Choosing the right hotel for your traveling needs begins with considering what kind of traveling you’ll be doing.
I’ve already discussed booking a kid friendly hotel for family vacations. On the complete opposite of the travel spectrum, we have the most exotic sounding and, typically, least enjoyable experience of traveling for business.
A hotel that is great for families is not necessarily great for business travel. Finding a hotel that caters to the business traveler can go a long way towards making long days on the road and nights away from family more bearable – and more productive.
Hotels for Business Travelers – What To Look For
1. Internet Access
When I travel for work (or rather, when I used to travel for work), the very first thing I ask about when I’m booking a hotel is Internet access. Is it available in-room, or just via a business center? Is it wireless, or will I be sitting at a desk plugged into an ethernet cord? And, most importantly, how much is it going to cost me?
The best hotels for business travelers will have free wireless internet access in the hotel rooms. At the very least, you’ll have the option to purchase wireless internet access at a reasonable rate. When booking your room, be sure to ask if the hotel has a membership program that offers free internet to its members.
2. Work area in the room
My favorite hotels to stay in for business are Embassy Suites. This is primarily because most of their rooms offer a separate seating area with a large desk and comfortable chair – one that is actually designed to sit in for long periods of time. Sure, I can check my email sitting on my bed with a laptop perched on my legs. But if I have hours of work to do, I’d prefer the option of an actual workspace.
3. On-site restaurant
While I avoid hotel restaurants when I’m traveling with my kids, I tend to spend a lot of time in them when I’m traveling alone for business. It’s nice not to have to hunt down a local restaurant for every meal, and it’s also a convenient meeting area for clients and colleagues you may need to meet with while you’re in town.
4. Fitness center
If you’re used to exercising regularly at home, a business trip that messes up your workout routine can really affect how well you do your job. Look for a hotel with a fitness center and make a point of using it at roughly the same time you would go to a gym at home. The nice thing about traveling alone is that you won’t be leaving anyone alone in your room while you go sweat your stress off for 30 minutes on a cardio machine.
5. Rewards programs
If you travel often, make a point at staying at hotels that offer membership reward programs. This is a lot easier today now that so many hotels are part of a larger “family” company, with all properties sharing points and perks. Even if you’re not the one footing the bill, being able to prove you’re a repeat guest may entitle you to added benefits (like nicer rooms, and that free internet access) that will make your stay more enjoyable.
6. Avoid kid-friendly hotels
If a hotel provides great accommodations for a family, it isn’t automatically disqualified as being good for business travelers. But if there’s an in-house water park and a 1500 square foot arcade, chances are good you’ll hear the pitter patter of little feet running up and down the halls outside your door in the middle of the night.
The key to making the best of business travel is to make yourself as comfortable as possible. No hotel will be quite like home, but choosing hotels that cater to the specific needs of the business traveler makes a difference.
What tips do you suggest for other business travelers?