Business Traveler Hotel Trends for 2015
As a frequent business traveler you know that where you lay your head at night makes all the difference with your productivity the next day. There are several new trends among top business-friendly hotels that we wanted to share with you. Our goal is to enable you to select the best hotel for your specific needs and tastes during your future business travels.
As always, the top hotels’ motto remains centered on exceptional service, comfort and value. But there are some new time-saving features and amenities that can significantly improve your travel experiences. For instance, mobile bookings from your smartphone or tablet make life so much easier when you’re on the road or need to make last minute arrangements. Currently around 75% of U.S. travelers own a smartphone — and those numbers are expected to increase, according to a 2014 study by travel market research company Phocuswright. And what’s more, 80% of all mobile travel bookings are for hotel stays, said Scott Garner, Chief Commercial Officer for travel data analysis company ADARA, adding he doesn’t see that slowing down in the future.
There has also been a rapid rise in last minute bookings which means when you’re stuck looking for a hotel on-the-run, it will now be easier than ever to obtain a room. This type of access supports comparison shopping which in turn increases the chances of finding a competitively priced choice close to your desired location in almost any city around the world. And all right from your phone! A 2014 American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA’s ) survey that polled more than 9,600 properties found that 33 percent of participating hotels offer mobile apps (up from 23 percent in 2012). So expect to see even more diving into the mobile market this year. Search ‘hotel booking’ in your iPhone or Android’s app store and pick an app to have on-hand for this exact need. It’ll make your life that much easier.
Another major new trend this year being used to appeal to the tech-obsessed travelers is the proliferation of technological amenities. These are generally geared to making a stay more convenient. Capabilities such as in-room touchscreen controls that operate everything from the television and lighting to the curtains and thermostat (seen in the St. Regis San Francisco and ARIA Resort & Casino) are the first gadgets to delight. TheWeekapaug Inn, XV Beacon and SLS South Beach now offer
complimentary iPads for use in their hotels. Some properties (including some Hyatt and Starwood
hotels) have even taken a cue from airports, offering check-in kiosks to streamline and simplify the process for travelers, while Starwood Hotels has gone even further by introducing SPG Keyless. This smartphone app allows Starwood Preferred Guest members to use their phone to unlock their room door. Just 10 of the brand’s nearly 1,200 properties currently participate, though all W Hotels, Aloft Hotels and Element Hotels are expected to complete the program in 2015.
And add this to your list of perks to look for, no more fees for in-room Wi-Fi! Fees for on-property Wi-Fi at hotels is quickly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, Hyatt announced that starting in February, all its properties will offer free in-room Wi-Fi access, joining the likes of Loews Hotels, Joie De Vivre and La
Quinta properties, among others. In addition, several hotel brands including Marriott, Omni Kimpton
and InterContinental, grant complimentary Wi-Fi access to guests who join their free loyalty programs. A recent American Hotel & Lodging Association survey confirmed the trend in its findings, noting that fewer hotels charge for Internet access, with only 11% of respondents saying they impose a fee (down from 23% in 2012).
If you’re a road warrior, you’re familiar with how important it is to stay fit and healthy while traveling. Well hotels have taken the hint and are making it easier to access healthy meals and snacks and great workout equipment. Some hotels boast fitness-focused programs to help guests maintain their exercise regimen during their stays. A prime example is Westin, which touts the RunWESTIN program where a running concierge will lead guests on 3- to 5-mile route through the area. Westin even partnered with New Balance to lend shoes and workout gear to lodgers for $5. Meanwhile, Kimpton hotels provide yoga mats in every room, along with workout routines accessible on a hotel specific television channel. In addition, they offer complimentary bikes. Many hotels are using scheduled renovations to improve their fitness centers with additional machines and newer equipment. And still, some properties house sprawling gyms with not-just-your-average cardio and weight-lifting gear. The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa‘s private health club has more than 300 machines and offers daily exercise classes, while The Venetian Las Vegas is home to a 40-foot rock climbing wall and a cycling studio in addition to a Canyon Ranch SpaClub outpost.
Last, but certainly not least on our list of new hotel amenities, are the dining choices at hotels. When it comes to dining, properties are always aiming to impress guests with tasty dishes, but a number of hotels are now introducing health-specific venues like juice bars and fare geared to guests with special dietary needs. Dining was another area examined by the AH&LA’s 2014 survey, and a record 74% of respondents said they offer healthy menu choices for guests. For example, Fairmont‘s Lifestyle Cuisine program provides a wealth of healthy culinary options (and can even cater to specialized diets) in their restaurants, room service menus and business meeting meal offerings. Trump Hotels‘ Wellness Program, Westin’s SuperFoodsRx program and IHG‘s wellness-focused programs are all cutting edge offerings.
We hope this quick list of the latest and greatest business-friendly hotel features will come in handy when selecting a great hotel for your next trip. And remember, you can still book your SMART Cars rides online HERE 24/7 after creating a quick profile. We’ll see you soon.