If you’re in New York or San Francisco on business, you no longer have to book a room by the night or even the hour: a new app lets you pay by the minute for the length of your stay in dozens of luxury hotels.
Using the mobile Recharge app, travellers can reserve time in a hotel room; customers get 30 minutes to get to the hotel and check in before the payment clock starts ticking. All of the participating hotels are 4 or 5 star; rates vary from property to property, and some hotels have minimum-stay requirements.
Most travellers stay in their rooms for two hours, on average, according to Recharge; many are business travellers coming in on red-eye flights who need to catch a few hours of sleep or just need a quiet place to work.
App users can simply hit a “Check Out” button when their stay is completed, but be forewarned: hefty fees apply for those who don’t swiftly vacate their rooms upon checking out.
Recharge launched in San Francisco in 2016 and expanded to 16 New York hotels this month, including the Arlo, Quin, and Pierre hotels, Bloomberg reports. Prices in New York range from $0.83 to $2 per minute, not including the city’s 14.75 per cent lodging tax.
Recharge and similar products like dayuse.com and hotelsbyday.com don’t generally utilize excess room capacity, but rather hours during the day when rooms are unoccupied due to early check-outs or late check-ins. Recharge Labs CEO and founder Manny Bamfo estimates that 35 per cent of rooms are vacant during the day even at hotels that are 100 per cent booked.
The Recharge app is available for iOS and Android devices.