Just hearing the words “business trip” can be enough to make some people shudder. Travel for business has long had a negative connotation, but tides are changing. While business trips are by default for work, they don’t have to be boring. Whether you are planning a trip to visit a big client or are attending a business conference or trade show, you can beef up your business trip to make it one to remember. Adding a day or two onto travel, finding dining and nightlife experiences, and meeting up with people with similar careers and interests can add adventure into otherwise boring business travel.
If you’ve had one too many snooze-worthy business trips, it’s time to redefine your travel routine. If you’re headed out of town to meet with a client, think outside of the hotel conference rooms, corner coffee cafes, and computerized presentations. Plan an excursion, book time at a sports club, or find a nearby lake or beach to have your meetings. Treat a valued customer or impress a potential one with an “unconventional,” yet fun, way of meeting. Find a way to tie your business pitch or quarterly business review to an excursion, and it’s a win-win for you and your client or potential client.
Too often business travelers attending conferences find themselves watching cable television and ordering room service day in and day out, missing out on potential conference perks or completely ignoring the city surrounding them. You don’t have to spend evenings eating alone in your hotel rooms. Many conferences are now extending their events past the typical breakout sessions. Check the conference schedule or ask at check-in if there are any meet and mingle events intended for professionals to network. If you’re traveling alone or with colleagues, there are plenty of opportunities to network and find other professionals with similar interests, and similar dining and entertainment tastes.
If you’re traveling to a fun location, but you’ll be trapped inside or bogged down with work itinerary, consider adding a day before, after, or an entire weekend to explore. Many major cities have a rich history and culture worth visiting. You can find walking tours, plan to visit major landmarks and popular tourist destinations, or even find a brewery or winery tour.
If you can’t extend your stay, you can work with your time “off the clock” by researching and putting popular attractions on your itinerary. Before you pack your bags, investigate the area near your hotel. Make a plan of dining, nightlife, the local music scene, or museum, walking, or bus tours of the area. One of my favorite things to do is Google the best skyline views. You can take a taxi, ride-sharing service, or rental car to get there. Even if you can’t extend your stay, at least you get a memorable view of the city to take with you. Bring your colleagues or family with you on business trips, but if you can’t, use the getaway as an opportunity to make new connections. If you’re traveling for client visits, you can set meetups with LinkedIn connections. If you’re attending a conference or trade show, use the networking opportunity to travel outside of the “business realm” of an exhibition center and enjoy what the area has to offer.
The next time you need to book a business trip, make it a memorable one by using it as an opportunity to explore, network, and even enjoy a mini vacation. You’ll soon forget about the late-night flights, layovers, and the cheap takeout. Not sure how to kick boring to the curb? Work with a travel agent to book or extend your stay and to help you find excursions in the area.
When you’re ready to add some excitement into your next business trip, contact Aiste Foreman with Trabeona Travels online at www.trabeonatravels.com, or by calling 302-648-5050.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aiste is also a member of Leadership Delaware, a program focused on developing leaders and impacting communities in the first state.