Even small business owners can get Fortune 500 service at hotels by tapping into the Internet, planning ahead, and building a relationship with hotel management.
- Before you book a hotel, make a list of the services you'll need for business purposes. Will you need a conference room, a reception room, private dining, video-conferencing capabilities?
- If you regularly stay at certain hotels, call them directly. Repeat customers often can negotiate a reduced price.
- Many hotels offer additional savings for multiple bookings or for members of a business travelers' association.
Start with Internet travel servicesThe Internet is the most efficient way to book hotels for business purposes.
Check the chainsMany hotels cater to business travelers and offer special rates and packages for extended stays.
Get a good Internet connectionAsk the hotel's concierge or manager of business relations to find out what services are available. More than likely, you'll also want Internet access. Many hotels offer public access to WiFi networks to log onto the Internet and receive e-mails on the move.
Find discounts through associationsIf you're a frequent traveler, consider joining a business travel association whose members can get hotel discounts ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent.
Work with a travel agentTravel agents are ideal if you are short on time, making multiple reservations or booking large groups. They also can access special deals not always offered to the general public. Agents charge per transaction. Rates vary, but most begin around $15.
Tap international experts to find business hotels abroadSome Internet sites focus on international business travel and have expertise in Europe and the Middle East and in such countries as Canada and Mexico.
To close a deal, consider luxurySometimes it pays to spend money for small business owners who want to seal the deal or reward their employees.
- Ask if the hotel has an athletic club or guest membership to an area fitness center.
- For international journeys, make sure to contact the hotel for specific needs related to your business travel.
- Always ask for a free room upgrade. Many hotels want business travelers as regular clientele and are open to extending special deals.