As airlines continue to unbundle their airfares, it’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago, we thought a no-frills airline was one that just served snacks and didn’t pre-assign seats.
Now, hotels are increasingly emulating the “pay for everything” model.
EasyHotels, from the same company that brought you easyJet, has a number of hotels (at time of writing, 12) mostly in Europe, that offer tiny rooms with showers. And no frills — maid service, for example, costs extra.
Now an Asian budget hotel chain, Tune Hotels, is opening their first European hotel in London, and they are making easyHotels look all-inclusive. Booking a room at the new Tune hotel, which will open in August by Waterloo station will include a bed and a small shower room. Period.
For starters, Internet access, air conditioning, hair dryers, toiletries and towels will be extra. Rooms will start at 9 square meters. Yes, that’s a little bigger than the pod/capsule hotes such as Yotel. But barely. (Yotel standard capsules are 7 square meters.)
On the other hand, Tune Hotels does promise on their site “beds feature high quality spring mattress beds with pillows, pillowcases, bed sheets and 250-thread count duvets, custom-made for our requirements by bedmakers who supply 5-star hotels — the basis of our promise for a 5-star sleeping experience!”
While rates have not been set, the basic rates in Asia have started as low as about $5. Clearly for budget travelers, this is an idea worth watching.
Of course, if Tune hotels are successful in Europe, where do they expand to next and what new extras can they concoct? Extra charges for sheets and duvets or blankets? Extra charges for turning on and off the lights? Extra charges for an actual bed in the room as opposed to say, floor space or a sleeping bag?
These might seem tongue in cheek, but years ago could we imagine airlines charging for seat assignments, carry-on bags and even peanuts?