As last year’s Covid-19 circuit breaker restrictions eased, marketing and branding expert Martha Waslen had a stroke of genius. What if there was a way to offer travel-starved people the opportunity to book luxe daytime hotel experiences such as high tea in a suite, at a time when hotels were under utilised due to travel restrictions?
This led to the creation of DayAway, an online platform to browse and book curated daytime packages. Through the process, she discovered that the hotel industry had in fact been trying to diversify its revenue streams for nearly a decade, but lacked the technology and inventory management as well as efficient marketing channels, making her platform a timely innovation. DayAway has since launched in Hong Kong and Thailand and is on track to closing its Series A funding this December.
What do guests enjoy about spending a day at a hotel compared to a staycation?
What’s not to love about spending the day or even just an afternoon in the beautiful surroundings of your favourite hotel? Our guests enjoy a wide range of experiences, from a relaxing spa and pool time package to relax and recharge in solitude to cocktail classes and cabana bookings to connect with friends and loved ones. We also have a healthy business of corporate guests using our platform to book team-building activities, meetings with clients and executive offsites. Having access to hotel facilities without the commitment, planning and hassle of an overnight stay is a game changer for our guests.
At what point did you realise DayAway’s concept could thrive beyond the pandemic?
Since our launch in May, we have secured over 1,500 bookings and generated $500,000 for our hotel partners — and that was just the pilot. We now have the validation we need.
Some industry research predicts that hotels may not recover to pre-Covid occupancy levels until 2024. DayAway has a unique opportunity to shift consumer mindsets about modern hospitality over the next two to three years. To do that, we are working to scale our platform as far as possible, as quickly as possible, to create global brand awareness.
What potential do you see in DayAway as the world begins to open up and travel becomes more normalised?
We foresee that even when borders reopen and the staycation trend subsides as people opt to save up for international travel again, the necessity for a space to gather with friends and co-workers or take a personal mental health day will not diminish.
Plus, imagine travelling to Hong Kong, London or New York and having access to various hotel experiences beyond the hotel you are sleeping in — the best rooftop pools, spas, culinary classes and cultural experiences, such as private museum tours, bike tours and other off-property activities offered by a hotel, are just a click away.
Over the last couple of months, we have received an abundance of interest from hotel groups across the Asia Pacific, Middle East, UK, Europe and North America. We plan to be operational in all major markets by the second quarter of 2022.