Full Guide to Housing for Traveling Workers or Transplants
The more your employees travel, the more time you spend searching for available housing solutions. Hotels, motels, resorts, furnished corporate lodging…
There are so many options available that it can be tricky to decide which is right for your employees and your business.
Whether you need to book travel nurse housing near New York City medical facilities, construction or emergency crew housing near oil fields in Texas or corporate housing in the heart of San Francisco, here’s our full guide to housing for traveling workers or transplants.
Traveling Workers Have Lots of Housing Options
The good news for travel coordinators is that there are tons of long- and short-term housing options available to meet the needs of any type of traveling workforce. When staffing workers on out-of-town assignments, the housing solution you choose can make a big difference in how your workers perform on the job.
These are some examples of traveling workers who often need temporary housing, as well as the most suitable options for each.
- Project Crews and Construction Crews: Motels and hotels
- Traveling Nurses and Locum Tenens Physicians: Hotels, corporate housing and aparthotels
- Emergency Crews: Motels and hotels
- Oil Field Workers: Motels and hotels
- Transportation Companies: Motels, hotels and aparthotels
- Corporate Professionals: Motels and aparthotels
How to Decide Which Type of Lodging is Right for Your Business
When trying to decide which type of housing to choose for your workers, there are five key things to consider:
- Number of employees traveling
- Length of stay
- Proximity to the workplace
- Amenities offered
- Cost per night
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each to figure out the best possible solution for your company and your workers’ needs.
The Number of Employees Traveling
For most travel coordinators, the number of employees that need housing is a big determining factor in where to house them.
Because the more employees you have on the road, the higher your travel costs will be.
Most businesses create an annual travel budget. They assess how many employees will be traveling and how frequently they’ll need housing to determine the amount to spend per person each night.
Length of the Stay
Obviously, you’ll spend more on housing for a longer stay than if your employees are only traveling for one or two nights. However, some motels, hotels and short-term rentals offer excellent discounts for a more extended stay.
This directly factors in with the number of employees you send on the road.
For example, if you have two employees traveling for one week each, housing them in a five-star hotel might be an option. If you have dozens of employees traveling, providing luxury rooms for multiple nights may result in a sky-high bill.
Proximity to the Workplace
The closer the hotel room or short-term rental is to the workplace, the less you’ll have to spend on transportation costs. Plus, shorter distances to the job site mean less hassle and shorter commutes for your workers, which allow them to enjoy more free time during the trip.
When deciding where to house workers, consider the proximity to:
- Entertainment areas
- Recreational facilities
It’s also important to consider how accessible these areas are. If public transportation isn’t easy to access, businesses should expect to provide travel stipends or reimburse workers for taxis or rideshare.
Different housing options offer different amenities. Think about the perks you want your employees to enjoy when they’re in their room in the morning before work and at night when the workday is over.
Providing ample amenities increases employee satisfaction and can even make the difference between a travel assignment being a dreaded obligation or a treat.
Here are some amenities that might steer you into choosing one housing option over another:
Extended hotels and long-term rentals often have kitchen facilities in each room. This can range from a small kitchenette with a coffee pot and microwave to a full-scale kitchen with a large refrigerator and stovetop.
The longer your employers are traveling, the more likely they’ll need the option to prepare some of their own meals. Many people also enjoy cooking for themselves and find it a nice way to de-stress after a long day — or to make their temporary living arrangements feel more like home.
Kitchen facilities are also important for those who have dietary restrictions and can’t easily eat out for every meal.
Some housing options provide laundry facilities on-site. This is crucial for employees on an extended stay. A convenient place to wash their clothing reduces the need to pack and travel with many pieces of luggage (and pay extra baggage fees if they’re flying).
Employees should always have access to free Wi-Fi. That’s especially true if the employer expects them to do work on their laptops or respond to emails during their trip — but it’s essential for downtime, too, so that employees don’t have to use data on their phones to scroll social media or video chat with loved ones.
Gym or Rec Center
Having a gym or a rec center where employees can work out is a great perk. The longer the stay, the more important it is to have a convenient way to maintain their physical exercise routine.
If you want your employees to feel like they’re on a mini-vacation, look for a housing option with a pool. Having the chance to take an early morning swim or relax in the water after work is an excellent perk most employees will greatly appreciate.
Cafeteria or Restaurant on Site
While motels have more limited facilities, almost all hotels have a cafeteria or a restaurant on site. This makes it much easier for employees to grab a meal, and reduces the need to pay for transportation to off-site restaurants.
Employees traveling for weeks at a time may also need a housing solution for their pets. Many hotels and motels now allow pets. This is an excellent benefit for employees who want to bring a little piece of home with them when they’re on the road, and don’t want to stress about making other arrangements for their pet while they’re away.
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Cost per Night
For many companies, where to house their workers come down to one thing and one thing only:
The cost per night.
Many businesses rely on the GSA rates to determine their per diem and M&IE costs per employee. Even companies that don’t have a specific travel or housing stipend for employees need to be conscious of the cost of an out-of-town stay.
While cost is always a factor, ensuring that your employees have suitable amenities is vital for their performance, comfort and mental health. The happier your employees are in their temporary housing, the more productive they’ll be on the job.
Ultimately, it often makes more financial sense to shell out a bit more for nicer accommodations when that boosts employee retention and helps you hold on to good staff.
The 5 Main Types of Housing for Traveling Workers
The biggest pro of choosing a motel is the affordability factor. Most motels offer basic accommodations without a lot of bells and whistles. Still, they are the best way to keep travel costs low, especially if you’re housing many workers for an extended period.
Motels are often located on highways or major roads, making it easy for workers to travel to and from nearby job sites. Most motels have restaurants and eateries nearby, allowing employees easily accessible dining options.
While every motel chain differs, well-known national chains, such as Motel 6 and Best Western, offer various amenities.
These vary by location and room type and can include:
- Mini refrigerator
- Microwave oven
- Coffee maker
- On-site laundry
Motels are usually the best choice if you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum while still providing a comfortable stay. They are also ideal when you need parking for oversized vehicles.
Hotels run the gamut from 1-star properties to 5-star luxury accommodations — which means considerable variations in price.
For a short-term stay, a hotel is an excellent option. Hotels provide secure housing with security and front desk staff on site.
Most include added perks, such as:
- Guest services (e.g., dry cleaning and transportation arrangement)
For workers, hotels are a comfortable option. Yet, the lack of a kitchen or on-site laundry facilities can make traditional hotels problematic for extended stays.
Want to set your workers up with luxurious accommodations?
Consider putting them up in an affordable resort rather than a pricey and unreliable vacation rental.
While resorts are generally a more expensive housing option than hotels and motels, they’re also an excellent reward for workers. By housing your employees in a Wyndham Resorts property, for example, they’ll feel like they’re on a mini-vacation.
Furnished Corporate Housing
Corporate housing is a viable option if you want your workers to feel more like renters and less like tourists.
Furnished apartments designed for corporate professionals provide that home-away-from-home feeling. They include full kitchens, living spaces and often multiple bedrooms, making them an excellent choice for extended business travel. Companies can even save on expenses by having two workers share the place as roommates.
Furnished corporate housing can be expensive for companies fulfilling housing needs for dozens of workers at a time. The other downfall is that some have a minimum 30-day stay and may require you to sign a short-term lease. This means that checking out whenever you want isn’t an option.
If you need an extended stay hotel, aparthotels provide all the comforts of home plus all the perks of hotel living.
Aparthotels such as EverHome Suites and MainStay Suites include amenities such as:
- Full kitchens
- Free Wi-Fi
- On-site laundry facilities
- On-site marketplaces for snacks, drinks and pantry essentials
- 24-hour fitness center
- Free continental breakfast
Aparthotels offer security and housekeeping services, so employees don’t have to launder their bed linens or towels. The hybrid apartment/hotel provides traveling employees with all the benefits of a hotel in a more residential setting.
Aparthotels are also ideal if you have employees in the process of relocating from one city to another. Transplants can settle comfortably into an aparthotel just as they would in any apartment building or residential complex.
Ways to Save on Housing for Traveling Workers
Small businesses, large corporations and government agencies can save big on motels, hotels and aparthotels by joining Hotel Engine.
Hotel Engine is a lodging performance network that makes booking, managing and paying for business travel easier than ever. Members can save up to 60% on every stay you book.
Besides saving you money upfront, Hotel Engine offers a loyalty program. You can earn points with every stay and cash them in for free bookings in the future.
The HE Rewards program even works in conjunction with rewards points from certain hotels, such as the Hilton Honors program and the IHG Rewards Club. It’s a unique way to double up on rewards and save even more.
See also: 10 Tips to Reduce Employee Travel Costs
When booking travel for employees, you have to pay attention to your bottom line. However, you should also consider how the housing you choose can affect the morale of your employees.
With Hotel Engine on your side, you can be sure you’re always getting the best deal on high-quality lodging. Sign up for free now!
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine’s audience and cultivating the company’s brand voice. When she’s not working, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family, and hiking in the nearby Rockies with her dog, Albie.