The Landing Hub, Pacific’s new boutique hotel, has opened off Highway OO just north of Interstate 44, and owners Jen Blakely and Shane Mayer are hoping its unique features will meet pandemic travel demands.

The 10,000-square-foot contactless hotel features a sign that greets travelers and directs them to The Landing Hub’s website where they can book rooms and get an access code, Blakely said.

The Landing Hub’s 15 rooms have occupancies of 2, 7, 8, and 12, with a maximum hotel occupancy of 82 overnight guests. Instead of booking by the room, travelers book by the “pod” or bed. So, if a client books five pods in a 12-bed room, the other seven pods can be booked by strangers, hostel style. The hotel also features open common areas inside and outside that include a communal kitchen, outdoor toys for kids, a disc golf basket and seven partially wooded acres for walking.

Blakely said she and her partner Mayer have been kicking around the idea for a contactless hotel for years after visiting similar places around the U.S. with their family. Blakely and Mayer have hosted Airbnbs since 2018, and said they appreciate the simplicity of a contactless system. After months of analyzing their Airbnb guests, Blakely said it was clear that the hotel would have to cater to different types of guests. Just a half hour from downtown St. Louis, Pacific suits travelers who want a convenient town outside of the city or near attractions like Six Flags, Hidden Valley and Route 66.

Blakely said the rooms with higher capacity were more popular than the traditional one-bed, two-bed guest rooms in the first three weeks of opening. 

Blakely, who is the chairman of the Pacific Tourism Commission, said she is also using her connections with wedding venues around the area to promote The Landing Hub and its ability to host a whole wedding party. When fully booked, Blakely estimated total revenue for a weekend to be between $10,000-$12,000.

Opening Labor Day Weekend, Blakely said September, has been a slow month for the business, drawing 20 guests in The Landing Hub’s opening three weeks, but she is expecting more interest for lodging later in the fall based on her experience with Airbnb. The Landing Hub’s about $2 million building was designed by Jeff Day & Associates architecture firm and built by RPA Construction Services, both from St. Louis. Investors Ken and Aimee Murer financed the project. Blakely and Mayer also own Pinnacle Plus, a commercial cleaning company in Pacific, which they use to do the cleaning at The Landing Hub.

Blakely said she has received positive feedback about the open communal areas for the opposite reason why other guests like the contactless service. The spaces provide a place to mingle with strangers or spread out from their own traveling partners, something she can relate to in regards to her own family.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Americans have been eager to get away from their homes. Allianz Partners, a travel insurance company, estimated that 60 percent of Americans planned on taking a summer vacation this year, more than twice as many as in 2020.