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Old 09-11-2012, 04:19 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,632,643 times
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Stick with the moderate hotels where it's feasible--Hampton, Hyatt Place, & Courtyard for example. I prefer to stay outside the downtown core and commute in for meetings--I think the suburbs are usually safer, and hotels are less expensive, but if you'll be doing evening entertaining downtown it's better to stay downtown. In that case look at Marriott, Hilton, Omni, Hyatt, etc.

I'd speak to your boss, it's very possible that your expectation of reasonable and your companies are very different. I know my partners would have a cow if I stayed at some of the places you mentioned above on the company dime unless I found some sort of amazing deal that brought the cost down to the same as the nearby Marriott or Hilton.

One other thing, savvy business travelers choose one family brand and stick to it with a secondary when their first choice isn't available. Become top tier at Hilton or Marriott and you'll get room upgrades, free Internet, executive lounge access, guaranteed rooms even if the hotel is sold out, and more.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,292,439 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finger Laker View Post
my company using a booking agent and we have "preferred properties" - last job was the same ... some negotiated rates (although it seems like the negotiator needs to be fired........)

i always try to be respectful with expenses - especially since i've been a part of putting together the budgets

when I first started at my last company we had one preferred property in Seattle - the Fairmount Olympic - beautiful hotel and far from cheap - we stayed there because it's the one that would pop up ... not only was the room expensive, but we'd typically get a bagel and juice to get the day started regardless of hotel and at the Olympic that was about an $18 option

Once I started managing and was no longer worried about being out of compliance I'd pick a good hotel in an equal location that was about 1/3 of the cost .... it would flag as non-compliant, but no one ever said anything and I was able to travel there more frequently by stretching the budget

Honestly, it's nice to splurge every now and again - however, if your there on business you typically aren't using all the upscale facilities (if you are even in your room much at all)

I would wake up, grab a quick bite, head to appointments, do a dinner and then get back to my room and fire up the laptop to see what was happening back at my desk, unwind for a minute and sleep

Location, soft perks, ease, etc became much more important for me and racking up loyalty points also is nice
We have "preferred brands" that the company either has some sort of agreement with. The "preferred brands" are IHG, Hilton Hotels, and just within the past year we added Starwood. Generally, all international travel is reserved with IHG because of their massive presence in Europe and Asia whereas stateside it was usually Hilton but now we have Starwood. I know a few peers have gone on business trips without booking a preferred brand, not sure what difference it makes.

As I said, I'm pretty new to the whole business-travel thing. I've gone on a few business trips but usually with a group of people.

I have all three loyalty cards from IHG, Hilton, and Starwood so I can rack up the points for a true vacation.

Some of the "higher-ups" have a secretary that does all the travel planning but I'm not in the upper echelon to get that perk. It's my responsibility to book the ticket, the hotel, etc but I guess this type of lee-way is a bit enjoyable.

Quote:
Stick with the moderate hotels where it's feasible--Hampton, Hyatt Place, & Courtyard for example. I prefer to stay outside the downtown core and commute in for meetings--I think the suburbs are usually safer, and hotels are less expensive, but if you'll be doing evening entertaining downtown it's better to stay downtown. In that case look at Marriott, Hilton, Omni, Hyatt, etc.

I'd speak to your boss, it's very possible that your expectation of reasonable and your companies are very different. I know my partners would have a cow if I stayed at some of the places you mentioned above on the company dime unless I found some sort of amazing deal that brought the cost down to the same as the nearby Marriott or Hilton.

One other thing, savvy business travelers choose one family brand and stick to it with a secondary when their first choice isn't available. Become top tier at Hilton or Marriott and you'll get room upgrades, free Internet, executive lounge access, guaranteed rooms even if the hotel is sold out, and more.
I'm the opposite...I stick to the inner downtown areas or somewhere with entertainment and restaurants closeby.

I probably wouldn't book some exorbitantly-priced property, I realize $400+ is pretty high but...damn I would love a stay at the St. Regis . I'll probably end up booking either The Fairfax or the Sofitel, both reasonably priced to not draw unwanted attention.

Quote:
but we'd typically get a bagel and juice to get the day started regardless of hotel and at the Olympic that was about an $18 option
$18?! I could have a full-on breakfast for that price!
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:52 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,632,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
$18?! I could have a full-on breakfast for that price!
Not if you're staying at a high end hotel you won't.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:52 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,649 posts, read 40,020,325 times
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I travel about 1/2 the time, but use 'company-preferred-hotels'. Sometimes it includes the premium proerties, BUT I rarely use them (BTDT when company was highly profitable).

I keep it pretty cheap and acceptable to me and my manager (in case someone asks). I just don't get that big of a kick out of spending $$ on lodging. For the short ime in hotels. I often get an upgrade for weekend if I need a lounge and free laundry.

For your situation, I would use Priceline and get those premo places for VERY cheap. (But book a 'reasonable' one that you can refund by 6pm)
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:37 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,632,643 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
I travel about 1/2 the time, but use 'company-preferred-hotels'. Sometimes it includes the premium proerties, BUT I rarely use them (BTDT when company was highly profitable).

I keep it pretty cheap and acceptable to me and my manager (in case someone asks). I just don't get that big of a kick out of spending $$ on lodging. For the short ime in hotels. I often get an upgrade for weekend if I need a lounge and free laundry.

For your situation, I would use Priceline and get those premo places for VERY cheap. (But book a 'reasonable' one that you can refund by 6pm)
I don't think anything booked through Priceline carries the possibility of cancellation--even by a certain time. Better idea is to speak with various colleagues and trade corporate codes. Companies don't care, and hotels never ask for proof that you are with that company. If they do, say the company gave you the code as you are in town to meet with them. I get up to 40% off rack at a number of properties that way.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:15 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,649 posts, read 40,020,325 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I don't think anything booked through Priceline carries the possibility of cancellation--even by a certain time. ....
That's why you book a conventional and acceptable 2nd choice that CAN cancel.
Then you LOW bid very specifically for the desireable hotel (search for Priceline tutorials on how to restrict your bid to a certain property, there are usually several ways).

If / when your bid is accepted, you cancel the reservation at the 'acceptable' hotel.

Often bids are accepted in the final 24 hrs to fill empty / cancellation bookings. I do this with cars all the time.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:25 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,130 posts, read 17,164,373 times
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Since he has to book thru his corporate travel website, Priceline, oribtiz etc, are not options. Most company get rebates from the preferred hotels. The rate shown may not be the 'best' rate you can get elsewhere, but if they reach there contracted goals, a good chunk of $'s will be rebated (often as future credits).

I know my company travel credit are used to pay for our top sales (independent) agent to go to a conference each year, (always in some really really nice place.)
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,268 posts, read 44,963,902 times
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I agree with annerk, stick with mid priced, these hotels are quite decent anyway. When I traveled a lot for business, mostly I stayed at Marriott hotels, racked up a lot of loyalty points. You don't have to book a Motel 6 way out of town, but do be value-concious. Your boss will notice and appreciate it.

Check out Cafe Mozart while in DC, they are reasonably priced, German food, very good. They have a nice banquet room.

There is something gauche about spending company money more freely than your own. Don't do it. When you have the salary that means you would spend $500/night if you were on vacation, OK, probably it's OK to do it for business as well. I meam, if you were on an interview trip and for lunch ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, don't you think that would be noticed? Don't you agree it would hurt your chances to be hired?

Your bosses have flagged you for bigger things *provided* you prove to have the "right stuff". Part of the right stuff is that you pay attention to minimizing expenses.

You didn't ask, but when I go to DC I really try to go via Reagan, from there you can jump on the Metro, if you choose a hotel on the metro, you won't need to use a taxi.

Speaking of Metro, the L'Enfant hotel is quite decent, and is right there on a major Metro station, quite convenient to downtown, they have good meeting rooms, there is an underground mall with decent places for lunch.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,292,439 times
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Quote:
Check out Cafe Mozart while in DC, they are reasonably priced, German food, very good. They have a nice banquet room.

There is something gauche about spending company money more freely than your own. Don't do it. When you have the salary that means you would spend $500/night if you were on vacation, OK, probably it's OK to do it for business as well. I meam, if you were on an interview trip and for lunch ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, don't you think that would be noticed? Don't you agree it would hurt your chances to be hired?
Will definitely check out Cafe Mozart, I'm ethnically German and love some bratwurst, kraut, headcheese, etc .

I would likely not want to pay $500/ night unless I'm truly taking a once-in-the-lifetime vacation and I usually stick with hotels between $200-$300/ night when traveling for business or pleasure. I figure these hotels often offer the best bang-for-my-buck in terms of amenities, location, rooms, atmosphere, etc.

Quote:
When I traveled a lot for business, mostly I stayed at Marriott hotels, racked up a lot of loyalty points
I'm glad my company is now using Starwood as a preferred brand since it's probably one of my favorite hotel umbrellas. I've always enjoyed staying at various Westin hotels, Sheratons, and the "W". I've stayed at a St. Regis once and it was likely the nicest hotel I've ever been to...absolutely fantastic experience. If I'm starting to travel more for my job, it's probably best to focus on one or two major brands and just rack up points as quickly as possible. I just received the Starwood AmEx card so I can start accumulating points on regular purchases in addition to out-of-town expenses.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,686 posts, read 16,121,603 times
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It can also be worth it to focus on one primary chain for the status upgrades- many programs will give, extended checkout, bonus room upgrades or complimentary executive lounge access to their top tier customers.

And hitting platinum level (or equivalent) in one program can sometimes get you better status in another hotel program if that other chain is thinking that they can pry a high value customer away from their current preferred plan.
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