They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, so I’m going to cavalierly borrow an idea from the Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report called “Half-Baked Ideas”, where Kevin Wildes joins Bill to talk about some great ideas that just aren’t fully baked, but baked enough to give you a taste of what it would be like.
This weekend Bethany and I flew out to Minnesota to watch our friends Joel & Katie get married, and while we were here on Sunday we tried to kill some time before our flight by going to the Mall of America. We originally planned to spend a few hours at the Mall, but given our disappointment in the attraction (which probably warrants a future blog post), we cut our trip short by 1.5 hours. At that point we were trying to figure out how we could kill another 90 minutes, while feeling fatigued and wiped out. At that point all we really wanted to do is sleep, but it’s not like you can go get a (reputable) hotel room for that amount of time, and there aren’t a lot of places where it’s acceptable to sleep in public. The airport is one of those few places, but it’s an awkward and uncomfortable experience.
The light bulb came on in my head: Why doesn’t someone start a business where one could essentially get a cot or a simple bed for a nap – at the airport? Imagine that on the terminal there is a room you could go into which houses many cubicle-like partitions. Each partition has two things in it: a bed/cot and an alarm clock (or a phone for wake up calls). You check in at the front desk, reserve your partition for a period of time and catch some Zzz’s before your next flight. All of the sudden these painful layovers aren’t as bad, you have an answer for those awkward few hours between being hotel-less and waiting to get on the plane. Bethany even came up with a name for the business: Nap on the Fly
Some questions arise from this business model – but fear not, I have (half) thought this through:
Why wouldn’t this be a cheap hotel?
Because you have a set time limit – you can’t rent a cot longer than 4 hours. We all know that in reality any nap over 2 hours takes you well best the groggy stage where your next night of sleep is pretty much ruined. If you have a layover that’s more like 8 hours, then you may be better justified in getting a hotel room anyway. This isn’t meant for those airline snafus that keep you in a city over-night, so you’re not really competing or replacing hotels. Also the rooms are incredibly spartan: no TV, no furniture, and the lights are incredibly dim – because after all you should be napping.
What about your bags? Aren’t you supposed to keep an eye on them?
Yes you’re right, and the way you can do that is by supplying the partitions with a locker-like case where you can store your bag next to you while you sleep. It’s one of those cases where a key locks it and you can pull the key out and pull it in your pocket. Now your luggage is in a safe place. Yes there is not an additional component in your partition, but we’ll draw the line at these three things and allow nothing more.
What about couples and families traveling? Will you have rooms for them.
Sorry, but these are individual napping quarters. Each cot is a twin size, and each person must have their own partition. This will also ensure that people are not doing other things besides sleeping in these cots. I know this leaves families out of luck, but maybe the next expansion of this business will include a solution for families.
This sounds great, but how much will all of this cost?
I don’t’ think it would be too unreasonable to charge $10 for the first hour, since there are inherent costs with changing/washing sheets. Killing an hour with $10 is cheaper than spending that same hour in an airport bar somewhere. It would be up for debate how much the additional hours are, maybe after the 2nd hour the price drops by half. $30 for 4 hours of quiet rest should be decent trade off, especially for business travelers.
What other holes would you poke into my idea? Feel free to ask any questions you’d like to fully bake my idea. Also if you like this idea enough to run with it, go for it – I just ask for a modest founder’s fee 😉