Category Archives: Travel Business

Due Diligence Travel Agency Acquisition Process

The due diligence review (DDR) is a critical part of the travel agency acquisition process.

There are five key objectives:

1. Identify deal-breakers, which, if unresolved could preclude pursuing the transaction any further:

• Company personnel engaged with conflicting, outside interests

• Financial commitments – employment contracts, leases from previous acquisitions, liens, etc.

• Legal/Regulatory issues- lawsuits, client complaints

– Quality of work

– Questionable accounting

– Questionable expenditures

2. Verify representations received from the seller, such as key assumptions made about employees, compensation, systems, key statistics.

3. Obtain a more detailed understanding of the business:

• Types of clients

• Business mix

• Sources of revenue

4. Obtain information vital to negotiating the transaction:

• Salary and benefit information for employees

• Inventory of furniture and equipment

• Inventory of computer systems and software

5. Identify potential transition issue or areas of focus:

• Compensation and benefit issues

• Technical and workflow process issues

• Other

The DDR is designed to assist the Due Diligence Manager (DDM) in efficiently planning, executing, and reviewing the planned transaction. Following a standardized DDR is critical to the successful completion of the review and will ensure that:

• A consistent approach is used by all due diligence team (DDT),

• A standard output (format) is created for each DDR, and

• The duplication of information gathered or requested of the owners is eliminated.

The DDM is responsible for the overall planning and final review of all work and the development of the final report.

PHASE I: Meeting/conference call with Deal Owner, Acquisition Manager and DDM

Goals:

• Communicate overall vision and strategy of the DDR.

• Share information that has already been obtained to eliminate the duplication of data- gathering efforts.

• Identify DDT members.

Reporting: Recap the discussion/decisions and provide a copy to each party.

PHASE II: Meeting/conference call with Acquisition Leader, DDM and DDT Members

Goals:

• Share new information.

• Review the need for confidentiality with acquired firm contacts and external sources (i.e., media).

PHRASE III: Meeting with DDM and Firm Owner and/or Main Contact

Goals:

• Review the DDR.

• Provide the list of items that the firm will need to produce.

Reporting: The DDM will complete the recap of each call.

PHRASE IV: Data gathering process begins with the DDM, Team Members, and Firm Owner & Contacts

Goals:

• Complete the due diligence data gathering (DDM, Firm owner/firm department contact).

• Complete the “Summary Report” memo (support team member).

PHRASE V: The DDM completes the Final Report and provides it to the Deal Owner and Acquisition Leader.

Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel and Tour Franchise

If you are considering investing in a travel and tour franchise, it is likely that you have many questions. For many people, the idea of setting their own business can be incredibly daunting experience, but also one of the most liberating experiences of their lives. In this article, we will look at some of key considerations which you should factor in when making this decision.

The travel and tourism industry is literally booming globally – now contributing over two trillion pounds to the economy. More and more people are thinking about how they can get involved in the travel and tourism industry, recognising the explosive and exponential growth. Starting your own travel business from scratch is one option that people often consider, however starting without a network of contacts or even a base starting point can be extremely tricky. A huge number of start ups will fail within 12 months, so always try to avoid this pitfall.

The more popular market to success within the travel industry is the travel, or tour franchise market. What this essentially means is instead of setting up a travel business from the beginning, you can buy a travel franchise which actually gives you a firm starting point to begin your business. There are quite a few travel franchise businesses online, however there are probably only a couple of established businesses. If you do choose to purchase a tour franchise, make sure to do your research and pick the franchise company which is the best fit for you.

So what can you expect in terms of support when you buy a travel franchise? When buying a franchise, there are always different levels of support. Think of this a three-tiered membership: platinum, silver and gold. The more initial investment that you are willing to put up, means the greater level of support and guidance that you are likely to receive. Nonetheless, there are some common levels of support which you should expect from all travel franchises.

The first thing you should expect is a fully comprehensive training or induction programme. Lots of franchise operators will actually offer a residential training course, so this is likely to be an intensive course over a number of days or weeks. This can be a great opportunity to spend significant time with the franchise tour operators and really pick their brains, whilst trying to soak up an incredible amount of information.

It is also likely that they will be inducting a number of other new franchisees at the same time. This is also a fantastic opportunity to meet some like minded people who are also at the beginning of the same journey that you are on. If you can take the opportunity to spend time with them and get to know their motivations behind setting up a new franchise, you can increase your knowledge but also begin to build up your travel network. In the travel industry in particular, your network and who you know can really be a determining factor in how well you do.

You can also expect some of the more practical tools for setting up a new franchise. This might include a laptop, hopefully pre-loaded with any specialist software and templates that you might need. This may not always be included as a standard support tool, so you should always try to make sure that you fully understand everything that is being provided. A functional website, which is branded towards your company name and logo, is also something which you expect.

Finally, you might also receive some branding materials, such as leaflets, tri-folds and business cards. Remember when you meet potential clients, handing them a business card can be a great way to exchange your details with them and keep in touch.

Offsetting Air Travel Emissions As a Green Business Practice

We all know that air travel has impacts on the environment and a number of companies now include offsetting their air travel carbon impacts as one of their green business practices. However this is not as easy as it seems. Carbon emissions are not the only impact from air travel and different offset calculators use differing methodology to determine how much should be offset. Aside from this, the level of your personal emissions also varies depending on flight distance, the type of plane and whether you are flying business or economy. This article will help you understand some of the different factors that contribute to your personal air travel carbon emissions.

Aeroplanes burn fossil fuels to operate which release CO2 into the atmosphere. There are different opinions on how much air travel contributes to global CO2 emissions with figures ranging from 2% to 10%. Not only are CO2 emissions an issue but aeroplanes also release water vapour, nitrogen oxides and methane. The environmental impact of these is greater when released at high altitude than what it would be at ground level. While these impacts are not entirely understood, it is generally agreed that a radiative forcing factor should be used when determining the impacts of air travel. Radiative forcing is the rate at which a given atmospheric gas alters radiation that is entering the atmosphere.

Not all emissions calculators include the radiative forcing factor in their calculations which underestimates the environmental impact of the flight. To make it even more complicated there are differing opinions as to what the radiative forcing factor should be set to. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommend a radiative forcing factor of 2.7 and this seems to be most commonly used. So for a more accurate assessment of your flights impacts, you want to choose a calculator that includes radiative forcing but the story does not stop there.

There are a range of other variables that affect your individual emissions. First is the distance traveled and whether this is long or short. Short distance flights are less fuel efficient overall due to the fuel consumed during takeoff and landing but they also generate less condensation trails (water vapour) due to the shorter time spent at high altitude. The type of plane will also impact the level of emissions from the flight as newer model aeroplanes tend to be more fuel efficient.

As for the emissions each passenger is responsible for, this will vary depending on whether the flight is full and whether the person is traveling economy or business. If the flight is not fully occupied, each person will have to offset a higher level of emissions to offset the whole impact of the flight and if you are traveling in business class, you are taking up more space and will be responsible for a greater percentage of the emissions.

As you can see calculating the emissions to offset air travel is not as straight forward as it first seems, in spite of this an understanding of the factors that contribute to your personal emission levels from air travel gives you a better idea how your travel decisions impact the environment.

Y2B Travel Review – Where Can I Make Lots of Money Fast? Marketing Opportunities and Key

Y2B Travel

The chance to have the freedom to be your own boss, manage your own schedule and organise the business in your own way, to suit your own needs and personality is an amazing opportunity. This is a dream for many people and has been for many years, now we are seeing this dream come true for many with the variety of online home business opportunities that are cropping up all over the internet and offering amazing deals and promises of major financial gains.

Y2B Travel offers you the chance to own a travel business that you can use from your own computer anywhere in the world, you can start selling travel booking and tickets through the internet to make your own commission and profits. Y2B Travel has two parts to its structure, as you will receive the program that allows you to sell the travel bookings but also it is a multi-level publicly traded company and you will receive further commissions by on-selling the offer to other people. This is the area that is most profitable as the 2-up system means you will receive the first 2 sales of all the people you recruit and a percentage of their sales after that.

The travel industry is currently one of the most popular and competitive industries in the world and you are going to find it difficult to break into a decent profit margin by selling bookings as there are so many competitive rates and sites out there. Using the products that you receive for your own advantage is still a good deal though, there are many travel discounts as well as learning and educational materials relating to internet marketing and advertising.

People need to be aware of all the products available and what they have to offer. Reading the small print and getting the most detailed description of all the companies will allow people to make the best and most informed decision regarding which company they want to sign with. Y2B is one of the higher priced companies and is not brilliant for the price they are asking, though it does have the advantage of different entry levels which can be cheaper and less involved.

You will also need to put in a lot of work to your business to ensure that you are successful and gain the most profits you can. There are many other business opportunities that require less effort on your part, though of course still some, and that are less competitive and have higher chances for increased profits. You can find a lot of opportunities through internet searches and related websites.

7 Ways To Cut Travel Expenses From Your Next Funding Round

You’re on the funding round trail to secure cash to boost your start up or to take your existing company to the next level. If you’ve tried and failed at all the sources you could try without leaving your office, and you simply must travel with following seven suggestions for getting you there – and back – without doing it on a wing and a prayer, and without giving your bank balance too much of a pounding.

  1. Why are you booking all this travel? Yes, I know, you couldn’t get funding sitting in the office. But that’s why you’re travelling, not why you’re booking it. Get a travel agent involved. They’re specialists and you’re not. Every trade has its tricks, and the travel business is no different. Giving a list of dates and destinations, and let them iron out the hassle. You could spend the time saved with the family to iron out the hassle of being away on another business trip. Hey, I’m just saying…
  2. Set the rules. Don’t let the travel agent upsell you into upmarket hotels with complicated pillow menus and in-room saunas. You’re trying to generate cash on this funding round, not spend it. The hotel room is a place to sleep for one or two nights; you’re not moving in. Set a budget and have them work within it. Being clear at the outset helps them to help you.
  3. Get on the chain gang. There’s something comforting in the familiar, and that’s what you’ll find if you work with the same chain of hotels. What’s even more comforting is that you’ll be able to tap into loyalty schemes that will make your trip cheaper. We’re trying to raise money here. See tip 2.
  4. Travel light. You can move faster if you travel light. Get your packing down to a fine art, and manage with a carry-on bag. Be sure it’s a size that airlines will accept, and you can be the first to the cab rank when the flight’s landed, rather than watching a broken push-chair trundle round the baggage carousel. Look, it’s coming around again… I wonder if your case has gone to Birmingham, UK, rather than Birmingham, Alabama? Maybe that’s why it hasn’t appeared yet… Oops…
  5. Eat out. What kind of crazy advice is this? Why would you eat out, when you’re staying in a hotel? Well, a couple of reasons, actually. Firstly, if you’ve squeezed the budget very tight, you may well be staying in an hotel with no restaurant, but even if you’re not, getting out in the evening will get you some exercise whilst you’re walking around to find the right kind of eatery, and secondly, you’ll get a flavour of the city you’re visiting, and that’ll come for nothing. Exercise and sightseeing at no cost? What’s not to like?
  6. Whose money is it anyway? If you’re on the hunt for finance, chances are it’s your business that’s footing the bill, so consider this. How about paying for your own meals? It’s what you’d do at home, having shopped for groceries or picked a restaurant, so why not do the same on a business trip? In the grand scheme of things, it might save only a few pennies, but hey, it’ll all add to the profitability, even if only a tiny bit. Travel expense management software is a brilliant tool for keeping track of what you’ve spent, allowing you to reassure yourself that you’ve had value for money.
  7. OK, you win. So, you want to do it yourself, all this travel booking malarkey. Go ahead – but do me a favour. Use some travel and expense management software. Failure to do that means the whole thing will be out of control, and no matter what it says on the plane ticket, you won’t know where you are financially.

Top Tips For Business Travel Safety

Do Your Research

If you’re going abroad, do some research on the country before you go. Make sure you have any vaccinations you may need and all the correct documents, and are familiar with the laws of the country. It’s also a good idea to keep up to date with any political disturbances to avoid dangerous situations.

Electronics

You can never be too careful when using electronics. If you’re working whilst travelling, ensure you have arranged a data plan before you leave so you don’t have to use open Wi-Fi connections – these are not always secure and could result in data loss for your company. It’s also not a great idea to use public computers as again these are usually pretty simple to hack.

Watch your Luggage

Throughout your journey, always keep an eye on your luggage. If you are taking a carry-on, choose a bag that fully zips up and if any of your luggage contains important documents be sure to use a coded padlock. When taking a laptop, avoid putting it in the overhead as it could be stolen or damaged; instead keep it on your lap or place it under the seat in front of you. As long as you’re careful with your items you should be fine.

At the Hotel

One of the first things you should do when you get to the hotel, is check that there is security available 24/7 – available by phone and there should also be a patrol. You should also always leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door to stop anyone from coming in, and only answer the door if you are expecting someone. If you have booked the hotel independently, make sure your company know where you’re staying.

Business Travel Security

Business travel security is available; this can be especially useful if you’re going to a high-risk area or carrying out important work that you could be targeted for. They can provide risk assessment and management, travel training and close protection amongst other things. If you work for a company, you could suggest they look into this for all staff to reduce the risk of any issues and make staff more comfortable with travelling for work.

Avoiding any threats to yourself and your work should be your biggest concern when travelling. By taking small precautions you’ll make your trip run smoothly and ensure your security, leaving you to focus on the work at hand and come home safely.

Business Travel Agents Tips: Things to Know About Flight Delay Compensation

You arrive at the airport, your flight is delayed or even cancelled? Flight delay compensation is an important topic travellers should know about, especially when it comes to business travel. Whether it is due to bad weather such as snow, a security alert or a strike, there are many reasons for flight delays and cancellations. But whatever the reason, it means you have to stay involuntarily longer at the airport before you can travel to your destination or back home. Plus, you may be entitled to flight delay compensation or a refund. Here are some important rules helping you to make sure you are not left out of pocket and make the most of the involuntarily gained extra time.

1. Know your rights

From getting refunded for all your food and drink expenses to getting a hotel or some alternative transportation, you should know what you are entitled to. So, if your flight is cancelled or heavily delayed, you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation (EU rule 261/2004 and repealing regulation (EEC) No 295/91). Unless ‘extraordinary circumstances’ apply, you can claim a financial flight delay compensation for cancelled or heavily delayed flights totalling:

€250 (£210) for inter-EU flights of 930 miles or less

€400 (£330) for flights between 930 and 1,860 miles

€600 (£500) for other journeys (long-haul flights)

It applies for EU flights, which includes any flights leaving from or arriving at an EU airport with an EU-based airline. Plus, your compensation may be reduced by 50% depending on flight distance and the ultimate arrival time. This means the reduced compensation applies to short haul flights within two hours, to medium haul flights within three hours and to long haul flights within four hours. But remember, flight delay compensation is only applicable if it is the airline’s fault (i.e. no act of God applies, such as natural catastrophes, incl. earth quakes, volcanoes or bad weather or political unrest). To claim flight delay compensation simply write to your airline stating the flight number, date, length of delay and reason for the claim. Sometimes airlines try offering you vouchers as flight delay compensation, but you don’t have to accept them and can ask for a cash refund instead. If your airline refuses to compensate you, contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for support and advice. Note, technical faults, unless they result from events which, by their nature or origin, are not part of the normal exercise of the airline, do not count as extraordinary circumstances.

Your right to reimbursement comes into play, if the delay is a minimum of five hours. You should get a reimbursement within seven days, for the cost of the flight ticket, the part of the trip not travelled and the parts already travelled, provided they are then useless. Where applicable, you may be even entitled to the earliest possible return flight to your departure destination or rerouting along with a refund.

During the travel disruption you should receive assistance from your airline, including food, drinks, two free telephone calls, faxes or emails, as well as accommodation and transport transfers to and from the hotel – where applicable. This is regardless of the reason for the delay/cancellation.

2. Networking

It’s always good to make friends, so why not use the downtime for extending your network. Try to see the positive of dealing with flight delays. Seen from a practical level, you may be able to share costs, e.g. for a taxi into town. Also being friendly towards the airport staff may prove helpful. Especially in these kinds of situations they encounter a lot of stressed and unfriendly customers, although the delay/cancellation is none of their personal fault. If you are friendly they are much more likely to help you, maybe even give you some extra advice.

3. Gate-crash the airport lounges

Those of you flying Business Class or being members of corporate airline loyalty or frequent flyer schemes will already be in the VIP lounge enjoying a nice drink and peanuts. It’s a far quieter and relaxed environment. This may be the best option when having to wait for a delayed flight. But if you are neither flying business class, nor a member of a loyalty scheme, be advised that in some cases these lounges are not exclusive and you may be able to access them for a fee of around £20. This could be much cheaper than getting your food and drink from an airport bar.

Furthermore, desk agents in these lounges are often authorised to make fast, last-minute reservations’ changes and there are usually far fewer people ahead of you in the queue. At least you can enjoy the Wi-Fi and free snacks (or booze!) while you have to wait. In the case of a flight cancellation or major delay, and you are at the airport immediately contact the airline you are travelling with. To change the ticket and get advice on the available options, it is best to go to your airline’s ticket desk, as soon as possible. Your business travel management company should continually provide pro-active telephone support throughout, as Flightline Travel does.

What are your top tips for dealing with flight delays and cancellations?

© Copyright Flightline Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved. All amounts and prices stated are correct at time of publication.

Flightline Travel Management – Pro-active business travel support services for corporate travellers

5 Tips to Help You Prepare for International Business Travel

Travel overseas for business can be a fun adventure, but it also needs to be taken seriously. Before traveling to another country, whether for work or pleasure, it’s important to learn the customs and procedures of your destination, while also preparing yourself for your trip.

As a business traveler, you’re not only representing your country of origin to all of those you meet, but you are also a representative of your company. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the country you are planning on visiting as a way to show respect.

Besides requiring the correct documents like a visa and passport, there are other obligations you will likely need to complete before making your way overseas. Many of these requirements are specific to a particular destination based on the laws and regulations for the countries you are visiting. Make sure you do your homework well in advance so you know each of these requirements.

5 Tips for Overseas Business Travel

International travel for business can be a very exciting opportunity. You not only get to see new and interesting parts of the world, but you even get paid while doing it. In order to have the best experience possible, there are things you can do in advance to prepare. Here are five tips to help execute the perfect international business trip.

  1. Create an Organized Itinerary: Make sure that your days are packed with opportunities to help your company. Scheduling time for appointments, meetings, and personal time is very important to executing a beneficial international business trip. An itinerary should be a good guide for your trip’s goals and achievements. Because you do not want to waste any time on this trip, it’s better to plan in advance to take full advantage of the opportunity.
  2. Learn about the Culture and Customs: Before landing in said country, it’s important to understand the environment, culture and practices of this region. Knowing up-to-date news and information about your international travel destinations will help you avoid inappropriate comments or disrespectful behavior. Not only is it important to understand the culture, but it is also beneficial to know protocols, customs and etiquette as well. This includes things like: common greetings, religious practices, business manners, dietary practices, and acceptable humor.
  3. Learn the Native Tongue: While not every business trip requires learning a whole new language, it’s always advisable to seek out some basic vocabulary for the region you are visiting. The use of a translator might be beneficial as well. Communication is a huge part of business and breaking down those barriers will only help you with your business endeavors.
  4. Protect Yourself: Traveling internationally can be exciting, but also very stressful and sometimes dangerous. A new environment can mean new hazards and threats. Don’t avoid protecting yourself to save money. Sometimes travel insurance is a valuable way to reduce the risk of health crises and other types of risks.
  5. Stay Connected: Plan to use your communication devices while staying overseas. Make sure that your plan is available in other countries, or rent a cellphone from the airport. Communicating back and forth between your headquarters, while in a different country, is often an important part of international business. Communicating with your coworkers back at the office is an important part of international business travel.

Traveling internationally for business can be a new adventure. It’s becoming increasingly common as more and more U.S. companies also have offices overseas in places like Ireland, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. In 2014, Forbes rated Denmark as the #1 country for business.

Regardless of where you are traveling, planning ahead helps to make the experience as positive as possible. Know the culture of the places you are visiting, and when possible, make ongoing communication a vital part of your trip. Try to maximize your time spent overseas by preparing in advance for productivity. The more organized you are, the more time you’ll likely have to enjoy some sightseeing and leisure. Always remain respectful, while keeping your goal in sight.

3 Rules to Simplify Your Record Keeping For Business Travel

Summer is here and for many of us that means summer business trips. I love traveling for business. It usually means I’m on my way to speak at a seminar in a great location. But, my least favorite part about business trips is keeping track of all of my receipts.

I use to come home from a business trip and find my receipts in various places over the next several days (or weeks!). Some I would find in my wallet, others in my briefcase, more in my coat pocket, some in my car and with all of these, I was still missing receipts!

That was until I came up with my system for easy business travel record keeping. This system is so simple to use and it maximizes my business travel deductions.

Here’s how my system for easy business travel record keeping works:

*Rule #1*

Use the Convenience and Leverage of Email

When my airfare is booked, the airline sends me an email automatically that has all the information I need for my receipt. I forward that email to my bookkeeper immediately upon receipt. That takes care of the airfare receipt.

When I check out from my hotel, I request to have a copy of my bill emailed to me. I forward that email to my bookkeeper immediately upon receipt. That takes care of my hotel receipt.

With my airfare and hotel receipt, I have the receipts for the majority of my actual expenses. But most of the receipts from my travel come from the other expenses, like meals, cab fare, cash tips. Here is how I tackle those receipts.

*Rule #2*

Pack 2 Envelopes

Part of my packing for a business trip includes packing 2 envelopes in my carry on bag. The first envelope I label with my destination, travel dates and “Meals.” The other envelope I label with my destination, travel dates and “Other.” Any time I get a receipt from a meal, it goes in the “Meal” envelope. Any time I get any other receipt, I put it in the “Other” envelope. After my trip, I give the envelopes to my bookkeeper to record my travel expenses.

It’s such a simple system, but it works!

You may be wondering why I separate my meal receipts. There are 2 reasons I do this.

First, with my meal expenses separated, it makes it easier for my bookkeeper to code the expenses properly. My meal expenses are only 50% deductible, but the rest of my business travel is 100% deductible. Separating the two helps ensure that the expenses get coded to separate accounts so only my meals are subject to the 50% limit.

The second reason is so I can maximize my deductions. This is explained in Rule #3.

*Rule #3*

Use Per Diem

To maximize my business travel deductions, I separate my meal receipts AND I use a personal credit card or my personal cash to pay for all of meals while traveling. I do this because it is the easiest way to make sure I maximize my business travel deductions.

Here’s how I maximize my deduction:

When traveling on business, meal receipts are not required in order to deduct a meal expense. The IRS issues per diem rates for meals and these rates can be used for a meal deduction instead of the actual expense.

This means I can use either my actual meal expenses or I can use the per diem rates. Of course, I always pick the one that gives me the biggest deduction!

I have trained my bookkeeper to compare the total of my actual meal receipts to the per diem allowed. My bookkeeper then determines which provides the greater deduction and records that in my bookkeeping.

For example, if my meal receipts total to $125 and the per diem totals to $200, then I can legitimately deduct $200 for meals. This is one of my favorite strategies because I have increased my business deductions without spending any additional cash!

Here’s how I simplify the record keeping:

I mentioned that I use a personal credit card or personal cash for my meal expenses while traveling. I do this to make sure my business claims the larger of my actual expenses or the per diem allowed.

Once the greater of my actual meal expenses and per diem has been determined, my bookkeeper then completes an expense report that claims the greater amount. My business then reimburses me based on the expense report.

Worst case is I get reimbursed the exact amount I spent, but often times, I’m able to get reimbursed more than what I actually spent because the per diem rates are greater. This means my business gets a bigger deduction and my entire reimbursement (even if I am reimbursed more than what I actually spent) is tax free to me!

This is my favorite kind of system – it’s simple and it maximizes my deductions!

The Conversation Around Healthy Business Travel Has to Change Here’s Why

There is a distinction to be made between the Jet Lagged and the Jet Stressed. It is the same difference between the chronic and the acute. One is acute and the other is chronic. Jet stress is in fact chronically acute. The value of this distinction alone is what separates those who fly well and those who don’t. A second valuable observation to our cause is that any time Man has conquered or thrived in an environment he has done so by taking his own environment with him. To beat jet lag in all it’s forms you and I must do the same, frequent fliers more so than others. The current conversation on the subject of flying well repeat the buzz words like body clock and melatonin too often without a change in results or progress. The conversation is long in the tooth with the same tired advice – get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water and keep your mind active. Old wives tales and a pastiche of personal remedies exist alongside rigid scientific data. The masses of frequent fliers and business travellers are confounded and struggle to make sense of disjointed and often confusing information. Productivity, personal health, relationships and global business’s bottom line suffers.

The Most Intensive Frequent Fliers Hold The Key

I once read some good business advice which preached the value of catering to the extremes of a target audience. The notion was that if they were catered for all other demographics within that target market would be well taken care of. Frequent business fliers are representative of this extreme. An article in Wired magazine* charted the travel paths of business fliers over a year demonstrating the intensity of travel schedules of frequent fliers. The goals of business travellers to maximise productivity on the road, make the right impressions, close the deal and stay healthy bring home the urgency of the conversation at hand.

Unhealthy Flying Doesn’t Pay, What Are The Costs

The price we pay for not dealing with frequent flying challenges and it’s associated woes outweighs the benefits. The costs are measured on a personal and global business scale. You can measure it on the personal scale with the tendency towards weight gain, insomnia, tiredness, fatigue, adrenal stress, hormone irregularities, trouble conceiving and the list goes on and on. The cost to global business is measured in millions of dollars in lost productivity. A 2003 New York Times survey* estimated that heavy-duty business travellers lost about 20 per cent productivity due to trans-meridian travel. A recent AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper* also highlights the link between business travel and productivity.

Solutions Need An Upgrade

Over the short ascent of global business travel and globalisation many advances and efficiencies have been made in the area of civil aviation. The hardware of the trade, the planes have seen many modifications including fly by wire technology and a new generation of fuel-efficient planes to take us into the 21st century. Contrast that with the plight of the frequent business flier, healthy flying advice has remained static. There has been no respite in terms of the pressure and demands in the workplace. Global mobile working is on the increase see the Worldwide ERC website* for confirmation.

Look to Hollywood as an example of what I mean by this. A script is produced, a film is cast, locations are scouted out and the cast goes on location to shoot. Travelling to locations are incidental to the outcomes sought be it a film or a business meeting. Yet the quality of the end product can depend so much on the well-being of the participants. As globalisation makes the world smaller and calls for collaborative groups to come together in the name of a common goal over a short period of time, the need to be fully functional and productive is a conditional necessity for success.

Pharmaceutical Interventions The Only Show in Town, Really?

Until now the loudest voice heard in this conversation has been that of the pharmaceutical industry. Representative of this was Cephalon’s failed bid* to get the FDA to permit the sale of Nuvigil as cure for jet lag. It speaks to the default mode of operation, a pill for every ill and re-classifies jet lag from a costly inconvenience into an illness. This brings me to the point I want to make – better living through chemistry does have its limits. The entire idea that you can continually drug yourself out of jet lag over the span of your career of flying and come out ahead is moot. Workforce mobility and globalisation on the horizon should make this obviously clear by now. Any conversation about a cure to the problems of jet lag has to have an element of sustainability about it, and this is where current approaches fall down.

Let’s Start with The First Question

The required change in tone of conversation is not complete without looking at the definition we give jet lag. Up until now it is characterised as being all about the body clock to the exclusion of anything else. As useful as this is it is limiting in the creativity we can bring to finding a sustainable solution. The discussion has to include a Jet Lag 101 course which asks questions like what is jet lag in its entirety? How does it affects you differently from me? How can you take charge of your solution? What guiding principles and methodologies we can all relate to and use? Without this first step we are doomed to looking at the same information but expecting a different answer. Scientific data is useful in dissecting the mechanisms of jet lag but we need to look beyond that to find a workable solution. Just to be clear any sustainable methodology has to be able to stand up to scientific examination to gain acceptance and credibility. However it starts with an inclusive discussion rather than graphing an old understanding onto an environment and condition which is current, dynamic and changing.

References

Wired Magazine – New Age Traveller Infoporn#14 October 2010

The New York Times

– Business Travel section November 2003

– Regulators reject Cephalon’s bid http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/business/30drug.html

AirPlus International Traveller Productivity White Paper

Worldwide ERC – The Workforce Mobility Association

– The Revival of Value – A Closer Look at Trends in Business Travel