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Developers Are Pouring More Money Into Sprucing Up Airport Hotels

For decades, airport hotels were much like airports themselves: functional and convenient, but not always the classiest places to stay.

For the past few years, that has been changing as more airports are placing luxury hotels within their borders to capitalize on that convenience and generate Class-A revenue. A big driver of this trend is the resilience of demand at airport hotels of all kinds, not just Class-A product, according to an STR study as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The former TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York

Hotels within a shuttle trip of airports were 73.7% occupied in 2017, seven points better than the overall average, according to STR. For hotels within walking distance of a terminal, occupancy sat at 80%, with room rates averaging $50 per night higher than the national average.

Much like brick-and-mortar retailers in the age of Amazon, hotels have been forced to evolve due to the explosion of the home-sharing industry by offering more than a simple place to sleep. Part of that effort has resulted in international chains like Marriott launching new brands to build upon their established names.

Airport hotels have always been a necessity, but ambitious projects like the conversion of the legendary Eero Saarinen terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York into the forthcoming TWA Hotel aim to entice vacationers away from staying in the middle of the city, the WSJ reports.

The recently redeveloped Hyatt Regency by Los Angeles International Airport has opened restaurants with local chefs to replicate the downtown experience for that reason, according to the WSJ. The Fairmont Vancouver has chosen to offer amenities highlighting the convenience of its location, primarily its "fish valet," which stores and chills fish that guests have caught up until right before departure.