Hotel standards are pulling in two quite different directions at the same time. There is a growing supply and requirement for basic rooms with little or no service attached. Booking and paying is usually done from your telephone, keyboard or touch pad. Chances are unless you sleep late you will never see any hotel staff. At the other end is the luxury hotel with high levels of service and a corresponding higher level of cost. These are some of the things a business traveller may find worth paying for when choosing a hotel:

  • A high-tech command centre from which you can manage your business and communicate with clients and the office. The facilities could include, fax, and voice mail, scanners, printers, PC with Internet connection or jack point for your own laptop
  • 24-hour computer support for road warriors which could include; a cyber-relations manager to meet you at check-in and help set up your computer and get connected to the hotel's phone and power systems. Hotel staff on hand who are trained to support popular word-processing and spreadsheet programs, Web-browser and e- mail applications and most computer hardware
  • Safety is an important feature worth seeking out. Safety covers more than just protecting your valuables in the hotel. The location of the hotel itself can contribute to its security. Some hotels are located in areas notorious for pickpockets, muggers and worse. One further aspect of security worth considering is the location of the room within the hotel. Ground floors are vulnerable and top floors are hard to escape from when things go wrong. The third floor is generally recognised as providing the optimal safety zone
  • Fitness facilities are more than a luxury for business travellers. Long haul flights can render you unfit for work brought about by a variety of causes including a lack of oxygen, the effect of pressurised and cramped conditions, unfamiliar food and perhaps even too much alcohol. (Cabin pressure exaggerates the dangers of alcohol). Exercise is a well-proven way to reduce the harmful effects of travelling and quickly get you back into shape for work
  • Meeting and conference facilities were you can see customers and business associates in your hotel and so make the most efficient use of your travel time
  • In room coffee makers, common in some countries and all but unknown in others are worth finding out about. Room service, however efficient, is always going to be expensive and intrusive

Features worth paying for also include having a reasonable sized room, with good heating and air conditioning, fast check in and out, and a good standard of service. Some hotels offer free accommodation if they fail to live up to their service promise. This keeps the staff up to the mark and gives you the added benefit of a cost saving if things go wrong.