So I find myself doing business travel. I’m prone to overthinking things and I have just finished overthinking hotels, so here are my opinions & thoughts.
A hotel is the basics (a bed, not far from an office) and a bunch of amenities, many of which don’t matter because you’re on business travel.
Here are things I care about:
- Beauty. I’m having to travel away from home and family, pleasant surroundings isn’t too much to ask for.
- Stars as a proxy for not having bed bugs, not having surly staff, having working plumbing. 3 starts is suitable for business (i.e. few hassle risks), 4 stars is sometimes outside of my per diem, 5 stars is usually outside my per diem. 1 & 2 stars is for tourists willing to take risks and 5 stars start to include a bunch of amenities that are for the super rich on leisure travel, e.g. concierge service.
- Wifi. Is it free and not crippled and not to painful to connect to?
- Power at the desk. There should be enough plugs and USB power is a nice touch.
- Are they close to the subway and the office? This isn’t hard in NYC. Everything is close to a subway.
- Are they close to vegan restaurants? Oddly, if I’m too close to the office, I’m too far from vegan restaurants, in part because it’s just a bunch of over priced steak houses in the high rent district where office buildings are.
- Are they union? I prefer going to union hotels. In NYC, you can check, but it appears that almost all hotels are union.
- Are they green? It seems like Green hotels tend to be big chains. They have the time and money to get certified, but few hotel directories filter by “green” or what green happens to mean- it could be a certification, a LEED building or trivial towel policies, which are often not followed by the staff anyhow.
- Does my company like them? My company doesn’t like all hotels. They like certain large chains and certain boutique hotels. I don’t know why, but I suspect it has to do with deposit and refunds.
- Do I get points? I happen to get points via Hilton Honors, but my company only likes one Hilton property. I find this mystifying.
- What does the desk look like? Weirdly many hotels have “purse stand” desks that would be too small to actually sit and write code or compose emails.
- Can I get video content from my laptop to the TV? No one advertises what sort of HDMI plugs they take or if it is accessible from a laptop (or is it like 6 feet up a wall)
- Do they have a decent iPod doc? I don’t like TV when I’m working, but I don’t always like dead silence.
- Does the AC keep the room cold at night? This sort of gets in the way of being green, but when you travel, you want every trick in the book to stay healthy and not get so worn out that your mind if fuzzy.
- Gym? Really, I just want to be able to 15 minutes of fixed weight exercises without a TV in the background. Having to track down a neighborhood gym & get a day pass is too burdensome.
- Receipts. Gimmie a proper receipt and email me one and make it easy to get one from the website. Don’t make me have to call you.
- Huge initial charges that they reduce to the actual. This scares the hell out of me every time they do it. I want to see the negotiated price at all times, not some stupid “charge a lot and adjust later in-case they don’t have enough on their credit card or if they use the fridge snacks”
- A fridge for restaurant leftovers. I’ve had to put my leftovers over the air conditioner because the fridge was full of overpriced crap that my company’s policy will not reimburse.
- Pool. I’m torn on this one because I’m not sure I’d have time to actually use it, but it would work instead of a Gym visit.
Amenities that are not amenities in NYC.
- Coffee. There is better coffee a block away. I can’t fault them for offering something tho, because for everyone else, something is better than nothing.
- Restaurant. Why should I eat at a restaurant with one expensive vegan option when there are six all vegan restaurants in walking distance?
- Breakfast. Why would I want to try to cobble together a vegan breakfast from a buffet when there is a better one a block away?
- Room service. Why would I want overpriced food with few or unimpressive vegan options when there is
- Minifridge stuff. Drives me up the wall to see this, it’s like asking someone if they want to be mugged in return for booze or candy.
- Extra room in a suite. Not sure what I’d do with that room unless it was a kitchenette.
Amenities I wish (more) Hotels offered
- An empty mini fridge.
- Effortless way(s) to connect laptop to the TV
- Wifi authentication that lasts for the duration of your stay.
- websites and apps, although what features are killer features I’m not sure yet.
- something else, but I’m not sure what. I’m just pretty sure no one is bringing their dog with them on a business trip (yes, that is one of the filters on my search website, which I imagine has a 100% business clientele)
- some way to know if you are looking out at a wall, park or street or city scape.
- effortless early check in (I hate having to wait til 3) or a locked place to leave my luggage until 3.
Things that hotels think I care about as a business traveller:
- PC/Fax/Photocopier center. I wouldn’t want to be bother with trying to get this reimbursed if it wasn’t automatically included.
- Conference room. Well, I guess it matters if I was a *conference* organizer.
- Meeting rooms. I guess if the sign up was low friction. I’ve never needed one.
Anyhow, what comes to mind for business travel is a bedroom with an office with the sort of office things you might get at a WeWork, a company that provides office space to freelancers.