It doesn’t matter how many business trips to Hertfordshire you’ve made, you could still be making mistakes which prove costly in terms of time, money and opportunities. So we’ve put together a list of the top seven business traveller mistakes… and what you can do about them.
Sadly, the world of the lavish business expense account is long gone. The cost of business travel is being more closely monitored, and more travellers are being ‘encouraged’ to travel second class, use budget airlines and cheap and cheerful hotels. But whilst you may still have to turn right when you board an aeroplane, you don’t have to compromise on luxury when it comes to where you lay your head at night. The rise and rise of the luxury serviced apartment is fast becoming a phenomenon, with an estimated 52% increase in numbers between 2015 and 2018. What serviced apartments offer is a luxury stay for the cost of a mid-range hotel. So have a word with the people who book your travel about making your visit more comfortable without spending any more (and possibly even saving the company money!).
Time is money, right? But be honest with yourself, how efficient are you really being if you’re going from one meeting to the next to the next in order to stuff as much client face to face time into your diary as possible. Make sure you’ve got a lot of space between meetings so if you overrun in one or get caught in traffic on your way to the next, you don’t need to worry. How nice to be able to glide fully prepared into every meeting, without arriving dishevelled from running the last bit and having to apologise profusely for your lateness. If you do find yourself short of time and feeling stressed, it will help if you can find a quiet place to sit for a couple of minutes to do some deep breathing exercises.
If you’re making a presentation whilst you’re away – especially if it’s an important sales pitch – don’t just rely on your laptop. Too many things can go wrong between leaving the office and starting your presentation: what if your laptop goes wrong or gets stolen? What if you’re on the other side of the world and there’ll be no-one in the office to resend the presentation? What if your laptop or software isn’t compatible with the AV equipment at the other end? What if there’s a problem with the internet connection at either end at the time of your presentation? It makes sense to save any important documents and presentation onto a USB stick to save time and energy in case anything does go wrong.
Not keeping the receipts
You’re going to spend a lot of money on your trip, so if you don’t want to bear some of those costs from your own pocket, make sure you keep your receipts in a safe place. The best thing to do is to get into the habit of putting your receipts in a separate pocket in your wallet or handbag, or carry a small plastic bag or wallet. As soon as you get back to the office you can hand them all over straight away, rather than having to spend time hunting around in your pockets, bags, luggage, files… and then find the odd one that went astray after it’s too late to claim.
The virtual office means you no longer have to rush back to the office in order to implement all the action points you’ve agreed on during the trip. How many times have you heard business travellers saying it’s such a shame they get to go to wonderful places around the world, but don’t have time to enjoy them. Given that you can work virtually anywhere, why shouldn’t you extend your trip long enough to have some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the place you’re staying in at the same time as getting your work done, especially if it’s an exciting and vibrant city like London. If you stay in a serviced apartment, try to extend your visit to include the weekend and get the family to come and join you.
We once heard of a CEO who invested in a hugely expensive white designer suit before embarking on a high level trip to the Far East. What he’d failed to take into account was the fact that it was a linen suit and didn’t have time to ask the hotel staff to press it before the meeting… His Chairman told him off for turning up at a crucial business meeting looking like “an ice cream man”. Of course, if they’d have stayed in a serviced apartment, disaster could have been averted by judicious use of the steam iron provided!
Mealtimes tend to go out of the window when you’re travelling. Being on a plane or driving long distances is really tiring – not to mention boring – so the tendency is to snack on treats which, of course, tend to be sugary or fatty or both. Travelling also means eating out more which makes it more likely that you overindulge – why choose a modest salad when there menu’s so full of exciting options. If you’re staying in a serviced apartment, you’re more likely to stick to a healthy eating routine as you’ll be able to make your own meals, just like at home. If you’re in a hotel and don’t have that option, then try to stick to having only one indulgence a day.
If you’re travelling to Hertfordshire on a business trip, you can avoid many of the mistakes business people make and stay in one of our luxury serviced apartments in Hemel Hempstead.