When I’m travelling for fun or leisure, going backpacking or exploring I often try to leave my comfort zone: It’s nice to try out new things and learning about myself through these experiences
However, while travelling as a professional nomad, I have much less tolerance for such risks: I need to show up to work on time and look presentable for (online) customer meetings. Slow internet, noisy work environments and distractions are a horror for productivity.
1) Limiting my risk exposure
Staying at chain hotels is a great way to limit some of the risks that travelling professionally carries.
The reason is that each stay with a local hotel providers carries different risks and you don’t know in advance if you will have a great or a horrible stay.
Service standards at independent hotels are often lower and it’s unlikely to get a refund in case of problems.
Furthermore as professional nomad I am usually not the target customer of most hotels. Stable WiFi in each room, a desk you can work from and low noise environment are high on my priority list; but this is often not the case for many hotels. Most hotels target casual or leisure travelers more. This means there is a higher likelihood of things I care about going wrong or not being available.
2) Getting more predictability and service guarantess
I’ve experienced not only false descriptions of property facilities, unpredictable (slow) internet speeds but also run-down rooms with bad maintenance. For chain hotels there is more standardization and maintenance in this regard.
Since I tend to work from home instead of from co-working spaces, accommodation quality it is critical for me to be productive at work.
Chain hotels are similar to franchise restaurants like McDonalds or Starbucks. You get a certain degree of consistency in quality. Even though it might not be the absolute best, you know what you get and can expect.
The value lies in the predictability of service and product quality:
- Something doesn’t work in your room? No problem. In a chain hotel they likely have another room to offer or qualified maintenance staff on site to handle the issue.
- Internet is too slow to work? In a chain hotel you have someone to complain to (worst case the hotel brand) and you can always cancel or move out easily.
- You long-haul flight arrives at 6 AM and you want to check-in early or drop your luggage? In a chain hotel this is likely to be less of a problem than elsewhere.
3) Great benefits from loyalty programs
One more incentive to stay at chain hotels are loyalty programs. I’ve consistently received room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in and even free stays from them.
Not all hotel loyalty programs will be a fit for your traveller profile and needs. I started with the Hilton Honors program, but am now also a member of Marriott and Accor.
Each program has a slightly different profile; I think overall I got most value from free breakfast through Hilton Honors Gold Status. However there is not always a suitable hilton property in each city.
For me Accor plays its strengths especially in Europe and Asia through budget stays at Ibis hotels.