JOHANNESBURG – Business travel is an art that demands attention to detail. Ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free stay begins right when you start booking your hotel room. Yet, many critical factors are frequently overlooked. Here are the seven most common oversights business travellers make during the booking process, according to Jonathan Scott, FCM’s Senior Account Manager.
Sleep Tight or Not Quite Right?
The layout of your room is crucial, especially if you are sharing your space with a colleague. An open bathroom can make a shared space feel uncomfortable and impact privacy. Scott suggests, “Ask the right questions when booking a shared room. Always ask for a twin room instead of a double room and don’t be shy to enquire about the bathroom situation. The last thing you want is to discover an awkwardly placed open bathroom on arrival.“
Time is Money: Early Check-In and Bag Storage
Flight schedules and hotel check-in times often do not align, leading to hours of wasted time. Business travellers, particularly international ones, should consider hotels that offer early check-in. Safe and secure luggage storage is also an important consideration if you arrive before check-in or depart after check-out. Scott advises, “Remember to request early check-in, especially for international travellers arriving on an early flight.“
Feed the Need: 24/7 Room Service
Food availability at odd hours is another crucial aspect to consider. Many business travellers overlook the availability of 24-hour room service when booking their accommodation. This could mean going to bed hungry after a late meeting or landing. According to Scott, “Confirming a hotel’s restaurant or catering options is a must for business travellers. Having 24-hour room service is almost essential for those late arrivals.”
Surprise! Local Events Impacting Your Stay
Did you know local events can drastically affect hotel availability and pricing? For instance, booking a hotel room in Durban during the Durban July can be a nightmare. Scott recommends, “Always ask about local events that may be happening at your destination during your visit. This can save you a lot of hassle and potential overpricing.“
Stars in Their Eyes: Grading Standards
A 3-star hotel in South Africa may offer better service or amenities than a 3-star hotel in another part of the world. Grading standards vary significantly across countries. Scott cautions, “Never assume that a 3-Star grading is the same in your destination as it is in South Africa. Be prepared for the fact that tourism gradings differ across the world. And remember that we’re incredibly spoiled in South Africa.”
Rewarding Loyalty: Don’t Miss Out
Many travellers miss out on the rewards of loyalty programmes. Benefits such as room upgrades, late check-outs, or even free stays can be obtained if travellers sign up and use these programmes. As Scott points out, “Your accommodation loyalty points can be as crucial as frequent flyer points. Don’t let these benefits slip through your fingers.“
Getting Around: Public Transport Options
Access to reliable and safe public transport is essential, especially in foreign destinations where e-hailing services may not be available. Scott advises, “Before booking, make sure to confirm the availability and safety of public transport options around the hotel.“
The success of a business trip relies heavily on careful hotel booking. While facilities and amenities are important, aspects like room layout, early check-in, food availability, local events, grading standards, loyalty programmes, and public transport can significantly influence your travel experience. Paying attention to these often-overlooked details can make your trip smoother, safer, and more enjoyable.
Scott concludes: “If you book through a trusted travel management company (TMC) like FCM, these details are all taken care of. FCM thinks of everything so you don’t have to. Sit back, relax, and let FCM turn your business trip into a ‘home away from home’ experience.”