One of the defining qualities of a good negotiator is the ability to manufacture unusual tradeable variables apparently out of thin air. An example of this is how time is used as a variable. Most people would agree that a day comprises 24 hours. But management consultants know that a day in terms of charging fees is more likely to be 7 hours, so clients who need more than 7 hours find themselves paying for more than a day. Car rental companies define a day as any period up to 24 hours, so clients who want less than that still have to pay for the full 24 hours. So a ‘usual’ day becomes subverted into an ‘unusual’ day with a little creative thinking
Most hotels define a day, or to be more accurate a night, as 19 or 20 hours (check in at 15.00, vacate the room by 10.00 or 11.00). Now a new website Dayuse.com enables hotels to take advantage of the opportunity of renting rooms for a shorter period during the day, when they are mainly unoccupied anyway.
International travellers may have experienced this concept already. A number of on-airport hotels operate a similar scheme for the convenience of transit passengers who fly in to an airport in the morning but don’t depart on their next flight until much later the same day. But Dayuse.com are opening the opportunity to city centre hotels to earn revenue in the same way.
So who would use a hotel bedroom only during the day? I don’t think you need to ask! The French have long been aware of this opportunity for a couple of hours in the afternoon, indeed one expression they use for having an affair is ‘cinq à sept’* because in the time window from 5.00pm to 7.00pm it is easy to disappear. Whatever you actually are doing, you could be shopping, or stuck on the Périphérique or the Metro, or picking up the kids, or be any number of places which put you out of sight for a couple of hours with a perfectly plausible excuse if you need one.
Dayuse.com say that only 20% of their bookings are from airport transit passengers; the rest are ‘business’ or ‘leisure’ users. The price of a day-use hotel room is typically half of the nightly rate or even less, which makes expensive 5* hotels affordable for users, and gives the hotels additional income, not only for the room but for the room service (champagne, roses) which might also be ordered - everyone wins.
So next time you struggle for a way to use a time variable creatively think of cinq à sept.