World Wise

From Plane to Room: Dis­cern­ing trav­el­ers know what they want in air­port ho­tels.

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Ross Atkin­son and Busi­ness Trav­eler read­ers

What makes an air­port ho­tel per­form? Par­tic­i­pants in Busi­ness Trav­eler’s fo­rum sound off with their opin­ions on what works in a great air­port ho­tel. The com­men­tary cov­ered the globe with re­marks on air­ports from A to Z. Over 45 air­ports around the globe got men­tioned. Pop­u­lar threaded dis­cus­sions in­cluded at­tributes of air­ports and their as­so­ci­ated ho­tels span­ning sev­eral global cities in­clud­ing: Hong Kong Jo­han­nes­burg Dubai Van­cou­ver Mi­lan Paris Bangkok Mu­nich Auk­land Sin­ga­pore Los An­ge­les Copen­hagen Abu Dhabi Guangzhou Frank­furt No­tably in the past there was of­ten a stigma as­so­ci­ated with an air­port ho­tel. Could that neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion have changed now that many air­ports are be­com­ing more of a desti­na­tion in their own right? Or could it come from the aerotropo­lis ef­fect as air­ports be­come more than launch pads for air­planes, and grow into eco­nomic hubs and cen­ters of com­merce?

Re­gard­less of the rea­son, trav­el­ers are look­ing at many fac­tors in choos­ing their air­port ho­tels.

Prox­im­ity: The lo­ca­tion was a large fac­tor in choos­ing to stay at an air­port ho­tel. Sev­eral ac­com­mo­da­tions were noted for hav­ing plane-to-room, just through the dou­ble glass doors, and even “within cus­toms”as a strong rea­son to stay near the run­way.

Ac­tiv­i­ties: Mu­se­ums, spas, fit­ness cen­ters, gar­dens, cine­mas, lo­cal brew­eries, tem­po­rary of­fice space, and meet­ing and even event space for up to 2000 at­ten­dees. Take a swim in one the rooftop pools be­fore, lounge with a per­fect view of the city while planes take off and land or even in­dulge in five-star din­ing. To­day’s run­way ho­tels of­fer a long list of ac­tiv­i­ties – for those just pass­ing through as well as those spend­ing the night.

One busi­ness trav­eler even com­mented on the ameni­ties and ac­tiv­i­ties for one spe­cific air­port ho­tel,“I could quite hap­pily spend sev­eral days be­tween flights there!”

What Trav­el­ers Want

One com­mon el­e­ment that emerged from all of th­ese dis­cus­sions was the ho­tel’s prox­im­ity. Most trav­el­ers – who are very se­lec­tive when choos­ing their air­port ho­tels – spec­i­fied those that were ac­tu­ally on-air­port ver­sus those that had a short train or bus ride to their ac­com­mo­da­tions.

Ameni­ties: Sleep for a few hours or stay a few days – the tra­di­tional ho­tel model does not ap­ply at an air­port ho­tel. The trav­eler of­ten has the op­tion to book for the length of stay needed rather than by the tra­di­tional stan­dard day. Some truly rare and sin­gu­lar in­gre­di­ents are spic­ing up some air­ports and air­port ho­tels; con­sider such wor­thy con­tri­bu­tions as a Beererie, which of­fers a menu of over 100 lo­cal, re­gional and im­ported beers in­clud­ing many mi­cro and craft brews. Even lo­cal food trucks add to the epi­curean am­bi­ence.

In ad­di­tion to good food and a brew, Busi­ness Trav­el­ers sound off on ameni­ties that speak to them when stay­ing at one of sev­eral

air­port ho­tels:

Th­ese are just a few of the de­cid­ing cri­te­ria that can lead to thumbs point­ing up­ward or down­ward on an air­port ho­tel.

In Short

A Pain in the Flight!

The largest turnoff is ar­riv­ing at an air­port with a planned stay only to dis­cover the prop­erty is not truly on-air­port. There were sev­eral ex­cep­tions taken as Busi­ness Trav­eler read­ers de­bated what dic­tated the dis­tance for an air­port ho­tel to still be con­sider on-air­port. It ap­pears from the di­a­logue that a short walk“across the street”is still an ac­cept­able dis­tance for an air­port prop­erty.

The other con­sid­er­a­tion was the dis­tance of the air­port to the city center. If the air­port was a short dis­tance, it made more sense to stay down­town for the lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence of the re­gion or city. Fi­nally, the trans­porta­tion re­quired drove a sig­nif­i­cant amount of dis­cus­sion. There is a de­cided lack of in­ter­est in board­ing a train or mass tran­sit to get to an air­port ho­tel.

In a broad sense, there seemed to be an in­cli­na­tion to­ward, say, a 15-minute walk ver­sus wait­ing for a bus or train that ar­rives at the ho­tel in about the same amount of time. I be­lieve the dis­taste for prop­er­ties that re­quire tran­sit is cap­tured in this Busi­ness Trav­eler’s com­ment;“I per­son­ally loathe the so-called air­port ho­tels where you have to wait for a bus – what a pain af­ter a flight!” The en­tire air­port ho­tel di­a­logue is best summed up in the phi­los­o­phy of one Busi­ness Trav­eler reader who looks for an air­port ho­tel that is“just a pair of slid­ing doors away from the air­port and has a great team with ex­cel­lent busi­ness fa­cil­i­ties.” BT

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