For many workers today, business travel is a part of life. As road warriors know, a business travel hotel can make or break a work trip. Fast Wi-Fi, destination-worthy fitness centers, satisfying food—all of these things have the power to transform a business pain into a business perk.
Do you know what your employees want in a business travel hotel? I spoke to business leaders to find out what they're looking for when it comes to the best hotels for business travel (with the assumption that fast, free Wi-Fi is a given). Here are the amenities they seek.
A Good Fitness Center
Whether she's on the road or at home, Beth Whitman strives to stay on top of her workouts. As the founder of the travel site Wanderlust and Lipstick, and tour company WanderTours, based in Seattle, Washington, Whitman travels frequently. Before reserving a room, she'll find out as much information as she can about a hotel's fitness center. “Being able to work out, whether I'm traveling for work or vacation, helps keep me in my routine, helps set my circadian rhythm and just gives me an overall sense of well-being—especially if I'm not eating well while away from home," says Whitman.
Healthy Grab-And-Go Dining Options
As the owner of the St. Jane Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, Carrie Meghie knows what she wants in a business travel hotel. First and foremost: convenient, healthy food choices. “I travel quite a bit for work and while I'm away, it's important for me to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Since eating well can easily fall to the wayside when you're pressed for time, I always seek out properties that have cafes and restaurants attached that provide healthy grab-and-go options," she says.
Another thing she looks for: a property that is near a salon or blow dry bar. “If I have to be away from my family, I like being able to treat myself to something time-saving and luxurious," she says. It's rare, says Meghie, to find both of these options in one property, so she decided to offer them at her hotel, St. Jane. Guests can pre-order healthy meals tailored to their diet for room delivery or pickup at the cafe, and they can visit the on-site salon or book a private appointment in their room.
A Well-Stocked Minibar
When David Zapata is on the road, his days are packed from early morning late into the night. Because of that, the CEO and founder of Zapwater Communications, a communications agency based in Chicago with locations in Los Angeles and Miami, says he loves it when he can mindlessly grab a snack or beverage from the hotel's minibar. It's a great perk, he says, and one of the worthwhile hotel expenses of business travel. “Truth be told, sometimes it's just nice to come back to a room and have a glass of wine or beer while watching a movie. It's the little things like these that make business trips more enjoyable," says Zapata.
Christian Beck travels internationally for his job as senior project manager with FILTEC, which manufactures food, beverage and pharma inspection systems and has offices around the world, including its headquarters in Torrance, California. There are a number of things he looks for in a business travel hotel, including ample and convenient parking, Wi-Fi he can access without a password, and a functional workspace with USB ports and ample outlets. But one service, in particular, makes a difference in how he packs, and that's laundry service. “I do check to make sure laundry service is available for extended trips. For instance, while traveling through Asia, I contacted each hotel to find out their turnaround time for laundry service," he says. When he knows a hotel will be able to clean his shirts, he's able lighten his load—both physically and mentally.
If I have to be away from my family, I like being able to treat myself to something time-saving and luxurious.
—Carrie Meghie, owner, St. Jane Hotel
In-Room Coffee (And Good Wine Glasses)
Beverages are big business for Liz Barrett, who is a food and wine public relations consultant, founder of Liz Barrett Communications in Chicago and author of the wine blog, What's in That Bottle. She seeks out two beverage-related items in a business travel hotel: coffee and decent wine glasses. “The coffee is personal. I just want it the minute I get up. I do not want to have to traipse down to a lobby or a restaurant or, God forbid, off-property to get a freaking cup of coffee," she says. “The wine glasses are because, as a wine writer and wine communications professional, I'm often tasting wines in my hotel room and I am not using a flimsy plastic cup or a coffee mug," she says. Lately, she's started carrying her own plastic stemless wine glasses, in case of a wine-glass-shortage emergency away from home.
Quality Bath Linens
Location is generally the main deciding factor when chef Paul Bartolotta chooses among the best hotels for business travel. Within the room, itself, Bartolotta, who is owner and co-founder of The Bartolotta Restaurants, a restaurant group based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wants creature comforts, including a quality shower, good water pressure and luxury bath linens. “I love bath sheets, not just bath towels, especially if I'm staying at a premium hotel. Also, a bath robe and slippers are pretty common amenities, but a quality hotel will make sure they provide you with a robe and slippers in your size. A robe and slippers that are too small are unusable," says Bartolotta. He says that those embellishments allow for a “home away from home" feeling, and that matters in transit.
Work travel doesn't have to feel like work. When a business covers the right hotel expenses, employees can access the amenities they love. Individual preferences can run the gamut, so the onus is on the business leader to ask the team for input on what they're looking for in the best hotels for business travel, and try to make a job necessity feel more like a business benefit.
Photo: Getty Images