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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Amenities Business Travelers Require

Facade of The Pierre, New YorkImage via Wikipedia

The increase in globalization of the marketplace has given rise to a distinctive climb in business-related travel. Airlines and hotels in particular have been reaping the benefits of the sudden boom. Offering business travel accommodations that highlight the various needs of travelers who are on the road due to business, such amenities include Wi-Fi, access to an exercise room and of course the hotel's close proximity to business locations or convention locales. That being said, there are a number of rarely mentioned -- but progressively more crucial -- services that business travelers call for.

The fierce competition for budget-minded business travelers has led to an all-out amenities war. Room service, laundry service, in-room massage therapies and Yoga instruction classes rub elbows with business centers, where travelers have access to fax machines, copiers, printers and other devices they would usually rely on in an office. Among accommodations in this latter area, the hotel staff member who oversees the equipment and may even be called upon to run a large number of copies - collated, stapled and sorted - while the guest relaxes is not unheard of.

Other business travel accommodations are tied directly to points-driven rewards programs. Capitalizing on Internet brand-name recognition of travel brokers, hotels offer rewards to the traveler who decides to almost exclusively book rooms through them for virtually all business travel. Amenities that hotels use to sweeten the deals are beds manufactured by nationally recognized high-end bed makers and pillows that provide ergonomic support of the head and neck. In a nod to a more and more environmentally conscious clientele, it is no longer a rarity to see overnight locations that advertise organically grown breakfast fare, responsibly harvested fair-trade coffee beans and allergy-free bedding and pillow cases.

Additional hands-on business travel features include dedicated in-room work stations that cater to portable equipment owners by supporting the uses of iPods, iPads, Blackberries and notebooks. Copious power outlets turn any spacious hotel room into a mini office and charging station while the in-room whirlpool tub takes the edge off a stressful business trip. A call to the concierge brings an ironing board and iron to the door - or a staffer, who will freshen up the suit and shoes for tomorrow's presentation - and the old standby of the wake-up call rounds out the business travel accommodations that the majority of hotels and rentals currently offer.

This then begs the question what tomorrow's business travel amenities will bring. As ever-increasing competition urges on hotels to break new ground and think of different ways that everyday travel staples might be packaged, the steady business of the corporate traveler ensures that the end of this accommodations war is still not in sight. Perhaps the newest wave of innovations is the invitation to the traveler to participate in the greening of the hospitality landscape. Environmentally-friendly lighting and material choices now do away with standard hotel interior decor. Concurrently, the need for ever increasing comfort leads to the incorporation of luxurious fabrics and materials in what would originally be considered 'hotel chic.'

Who knew that business traveler inspired amenities could be so plentiful and varied?

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