February 28, 2024

5 Hotel Perks That Make Work Trips Both Fun and Productive for Business Travelers

Business travel slowed significantly when the pandemic hit in 2020, but it's rebounding. Last year, the Global Business Travel Association predicted global business-travel spending would reach $1.4 trillion in 2024.

As business travelers hit the road and take flight, companies can ensure that their work trips are comfortable and enjoyable, starting with accommodations.

We asked four business leaders and entrepreneurs for their advice on how companies could support their employees who travel frequently, and they recommended booking hotels with the following five perks.

1. Access to strong WiFi and a business center

Staying in a hotel that has a strong WiFi connection ranks high with the experts who spoke with Business Insider. Ideally, companies should also look for hotels that provide complimentary WiFi so travelers can avoid the hassle of having to log in and manage the WiFi on each of their devices.

"Reliable WiFi is the most important hotel amenity," Karen Mitchell, a New York entrepreneur who takes six to eight business trips a year, said. "Being able to get online quickly allows for efficient communication with my team, my stores, and my business colleagues. I also need to be online to access the online resources I need for productivity."

Another highly valued hotel perk is access to a business center, which is convenient for virtual meetings, making copies, or printing documents.

"Access to a business center is an essential aspect of a business trip in today's digital age," said Jen Catto, the chief marketing officer of Travelport, a platform on which travel agencies and companies can book trips. "Though employees may opt to work from their hotel rooms, having a business center provides a change of scenery and helps employees separate work from their sleeping area."

2. A fitness center or spa

Another perk employees should have access to is a fitness center or spa that can be used during their downtime.

"As a business leader, I think offering hotels that create peace and foster relaxation is key," Jill Johnson, the CEO and a cofounder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, said. Johnson spent last year traveling to 10 US cities to help investors and executives create more diverse networks and plans to visit another 15 cities this year. "A fitness center is a great option so that employees can maintain their workout schedule," she said.

For many travelers, a gym session is a great way to rejuvenate after a long flight, and a spa can provide a stress-relieving massage or wellness service after a long day of work.

"The hardest part of business travel is that it can be time-disorienting when traveling to different time zones, and travel requires extra energy and focus," Samantha Drucker, an actor and television host who often travels between New York and Florida, said. "I like a gym with a sauna or steam room to stay well and strong, and I also like access to a salon on the premises in case I need a blowout or I chip a nail."

If there's no gym at the hotel, the next best thing is in-room fitness equipment or workout mainstays such as stationary bikes and elliptical machines that can be checked out during a stay.

"I'll sometimes contact the hotel to see if I can borrow a yoga mat to use during my stay so that I can keep up my practice," Catto said. "In this new era of business travel, companies that book hotels that prioritize their employees' needs will likely go far in keeping employees happy and motivated."

3. Food services like in-room dining or complimentary breakfast

When employees travel, their eating schedules may be off because of jet lag or time-zone differences, and when hotel restaurants are closed, having the option of in-room dining is valuable.

"I appreciate prompt and efficient room service on a business trip," Mitchell told BI. "On my last business trip to New Delhi, India, I was able to order breakfast via room service before a morning meeting, which saved me a lot of time."

Complimentary hotel breakfast benefits the company's bottom line and can free up the employee's time as they avoid hunting for a local restaurant or standing in a long line at a local coffee shop.

"I prefer when breakfast is included at a hotel," Catto said. "Not only am I keeping my per-diem expenses down, but I also don't have to think about where I'll get my morning coffee before meetings start."

4. Hotel concierge services

A hotel concierge can be an invaluable point of contact for business travelers who are not familiar with the area and want help with things such as making reservations at local restaurants for business meetings.

"Whenever I need advice in a new destination, I always talk to the chief concierge of the hotel I'm staying at," Drucker said. "That person knows the lay of the land, and I know they're great at helping impossible things become possible."

If employees frequent the same hotel, a concierge may be able to reserve the same room for every trip, which makes Drucker feel more at home, she said. For frequent travelers, a hotel concierge can also arrange an early check-in, which can be a relief after a long flight.

"I'm especially grateful when early check-in is offered," Catto said. "I'm typically on an overnight flight and like to freshen up before seeing colleagues and jumping into my workday."

5. Proximity to local attractions

Having a hotel that's close to local attractions cuts down on transportation costs if employees want to spend time sightseeing. When it comes to downtime activities, Johnson said, businesses should discuss whether there's an entertainment budget before the trip so everyone is on the same page. She makes a point to explore a destination on each business trip, she said — even if she's been there before.

"I always try to find great local coffee shops and restaurants and cool small businesses when I travel," she said. "Whenever possible, I like to walk around and explore on foot, and last year, I took some time to enjoy the local scenes in the cities I traveled to. My activities include a dinner at Agave Uptown in Oakland, California, a half day of touring the Puget Sound and the Space Needle in Seattle, and discovering delicious eats in Philadelphia's Reading Market."

In the past, Catto said that business trips meant giving up 24 hours in the day and being restricted to "work only" activities, but now companies allow and even encourage employees to take advantage of a blended travel experience.

"Traveling for work can also be an opportunity to explore a different city, take in an activity, and soak in the local culture of the city you're in while you're there," she said. "If a business trip lands you in a big city or another country, then there's a great opportunity to take a few extra days at your own expense and enjoy what the destination you're in has to offer."

Copyright 2024 Insider Inc. All rights reserved. From https://www.businessinsider.com. By Mariette Williams.

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