Vishal Patel and Sunny Patel live in Tucson, Arizona, and wanted to develop a hotel that captured the outdoorsy ethos of the Sunset State.

A couple years ago, they acquired an economy motel along a main street in downtown Tucson with plans to redevelop it into a hip gathering place for locals and visitors.

The fact that the property is exterior corridor played into the partners’ buying decision.

Today, as the coronavirus pandemic has made health and safety the number-one amenity sought by guests, Vishal and Sunny have hit pay dirt.

Exterior corridor properties shunned over the past decade by many major franchisers have a new shine as travelers shy away from close human contact in fear of contracting COVID-19, the virus caused by the new coronavirus.

The 112-room independent motel, renamed The Tuxon, caters to visitors’ heightened awareness of how the illness is spread. The design goes a long way to ease guests’ worry that they’ll unwittingly be exposed to the virus.

Bryan Tubaugh is executive vice president at Focus Hospitality Management, manager of The Tuxson. He said while the hotel’s outdoor accessibility is definitely a selling point to travelers, it’s usually not until after guests arrive do they realize the benefit of being able to access their room without going through a lobby.

“One of the things that we’re finding is guests don’t really choose the hotel because of the exterior corridor. However, when they arrive they realize, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is something we should take into consideration the next time we travel,’” Tubaugh said.

Because guests can drive to their room’s front door, use mobile check-in and even order food and beverage via an app, the services create an “Aha moment” because of the safety it all provides, he said.

In this episode of Lodging Leaders, we explore trends in road travel that give lodging customers a greater sense of control during the coronavirus pandemic and how you can prepare your property to receive guests who value safety and certainty.

We feature Alexander and Matt Hostetler, chief development officer at Red Roof; Michael Mueller, president of Super 8 at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; Harry Sladich, executive vice president of lodging development and franchise operations at Red Lion Hotels Corporation; and Bryan Tubaugh, executive vice president at Focus Hospitality Management, manager of the newly opened The Tuxon, a boutique motel in Tucson, Arizona.