White Collar Travel: Five reasons to book your hotel stays in blocks

Cost-conscious businesses are always looking for ways to reduce travel expenses. So, if you can find a way to cut yours a bit, you’ll get some credit for budgetary discipline, which is always a plus when times are tough. Take the right approach, and you may be able to improve your travel experience, too. If you plan to stay at the same hotel for several months, it may make more sense to make a long-term reservation than to book a week at a time. In addition to saving some money, you’ll be able to cut the amount of stuff you tote with you on the plane and have the same room every week, which means fewer trips to the wrong door when you’ve been at the hotel for sixteen weeks in a row (or longer).

If your project is both long-term and unlikely to change, contact the hotel and ask what they can do for you. Explain the situation – it won’t take long; most of them are incredibly familiar with the business travel dynamic – and ask if they can work something out with you. You’ll have to commit to paying for weekend days as well, but if the overall cost works out in your favor, it’s still a savings, and that makes it inherently valuable.

This won’t work all the time. But, even if the long-term rate works out to a breakeven proposition, it still may be worth accepting. Here are five reasons why:1. No more check-in lines
Checking in is a pain in the ass. Even if you have super-duper-elite status, the short line still takes time. You have to step up to the desk, leave your credit card and get the rundown on the hotel. Some of the introductory remarks may be curtailed when the front desk staff recognizes you, but it still takes time that you don’t want to spend – especially when you’ve just gotten off a plane or left the office. Book for the long run, and you’ll be able to go straight to your room.

2. Lighter load
Since you’ll have the same room every week, you can leave a lot of your stuff there. Run the numbers and see if it’s cheaper to use the hotel’s cleaning service because of the money you’re saving. You can have your clothes picked up the night before you leave and find them waiting for you when you arrive. If you’re working in a major city, you can always drop your clothes off at a wash-dry-fold service and pick them up when you’re back in town. You’ll only have to carry your laptop and books Kindle.

3. Predictability
Peak periods can sneak up on you, especially if you’re staying in the same location for months at a time. Rates can spike with little warning, putting you in a position to have to explain the increased cost to your boss or client. You can avoid this with a long-term reservation, which makes budgeting and forecasting much easier for those who have to do it.

4. No more wrong door
It happens to the best of us. You get to your hotel room, swipe your key and push – nothing happens. You try it again … with the same result. The third, fourth and fifth times, you get angry and finally march down to the front desk ready to raise hell. The polite, professional employee then reminds you of your room number, which isn’t the same as the one you just tried to enter. Embarrassed, you go to your room – the right room – to find that there’s nothing wrong with your key. If you have the same room every week, you won’t have a sheepish look on your face the next time you walk by the front desk.

5. Informal perks
The hotel staff will be told that you’re going to be around for a while. Everyone will know who you are and how valuable your business is to the property. Occasionally, you’ll get your bar tab comp’ed or find a bottle of wine in your room. From time to time, the general manager will keep an eye out for you and ask how your stay is (which the staff will notice). You can’t always quantify this, but you’ll definitely feel the difference.

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