What a Trip!

What a Trip!

Best Midprice Hotel Value:
Hilton Garden Inn

Hilton Garden Inn is the Hilton Family of hotels' fastest-growing brand for good reason: You'll always find modern, clean and practical accommodations-not a grande dame in the bunch. You also get everything you need to conduct business, including an oversize desk, a two-line phone, free high-speed internet access and a 24-hour business center (including one or more meeting rooms). You will enjoy home-like amenities in your room, such as a microwave and a minifridge. And a specially designed clock radio can play your MP3 or portable CD player. Plus, many of the hotels sport flat-screen, high-definition TVs and upgraded beds. You'll also find a small casual restaurant in each hotel as well as an always-open Pavilion Pantry.

Best of all, rates generally run in the $100 to $200 per night range. And You'll earn points in the Hilton HHonors frequent-stay program, which can be redeemed for free nights at all Hilton Family hotel brands and can be converted into airline frequent-flier miles.

We aren't the only ones singing the praises of Hilton Garden Inn-the chain has received the JD Power and Associates "Highest Guest Satisfaction Among Mid-Scale Hotel Chains With Full Serv-ice" award for the past four years. The hotels are located in mostly suburban and airport-adjacent areas, but have recently moved into more central locations, including New York City and downtown Chicago. Interested? See www.stayhgi.com, or call (877) STAY-HGI.

Best Upscale Hotel Value:
Omni Hotels

Over the past five years or so, Omni Hotels have quietly become a hit among value-conscious business travelers who want to enjoy a sense of luxury. At the 38 Omni Hotels across North America, you can expect reasonable rates, plus great locations, excellent service, well-appointed rooms, and hip and handsome hotel restaurants.

All Omni Hotels offer on-site business centers and meeting spaces, and in your room, you'll enjoy two-line speakerphones and free high-speed internet access. (Omni was the first upscale hotel chain to offer free high-speed internet in all guest rooms at all hotels; most upscale brands charge a daily fee of $10 to $20.)

For those committed to staying fit, Omni offers two options to make working out easier: First, you can request a free Get Fit Kit, which includes items such as dumbbells, a workout mat, a headset and a bottle of water. And for an additional $14.99 per night, you can reserve a Get Fit Room with a treadmill.

Instead of a standard program that rewards loyalty with free hotel stays, Omni's innovative Select Guest program is a frequent-guest recognition program. Members get bennies like express check-in, late check-out, free morning coffee or juice delivered to the room, plus occasional surprises such as complimentary upgrades or half-price weekend nights. Also, you'll earn 600 airline miles per stay with most major U.S. airlines.

The chain recently opened brand-new hotels in San Diego and Orlando, Florida. Learn more at www.omnihotels.com, or call (888) 444-OMNI.

Best Car Rental Value:
Budget Rent A Car

Budget Rent A Car gets our kudos this year for launching Budget Business, the freshest approach to small- and midsize-business car rentals in years-a $2 per day rebate, with very few strings attached. While $2 per day may not sound like much, it can certainly add up over the long run.

Here's how it works: Small and midsize businesses that rent cars at least five times per year sign up for the Budget Business program at www.budget.com/bizprogram. Once your company has signed up and received a Budget Corporate Discount number, employees receive an additional discount off Budget's lowest qualifying rates on all car classes. Then at the end of each month, Budget sends your company a statement with all car rental activity, plus a check for the $2 per day rebate on all rentals. Even better, there are no additional driver fees, and all employees get free Rapid Return and Fastbreak service (which means no standing in line at the rental car counter).

What we like best about the Budget Business program is that businesses can earn a discount without giving up the perks and convenience of a full-service car rental company. Budget has a presence in all major U.S. airports, offers frequent-flier miles for each rental, operates a fleet of low-mileage vehicles and provides 24-hour roadside assistance. Check it all out at www.budget.com, or call (800) 822-7379.

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This article was originally published in the April 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: What a Trip!.

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