One hotel chain is offering a significant discount on its daily rates as a way to say thank you to truck drivers hauling essential freight during the coronavirus pandemic.
Drury Hotels, a private, family-owned and operated company, is offering rooms for $59 for truckers at its 150 hotels in 27 states for $59, which includes two daily grab-and-go meals. All but nine locations offer free truck parking. Drury is also offering the same deal to healthcare and government workers.
“At Drury Hotels, service is at our core,” a Drury Hotels spokesperson told FreightWaves.
“Through June 2020, we are proud to offer a special rate to those working in the government and the health care and transportation industries.”
Some truck drivers have paid approximately $18 each night in some areas of the country to ensure they have a reserved space at truck stops.
Once parked, truck drivers are calling online food service companies like Grubhub, Postmates or DoorDash to have food delivered to them in their cabs as truck stops have shuttered restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owner-operator Wayne Cragg of South Haven, Michigan, hasn’t been home in nearly four months and said he would welcome a low-cost opportunity to spend a night or two in a hotel versus staying in his truck.
“There are a lot of us truck drivers that spend long periods of time on the road that get a little stir crazy after sleeping in our trucks for so long,” Cragg told FreightWaves.
Recently, Cragg said he paid $30 for two nights at a truck stop after eight tornadoes touched down in Alabama and he was forced to stop driving.
During that time, he also paid to have a food delivery company deliver meals to his truck on three separate occasions when he was parked, which quickly added up.
“The cost can run you between $35 to $45 per time if you order a couple of things, like lunch and dinner, plus tip,” Cragg said. “Free truck parking, sleeping in a real bed, clean showers, plus two meals a day in a hotel is a great deal.”
And Cragg should know. He formerly worked in the hospitality industry as the director of housekeeping operations for a hotel chain during the Great Recession, which spanned from 2007 to 2009, before becoming a truck driver.
“I am sure Drury won’t be making much of a profit from offering a discount like this to us, but it is a great service to allow some of us, who have been out on the road for long stretches during the pandemic, a break from the confines of our trucks,” Cragg said.
The hotel industry has been devastated by the coronavirus as hotels in the U.S. have lost more than $15 billion in room revenue since mid-February, according to STR Inc., which tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry.
STR data reports that nearly 8 out of 10 hotel rooms are empty in the U.S. as of April 22.
“Our thoughts are with these individuals and all those who are doing their part to help us get through these unprecedented times,” a Drury spokesperson told FreightWaves.