Vacay.ca has teamed with Choice Hotels Canada to create a series of articles highlighting the best bargain hotel travel experiences in the country this winter and spring.
Column by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor
Business travellers in Canada account for more than 35 million trips each year, according to a 2013 study, and those journeys result in greater than $23.5 billion in spending. On average, the study found $656 was spent on each trip, with the lodging cost of $131 being the most pricey expense.
As any experienced road warrior knows, however, getting the most out of your business trip isn’t only about dollars and cents. Choice Hotels is committed to serving business travellers. Amenities such as free internet access, copy and fax machines, free local calls, voice mail, desks and coffee makers in the rooms are very popular. Fully functioning conference rooms in the hotels make conducting business efficient and easy.
Here are five tips for selecting the right hotel for your business trip:
1. Know yourself. The two things I covet in a hotel room are free, reliable WiFi access and room-darkening curtains. They’re among the first things I look for when I visit a hotel’s website. I know without those two amenities my stay won’t be as pleasant as I would like. Look beyond price when you book your hotel and know your preferences, too. Business travellers usually spend more time in their hotels than leisure travellers, so finding the right match is important to maximize the benefit of your stay. Some hotels offer complimentary car service within city limits, which can be a big advantage if your days are filled with meetings.
2. Fill your time. Just because you’re travelling to see one client or to take in a particular conference doesn’t mean that’s all you should do. Schedule as many meetings as you can and take advantage of your hotel’s meeting spaces. If you’ve got network connections in the area, look them up and see if they’ve got time to meet. Even if they’re a few hours from where you’ll be staying, it doesn’t hurt to reach out. Best case: they meet you at or near your hotel. Worst case: you manage to keep contact and let them know you were thinking of them.
Recommended Choice Hotels Canada Property: Comfort Inn Ottawa West, 222 Hearst Way, Kanata, ON, Telephone: 613-592-2200
3. Live for “bleisure”. Rather than fly home right after your business stay, make the most of your airfare cost by extending your visit. The term “bleisure” is used to describe combining business trips with personal vacations — and such holidays are a growing trend. Recent studies show that travellers in the U.S. will extend a business trip by an average of three days.
Recommended Choice Hotels Canada property: Comfort Inn Downtown, Vancouver, 654 Nelson Street, Telephone: 604-605-4333
4. Convenience matters. Location is always paramount when talking about properties and it’s especially so for business travellers who need to maximize their time in each destination they visit. Airport hotels generally aren’t glamorous, but they can be just right because many conferences, conventions and meetings take place near them. As tempting as staying in a downtown hotel may be, the best choice should be to book a room at a spot most convenient for your meeting schedule.
Recommended Choice Hotels Canada property: Quality Suites Toronto Airport, 262 Carlingview Drive, Telephone: 416-674-8442
5. Go public. Taxi fares are a huge travel expense — and an unnecessary one if you are in a city with a public transit system that will get you from your conveniently located hotel to where you need to go. With schedules and fare information readily available online, you can save a significant amount of money by downloading the transit app for your destination city and doing a bit of research before you arrive at your hotel. Know what stations are relevant to your stay and you will be prepared to get around town.
Recommended Choice Hotels Canada property: The Saint James Hotel, Toronto, ON, 26 Gerrard Street East, Telephone: 416-645-2200