How to...

Take the stress out of travel

Jens Wohltorf, co-founder of chauffeur company Blacklane, discusses how to get the most out of a business trip – without the stress!

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Technology might be turning the world into one virtual office, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. Conversion rates of prospective customers more than double with a visit in person and it’s estimated that nearly a third of revenue would be lost to competitors without meetings in person.

There is no guarantee, however, that employees on the road will perform in front of the client and actually close that deal. From delayed baggage and poor internet connectivity, to inconveniently located hotels and a long-haul flight in economy, there are a variety of factors that can jeopardise the success of a business trip.

Given the multitude of potential stress factors for employees and the fact that businesses are sending employees on the road more frequently, it’s important for managers to assess how they can alleviate these elements and ensure the employee arrives at their destination refreshed and ready to work.

Security queues and immigration can be expedited in some cases. For example, travellers who regularly face queues at US airports could consider signing up for Global Entry Status, a US Customs and Border Protection programme that pre-qualifies certain travellers for expedited customs.

Opting for business class on long-haul flights is an obvious move if the travel policy allows, meaning employees can comfortably work on confidential documents and arrive feeling rested and refreshed.

Pre-arranged chauffeur transfers eliminate the wait for a taxi or train or the pressure of jumping into a hire car in a new destination. This professional alternative to the taxi is proving to be a compelling solution to reducing business travel stress – but then we would say that!

When it comes to technology, TripIt is making waves as a go-to app for the modern business traveller. It’s a useful trip planner that enables users to easily create a master travel itinerary both on the desktop and on mobile, and keep on top of their schedule.

Technology also helps with expense reporting. Keeping track of expenses can be tricky, but the Expensify app makes the process easier. It helps users get a hold on their business expenses and mileages, enabling them to file receipts by trip and submit expense reports to employers at the click of a button.

Finding the right people to connect with at conferences and events can prove difficult, but technology can help here too. A useful app is Bizzabo which allows you to connect with and chat to other people attending the same conference. It’s also good practice to scour Eventbrite, Meetup and Peatix to find opportunities to meet local entrepreneurs and understand what is driving innovation locally.

The means and tools are out there, but ultimately it’s up to the travel manager, their travel policy and the travellers themselves to take the right approach, decide what works best for them, and to think strategically about how to get the most out of their trips – without the stress!