How To Choose The Best Hotel For Your Corporate Travels
So, you get the booking hurdles figured out and now comes the next item on your checklist: accommodations.
Hotel is the most personal choice in travel.
The right hotel will make corporate travelers feel like they are coming home to relax after a whole day of meetings, conferences, and generally just being on the road. Get it wrong, and the entire travel experience will be anything but comfortable. At the same time, you want to make sure you don’t blow your entire budget on luxury accommodations just to indulge your road warriors.
So how do you pick the right accommodations that will satisfy your corporate travelers without breaking the bank?
Business travelers love to manage their time efficiently to deliver their best performance during business trips. As a travel manager, it’s important to ensure that the accommodations you picked will optimize their time and meet their travel demands.
Here are some tips to pick the right accommodations for your business travelers.
1. Do research
Before you book any hotels, find out what your travelers’ preferences are. This includes their destinations, travel dates, travel objectives, and travel itineraries.
2. Prioritize location
To ensure your travelers enjoy a productive stay, look for hotels that are within close proximity of where their meetings or conferences take place. This way, they won’t have to waste time commuting and minimize the risk of running late or getting caught in traffic during rush hour. It doesn’t hurt to look for hotels that have restaurants around for easy food and drink options too.
3. Check the transportation
If the corporate travelers are not renting cars, find out what kind of transportation service is provided by the hotel, i.e. airport shuttle, what other public transportation is available around, and what mobile taxi apps used mostly by locals. Take notes on any train stations or bus stops nearby and where taxis are usually available at. You can also get an estimation of the traffic to avoid any long commutes. If the business travelers are renting cars, find out any information about parking at the hotel and its surroundings.
4. Don’t forget about internet and business center
A reliable and fast internet connection is a must to ensure effective communication and work performance of corporate travelers. The same thing applies to the business center. Yes, your travelers might bring their own gadgets and laptops, but remember emergencies could happen. Make sure you pick hotels that are equipped with a decent Wi-Fi and business center so business travelers can access computers or printers in case of unexpected electronic meltdown. Bonus point: they could even arrange meetings with their clients there!
5. Include amenities
Your corporate travelers are likely to have a packed agenda and you don’t want them to waste their valuable time browsing for places to eat. Pick hotels that provide breakfast or at least have restaurants (that can offer room service) where they can go to in case they are too tired to make any other efforts.
6. Optimize your budget and travel benefits
Hotel expenses can be one of the biggest costs in your travel budget. It’s important to always compare rates from different hotel options and educate yourself on hotels’ dynamic pricing strategies. Consider looking for hotels that have a rewards program and that offer travel perks, i.e. free internet, late check-out, or free airport pickup.
7. Utilize technology
In this digital age, there’s a huge possibility that your travelers want to have easy check-in and check-out options. Look for hotels that can offer a streamlined and automated experience via mobile apps or other cutting-edge technologies. Also, if you’re doing all the bookings on your own, it doesn’t hurt to find hotels that offer online booking to save time.
8. Consider business travel software or travel agents
Honestly, doing hotel rate comparison on your own can be time-consuming. You might also lack the expertise for that. Business travel software such as Betravelo has access to various hotel rates including unpublished rates and can offer a complete travel solution for your corporate travelers. Or, you can hire travel agents to do the deeds. (Check out our list of top travel agents in Hongkong and Singapore).
Hotel Travel Programs
If you’re a frequent flyer, you’d know that hotels normally offer special programs for their loyal guests. These reward programs might be different depending on your travel objectives.
For one, hotel loyalty program for business and leisure travelers are quite different. Leisure travelers are more likely to earn points from credit cards, while business travelers tend to earn rewards through paid hotel stays. Additionally, leisure travelers prefer to book via travel agents to save money and as such pass on the rewards earned via hotel booking, whilst business travelers will look for ways to earn more hotel points and status, hence, they will be more likely to book directly via hotels.
However, the majority of corporate travelers use their rewards for leisure travel. That’s why it's best to find a program that offers maximum earning potential with the easiest redemption terms.
While it’s obvious that different hotels have different strengths, but there are some factors that you should consider when choosing a hotel travel program.
Value per points
Don’t be fooled by big numbers, instead, focus on value per points. 10,000 points in Hilton could give you a very different benefit from 10,000 points in Hyatt.
Look for hotel programs that have cashback systems.
The number of properties
Hotel chains are popular because you can earn loyalty points every time you spent the night in one of their properties and they can usually be found all around the globe.
Point vs Booking systems
There are essentially two ways to earn loyalty points: point-based system or booking-based system. Depending on your travel style, both can be visible options. The important part is to look for a program that gives you the easiest way to collect points. Consider one that allows you to combine both methods to maximize your points-hunt.
A wide range of attractive rewards is crucial. 61% of travelers often choose a loyalty program that offers a broad spectrum of benefits. Don’t forget the referral rewards too! Most importantly, find out how easy to redeem these rewards.
Ask yourself this: what does it take for you to achieve a certain status? Look for hotel programs that allow you to advance through program tiers in a pretty straightforward way. Make sure it offers better quality rewards and personalized perks with it.
Hotel credit card
If you’re looking for loyalty programs in big hotel chains, consider a program that offers a hotel credit card with various benefits such as free hotel nights, free status upgrade, loyalty point boosts, or discounts for hotel’s facilities and services.
Hotel Travel Hacks
Say that you already joined a hotel program that you deemed the best, now what can you do to further trim your accommodation costs without having to sacrifice the corporate travelers’ comfort?
Check out our six hotel hacks to optimize your travel budget even more!
1. Don’t limit yourself to hotels
Hotels can be very expensive on certain occasions. While high star hotels offer lots of perks, but sometimes, a clean room at a lower star hotel can be all that corporate travelers need. Check out hostels, guesthouses, and vacation housing websites.
2. Use your hotel points wisely
Even if you collect hotel points, sometimes it makes sense to pay cash for your stay. Using points for an inexpensive stay might not get you the best value. Instead, you can save your points for future award stays.
3. Book directly through the hotel’s website or contact them in person
All you need to do is pick up the phone or send an email to enquire about making a booking and suggest that you would be happy to receive a discount.
4. Coupons and deals are handy
Search for hotel coupons or deals online via coupon or cashback websites or check rest stops and gas stations for coupon booklets to find unexpected hotel deals.
5. Stay with the same hotel
If your corporate travelers visit the same place for business every year, you can negotiate special deals if you stay at the same hotel or hotel chain. Hotels welcome repeat business and chances are they might be more willing to offer a better rate or upgraded services.
6. Bundle it
By bundling your travel essentials, from airfares, accommodations, and transportation, you are most likely to receive discounted fares. Also, find out what’s included and not included in the packages, i.e. special amenities, rewards programs, or shuttle service.
It might seem like a hassle, but planning a business trip carefully in advance can really pay off in the long run. Corporate travels are all about flexibility, so as a travel manager, it’s important to do research to discover various options and travel discounts to help balancing between your company’s budget and the traveler’s experience.
So, how do you save money on hotels?