1st Choice Blog
Business travelers opt for homier digs on the road
(CNN) -- There are many luxurious amenities a business traveler enjoys while sleeping on the road: fluffy beds, room service, decked-out fitness centers and concierges.
These amenities make traveling more comfortable. But when it comes down to it, take it from Dorothy: There's no place like home.
Some business travelers say they prefer staying in furnished vacation rentals, corporate housing and inns versus hotels, particularly for lengthier stays.
That's not just because alternative accommodations usually come with more space, free Wi-Fi, free laundry facilities and free parking, but doing so helps battle the lonesome blues while offering homey and off-the-beaten-path experiences.
"Living in hotels can be very depressing," says Mark Mule, a traveling pit orchestra musician who is usually on the road for weeks or months at a time. "Corporate and vacation rentals are homes. This is good for your head."
The convenience of paying one price for furniture, housewares, amenities and utilities is attractive to business travelers, says Amanda Cook, director of membership and marketing for the Corporate Housing Providers Association. "Corporate housing is ... specific to [clients'] unique needs and reduces stress for the user, which in turn makes them more productive at their jobs," Cook says.
Saving money and hatred for nickel-and-diming are many travelers' motivations for booking alternative lodging.
Other travelers seek more control over their routines.
"I almost exclusively stay in places I find through corporate housing services," says grant writer and frequent business traveler Ron Flavin. "The reason I do this is to stay fit. Staying in an apartment with a kitchen makes it easy for me to prepare healthy meals as well as keep up my exercise schedule utilizing the amenities of the properties."
Corporate Travel Safety and Personal Security
We’ve all seen the news or heard first hand stories about the horrific crimes that happen from time to time in hotels. It even happened to Jamie Foxx as someone tried to force their way into his room while he was working in Phoenix. So how can the business person who travels frequently take reasonable precautions when on the road to avoid becoming a statistic?
A 2009 study of crimes reported by 64 Miami hotels shows that theft is the chief problem. The study, authored by criminology professors at Ball State University and a hospitality professor at Florida International University, found 756 crimes against guests were reported during the two years. Nearly half those crimes against guests were thefts, and 38% occurred in the hotel rooms.
Here are some great travel safety tips for reducing your chance of becoming a statistic:
- Before booking a hotel, make sure that the rooms have multiple locks including a deadbolt. Also make sure you have checked the ratings, comments and reviews.
- Once you arrive, consider using a valet or park your car in a well lit area and do not leave anything of value inside your car.
- When checking into a hotel, read the fine print on the room registration and in the room itself:Most hotels are not liable for anything that happens to your belongings.
- If carrying your luggage, keep it within view or touch. One recommendation is to position luggage against your leg during registration but place a briefcase or a purse on the desk or counter in front of you.
- If storing your luggage with the front desk, make sure it is put in a locked room.
- Try to avoid 1st floor rooms. If possible request a floor above the 3rd floor but lower than the 7th for ease of getting out in an emergency.
- Request rooms that are away from the elevator landing and stairwells. This is to avoid being caught by surprise by persons exiting the elevator with you or hiding in the stairwell.
- To deter thieves, make it appear that your room is occupied by leaving the TV or radio on and putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
- Note how hotel staff are uniformed and identified. Many "pretext" crimes occur by persons misrepresenting themselves as hotel employees on house telephones to gain access to guest rooms.
- Avoid permitting a person into the guest room unless you have confirmed that the person is authorized to enter. If you question whether they are suppose to come into your room, verify with the front desk before letting them enter.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look up and down the street before exiting a building.
- Avoid jogging or walking in cities you are not familiar with. If you must jog, be aware of the traffic patterns when crossing public streets. (Joggers have been seriously injured by failing to understand local traffic conditions.)
- Minimize the amount of valuables that you travel with. Utilize the in-room safe for cash and documents. However, most hotels are not responsible for items not in their care, custody and control. So if you don’t feel comfortable with that, use the front desk safe deposit boxes.
- Buy a security cable so you can lock your laptop to a piece of furniture so it’s secure even when you’re not there. Even if you are just running out for a short dinner!
- Keep your luggage locked whenever you are out of the room. It will not stop the professional thief but it will keep the curious maid honest.
- When leaving the guest room, ensure that the door properly closes and is secure.
- Prior to traveling, it is recommended that you copy all credit cards, passport, air tickets and other documents to facilitate reporting loss and replacing them. While we don't want to think this would happen, it is a great travel safety habit!
- Request housekeeping make up your room while you are at breakfast, rather than leave a "Please Service This Room" sign on the door knob. This sign is a signal to criminals that the room is unoccupied.
- If something is stolen, don’t just alert the manager but contact the local police to file a report; you’ll likely need it if you want to seek redress with your insurance company; many homeowners’ policies cover losses on the road. However, according to the Insurance Industry Institute some companies limit the amount of such “off-premises coverage” to 10 percent of the insurance you have for all of your possessions. Expensive items like jewelry may require a rider to insure to their full value. As a further safeguard, you may want to carry documentation for items like cameras, video equipment, or a computer, in case something should happen to them while you’re away.
As an alternative, travelers on extended assignments should consider corporate housing. Corporate Suites have far less safety concerns and tend to be a more home-like environment. Corporate suites are located in more residential areas where strangers are more obvious to the residents and property security staff.Familiar people in familiar surroundings create a more secure environment.
We’ll be covering many more benefits that travelers find in corporate housing. So take note of these travel safety tips and come back soon.