Learn about options to consider for your next business trip.
Travel is essential for small business, and hotel fees add up fast, eating away at your budget and your bottom line. Many small business owners have traveled “off the beaten path,” discovering hotel alternatives that cut costs and even enhance experience.
Here are four to consider for your next trip:
Airbnb.com is one of many online communities of travelers. Just like searching for a hotel room, business owners can find a house or apartment to stay in based on reviews, price, location and days of travel.
Listings include photos of your host, where you’ll stay and past guests’ experiences. Laura Pestronk, a professional spokesperson at tradeshows who owns a small tradeshow business in New York, advises reading descriptions carefully, as they include details about sleeping arrangements, shared spaces and the like—essential in determining if a potential host meets your needs.
Quick facts: Prices are generally under $100/night. Listings are in every city, and listing your own space while you’re gone can save you even more.
Some business owners have turned to hostels for business trips, recognizing their accessibility, inexpensive prices and flexible hours. Pestronk uses them frequently when traveling for her three-employee business.
“I’ve stayed at amazing hostels across the country—each less than $40 a night,” she says. “And many were safer and cleaner than some hotels I’ve stayed in.” Her advice first and foremost: Read reviews. She recommends Hostels.com and Hostelworld.com, where hostels are rated by the percentage of good reviews.
Quick facts: Room types range from private to 20 occupants; private rooms may cost double. Some offer free breakfast and dinner. They’re often in central-city locations.
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“[B&Bs] are small businesses,” says NFIB member Jane McDowell, owner of a bed and breakfast in Muncie, Indiana. “Many innkeepers have had experience in corporate life prior to owning their inns and understand what business travelers need to make their stay comfortable.”
Generally, B&Bs offer the same amenities as hotels. McDowell says hosts often ask about any food preferences, allergies or dietary restrictions before your stay.
Quick facts: B&Bs average six to seven rooms. Business rates are often lower than rates for casual travelers. Online booking and reviews are available on sites like tripadvisor.com.
If your travel brings you to the coast, consider a houseboat. Depending on the season and number of guests, boats cost $85—$425/night for two guests, says Marcia Nguyen, marketing and guest services manager at SleepAfloat. “'I’ve had people rent houseboats for small brainstorming sessions,” she says. “It's great for team building.”
Boats boast free Wi-Fi, cable TV, a full kitchen and are docked within walking distance to downtown areas.
Quick Facts: Boats hold two to 10 guests; $25 per guest after the first two. Each rental requires $139 for cleaning and insurance fees.
And what if you happen to be looking for the convenience of a traditional hotel for your next trip? You can save 20-40% at more than 10,000 hotels with the NFIB Hotel Savings Card.
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