Generator and Freehand Hotels CEO sees overreach for remote workers

Skift grip

There’s always a rush of trends, including mixed travel, but in some cases it’s worth taking a step back from time to time.

Matthew Parson

Not all hotels should sue remote workers, the CEO of one hotel group has suggested, as they have mostly served their purpose during the pandemic.

This is not a warning from a luxury hotelier, but from Alastair Thomann, who runs Generator and Freehand Hotels.

“We have seen a lot of mixed travel during the pandemic. The markets we cover are really high compression markets in Europe and the United States,” Thomann said at the first Skift Global Forum East event in Dubai on Wednesday.

“What’s really changed now is that we don’t necessarily want that customer anymore, because that customer will be spending more time at the hotel, they’ll be expecting a discount…we can sell our rooms at a rate much higher.”

Moderator Sean O’Neill, Skift’s hospitality editor, asked if he wanted people to open their laptops in his lobbies.

“We’re going the other way,” Thomann responded during the How Blended Travel Is Reshaping Experience panel discussion. “We turn them into nightclubs. It’s about how much money can we return in an hour. If someone sits in there, with their laptop all day and has three or four coffees, there are better uses of the space for us.

The CEO then shared with Skift that one of his hotels in New York even removed charging stations, to discourage people from bringing their laptops.

It’s a timely reminder to be careful not to follow trends blindly, but it may also be location that matters. Squeeze markets are where hoteliers can generate high revenue per available room, or RevPAR, and year-round occupancy. Currently, there are plenty of squeeze markets around the world as demand recovers, but with the seemingly unstoppable rise in blended travel, is that really the best long-term view?


Last year, spending company Emburse closed 2021 with publish the craziest expenses he has dealt with.

Not much has changed in 12 months, as depositors and financial professionals have encountered even more mischief over the past two years.

But while 2021 has been a year of extravagance, including $1,000 for tattoo removal and $1,250 for pet sitting, this year is a much more frugal affair.

Embruse described several cases here, but let’s spare a thought for the employee who stocked three cases of ramen noodles for his meals, at a cost of $45, despite being under Covid-19 quarantine overseas.

But another worker chose to spend $110 on a tent, rather than paying $800 for a hotel room. The vice president of the company approved it, but it ended up being refused by the accounting department. Sometimes you just can’t win.

10 second catch up on business trips

Who and what Skift covered last week: Airbnb, Delta Airlines, world events, hilton, JetBlue, United Airlines.

In short

CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments expands in Asia

Business travel and relocation specialist CAP in the world expanded into the Asia-Pacific region with a new office. It has been operating in the region for three years, but has just officially launched CAP Worldwide Singapore and opened a regional service office at “The Hive”, located in Singapore’s central business district.

The opening complements a “tri-regional service delivery model” for its customers, following the launch of its Americas operation in August last year, according to CEO Jo Layton. The company added that this is also the final step in CAP’s development as a self-funded, certified women-owned business.

FairFly makes it easy to change airline tickets

Israeli Travel Spend Optimization Platform FairFly designed a solution to automate the processing of miscellaneous expense orders, eliminating labor-intensive work for corporate travel agencies. He says the new feature, called Present AutoMCO, will now allow teams to focus on additional services for their customers. “Depending on the size of the travel management business, it may process 10 to 100 thousands of miscellaneous charge issuance orders. For every 10,000 orders a travel management company faces, AutoMCO will save 2,500 productive hours,” the company claims.

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