When you’re a small business, if your employees are going to be traveling, whether you’re going with them or not, choosing the accommodations is important.
You have to think carefully about the price of a hotel before booking.
You also have to consider what’s going to be convenient for your employees and the amenities they may need during a work trip.
Below, we delve into some things a small business should know about choosing a hotel, motel, or any other type of accommodations for travel.
Arguably, one of the most important elements of choosing lodging for business travel is the location.
Why are your employees traveling? If you’re going on the trip, what do you hope to accomplish? What events are you attending? How easy or challenging will it be for you and everyone else on the trip to get to needed locations relatively quickly?
Paying more for a hotel that’s in a good, central location can save money on other things like renting cars or rideshares.
If your employees are dedicating too much of their time worrying about the logistics of transportation, they’re not going to be focusing as much as they could otherwise on the conference, event, or meetings they’re there for in the first place.
Of course, you also want to make sure you’re choosing accommodations that are in a safe location. You have a duty of care that you owe your employees.
Check the map of the accommodations you’re considering too. Is the hotel easy to reach from the airport or conference center? Are there any public transit options nearby if needed?
Some hotels have shuttle services to key locations, such as conference centers and similar venues. Free shuttle service might also provide transportation to nearby attractions and central areas of the city or town.
Chains That Cater to Business Travelers
Some hotel chains are known specifically for catering to business travelers, and you might be able to join their loyalty program and get benefits if you or your employees travel often.
Hilton is a good example. The Hilton Honors program also includes some of the most well-known hospitality brands where you can earn points and redeem them.
The Hilton brand is found in cities around the world, and many of the properties have meeting facilities. If you’re a Gold or Diamond member of their rewards program, you may have access to a complimentary breakfast if a club lounge isn’t available.
Homewood Suites by Hilton is one of their brands that tends to work well for business travelers. There are hundreds of properties, and all the rooms are suites, with full kitchens and separate living areas. These are a good option if you need to book a longer stay or your business travelers like some of the comforts of home while they’re away.
Marriott is another good brand for business travelers, and their Residence Inn accommodations often have rooms with separate living rooms and sleeping areas as well as kitchenettes, complimentary breakfast, and free dinner and cocktails many nights of the week.
Ask Your Employees What They Prefer
As a small business owner booking travel for your employees, you have the luxury of being able to go straight to the source and ask them what they prefer. Ask about the key amenities that are most important to them, and that will help ensure their productivity.
You might be surprised by what your employees value most when they travel for work.
You might also prepare a shortlist of some of the options you’re thinking about, so they can weigh in on specific properties.
The little things in a hotel or motel can go a long way for business travelers.
For example, is there at least one on-site restaurant? Your employees are likely to be tired at the end of a long workday and may prefer staying on-site to have dinner or pick up something quickly.
What about laundry facilities, and if they’re available, what’s the cost? Maybe a dry cleaning service is available, or a fitness center for your employees who like to stay active.
Another amenity that your employees will appreciate is a workspace. This might be in the rooms or in a common area. Ideally, maybe the hotel has both.
As a reminder, high-speed Wi-Fi access is not an optional amenity at this point—it’s a must for business travelers. You need to make sure it’s not only available and free for your employees but also reliable.
Get Insight From Reviews
There are great sites that offer in-depth hotel reviews from guests, but you’re going to want to zero in on the insight that comes specifically from other business travelers. Do some research and search for keywords related to business travelers to see what these people have to say about a particular property before booking.
Consider Whether a Travel Rewards Card Could Be a Good Idea
If you are a small business owner, and your employees travel, or you do, you might want to explore travel reward credit cards. They don’t always make sense, but in a lot of cases, when it comes to small business travel, they do.
Hotel credit cards tend to be branded. As the cardholder, you can get rewards and benefits that are exclusive to a particular chain. The rewards can be worthwhile for businesses, but only if you and your employees tend to stay with the same chain.
General travel cards might let you earn miles or points on travel costs, and they have perks like travel-related insurance and lounge access.
If you’re a small business owner that often travels with the same airline, you might consider an airline-branded credit card.
Finally, no matter where you decide to stay or to have your employees stay, be fully aware of all the available tax deductions for travel expenses that you can take advantage of. Deductible travel expenses can include not only lodging but also certain dining expenses and more.
Travel can be expensive for small businesses but can also provide a good ROI if you plan it carefully.