Why the Cheapest Option isn’t Always Your Best Option
tl;dr: Deeply discounted hotels rates may be saving your company money, but they could be hurting your employees.
Because travel expenses account for such a large portion of company spend, it can be tempting to book the cheapest options to try to keep control costs. But those cheap options often come with some serious downsides, especially for business travelers.
Basic economy fares offer the appeal of lower prices, but they also have hidden fees and often leave travelers unhappy. Similarly, the cheapest hotel may impress you with the price tag alone; however, there are many things aside from price to consider in order to get value for your dollar, stay within budget, and provide an enjoyable and comfortable experience for your business travelers.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most common discount options for corporate travelers — and separate myth from reality about bargain hunting in corporate travel.
When looking at real estate, location is stressed as the single most important aspect of a property. Booking travel accommodations should be no different.
Distance from the hotel to the ultimate location is an important factor to consider. The entire objective of travel is to have your employees interact face to face with the right people. Therefore, it should be convenient to get to said people. At a conveniently located hotel, your traveler won’t have to worry about getting up early to commute or getting back late after a long work day. Also, being close enough to walk can reduce spend on taxis or rideshares, helping you recoup the cost of a potentially more expensive hotel and remain on budget.
You should also factor in the surrounding area when looking at hotels. Is the hotel in a safe area? Are there places nearby for the traveler to eat dinner or go out for drinks with coworkers?
These factors don’t put real dollars back into your pocket like booking a discounted hotel might, but they are convenient for your travelers and provide value in creating a better travel experience. In the long run, that’s even more important.
Comfort & Amenities
It is pretty much taken for granted that business travelers will be uncomfortable while on the road. They aren’t in their own homes or following their normal routines. This, however, doesn’t mean that their experience has to be miserable.
Don’t book them (or force them to book) that cheap hotel that probably has a bed just about as comfortable as the floor, hasn’t been legitimately cleaned in years, and is without a single amenity. This isn’t to say you need to put them up in a luxury, five star penthouse, but you should find a balance between budget and traveler comfort.
At a minimum, travelers need a comfortable bed and a clean, spacious room. However, traveler well-being should be a priority so many other amenities will ideally be available including:
- An exercise facility that allows your traveler to remain active and stay healthy while they are on the road and out of their usual routine.
- A complimentary breakfast that ensure travelers are well fueled in order to keep up with their packed schedules and that is available at their convenience
- A group of simple amenities that allow for greater productivity including a desk for workspace as well as high speed internet and multiple charging ports to support all of the traveler’s technology needs.
Although these considerations may seem simple, they can actually make a big difference in traveler experience. They are providing value in terms of traveler happiness and well-being, which makes the higher price tag worth it.
The Balancing Act
Great! You know you want to enable your travelers to have a better experience on the road and are willing to spend a little more in order to do so, but how are you going to do this and stay on budget?
- Create a travel policy that will allow you to have control over spend while allowing your travelers more flexibility.
- Utilize dynamic pricing to allow for the same level of comfort across cities without overspending on accommodations
- Consider using a travel management platform that will give you and your team visibility into who is spending and where that spend is going