Coporate TravelHotels

Guesthouse or Hotel for Business Travel?

Gallivant Africa

Have you ever stood on tiptoes in the corner of your hotel room desperately trying to catch a signal to download your mails? Or found that the guesthouse at which you’re staying is not nearly as close to the conference centre as you had thought? 

“Choosing the right accommodation can make or break your business trip,” says Andrew Grunewald, Flight Centre Business Travel Brand Leader. “Whether you are a seasoned road warrior or a first-time business traveller, the right place to stay will allow you to conduct business efficiently professionally, as even the smallest details can make a big difference.” 

Grunewald explains that business travel has historically always been associated with traditional hotels, but over the past few years, there has been a slight shift as travellers seek a more relaxed environment in guesthouses and alternative forms of accommodation.

Here are a few points to consider when choosing between a hotel or a guest house on your next business trip:

Location trumps all 

Location is the one factor that trumps all others when choosing the right place to stay for the vast majority of FCBT business travellers, according to Grunewald. “Business executives don’t want to waste time and money travelling to and from the venue or have to worry about running late to their next meeting,” he says.

Traditional hotels are often situated more strategically for business meetings than smaller guesthouses, which tend to be found in more suburban settings away from the bustling cities. 

If business travellers have back-to-back meetings or an important conference to attend, a hotel close to the venue is without a doubt the best choice, says Grunewald. However, if the traveller has just one or two meetings and would then like to enjoy the destination at leisure on a bleisure extension, a guesthouse in the suburbs could be better suited. 

Do you enjoy a more personalised approach? 

A guesthouse is often like living as a guest in someone else’s house. Some travellers absolutely love it, others hate it. 

A guesthouse is often a more personal and more local choice. Along with the owners of the house, you’ll typically find a small team of long-term staff members on-site who will not hesitate to go the extra mile to take care of the traveller’s needs and who will love to have a chat with you in the dining or breakfast room.

Hotels, on the other hand, come with larger teams of qualified staff that are well-trained to make sure you are treated like royalty 24/7. Hotels are ideal for business travellers who are short on time, with their grab-and-go retail snacks and coffee stations in the lobby. If late-night room service is a deal breaker, stick to hotels. 

Wi-Fi and on-site facilities

Fast WiFi alongside a mini-bar and room service is possibly one of the top reasons business travellers prefer to stay in hotels. However, many guesthouses are also stepping up these facilities. Ask your Flight Centre Business Travel travel manager for your best options. 


Price is the number one reason why business travellers opt for guesthouses instead of hotels, according to FCBT travel managers.

However, price should never be the determining factor for your choice, says Grunewald. “By booking through a travel management company such as FCBT, corporates can enjoy discounted corporate rates without the volume of bookings usually required by hotel programmes. Moreover, FCBT’s SmartSTAY programme can brings with it additional ‘perks’ that make the traveller’s hotel stay more comfortable at no additional cost.” 

Research has shown that companies that spend more on travel reap major rewards in terms of customer loyalty, employee satisfaction and market share. It is for this reason that FCBT has decided to launch a competition where small and medium businesses could win a R150 000 travel grant and take their business to new heights.”

How to stand a chance to win R150 000 worth of travel for your growing SME?  

  1.   Go to
  2.   Check out the Travel Grant video for inspiration 
  3. Submit your motivation (maximum of 1000 words) with your answers to the questions below: 

Question 1 –  What does travel mean to your business? 

Question 2 –  What will this Travel Grant allow you to do?

It’s that simple! Entries close 18 October 2019

The final verdict: Hotel or guesthouse? 


There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer, explains Grunewald, as much will depend on your personal preferences. At FCBT, we’ve seen that career-oriented Gen X travellers are more likely to opt for hotels whereas the younger millennials – who place a lot of importance on a healthy work-life balance – tend to prefer guesthouses. 

Grunewald add that the distinction between hotels and guesthouses is also started to fade. Guesthouses are starting to step up the facilities that business travellers want, while many hotels have started to personalise their offering to encourage a more homely feel. 

Flight Centre Business Travel has relationships in place with both hotels and guesthouses to ensure we can offer business travellers a variety of options at a range of costs. Contact your FCBT travel manager today to explore your accommodation options and see how you could stand a chance to win the FCBT Travel Grant worth R150 000.

Miriro Matema
the authorMiriro Matema
Born in Zimbabwe and living in South Africa, Miriro is a seasoned publishing editor and writer, having worked with leading brands in investment, business leadership and entrepreneurship. Passionate about Africa’s development, Miriro is also a dynamic marketing consultant with 10 years experience working with startups and large multinational corporations. With a heart for travel, Miriro spends her time discovering the nooks of crannies of Africa’s hidden gems, taking the roads less travelled, meeting the beautiful people that call Africa home while exploring their food and culture. Miriro is currently a writer with Byolife Travel and Gallivant Africa

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