Archive for August, 2009

Hotel Value

For those that know me, I travel a lot of business. As someone that likes to live below my means, I of course always want to get the most I can for the least amount of money. This means belonging to airline mileage programs and hotel rewards programs. This brings me to the topic of today’s post, hotels. When traveling for business, there are a lot of choices in hotels.

Over the last two weeks, I have had to travel to Louisville, Kentucky twice. The first trip I stayed at the Marriott Springhill Suites and on the second, the Marriott. The difference in what I got and what I paid for the two was amazing. While, I could have stayed at any one of the 15 or so hotels within walking distances to my client’s office, the point of this post is the same whether it is Hilton and Hilton Homewood Suites or any other “high end” vs. “low end” hotel chain.

Here is my breakdown of the two stays:

Category

Springhill Suites by Marriott

Marriott

Location

2 Blocks Further Away (3 Min walk)

Closer

Room

Nice – Newly renovated, modern feel.

Nice – Average “nice” room.

Room Type

Suite – Refrigerator, Coffee Maker, lounge area, etc.

Standard Room

Bed

Good

Good

Sheets

Good

Good

Hotel Atmosphere

Plain / Modern

Fancy

Breakfast Included

Yes – Eggs, bacon, waffles, fruit, etc.

No

Wi-Fi Included

Yes

No ($12.95)

TV

Nice – HD LCD

Ok – Standard TV

Cleanliness

Fine

Fine

Price

$110 a night

$220 a night

So all other things being equal, for $110 a night I got a nice, modern, clean hotel room with free Wi-Fi and free breakfast vs. $220 a night, plus $13 for Wi-Fi and $15 for breakfast.

So the question is… was the “fancy” Marriott twice as good as the Springhill Suites room? The answer, in my humble opinion is no. Especially when you consider that the client was only paying me a Per Diem for food and didn’t cover Wi-Fi. So for me, the Springhill Suites room was just as nice, just as clean and gave me more back for my buck on the Per Diem plus free Wi-Fi.

The only real downside to the cheaper place was the extra 3 minute walk. If you want to use “time is money logic”, at a $250 an hour bill rate that is approximately $4.16 a minute, or a total of $24.96 of “my time”. Considering the client paid for the hotel, the $13 plus $15 I saved on breakfast and Wi-Fi actually saved me $28 (real dollars) vs. saving myself $25 in “I am too important to be wasting my time” dollars. I needed the extra exercise anyway to work off the Vodka Gimlet I paid for with my savings.

For other frequent business travelers, I recommend the following sites:

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/

http://www.flyertalk.com/