Eight Signs Your Hotel is Business Friendly

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When your boss is scheduled for a business trip, all hotels are not the same. Being able to conduct business, whether meeting with the client or customer or relaxing in the hotel after a busy day, negotiating is critical. Keeping in touch with the home office is just as important, whether you are in Chicago or Cairo. Here are eight things to look for when booking a hotel for business travel.

1. Proximity to the client/customer. This is one of the most important factors since ease of travel early morning during rush hour in a strange location can be frustrating and showing up late gives a bad impression regardless of the excuse.
2. Directions to the client/customer location. Can the hotel provide directions or even shuttle service? If your traveler is driving, you want to get information on parking facilities and any charges and whether they can be paid with a credit card or cash only. This may seem like a small detail, but can cause delays if you aren’t prepared to pay with exact change and have to rush to find an ATM just to get out of the parking garage.
3. Traffic patterns and “rush hour” times. I once delivered a training program at the University of Chicago, and had to get to the airport for a 6 p.m. flight. The seminar ended at 4 p.m., so you would think two hours would be enough time for a nine-mile drive. Not so. The traffic was so hopelessly gridlocked (normal for that time of day, I later found out) that it took just over two hours to get to the airport, too late to make my flight.
4. Does the hotel have Internet access, Fedex or UPS pickup services, a fully functional business center and any other business services? What are the hours of operation and fees? If your traveler is going overseas, will they need converters in order to operate and charge laptops, phones, etc. These vary by country, so get specific information and purchase accordingly.
5. Does the hotel have laundry and dry cleaning services 24/7, and how long does it take from pickup to delivery. Accidents happen, and being able to get a shirt or suit cleaned overnight or in a few hours can make a difference in winning or losing the contract.
6. Sleeping rooms with parlors for a place to relax. Does it have a comfortable sofa or chair and good lighting? For long-term stays, a place to get away from the “bedroom” makes it feel more like home and less like a hotel.
7. Meeting facilities for a one-on-one meeting or small group. Plans can change quickly, and your client may want to meet with you on your territory. Balancing your laptop on the edge of your sleeping room bed while trying to hold an impromptu meeting isn’t conducive to negotiating a deal.
8. Reliable wake-up calls, early coffee service, take-away breakfasts. These services are essential, even though you have an alarm clock and set the TV for a wake-up. A ringing phone is harder to ignore, and if you don’t call back, they will just keep calling until you do.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at www.skirt.com/savannahchick, www.workingsmartworks.blogspot.com/ and on the web at www.mjnhconsulting.com.

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