Why Are Airport Lounges Open But Hotel Club Lounges Closed?

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The coronavirus pandemic has been going on for a over a year and has impacted life as we know, especially in the travel industry. We’re finally starting to see travel pick-up especially on the domestic front.

As a result, most airport club lounges have been reopened for months or are reopening, however the same can’t be said about hotel club lounges.

On the airline club front, we’ve seen most Delta Sky Clubs, United Clubs, American Admirals Clubs, and all American Express Centurion Lounges fully reopen. However, when it comes to most hotel club lounges especially domestically, most lounges still remain closed.

Having traveled and based on reports, most hotel club lounges domestically are still closed. We’re talking about Westin Club Lounges, Marriott M Clubs, Hyatt Regency Lounges etc. These all are closed.

The one exception is on the luxury end when it comes to club lounges, it does appear that some Ritz-Carlton club lounges have opened, where elites don’t receive complimentary access.

Even in leisure markets where hotel occupancy rates are higher in 2021 than 2019, we still see club lounges closed. Take for instance the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, per the hotel site, the Grand Club lounge is “Unavailable until further notice”, despite Tampa being one of the better markets that has recovered from the pandemic.

If travel is truly picking up, especially domestically, is it too much to ask that hotels re-open hotel club lounges for elite members? We’re seeing some offer breakfast but many aren’t doing anything right now it terms of elite benefits.

Based on the current trends, unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’re going to see most hotel club lounges open until 2022, once business travel start returning though hopefully some will open sooner.

What are your thoughts on hotel club lounges still primarily closed domestically? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. Discussions with several properties suggest they’re unlikely to open their lounges until next year, though some are targeting September. It’s driven by few business travelers right now (and general lower occupancy at city properties). The Marriott Uptown Dallas M Club has been open since at least March, so it’s not universal.

  2. Airport lounges generate revenue to some extent (e.g., via premium services, guest sales, or reimbursement from priority pass where applicable), whereas hotel lounges are purely expenses for the hotel. Additionally, the airport spaces are leased, so they have to pay for the cost of the space whether it’s in use or not. Also, since hotel occupancy is generally down (and was even worse last year), chains seem to be helping their affiliates recoup lost revenue by lowering their overhead costs. I suspect this will not last much longer, and whichever chain decides to return to full brand standards first (local requirements notwithstanding) will have a leg up with customers.

  3. Jaime was spot on with hotels vs airport lounges. The hotel operators are slowly providing more services but its the bottom line with many of them if they can get away with not opening sooner than later they will. And also remember it forces guest to eat at the hotel restaurants grossly overpriced.

    This writer thinks this is a harbinger of things to come.

  4. It’s ok the hotel will be offering a grab-and-go breakfast-to-go bag with an off-brand granola bar, off-brand muffin, and an apple.

    Obviously, airport lounges are revenue generators and hotel lounges are not.

  5. Just an excuse to cut a cost. Sick of businesses that blame the plandemic while using it to offer less.

  6. I was at a Hilton in Greenville, SC last week. They said the lounge was permanently closed. I was on the exec lounge floor. They rented it out for a pre-wedding party for four hours one evening. I guess we know what monetizing means.

  7. Unfortunately hotels are far less about guest experience, amenities, and service than pre-covid. As a Hyatt Globalist I see “status” as virtually useless. I will not remain loyal to businesses that give little but lip service to their customers. In many ways I now respect Hilton more than the rest. At least they are straight in saying it is primarily about cost cutting to enhance their bottom line.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with Louis’s comment above. I’m too a Globalist member with Hyatt, but what the hell am I’m getting? A few extra points….big deal! If Hyatt, and I’m a Lifetime Titanium Member with Marriott, and Marriott don’t value their MOST loyal business customers…why should I keep knocking myself out , especially at Hyatt if all they’re viewing is cost cutting. I can EASILY cost cut too .

  9. So while I cannot tell somebody else how to run their business. I can complain about the Executive Lounge being temporarily closed for going on two years!
    I also can choose another brand that does have the Lounge open!

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