By Kayleigh Kulp, CNBC
Splurging on a luxury hotel stay is one thing, ponying up for access to a club lounge is another.
For example, the club lounge at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans is marketed as “a boutique hotel within a hotel.” There is a buffet-style, staffed restaurant that serves full meals, champagne, wine, beer and cocktails all day, private areas for conducting meetings with comfortable seating, complimentary newspapers and a private concierge service.
Hotels are investing in private lounges for guests more than ever as demand for hotel lodging flattens globally, said John Hach, senior industry analyst for TravelClick, which provides e-commerce services to hotels.
Bookings are down about 1 percent from last year, though room rates are up nearly 2 percent. The lounges are a way for properties to attract more direct bookings on their websites and differentiate themselves in a competitive industry, especially for millennials who “will buy up more easily to a super-premium experience,” he said.