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Business Travelers: What Do You Look for in a Hotel?

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As much as I travel, and as great as my own gusto for travel is, I’m always impressed by the stamina of business travelers. You know, those travelers who week after week head out either to the same location or various locations due to living in one place and conducting business in another. I don’t actually have many friends who spend their weeks living this life, but recently I sat down and talked with my friend Rachel who has been a business traveler for a few years now and travels three weeks out of every month. I was curious about what she looks for in a hotel and how she makes accommodation choices.

Rachel’s Story

Due to a change in business travel locations, about two years ago Rachel switched from Marriott Rewards loyalty to Hilton Honors loyalty. She was pleased with Marriott, so the switch was based purely on Hilton property locations that worked better for her business location. She’s enjoying Hilton properties and has quite a huge accumulation of Hilton points now! For her, hotel location being close to her business is always more important than being close to an airport. Rachel easily maintains Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status.

Rachel’s Priority in Choosing a Hotel

Rachel’s top priority is looking for comfort. She’d rather not stay in older, dingy hotels. She defines comfort as a certain homey feeling. And this sense of comfort encompasses the whole place, so it’s a general feeling she gets from a hotel. She appreciates when the staff is friendly, the lobby lounge area is clean, and when there is fruit available in the lobby. As I’m sure many business travelers do, she notices how she is greeted and always enjoys a “welcome back” acknowledgement.

Second Priority

My friend’s next priority is familiarity of the rooms. Are they clean? Do they have a good layout for a business person with tables and a desk and a REAL desk chair? Are the outlets and USB ports easy to reach, and are they high and easy to find? She has never understood why so many outlets are close to the ground and hard to find. She is partial to the Hilton beds and more interested in getting a pillow that works for her. Rachel mentioned something about Hilton hotels I never thought of. For pillows they’ll usually provide pillows of varying types. So if there are three on the bed, for instance, one will be firm, one mushy and then maybe a foam pillow, too. This makes a difference because you don’t want all the pillows to be the same such that you need to call for pillows. Color schemes do matter, and much like I am, she’s partial to some colors over others. I think many of us who spend a lot of nights in hotels notice colors and room design and have preferences.

Hilton Properties to Check Out

Rachel has been spending many nights at a Hilton property I had never heard of. It’s called Home2 Suites. It’s an extended stay, all-suites brand, and she enthusiastically recommends them. I’ll have to give them a try sometime soon. In the states, her favorite Hilton property is in Indian Wells, CA. I told her about now being able to use Hilton Honors points at the Hotel Del, and that put a smile on her face! Her aspirational Hilton stay would be in the Seychelles… great choice!

As a frequent traveler who works while she travels, I always find it fascinating to talk to other frequent travelers to learn about their travel patterns and what matters to them. If you often travel for business, do these preferences sound similar to yours? Are there other features that are important in a hotel or hotel room that matter more to you?

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10 thoughts on “Business Travelers: What Do You Look for in a Hotel?

  1. Nicholas

    I travel sparingly for business, mostly to visit clients on the west coast for single overnights. I don’t require something super fancy but will always prefer a hotel with a lounge over one without and I’m willing to spend a small marginal amount of extra dollars to be comfortable in a good location rather than chained to the lowest priced hotel.

    I’m going to San Francisco next month for an overnight and will be staying at the JW Marriott because I stayed there on a personal trip recently and the bedding was extremely comfortable. It is $50 more for the night than at the Marriott Marquis but my business can pay for that comfort without issue. The lounge there serves enough food to cut down on needing to buy snacks during my trip, too.

    The Renaissance in Seattle is, in my opinion, the perfect business hotel. The room was exceptionally comfortable and the lounge was spacious with good food, great WiFi, and a decent amount of comfort. The views of the space needle made whiling the day away there while working enjoyable. Another great one was the Sheraton Grand in LA for the same reasons.

    1. Shelli Post author

      Great information, Nicholas. Thanks so much for adding to the conversation and making some hotel recommendations. I agree with you on the lounge and location aspects. Even though I’m not a traditional business traveler, I do work when I travel, so I appreciate the amenities you mentioned.

  2. Pam

    I look for properties with a lounge if at all possible. I typically book a mid range property like a Hyatt, Marriott or Hilton – but will downgrade to a Hilton Garden Inn or a Hyatt Place if that’s all the location offers. Proximity to my work location is key in deciding. And sometimes the last day, I’ll relocate to an airport hotel.

    The property should offer breakfast (not necessary that it be free) and hopefully have a restaurant and room service in case we end up working late. Fresh cooked eggs vs. buffet style scrambled eggs can sometimes sway the decision.

    Depending on how much equipment we are traveling with, another item that’s sometimes important is porter service. If I’m carrying a lot of gear, that’s imperative.

    I too am looking for clean and comfortable. I love a room that has a sitting area with a TV, so I can relax and unwind and not have to sit on my bed.

    1. Shelli Post author

      HI Pam, I agree. Having a lounge ranks high. Even if I don’t eat there, I like having a space to go to for working or just to change environments from my room. Good idea about switching to a hotel closer to the airport the night before departure. And I’m with you on those fresh cooked eggs. I never eat those buffet eggs :( Porter service is an interesting point. I know many hotels don’t offer that anymore, though I have noticed hotels do sometimes offer luggage carts to use. I like when I can use the carts and don’t have to wait for assistance. Yes, yes, yes, on the not sit on the bed all the time. You are a very experienced business traveler! Thanks for the tips.

  3. Matt

    Background: Management consultant traveling M-Th+ every week (220 nights last year).

    Loyalty: SPG > Marriott

    Priorities (in order of importance):
    1. Guaranteed upgrades + early checkin – typically arrive early AM Monday to drop off bags and request a suite be available. Typically can accommodate or a “temp” room is given and they will have my bags moved once the actual room is ready

    2. Fitness Center: Last thing I want to do early morning or late night is wander outside for a decent gym.

    3. Location: Have been spoiled having hotels attached to the office but otherwise a 5min Uber is the limit.

    1. Shelli Post author

      Wow, Matt. You are on the road a lot. Early check-in is definitely a good one and no one has mentioned that yet. I think it makes a big difference too, and it’s great when a property can accommodate you. I’ve been disappointed in some of the fitness centers I’ve seen. Mostly they are too small and everyone is wanting the same machines at the same time of day. I’m learning that location and short as possible commutes to the office is a big priority for road warriors. Thanks so much for reading and chiming in.

  4. Carlos

    A comfortable chair to relax and put my feet up. Ottoman or recliners preferred. If there is a table next to it, even better. Nothing aggravates me more than walking into my hotel room and the only chair available is a desk or dining table chair that will hurt my bum after sitting for more than a few minutes. I dont want to sit or lay in the bed if I have to be there for hours.
    I am not too concerned with breakfast as the company will pay my meals if it is not offered.

    Obviously cleanliness is a very important factor.
    Location is important, ideally somewhere near many dining options. Doesn’t have to be fancy options.
    My travel must be budget conscious so its usually HI Express or low to midrange SPG/Hilton/Marriott Properties most of the time for me.
    Oh and having a mini fridge/microwave is a big plus for my needs.

    1. Shelli Post author

      I’m with you on the vote for an ottoman, Carlos. Unfortunately, I find having comfortable seating in a hotel room all too rare. And a fridge is a big plus, I agree. Cleanliness is actually the number one thing people notice in hotel rooms. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. Dennis

    I travel a lot, perhaps not every week but anywhere from 50-60 nights a year all over the country. I prefer consistency in a brand. I prefer the SPG properties, Westin’s always have the same bed, sheets and pillows. If I can I stay only at SPG properties and have been fortunate to stay at many W’s, San Francisco, Westwood/Beverly Hills, Chicago (in the loop) have seen many visits from me over the years.

    In addition, I want a restaurant or at least some breakfast options, expect a coffee maker (some W’s don’t have them, you need to request), lots of outlets for charging my phone, iPad and laptop.

    As a Platinum I get upgraded to larger rooms and often times suites (W Westwood/Beverly Hills is always taking care of its elites), not a requirement but a nice perk. I’m also impartial to hotels with modern lobbies and decor. I really don’t like the homey feel of Marriotts but that’s me.

    1. Shelli Post author

      All good points, Dennis. I know what you mean about consistency in a hotel. There are hotels I frequent and I even request the same room. The outlets are an issue at some hotels, especially their placement. I agree on the coffee maker but I can’t stand Keurig and that seems popular right now. I like modern and newer hotels, as well. Thanks for your recommendations on properties!


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