App to book hotel rooms by the minute may expand to Chicago

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This screenshot from a smartphone shows an example of a page from Recharge, an app that offers hotel rooms by the minute. Recharge currently offers rooms in some 50 hotels in San Francisco and New York. Another digital service, Byhours, offers “microstays” at about 3,000 hotels worldwide, but only four are in the U.S., all in the New York area. | Recharge

SAN FRANCISCO — Most hotels already offer quick checkout. Now, a growing number are selling briefer stays, too.

Through an app called Recharge, some 50 hotels in San Francisco and New York offer rooms by the minute — at 40 cents to $2 per minute, depending on demand and time of day. That means the opportunity to take an hour nap in a comfortable bed for $24 to $120 before the usual taxes and other fees collected by hotels.

That isn’t exactly a bargain. For instance, two of the participating hotels recently were offering full-night stays for $269, before taxes. That works out to about $12 per hour, assuming a regular check-in and check-out time.

But it’s a savings over the full-night rate for those who don’t need the full night. Recharge says its app has drawn interest from travelers needing a nap after an overnight flight and from nursing mothers looking for some privacy and comfort.

Although the hotel still needs to pay for cleaning and administrative tasks, it’s extra money for a room that might otherwise be empty during the day.

Recharge plans to expand to Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington this year. Another digital service, Byhours, offers “microstays” at about 3,000 hotels worldwide, but only four are in the U.S., all in the New York area.

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