Every city hotel depends on some form of business travel. Some properties take this for granted and other fight hard for this segment. If you are an independent small hotel in the latter segment and keen to get one up on your competition, then read on.
The first nine may seem rather basic, but then do we always get the basics right? Here they are and why they are so important. They all emphasise the elements that are vital to the business traveller – time, ease of working & well-being.
1. Getting there & transport during stay – Business stays are short and time is critical. Providing an airport pick-up service saves time and the hassle of waiting for a taxi. And if they are happy to share their schedule ahead of their visit, then offer to arrange transport during their stay as well.
2. Location Description: One of the most important factors in booking business travel is the proximity to the meeting location. Often travellers rely on the hotel website to understand this. It is critical to be specific in your description about where your hotel is located, and distances/times to main business districts and landmarks.
3. Free Wi-fi: Internet with wi-fi in rooms and public areas is no longer a luxury even in lesser known destinations. It is a must for business travellers, who need to stay in touch wherever they are. And it should be free.
4 – The spa/gym: If you do not have one on your premises, no problem. Make sure that you partner with a centre nearby so that you can offer the option. And make it easy for them to get there if not on your premises.
5 – Work space: Do your rooms have a designated work space with a desk? And do they have good lighting and plug sockets? And equally importantly, is there a good photo of this area on your website and OTA’s?
6 – Business centre or at least a business kit: If running a business centre is not viable, why not equip your reception with the option of providing a business stationary kit if needed?
7 – Speedy Check-in: Have you ever timed how long your check-in process takes? What can you do to speed it up? Anything which takes more than 3 minutes is too long.
8 – An iron and ironing board: Having this in the room means no time spent on calling Housekeeping or worrying about the quality of the hotel ironing
9 – Speedy Breakfast: Provide an option to have a quick breakfast and an early one where needed.
So, if you have the basics covered, why not dig a bit deeper and consider some more features to attract the frequent business traveller? Here are the other 9.
10 – Pillow menu: Sleep is so important & anything that aids good sleep is highly valued. A choice of pillows to suit different choices can make a difference. And Black-out curtains: It is a fact that light affects sleep. Many hotels tend to skimp on high quality curtains, but if you want your business traveller, get these curtains right.
11 – Relaxation & Leisure time planning: Business travellers do mix business with leisure. Business hotels can benefit by highlighting interesting areas around. Equally or more importantly, high quality dining options nearby can help guests to see the benefit of your hotel’s location.
12 – Flexibility with arrival & departure times: Business travel is in many instances less flexible. So how rigid is your hotel with arrival and departure? What can you do to make it easier rather than insisting on an early check-in charge?
13 – Healthy Snacks: How about offering fruits or other healthy but refreshing choices in the evening when they return after a busy work day?
14 – Meeting area/room: Providing business travellers with a reasonably private area for small conferences and meetings is always useful. These will help travellers to arrange small meetings without going through an elaborate process of booking meeting rooms etc. It can also give the hotel additional visibility through the visitors.
15 – Online check-in: Why not follow the airline route and allow online check-in? This may even allow you to sell some additional services ahead of time.
16 – Loyalty: In the current age, loyalty is built through increasing personalisation and not just through loyalty cards. What steps are you taking daily to recognise, understand and relate to your repeat guests?
17 – Woman business traveller: Women travellers need to feel safe, comfortable and pampered. What does your hotel offer women business travellers? Some hotels provide power hair dryers and full length mirrors in the room. Some focus on room safety with chain locks on doors and allocating rooms in more secure locations within the hotel.
18 – Pre-arrival concierge: Why not call your guest ahead of their stay to check on anything that they would like arranged ahead of arrival? Examples would be transportation, dining arrangements etc.
Some of these may be for your hotel & some not. Whatever the case may be, it is really important to highlight your business friendly services on your hotel website and all Online Travel Agencies – high quality visual and descriptive content promoting these business friendly features is critical.