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So I’ve been in this role of VP Sales now for about 6 weeks and travel is fairly new to me.  I’ve done some before but probably less than even Wendii does.  Now I’m traveling just about every week.  I have concerns about my expense report, and if it’s reasonable.  I try to stay at hotels as inexpensively as possible but have landed at a few dumps. 

In my mind paying more than about $100/night is a lot, which has me staying at a lot of the Choice Hotels.  But it seems like you and other people stay at much more expansive places $150-300/night.  Is that accurate?  Do I just need to change my thinking around this?  Or should I stay in as inexpensive a place as possible in order to save the P&L?  Also, does it create a bad reputation to stay in inexpensive places?

pnwhome's picture

Probably the best way to find out what is acceptable in your company is to ask.

You should also consider the image your clients get when they find out where you are staying.  Does it send a less-than-positive message when the VP of Sales stays at cheaper hotels, or is it exactly the message you want to send?  There is probably some good middle ground to be found, where you are comfortable, present the right image to clients, and you are a good steward of company resources.

tplummer's picture

Being in the government space, we use the Government per diem rates as our guide. Even if you don't, it will show you what an "acceptable" limit is for hotel and food is for the area. For example, I'm going down to DC and it has a max rate of $169 which should get you into most mid-tier hotel brands such as Holiday Inn and Marriott. You should definitely check with your company to determine what is acceptable for your company. Also keep in mind that most mid-tier, business friendly hotels will offer other perks such as free wifi and breakfast. So, that could end up justifying a higher cost than a low-end hotel.

As for appearance, it could definitely be a factor if you are interacting with clients or other peers. It also depends on how big your company is. If you're a VP of a small startup, then saving some bucks may be a good thing. If you're a VP of a $50B company, then I think it's time to upgrade :)

 

Tom

jclishe's picture

Agree with what the others have said. Most cities will have a Courtyard, Hyatt Place, Hampton Inn, etc which are almost always competitively priced for the local market and strike a good middle ground between budget conscience while still projecting professionalism.

Jason

Roccobass's picture

I second what has already been said about following your company's guidelines in regards to expenses. .. and have three suggestions to add -

1. Listen to the travel casts

http://www.manager-tools.com/2009/07/airline-travel-basics-1-part-1

http://www.manager-tools.com/2009/08/airline-travel-basics-1-part-2

http://www.manager-tools.com/2009/07/travel-airline-seats?nav

http://www.manager-tools.com/2008/08/business-travel-packing

There are more but these are a good start.

2. Ask one of your company's road-warriors for tips. There is a good chance they may know some specifics about the areas to which you travel.

3. Once you find the hotel level that fits join their rewards program. You'll get this from the travel casts but I just want to reinforce this message - being even a silver level member has gotten me special considerations (e.g. early check in - late check out) and upgrades that have made travel life much easier.

 

Happy trails -

Rocco