There was an interesting piece about short term hotel rentals, usually called “Day Rates”, on the Economist magazine. You can access the full article here.
I don’t normally book day use rooms because Hilton is the only chain that allows (or allowed) you to book them online. If your arrival and departure dates are same, the website will (or used to) return day use rates. These rates usually allow check in after 9AM and you need to be gone by 6PM. It is ideal for some hotels that can sell the same room for twice.
I was trying to book a day rate on Hilton’s website, but was unable to pull them up. The website might be under maintenance or the recent update disallowed booking day rooms online.
Day rooms can make lot of sense. You may want to shower after a long flight and have a nap before going to a meeting in the afternoon and flying out the same day. Also, working on hotel lobbies or coffee stores is not the most productive environment.
The day use rate is normally between 50% to 70% off the usual overnight rate.
There are some airport hotels that are located inside the transit zones that charge for their rooms by an hour. I have looked at his option couple of times but the hourly charges have been rather high and it has always made more sense for me to enter the country and go one of the nearby hotels instead.
Day use rooms can make lot of sense at times and I would love to see hotels making booking them easier online. I rather do all my bookings online rather than having to call reservations departments.
Also, sometimes I might just book the hotel for the night even when I am leaving in the evening. Hotels often allow early check in for their elite guests starting at 8AM at InterContinental hotels for Royal Ambassador members.