When traveling for business, one of the most important factors to plan for is where you will be staying. This can be especially important if you're hoping to enjoy some bleisure travel (travel that incorporates travel and leisure) or are looking to network. You want to be able to work but also be able to partake in activities outside the office.
Or maybe you're looking for sustainable accommodations. Whether you're new to business travel or are a seasoned traveler, productivity, building connections, and unlocking new opportunities is usually key when it comes to goals of business travel.
Here are a few factors, perks, and features to look for when booking your business travel accommodations.
Though obvious, it's worth mentioning that location is one of the most important factors.
You can use apps like Google Maps to help you rule out places. Enter the address of your hotel and you can search to see what is near, how far you'll be from your work, as well as how far you are from public transportation and what routes you would take if you wanted to leave at another time. You can also search to see how busy a commute will be if you left now (heavy delays are marked in red while moderate traffic is marked in yellow).
If it's not close to anything and aren't driving, consider the ease and cost of calling a ride sharing service. If you are staying out of the city to save money but end up paying the difference when you call a car, you may have been better off staying in the city.
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2. Access to food.
Does the hotel have an on-site restaurant or gastropub? If they don't, do they at least have some food available in a sort of mini-market? Most hotels offer a bit more than a vending machine and will usually have a quality coffee machine and a few options to choose from near the lobby.
If the hotel doesn't offer much, is it walking distance to a restaurant? Or, if you were to order food from a food delivery service, is the location in delivery range and accessible?
Though this is obvious, you may be surprised at how many accommodations only offer free WiFi in the lobby area. Having ample workspace with fast and free WiFi and accessible power outlets both in your room and throughout your accommodation is essential for most business travelers. Some hotels even provide smartphones to guests for use throughout their stay.
4. Open workspace (and even co-working space).
Many hotels now feature open workspaces in the lobby for guests to grab a bite to eat, have a drink, and work.
I've seen a number of hotel brands offering co-working hubs. Courtyard Marriott properties are offering media hubs for groups to collaborate as well as several meeting rooms of various sizes that can be rented out. Even the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas opened a workspace pop-up that was so successful, it become permanent.
Le Meridien properties have added high top chairs and desks, perfect if you want to make a standing desk. Alternatively, when you search for accommodations on Airbnb, one of the criteria boxes you can filter for is "laptop friendly workspace" that includes a desk or table for your devices and comfortable chair to work in.
Generally, a hotel should have some type of space for individuals to relax. Some hotels, such as the Westin, offer guests the ability to rent New Balance workout clothes for $5 through their Gear Lending program. Some hotels even offer guided tours or art and yoga classes for guests.
With pet-travel on the rise (52 percent of millennials admitting to traveling with their pets) and the growth of bleisure travel, expect to see more options for furry friends. Booking.com even has a filtered search option to make finding a pet-friendly hotel accessible.
6. Ease of use.
This may not be for everyone but more hotels are leaning towards making services digital, including the check-in, check-out process and using your device as a room key. For example, the Hilton Honors app lets you book and pick your room, check-in, check-out and access your room - all through the app. You can also make requests for your room through the app.
While not necessarily essential, staying at an accommodation that cares about your loyalty can be a plus. Because their goal is to get a repeat customer, they may offer discounts or upgrades on future stays.
Staying in an accommodation that values sustainability is not only good for the planet, it gives insight into their business practices.