Our Sales Resource Group VP, Wayne Martin, provides some simple tips to accomplish your next business trip like a pro.
As many people in this industry may know, business travel can be an important and difficult part of the job. While at times it may be a hassle, it’s often the best way to connect with your customers and partners. The good news is that with the proper experience and preparation, traveling can be enjoyable, comfortable and rewarding.
1. Choose proximity, not preference—before you even leave, make sure you research where your meeting will be and create travel plans around that. Go to the closest hotel and restaurants to that location. I try to schedule events around the meeting and the people I’m working with to make it easier for them.
2. Prep the meeting materials—if I’m giving a presentation, I like to bring physical and digital copies and get into the meeting room early to set up. It’s also important that if you’re with a team, everyone is aware of their individual responsibilities. Make sure to confirm with your customer that you have the correct meeting location and that you’ll have access to Wi-Fi.
3. Packing personal items—one of the worst things for me to do when traveling is wait until the last minute to pack. I like to lay things out ahead of time so I don’t forget important items. Here’s what’s in my bag on all of my trips:
- Toiletry bag-I have two. One for overnights and another for multiple-day trips.
- I restock the bag when I return so that I’m always prepared to grab it and go.
- Exercise gear
- Swimsuit, in case the hotel actually has a working hot tub
- Extra outfit—you never know when your travel plans will change. If you stay a day later, you’ll want fresh clothes.
- Socks, underwear and belts—It gets interesting when you forget these items.
4. Stay on time—I like to give myself plenty of time to get where I’m going. Find the type of parking that works best for you and stick to it. I prefer the Park and Fly program, since I know I’ll always have a spot to park. Download your airline’s mobile app so that you can check in online, change seats and get instant notifications. I usually have hard copies of all my reservations and confirmations just in case.
5. Be Productive—Make sure that you’re still accessible when on the road. This will cut down on work you have to do later. Get a hands-free listening device for driving (many states require it). You can also check emails on your phone/laptop or e-reader using your airport/airlines wireless network.
6. Keep comfortable—traveling isn’t always fun, sexy and exotic. It can get boring and exhausting. To prevent this, I always bring a backpack with all the essentials:
- iPad for books, movies, music and apps
- Noise-canceling headphones: This helps with airplane noise, chatty seat companions and crying babies. Power cords and extra batteries are good to have. (Also, make sure your devices are fully charged before leaving home).
- Refillable water bottle with flavor packets.
- Rocky Mountain Co. chocolate malt balls!
7. Explore your destination—a lot of people get stuck in the rut of going straight to their hotel and then back to the airport. I like to take some time to go for a run through the city. It not only keeps me on my normal routine, it helps de-stress, clear my head and better understand the area where our customers and associates live and work. Plus, it’s always nice be able to talk about things you see when you meet with them later. When my coworkers travel with me, I like to make them run with me too! They love it!
8. Maintain Personal Relationships—when I call my wife I try to focus on her day and the things going on around our home. It’s not too smart to go on and on about the warm, sunny weather in Hawaii or California if it’s snowy and cold back in Minnesota. If there’s something that I really enjoy about the area I’m visiting, I take note and try to take her back with me if I get a chance.
Feel free to share your travel tips with us!