What Kind Of Stay Do You Need? Hotel Stay Length Terms And More

Audrey Fairbrother
September 19, 2022
What Kind Of Stay Do You Need? Hotel Stay Length Terms And More

When planning a business trip — for yourself or on behalf of a work crew — you have a range of options for your accommodations.

What is an “extended stay hotel?”

Should you look for “corporate housing?”

Do you need “temporary housing?”

What’s the difference between “extended stay” and a “regular stay” hotel room?

We’ll help you understand your choices when it comes to length of stay, what might work best for your trip and the right search terminology to help you find what you’re looking for.

Table of Contents

1. Short Stays/Transit Hotels
2. Overnight Stays
3. Extended Stay Hotels
4. Short-Term Rentals
5. Weekly Rentals
6. Corporate Housing
7. What’s the Difference in Amenities Between an Extended Stay Hotel and Temporary Housing?

Short Stays/Transit Hotels

“Short stays,” also called “day use” or “hourly,” are a type of hotel stay that doesn’t necessarily involve the traveler sleeping there overnight during a standard 4 pm to 11 am (or similar) timeframe.

For instance, some hotels near airports offer “transit hotel” options.

In this case, a traveler who’s laid over for eight hours could book a six-hour block of room time to take a nap and get out of the loud terminal for a bit — without spending the entire night or paying for a whole overnight stay.

More hotel chains than you might think offer this feature; you just have to ask them or do a search for one of these specific terms.

Overnight Stays

An “overnight stay” is a regular stay that lasts at least one full night.

This type of hotel room is the standard offering from the hotel industry that business travelers expect to buy when booking.

Your booking may or may not come with a range of services and amenities, such as:

Can You Extend an Overnight Hotel Stay After You’ve Already Checked In?

As a general rule, this doesn’t tend to work. Usually, by the time you check in, that guest room is already reserved for another traveler who’s planning to arrive after your scheduled check out time.

Traditional hotels keep bookings back-to-back to ensure they fill up all their room nights.

But it still never hurts to ask.

If the stars align, it could be possible to extend your booking after checking in. Far more likely, the hotel would offer to give you a different room you can change to.

You may also receive a different nightly rate, depending on what days of the week you’re extending your stay into.

Self-Serve Trip Extension

With Hotel Engine’s Self-Serve Trip Extension feature, you can extend any overnight stay reservation without contacting Member Support.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Log on to your account and find your current trip’s itinerary.
  2. Click “Book Instantly” under the “Book More Nights” section.
  3. Select your new desired checkout date.
  4. If available, we’ll show you your room options.
  5. If the hotel is already full, we’ll show you some other available hotels in your area.
  6. Select your room.

Again, you’ll most likely have to switch rooms depending on the property’s specific availability, but you’ll save yourself from having to complete a whole new booking from scratch.

Extended Stay Hotels

“Extended stay hotels,” also called “long-term stay hotels,” are usually labeled as such because they provide amenities and perks that help travelers feel like they’re in a home away from home for several weeks or months.

Here are some examples of amenities that an extended stay hotel might provide:

  • Guest laundry facilities
  • Additional furnishings like a couch, extra TV and dining table
  • Kitchenettes with stoves, dishwashers, and other appliances
  • Multi-room suites

Guests tend to book stays at these hotels ranging from a week to several months.

Because the reservation is so much longer than a regular overnight stay, these hotels tend to charge a lot less per night — but you’ll need to be there for a minimum number of nights for the cheaper rates to kick in.

Who Are Extended-Stay Hotels Right For?

There are all kinds of workers — construction, professionals in emerging tech and energy fields, traveling nurses, disaster relief workers — who need to be in certain locations for longer stays without making a permanent move or relocation.

This is why extended stay hotels and corporate housing options are increasingly popular.

Let’s say you’re a traveling nurse from Nebraska who plans to work at a hospital in New York City for an eight-week contract.

With an extended stay hotel room or suite, you’ll be able to make some healthy, home-cooked meals, rather than eating out every day. You’ll also have basic necessities in your room, so you won’t need to bring a ton of stuff with you.

Another bonus is that extended-stay hotels are often pet-friendly.

Read more: Bookmark These Hotel Terms (And Acronyms!): A Glossary For Business Travel Planners

Short-Term Rentals

A “short-term rental” is a furnished living space that’s available to rent for a short period (a few days up to a few weeks, but sometimes more).

These are also sometimes called “vacation rentals.”

These terms aren’t generally used to refer to hotel rooms.

Typically, this definition describes an apartment, cabin, condo or house that a private owner rents out on a short-term basis — instead of leasing to a long-term tenant.

Short-term rentals cater to similar types as extended-stay hotels. It’s really a matter of preference — some workers might prefer a short-term rental for a homier feel, while others enjoy the atmosphere and additional amenities available in a hotel setting.

Short-term rentals may be the best fit for people who are bringing family members along on their temporary relocation.

Weekly Rentals

The term “weekly rental” is used to refer to a short-term rental, vacation rental or corporate housing option that’s rented on a week-by-week basis.

Corporate Housing

“Corporate housing” is a term used to describe fully-furnished, serviced housing that’s available to rent specifically to traveling professionals on a temporary basis, often allowing for monthly rates.

You may see this also referred to as “temporary housing,” but that is often used for short-term rental options as well, so “corporate housing” is the more accurate term here.

A move-in-ready unit designed for months-long stays, amenities typically include:

  • Free high-speed internet
  • Utilities included
  • Stocked kitchen

Like short-term rentals, they can take the form of a condo, house, apartment, etc.

Read more: Our Full Guide To Corporate Travel

What’s the Difference in Amenities Between an Extended Stay Hotel and Temporary Housing?

The main differences between an extended stay at a hotel and a temporary non-hotel rental come down to the amenities.

Hotel rooms come with housekeeping and concierge services like room service. They also bring you fresh towels, clean linens, etc.

Depending on the hotel, you could even have a free breakfast buffet — one less meal to worry about every day. Hotels often have pools and gyms, too. It’s convenient to have everything you need on the premises, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar area.

Most non-hotel rentals don’t offer these types of amenities, although some luxury apartment complexes may.

If you’re a busy professional trying to decide between a hotel and a non-hotel option, then breakfast, housekeeping, clean towels and other perks could make a big difference.


The bottom line is: workers on the go have more options than ever these days when it comes to finding appropriate accommodation.

Once you know what you’re looking for and what kind of choices are available to you, you can search and book in just a few clicks.

Hotel Engine has access to more than 700,000 properties with our lodging partners worldwide, including extended-stay options. If you’re traveling for business, we can help you with your booking and save you money. Memberships are always free.

Article written by
Audrey Fairbrother

Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine's audience and cultivating the company's brand voice.

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