The Truth About Business Travelers: I Am Pleasantly Surprised!

Traveling a lot for work recently has provided me with some unique opportunities to observe people. There are lots of stories and jokes and stereotypical characteristics about road warriors – people who travel a lot on business – and I expected to run into a lot of confirming examples. But what I’ve discovered is the few are creating an image to the detriment of the many. Here are 5 debunked myths about road warriors that may surprise you:

1. They enjoy freedom from the office while on the road. Quite the contrary, 80% to 90% of all the business travelers I see are working while traveling. They are talking quietly on the phone with conference calls while waiting in the airport, they pull out their laptops or tablets and start working as soon as we hit 10,000 feet in the air. Most business travelers are quite literally tethered to their offices and they don’t waste time hanging out or lolly gagging around. They are working.

2. They enjoy chatting about where they’ve been and how important they are at work. OK, so there are a few braggarts running around out there, but most of this behavior is seen only in the movies. Sure, rookies may fall into this trap for a little while but the vast majority of business travelers keep to themselves and work. The bad mannered folks fluffing their plumage at anyone who will listen are few and far between. You could be sitting next to a CEO or an Entrepreneur who makes 7 figures and you probably won’t know it. I really believe most business travelers see travel time as their own time to work and think with minimal interruptions.

3. They are rude. We’ve all heard the stories. I’ve witnessed a few business folks behaving in ways that would embarrass the crud out of their mothers, but on the whole the vast majority of business travelers I’ve seen recently have been considerate of the people around them. They talk in low voices while on the phone, they follow the FAA rules about electronic equipment usage, they patiently wait in line for the family with 3 kids, 7 bottles of water, 6 roller bags and a stroller to clear security. They don’t usually push and shove to get in or out of a line. And they don’t demand special attention from gate agents, flight attendants, hotel staff, or drivers. The rudest travelers I’ve observed lately have been folks on vacation.

4. They get to eat in fancy restaurants every night. I suppose some could afford it, but the reality is the fancy restaurants are an exception for the practiced business traveler. The rookies may try this for a while, but they learn pretty quickly that fancy meals and late nights make working on the road miserable. Most business travelers eat at the hotel where they are staying or a local take out. They are focused on getting something to eat, getting work prepared for the next day and getting some sleep. People who don’t travel a lot find it hard to believe but when you are on the road what you get hungry for is a simple meal like you can easily fix at home.

5. Business travel is glamorous. Yes, there are perks like frequent flyer miles and hotel points. But business travel is a lot about waiting to get where you are going, fitting in as much business as you can while you are there, and then going home. Its airports and hotels and offices and meetings. There’s very rarely time for sightseeing. Most experienced business travelers treat the travel as a normal part of their day – just a long commute. Interestingly, I think business travelers tend to be more focused on getting the job done while they are traveling so that they can relax when they go home.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or a corporate exec, your ability to expand your impact in the world is enhanced by business travel. It’s nice to know that most of the fellow travelers you’ll meet on the road are just regular people focused on doing a good job. Sure, there will be the occasional twit and some pretty funny stories to share, but most of it is routine as you join the ranks of the polite, yet focused business travelers.

Business Travel Trends For Healthy Flying Are In The Hands of The Millennials

According to the American Express Global Business Traveller Survey 2013 if you are a business traveller and you sat next to me on your next flight there is a one percent chance that you would engage me in conversation, so much for business going social! Whether you would want to engage me in conversation is another matter but this article is not about me it’s about the developing trends in business travel from a healthy flier perspective.

The survey was conducted by American Express in the summer of 2013 with participants from the US, UK and Australia. Approximately 500 randomly sampled business travellers were surveyed in each country.

The standout headlines are

(1) As the global workforce goes through change the Millennials are beginning to make up a larger portion of it.

(2) As a group the Millennials value a better work life balance and are savvy about it while on the road.

(3) There is an added focus on relieving travel related stress.

Narrowing in on the US market the travel stress theme is specifically in evidence.

74% of travellers said they drank extra water to stay hydrated.

48% stretched on the plane.

44% use a hotel gym.

20% avoid alcohol.

The majority use a combination of diet and exercise to stay healthy while on the road and 41% supplement their diets with vitamins.

Even if it is only implied these figures show that more business travellers are beginning to recognise and value the correlation between flying healthily to arrive well, be productive and successful in business.

This can only mean good news for the healthy flying niche. If the influence of the Millennials as a demographic block is brought to bear the way the baby boomers have done for the last few economic boom cycles the healthy flying niche and other industries will be better for it. This period in time is all the more important because we have the makings of a perfect storm. We have an influential demographic that fliers and values health. We have challenged or non existing healthcare provisions which mean staying healthy and out of the healthcare system is at a premium. We have an epidemic of Autoimmune disease and we have Globalisation and Technology which play the roles of saint sinner and saviour all at the same time. There are more people taking to the sky that before, journeys are more stressful than before and the frequent flier has to negotiate all of this while still performing at the top of their game.

Globalisation is forcing the pace of change we are experiencing. The good about it is more nations are coming online as it were, the bad is it becomes an even more crowded marketplace to negotiate. The same applies with Technology it forces change but also brings an always on and in view aspect to our lives. How we are able to harness both of these forces to enable a better flying experience for health inclined frequent fliers is a million dollar question in more ways than one.

Some strides in this direction are already being made, I would expect efforts to continue in this direction with some seriously useful kit to be available to fliers. At the moment we have a few notable players. The Napwell sleep mask, the Re-Timer sleep glasses and Valkee LED earbuds are a few aimed strictly at jet lag or sleep trouble often accompanying jet lag. On the other hand there are technologies that have a native use which can be adopted by fliers for relief of some jet lag symptoms. Brainwave Apps and Barefoot Earthing Technology products are some of these second category technologies. The Photon shower revealed at a TED talk in 2013 sounded promising but is only a concept with no firm plans for production. The explosion of fitness gadget that work with the latest smartphones or stand-alone is a curve you can expect travel related gadgets to follow. There are actually some such gadgets already in the marketplace. The AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper on how to manage traveller productivity used such a product.

As I mentioned earlier the most potent indictment of the times we live in is to be found in the strong currents of change caused by Globalisation and Technology. I would argue that Globalisation is increasing global collaborative work where people travel and come together on a project for the short-term. This trend is already prevalent in show business, journalism and the fashion world and even in the technology industry. As it continues to develop the need for people to arrive on form and ready for business becomes more obvious. Even without going that far the multinationals who spend large sums of money to recruit the best they can find want them to maintain their performance edge when they are sent half way around the world on the company’s business. It is common knowledge that it is no longer enough to just book a business class seat and expect the employee to arrive well.

As the travel industry players and the corporate world become more cognizant of the costs of travel related stress and jet lag, quantifying it in terms of the bottom line becomes a useful yardstick. The aforementioned AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper and the Carlson Wagonlit Solutions Stress Triggers for Business Travelers White Paper (which includes the Travel Stress Index tool) are two attempts to put a perspective on the scale of the problem. How the data in both of these tools is put to use is a question for the corporations individual fliers as well as the airlines and the travel industry intermediaries. For airlines at least it seems the battle lines are drawn, with the rollout of the latest offerings from Boeing and Airbus creeping into the stocks of most major players the focus is moving away from the hardware (the planes) to the software (customer service and deliverable product enhancements) this last category could potentially include any number of health initiatives to make sure business frequent fliers arrive well.

The Benefits of Venturing in Online Business Travel

Nowadays, it is hard to watch a TV program without seeing a commercial for a vacation deal. Same thing goes for when you are browsing the Internet. How many times have you seen a side bar advertisement for an online booking for a trip? One glaring fact is that in the past few years, we have seen a boom in the travel industry. People are more inclined to travel these days than they were in the past. A lot of factors have spurred this, but the most apparent insight is that there is a lot of opportunity in the travel business industry.

For starters, people are more inclined to travel these days because of the cost of traveling has decreased compared to how it was before. People thought it was more affordable now, more than ever. It also helps that the last decade saw an increase in what a regular household makes-people now have dispensable income, and allocating some of it for travel does not really affect their budget. Aside from financial factors, another reason why traveling has become a popular preference for leisure these days is because arranging a trip has never been more easier, and this is where online travel business comes in. Since traveling has now become a commodity, people now seek a more convenient way to book their trips.

The demand for travel is at its best during the past years, and it has even been dubbed by some as the 8-trillion dollar industry. This is what makes it one of the most viable ventures when it comes to online businesses. In the next points, we will take you through the gains of going into online business travel.

You manage your own time. Are you the type who tends to be more productive when you are not being micro-managed? If that is the case, then this is the right type of business for you. You do not have to worry about your boss breathing down your neck, or sticking to strict 8-hour workdays. You are also at a liberty to take vacations anytime since you are not bound by limited vacation days-if you are up for it, you can even take your work with you if you really want an extended vacation.

You earn a satisfactory amount of money. Needless to say, the income is good in online travel business. As mentioned in the points earlier, it has become an essential part of our culture, so there is always a high demand for suppliers who will make booking trips easier and more expedient for travelers. The main reason why this type of business caught your attention is because you love traveling yourself, right? It is very rare to find someone who does not like traveling or who would not want to travel some time in the future. That goes without saying that the industry is here to stay, and you might want to be part of it when it flourishes even more.

You reap in benefits other than your income. When you venture in travel business, it is a good mix of work and play most of the time. Because of your collaborations with certain hotels and airlines, it will be like your tapping into an access to various discounts, freebies, and many other travel-related perks. That is, of course, if you will put a lot of thought on the company or establishments that you will partner with. There is also the benefit of learning more about specific places. Since your role will primarily be the advocate of these places, it would be best to know the culture, history, and the attractions of a certain destination.

Why the London Riots Created a Greater Business Travel Threat Than a Terrorist Attack

Introduction to the London riots threat

If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again.

The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011.

London Riots and Demonstrations

The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result.

Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees.

Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify:

Affected areas,
Degree of threat,
Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers,
Arrival/departure points,
Safe and non-affected areas,
Mitigation or eradication options,
Cost of implementation,
Funds available,
Emergency support,
Accommodation options,
On-going or developing events,
Social or non-business activity,
Insurance claims and compliance requirements,
Cancellation criteria,
Resumption of travel criteria,
Extended event plans,
Travel alternatives (domestic and international)

The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s.

The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects.

A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation.

Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots

With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travellers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travellers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions.

Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travellers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travellers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced.

A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed.

Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues.

Travel delay, disruption and changes

Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats.

The instinctive and guided response of travellers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect.

Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travellers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travellers upon all available exit travel nodes.

Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources.

Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travellers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view.

This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan’s tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travellers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue.

Conclusion: London riots threat

You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travellers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management and response. This will happen again. Perhaps not in London, perhaps not a city wide demonstration but this kind and scale of business travel disruption event will happen more than once before the end of 2011. Review your plan and make the necessary enhancements now.