Travel lots for business? If so, you’re surely aware that not all hotels are created equal. I’m not talking about luxury hotels necessarily, although they certainly do tend to come with all of the bells and whistles every professional needs. I’m talking about specific features and perks that make it easier to function at your best, regardless of your type of business or clientele. Here are seven categories I tend to check out when selecting a business hotel for a trip.
The key to operating effectively from the road for business is efficiency. While many people consider hotel amenities as incidental, I look at them as leverage I can use to make the most of the time I have in a particular location. Fitness facilities and indoor pools mean I don’t have to pack for winter outdoor exercise if I’m traveling to a colder location, whereas executive lounges and happy hour receptions mean not having to wait for a breakfast order and avoiding the cab fare that typically comes with wanting that after-hours cocktail before tackling the email that’s built up while I’ve been in meetings all day.
If you’re having to develop an expense report from the road or traveling for a job interview, the quality of service a hotel provides is no small matter. Ditto if you are trying to recruit someone and the venue’s restaurant staff treats their job like an afterthought. What it all comes down to is the fact that when you’re traveling for business reasons you’re going to require additional support. There are enough problems to solve during the day relating to your work, and having a staff trained to help you over the logistical hurdles that come with being away from your home office makes all the difference.
Whether or not a business hotel has a shuttle service is only one of the travel transportation issues you may need to consider. Also of note are nearby train stations, parking infrastructure and public transportation. The time it takes you to access these facilities is time you won’t be spending closing that big deal or landing a desired new client. Make sure you can get in and out of your hotel and where you need to go with ease, regardless of your chosen transportation method.
How conveniently your business hotel is located is a huge issue whether traveling for conferences, job interviews, recruitment goals or other needs. If you try to save money by selecting the inexpensive motel with no support staff or morning breakfast offering, then the extra taxi costs and time spent stopping for breakfast on the way to your chosen meeting location could end up costing you monies you would have otherwise saved or gained depending on the success of your trip. Also, it’s nice to be near a walkable area with things to see and do during what limited downtime you’ll have.
In this day and age, if a hotel doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, they can pretty much count on never getting my business again. Especially if they charge $200 a night or more. At that price point, expecting access to high-speed wireless internet isn’t unreasonable. I also expect at least a modest breakfast offering to be included with the price. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Oatmeal, fruit and tea will suffice. But it had better be there. Additionally, I appreciate a basic business center for printing documents or accessing email if my computer happens to choose to have a meltdown at a critical moment. It’s also nice for those of us who need to maintain a business wardrobe while traveling if there is some sort of laundry support offered.
I don’t necessarily need a multi-room suite, but room to work is appreciated, particularly when I’m combining business and pleasure on a trip. An extra chair is a must, and an actual functioning desk with task lighting is extra appreciated. The fact is, most of have to at least check in via email and crank out a document or two from the road these days. Choosing a hotel that understands this goes a long way towards helping your trip go as smoothly as possible.
Those who travel frequently for work know the power of being able to keep a business trip on budget. One way many road warriors and companies like to do that is by participating in the rewards programs offered by various hotel chains. Whether your favorite program lets you earn free nights, upgrade to the executive floor or provides free perks to those who book regularly, chances are there’s a way for you to save money. Executive floors tend to come with free breakfast and happy hour offerings, as well as complimentary beverages, snacks and private soft seating throughout the day which makes a nice quiet place to work if you don’t want to sit in your room alone after a day of networking.
These are far from the only considerations to make when you choose a business hotel, but they are my most common ones. Certainly, if you are planning an event or want to conduct on-location interviews then having a location with meeting rooms is critical. For most average business travelers however, these seven benchmarks represent an excellent starting point for making your selection.
Photo Credit: Trek Hound