Small business/sales teams, presentation groups, and small youth sports groups increasingly choose vacation homes over hotels/motels for a variety of reasons. Chief among these is the cost of meals.

$25 for a Club Sandwich?

Last year, TripAdvisor’s TripIndex report analyzed the top 10 ranked 4-star hotels in a variety of U.S. cities and compared the price of a club sandwich delivered through room service. The results were sobering to say the least, especially to first time users of room service meals. Turns out the lowly club sandwich (basically, a BLT with turkey) cost almost $16 when ordered through room service. Multiply that by a dozen guests and you’re talking $192 for just the sandwich–without a drink of any kind. Most hotels automatically add a 15% service fee and a $5 to $12 “in-room dining” charge to the bill (usually, these extra fees and charges are buried in “mouse-type” at the bottom of the menu). Add in tax and you’re up to $25 per sandwich–or a whopping $300 for 12 BLTs. Imagine the groceries one could buy and the number of meals one could prepare with the money spent on meals at a hotel.

Bland Hotel Food Often Lacks Local Flavor

In his recent article, The Top Five Reasons to Never Eat at a Hotel or Resort Restaurant, Robert McGarvey notes that hotel restaurants usually stick to predictable, bland food that those eating away from home will regard as safe–things like sandwiches, pizza, pasta with an occasional steak. The article goes on to say that many guests often complain about the poor service. McGarvey feels that it’s better to eat what the locals eat to get a flavor for the area. “You don’t know New Orleans until you have had a muffaletta at the Central Grocery,” says McGarvey.

Free Breakfasts Not Enough to Entice

At least in this regard, some hotels have taken steps to keep guests from switching to vacation homes by offering complimentary breakfasts. But even that is not enough to offset the high prices they charge for lunches and dinners. All the more reason why vacation homes are becoming popular among small business/sales teams and small youth sports groups. They offer what hotels/motels can’t–the ability to cook your own food in modern home-like kitchens.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner–Just Like Home

Staying in a vacation home allows travelers to prepare and enjoy healthy, economical meals–three times a day. These well-equipped homes typically feature fully appointed kitchens with stainless steel appliances (dishwasher, fridge, microwave and double oven), granite counters, and large breakfast bars. The kitchens also come with pots, pans, bakeware, cooking utensils, dishes, flatware, even kitchen towels and paper towels–just like home. So instead of costly, bland meals, guests can prepare unique meals that fit their teams’ health and taste preferences. This includes custom health drinks and desserts–items that would be very expensive in a hotel.

BBQ Your Steak in a Hotel?–Now that’s Rare

Vacation homes let guests do something they usually can’t do in a hotel or motel–prepare steaks, shrimp, burgers or hot dogs on a private, outdoor BBQ. No waiting for BBQs to be available or sharing yard space with strange hotel/motel guests. Each home usually includes a large outdoor dining table and chairs, plus a comfortable seating area.

It’s not hard to see how the cost of two or three meals a day for even a small group would become very expensive. Vacation homes solve this problem–with meals that feel and cost like home.