App lets you rent hotel rooms by the hour

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Ever wish you had a place to relax for a couple minutes between meetings or a place to freshen up before an interview? A Bay Area company is hoping to solve those problems by renting unused hotel rooms by the minute. (KGO-TV)

Ever wish you had a place to relax for a couple minutes between meetings or a place to freshen up before an interview? A Bay Area company is hoping to solve those problems by renting unused hotel rooms by the minute.

Every day, thousands of people come into San Francisco for meetings, interviews, or a night out.

Rich Reimer lives in Millbrae, but comes to San Francisco often.

"There's not a lot of safe zones," he said. "So like a place you can go rest, kind of recoup, recover, recharge if you will."

He added, "When I come into the city it might be a 10, 12, 14 hour day here, and the ability to kind of chill out in the middle is really, really valuable."

So once or twice a month, Reimer will check into a hotel using the Recharge app. It's a new service that allows users to rent hotel rooms in San Francisco by the minute.

Emmanuel Bamfo came up with the idea last year. Initially it was designed to give Uber and Lyft drivers a break from long shifts. But the idea really took off when he realized the demand was much greater and that casual visitors to the city liked the idea too.

Unlike Airbnb or traditional hotel bookings, there is no need to check in at 3 p.m. and leave by 11 in the morning.

"With Recharge, now you can walk into a Hyatt, you can walk into a W, you can walk into a Hilton, here in San Francisco, and you can stay as long as you want," said Bamfo.

The cost is prorated to how long you stay, but works out to be $40 an hour. The app has been great for visitors and hotels.

David Lewin is the general manager of the Embarcadero Hyatt. He says Recharge has filled in a gap.

"First off, most of the time they don't use the bed," said Lewin. "There's a significant part of the day where the rooms are empty most business travelers leave early in the morning. And a lot of them don't come until late at night, so that time in between is really where recharge became an interesting thing to consider."

Up the street on Nob Hill, the Stanford Court Hotel says they've been impressed with the number of guests who've used the app.

"That demand took us by surprise," said Stanford Court General Manager Michael Baier. "I wasn't expecting the results to be frankly as good as they have been."

Hotels say they aren't too concerned about people using their rooms for illegal activities.

"I will say it hasn't been an issue," said Lewin.

Baier added, "If something doesn't seem quite right, we always have the option of not checking them in when they show up."

Users only have positive things to say too. They are willing to pay for a break.

"That whole idea of having a little safe zone, that's sort of a place to go and block everything out and have a little quite time in between major activities, is really cool," said Reimer.

Recharge expects to be in more cities across the country by the end of the year.

The folks at Recharge are offering ABC7 viewers a chance to try the app for free. Enter promo code "ABC" on the app, and you will have 30 minutes to try recharge for free. ABC7 did not exchange coverage in exchange for this discount. The station received no compensation and benefits in no way from RECHARGE for this offer.

Written and Produced by Ken Miguel.
Related Topics:
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