Traveling for business can be a real bummer, especially if you have to do it frequently. Sure, it can be fun to visit new cities, sample the local cuisine, and get a break from your normal routine. But you’re not on a relaxing vacation. So the place you’re going to see the most, aside from the office you’re working out of, is your hotel room. This makes choosing the right accommodations a pretty important aspect of travel planning.
How can you find the best lodging as a business traveler? Here are some things to look for.
You obviously want your lodgings to be near where you’re conducting business during your trip. You don’t want to have to commute, after all, and you could spend an arm and a leg on transportation if you’re not careful. Even though your company is most likely footing the bill, why would you want the hassle? Choosing a hotel that is within easy walking distance of your work is always best.
That said, you also want it to be near certain things and removed from other things. For example, nearby eateries and evening entertainment (movie theater, clubs, etc.) might be nice if you’ll have some free time after work to explore. On the other hand, you may not necessarily want the noise and other issues that are common to urban centers. You definitely don’t want to be too near the airport, where the roar of jets taking off and landing all night will plague you.
For many travelers the most important aspect of choosing a hotel is not location, but amenities. Hotels that provide clean, comfortable, and quiet rooms are at the top of the list for most business travelers who need a good night of rest in order to perform at their peak during business hours. You might also want to look for full breakfast service, an on-site restaurant, room service, guest laundry (or pick-up and drop-off laundry services), a gym facility, and so on. These amenities will help to provide you with all the comforts and conveniences of home.
There is a specific class of hotel that caters to business travelers, and there are a few reasons you might want to choose these establishments. For one thing, they don’t tend to attract the average vacation crowd because they don’t necessarily have a kid-friendly atmosphere or amenities. In addition, they are often more expensive during the week, when their main clientele is in residence, so most families on vacation will look for cheaper lodgings or only stay for the weekend.
The benefit for you is that you won’t have to deal with kids underfoot or making a lot of noise next door while you’re trying to sleep, eat, or do some work. Lots of business hotels also offer rewards programs, so as you rack up points you’ll earn upgrades to nicer rooms and even free stays that you can use when you take a personal vacation. Some also offer a nightly wine hour or other extras designed to please professional guests.
When you travel for business, cost may not be your biggest concern since your company is paying for everything. However, you probably have some kind of guidelines when it comes to your spending limits, so you can’t necessarily justify staying at the most expensive hotel. For this reason you should use a service to find appropriately priced lodgings that suit your wants and needs. It might be better than letting your company’s travel agent select for you.