in 2015, according to research by the Highland Group, a hotel consulting firm. That’s about three times the pace of the overall hotel industry’s growth. Last year, Highland reported that extended-stay hotel occupancy reached one of its highest second-quarter levels in 17 years.
“Extended-stay hotels are the fastest growing industry segment in the United States,” says Mark Skinner, a partner at Highland Group.
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