Besides overpriced food, one constant feature at airports is the airport hotel. Many airports have a hotel right on the airport premises, while other airport hotels are found in close proximity, but not on the airport property itself. The airport hotel concept is especially popular with business travelers and those who have long drives to their departing airport. Business travelers may have meetings on the other side of the city, but can make their flights much more easily if they come back to an airport hotel.
Some travelers do not live close to a major airport and may need to drive as long as three or four hours to get to one. If they have an early morning flight, they may not want to leave at 2 a.m., get to the airport at 5 a.m. and get on a plane for a long flight. The logical solution is to make a reservation at an airport hotel and stay the night there, then be near the airport the next morning.
Travelers considering an airport hotel usually look for two things: price and proximity. Business travelers with expense accounts may be able to stay in a higher-priced hotel if they are able to do so on the company dime. However, leisure travelers often look for the best prices.
An airport hotel is usually part of a national chain, and because there are often several hotels in the area, fierce competition ensures quality at decent prices. An airport hotel on the airport property may even be in the terminal area. These hotels are usually high quality at a high price. The traveler often pays for the proximity advantage. It's nice to walk out of the front of the hotel, directly to the ticket counter.
A traveler considering an airport hotel may want to think about the possibility of the free breakfast. With airlines cutting out meals on domestic flights, the free hotel breakfast is a way to fill up quickly, without spending a great deal of money at the airport food court. Often, the airport hotel will provide complimentary shuttle service for guests, so this is another real advantage to consider. Taxis and hired shuttles may be expensive, so a dollar or two more in the room rate may pay for itself by eliminating the need for a cab to the airport.
Rates for an airport hotel vary widely. They may run anywhere from 50 to over 100 US dollars (USD). Other factors, such as the size of the airport and the size of the city, can also affect room rates.
It's easy to find an airport hotel in most search engines. A traveler should know the 3-letter IATA code (e.g. ORD for Chicago O'Hare) for his departing airport. Typing this into the search engine should result in several hits.