With technology becoming increasingly mobile, the age of the hotel business center seems increasingly out of date. Gone are the days of waiting in hotel lobbies for an empty computer so that you can fax your reports back to your corporate offices. (Thankfully.)
But it takes an army of apps and strategies to make your business truly mobile when you travel, whether it be a long-haul flight or a weekend convention. Here is a conclusive plan to create a mobile hotel business center for yourself that travels wherever you go — so you’ll never miss a beat.
Access to Wi-Fi is one of the most important elements of working remotely for many. Although it’s no longer a problem finding a signal — or a Wi-Fi hotspot — you’ll struggle to find a free connection that’s totally reliable (and doesn’t cut out halfway through a video conference call).
Perhaps it’s time to invest in MiFi, aka mobile Wi-Fi. MiFi allows you to connect multiple mobile devices to your own personal mobile router. Many also happen to contain a 4G data SIM for faster speeds, which can be invaluable to combat slow in-house hotel Wi-Fi. This is a highly flexible solution (not to mention cost-effective) since it lets you connect 10 or more devices.
Although a hotel business center essentially provides you with an office away from the office, most of us don’t appreciate being locked into a specific location anymore when it comes to work. And with the plethora of work-friendly restaurants, shops, bars, cafes, trains, and planes (an increasing amount of which are providing passengers with electrical outlets), it’s incredibly easy to find a small table or space where you can rest your laptop or mobile device if you’re trying to get work done.
One of the biggest benefits of working where you want is that you can grab your favorite coffee, croissant or cheeky martini while responding to the few final emails of the day. Then you can pack up and go in seconds, providing a seamless stop and start to your day.
Also, check out an easy-to-carry laptop stand that eases discomfort when typing as you travel. If your device is smaller, such as a tablet, look into investing into a mini keyboard, which is lightweight and rolls into your briefcase. This allows you to unpack in seconds and take advantage of a spare five minutes to polish off a presentation before walking into that boardroom.
One of the most useful services that a hotel business center still holds the monopoly on is printing services. If you need to print out copies of your presentation slides for an upcoming board meeting, you might find that the low-quality printer in the hotel business center or waiting in line at a local copy shop isn’t the best use of your time.
That’s where a shameless self plug (but very relevant to business travelers and road warriors) of Mimeo Print comes in.
The cloud-based platform enables you to build, proof and ship your much-needed materials for your presentation or event in minutes, arriving as early as the next morning. What’s even better is they can send the materials directly to your hotel room or the conference venue — taking all the sweat out of what would otherwise be a tricky situation.
Faxing and Scanning
Although we like to pretend we’re rocketing into the future of cloud-based everything, not all businesses have outlawed the fax.
In fact, sometimes we all still have to fax important documents on short notice. And the hotel business center is one of the rare places you can still do this within minutes.
However, the world of tech has some 21st-century answers to this problem. So, you won’t ever have to leave the hotel room. Apps like Genius Fax or eFax can help you eliminate that pesky paper from your life. Within seconds you can send faxes to and receive faxes from your mobile device — eFax even gives you your own personal fax number.
For scanning and signing important documents, download something like TinyScan or HelloSign to complete documents on the move. Both are high quality, and ridiculously easy to use (not to mention free). You can use them to easily email documents to relevant colleagues — all within just a few minutes.
Don’t Let Travel Impact Your Energy Levels
While not technically part of the hotel business center, a hotel wake-up call is the age-old tool utilized by executives everywhere to get to that morning meeting on time. Download an app like SleepCycle, which tracks your sleeping patterns so that you wake up refreshed at just the right moment. Combine this with a top-notch online calendar that tracks and makes appointments while syncing across all your devices.
Afraid you’ll miss out on the free pens and paper you usually pick up from the hotel business center? Check out reMarkable. It’s an elegant solution for on-the-go notes whether during an airplane flight or conference meeting. You can even edit, highlight and make notes on documents scanned and sent to you — seamlessly integrating both paper and technology to streamline your information into one lightweight package.
If you can succeed in creating your own personal business center, you’ll also add an element of privacy, as well as flexibility, to your business. You’re able to work when and where you want, take advantage of spare minutes in order to work, and save on crucial time usually wasted traveling to and from the hotel. Now all you need is a fancy schmancy briefcase, and you’ll be unstoppable while you’re on the move.
Learn about 6 of our favorite apps that help keep business travelers organized and efficient while on the road.