Sharing Hotel Rooms with Business Colleagues on the Rise

A May 2009 HR Magazine article reported that more employees are being forced to share hotel rooms with their colleagues when traveling for business. In fact, the article cites a Business Traveler survey that found 14% of employees said they now share a room with a colleague and overall, 24% of business travelers have had to share a room with a colleague at some point in their career. This forced room-sharing is another way companies are trying to cut back on hefty travel expenses, particularly in our flailing economy.

But room-sharing often creates undo stress for someone who is away from home. Things like snoring, bathroom sharing and differences in bedtime schedules can create ill-will and stress between professional colleagues.

Instead of bunking two business associates in the same small hotel space, a company could, oftentimes for less cost, put up their traveling employees in a corporate housing rental. Corporate housing units have shared living space, but separate bedrooms and bathrooms, giving each employee their own personal space. Corporate housing can be a way companies cut back without sacrificing their employee’s well-being in the process.

Here’s a breakdown of how travel costs stack up when comparing hotel stays with corporate housing:

Lodging: A company could pay $75-$300 per day for a single employee to stay in a studio-sized hotel depending on location. Double that cost for two employees and a company could spend more than $9,000 per month per employee. On the other hand, the average corporate housing rental for a one-month in 2008 across the United States and averaged between all unit sizes is $3,500. Two business associates could share a two-bedroom corporate rental – and each would get their own private space and only sharing common spaces like the kitchen and TV area.

Food: Breakfast for one employee in the average hotel can cost $20-$30 per person per day. Dinner can cost $25-$50 if the employee dines out. These expenses can quickly add up over the course of three meals per day for an entire month – double for two employees. Corporate rentals include a full-sized kitchen with dishes, pots and pans and appliances. This enables traveling employees to eat-in often rather than dish out tons of cash for expensive room service and restaurants.

Hidden Fees: Many hotels charge $10-$25 per day just for Internet usage alone. Plus you have to tip the busboy, the room service attendant, and many others as well – tons of hidden costs. Standard corporate housing fees already include Internet charges and complimentary long distance and there are no tips required when an employee stays in a private home.

Companies should always look to other alternatives to save money before sacrificing an employee’s personal space in the name of cost-cutting. Corporate housing is an underutilized option that should be considered – and can be a long-term solution for HR departments looking to cut corners in both good and difficult financial times.

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