Every city hotel depends on some form of business travel. Some properties take this for granted and others fight hard for this segment. If you are an independent boutique hotel in the latter segment and keen to ensure a mix of business and leisure travel while getting one up on your competition, then read on.
Some of them 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.Provide options for getting there & transport during the 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.Ensure relevant location & descriptions are provided
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.Provide good quality 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 – or at least free as part of a loyalty programme.
4.Highlight the Spa/Gym
And 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 it’s not on your premises.
5.Have a designated workspace
Do your rooms have a designated workspace 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 OTAs?
6.Ensure a business kit if there is no business centre
If your hotel is too small to have a dedicated business centre or it is not your core audience, why not equip your reception with the option of providing a business stationery kit if needed?
7.Ensure that you have a quick check-in process
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.Provide an Iron & Ironing board
Having this in the room means no time spent on calling housekeeping or worrying about the quality of the hotel ironing.
9.Provide an option for a speedy breakfast
Provide an option to have a quick breakfast and good quality takeaway coffee.
10.Offer a pillow menu & blackout curtains
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 blackout curtains – it is a fact that light affects sleep.
11.Help plan relaxation & leisure
Business travellers are increasingly mixing 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.Be more flexible with arrival & departure times
Business travel by its very nature is in most cases inflexible. So how rigid is your hotel with arrival and departure times? What can you do to make it easier rather than insisting on an early check-in charge?
13.Offer options for healthy snacks
How about offering fruits or other healthy but refreshing choices in the evening when they return after a busy workday?
14.Make it easy to hold small meetings
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.Make your loyalty proposition more personal
In today’s world, 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?
16.Take care of the unique needs of women travellers
Women travellers need to feel safe and comfortable. What does your hotel offer women business travellers? Some hotels provide power hairdryers 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.
17.Have a pre-arrival concierge service
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 apply for your hotel & some not. Whatever the case may be, it is REALLY IMPORTANT to highlight your business-friendly services on all distribution channels especially your hotel website and OTAs — high quality visual and descriptive content promoting these business-friendly features is critical.