Picture the scene: you arrive at your destination after a long flight, weary, hungry and thinking about nothing more than a nice, soft hotel bed to send you into a deep sleep before the big conference tomorrow.
You enjoy a relatively easy luggage reclaim experience at the airport, find a conveniently-located cab and give the driver the name of the hotel at which your travel organiser has kindly placed a booking. You set off, but as the journey nears its end, something’s clearly wrong. The conference venue zipped by twenty minutes ago and you appear to be heading deep into unknown territory.
On arrival at your hotel – now significantly more tired than you were upon exiting the aircraft – all becomes clear. A quick glance at the check-in information confirms your suspicions; this is a hotel that has clearly been booked in favour of its room rate, without any consideration given to its distance from tomorrow’s venue.
Most business travellers have experienced such frustrations at some stage during their careers, yet it is entirely unavoidable.
The choice of a hotel and its proximity to the business destination is absolutely vital, and in this post, we’re going to consider the reasons why.
Why hotel location is vital
No one wants to spend more time on the road than they need to. Here are three reasons location should be at the top of the agenda for business hotel bookings:
1. It saves money At first glance, the cost of booking a hotel close to the venue can seem rather prohibitive. Significant savings on room rates can be made if you instead head ten or fifteen miles out of town, after all.
But that’s only a saving on paper. In reality, the business traveller will have to opt for transport from their hotel to the venue, and that will involve a hire car, a taxi or some form of public transport. The extra cost involved in such travel can quickly mount up and cancel out any savings made on the room rate.
2. It saves time Time spent travelling to and from a venue is time (and money) wasted. If the traveller has to catch a cab or rely on public transport, they may be late to their eventual destination and the time spent during the transfer could be far better invested in the primary reason for travelling.
3. There’s a huge amount of choice Putting poor hotel location down to a lack of choice is nothing more than an excuse in the modern age. We have fantastic tools to hand that tap into huge accommodation coverage and the ability to fine tune any hotel stay.
Booking.com for Business is a case in point; the entire search tool is focused on location. Indeed, the first field bookers fill in asks for the destination, and it can be a specific street, region, district or hotel (if one has been recommended). The ability to display the results on a map lends further credence to just how important location is when booking a hotel.
Why hotel choice matters
The right hotel makes all the difference to business travellers. Here are three elements that should be at the forefront of every travel manager’s mind:
1. Easily accessible, fast Wi-Fi Despite super-fast and ever-present Wi-Fi at home, this essential form of connectivity is sometimes hard to come by in certain hotels. It may be restricted to free use in the lobby with expensive hourly fees levied in the room, or, worse, too slow to be of any use.
Solid, fast and easily-accessible free Wi-Fi is an absolute necessity for business travel.
2. Working space Business travel can be a lonely endeavour, and it’s far from a holiday, which is why so many travellers occupying this realm use any spare moment in the hotel to get some work done.
At the very least, the room should feature a comfortable working space, but hotels are increasingly offering private working areas elsewhere within the building that can be productivity havens for the business traveller.
3. Good food Five star Michelin cooking isn’t a prerequisite of business travel, but good food, served conveniently within or near to the hotel, rewards those who willingly leave their loved ones to engage in business away from home.
As a travel manager, it can be alarmingly easy to get caught in a tug of war where the traveller wants the freedom and flexibility to book convenient travel arrangements, but you want to maintain control over your travel policy. If you can work with them to find a healthy middle ground, hotel choice and proximity will always be given the attention they deserve.
As rising expectations of business travellers conflict with traditional travel programmes, choice of hotel within a good distance of the business destination can help keep you on the right side of the business traveller.