Rabu, 17 April 2013

Business Travel Management -- Travel Tips In A Terrorist World

No longer relegated to film noire roles, real-life bad guy terrorists troll constantly for new and sinister ways to disrupt global trade. Major targets? Transportation, energy, trade, and capital. Reality check for business travel management is that government can no longer provide complete protections for the traveling public. Results? Business travel management is forced to enter a sobering re-thinking of priorities including keeping track of personnel, evaluating political risks in international travel, refining travel insurance risks and even incorporating corporate security and training programs in order to upgrade skills and responses to threats. Yes, money matters and corporate travel management policies will constantly focus on discounts and expense control. But what's changed is now money factors have become dilute against the backdrop of 9/11 attacks in America, London subway bombings, Bali nightclub bombings, train bombings in Spain and even more grisly examples where organized society is confronted by non-state independent terrorist militia and suicidal fanatics. Corporate Travel Management Specialists For A New World -- Travel Safety And Travel Intelligence. Security, employee training, business traveler tracking and more are being conducted through technology-enabled centralized corporate travel management firms. No longer is business travel management merely the hunt for group travel discounts and frequent flyer miles programs. Lives are at risk. Learning The New Ropes -- Business Travel Seminars. Businesses regularly use seminars to teach the latest techniques in travel security. For example, Westerners are taught to avoid placing identifying stickers on luggage, or to wear clothes with logos that might readily identify themselves as Americans or Brits. Low key anonymity equals lower risk business travel. What Happens When Terrorists Attack -- Surviving Captivity. What about being captured by terrorists? Travel management pros now regularly pass along detailed guidelines for surviving captivity, how to cope, what to expect, what to say, understanding political and ideological motivations of terrorists. Travel Intelligence -- Real Time Employee Tracking Data Access. Business travel management experts stress real-time data access, beginning with meticulously planned and documented business travel plans...providing hour-to-hour movement details in advance...along with hotel and meeting venue contact access information, cell phones, names of customer contacts and more. Pre-Flight Advice -- Tip On Carry On Gear. Check to verify with your travel management advisors, but you'll soon be restricted to bare-bones carry on gear. Cell phones, lap tops, food, beverage, backpacks, even books may become banned as permitted carry on gear, following attempts in August by Pakistani and British terrorists to plant IED's (improvised explosive devices) in 10 flights departing to the USA. Pre-Flight Advice -- Tip On Airport Parking. Leave nothing to chance. Security delays, busy flights, limited on board services means that business and leisure travelers need to pre-book airport parking needs at least several days in advance of your scheduled departure. Get your business travel management experts to lock-in reservations for airport parking, car rentals and related needs throughout your travel itinerary. Pre-Flight Advice -- Tip On Airport Hotels. Airport security restrictions plus limited carry on allowance means significant "down time". You'll need to identify airport hotels that are technology enabled, offering you high speed web access to your business files, emails, as well as webex video conferencing so that you can contact customers, home office, prepare reports and presentations, plus stay in contact with family.

Rabu, 03 April 2013

By And Large, Business Travel Is Not A Pleasurable Experience

Business travel has become so common that a considerable proportion of the corporate world of America is spending more time in airplanes and hotels than on their couches or in their automobiles. According to a recent estimate, about 40 million adults in the US travel on business at least once a year to a location about 50 miles from home. More than 20 percent of the trips made by African Americans, for instance, are related to their work. Those who do not need to travel frequently on business consider business travel glamorous and exciting. However, in reality, business travel is often arduous. It is tough physically, tough on the family, and especially tough on the pockets of businesspersons who do not have the luxury of generous expense accounts to take care of their travel expenses. In addition, those who travel on business regularly, quickly wise up to the fact that a stress-free and safe journey requires the smooth functioning of a number of interconnected factors, which includes the vagaries of the weather. According to a study conducted recently, monitoring business travel trends: - 58 percent of business travel is undertaken for association meetings and conferences, - 43 percent comprising of business travel made by individuals, - and 29 percent for corporate meetings. The study also identified some of the most popular destinations within the US for business travel. They are: - Washington, D.C., - New York, - Los Angeles/Long Beach, - Chicago, - Atlanta, - Boston, - Houston, - Minneapolis-St. Paul, - Detroit, - and Dallas. Irrespective of what the destination is, business travel is seldom an enjoyable experience. Some companies will allow their business travelers the opportunity to enjoy their travel surroundings but this is usually short lived depending on the demands of the trip. Business travelers, who have to make frequent trips, need special facilities to ease the hassles of traveling. Airlines and hotels are increasing the levels of services they provide in order to meet the growing demands of business travelers: Usually, business travelers research fares on their own and make their reservations online. According to a survey, it was found that only 32 percent of corporate travelers used the services of travel agents for their reservation needs, while the rest, 68 percent, preferred using the internet or online services to plan at least some part of their business traveling arrangements. Business travelers are usually technologically conversant; hence, choose to handle all their traveling arrangements through the Internet, limiting the necessity of having to interact with travel agents and professionals dealing with customer service. Most tourism related sites offer one-stop travel facilities for reservations of flights, booking rooms in hotels, and providing transportation on the ground. Major airlines like Delta and American have included travel-friendly features like locating cheap fares, finding economical hotel accommodation, and hiring cars on a rental basis inexpensively on their websites. Travelers, thus, can make arrangements for an entire business trip, which includes seating preferences, confirming special food requests, and a text message or e-mail verifying their flight status and information about the departure timings with a few clicks of the mouse button. Most of these sites provide boarding passes that can be printed out and online check-ins within 24 hours of the departure of the flight. At the airport, those travelers in a hurry can take advantage of check-in kiosks in order not to have to wait in long lines, and get their boarding passes and their seating information. Frequent Flyer Miles, Automatic Upgrades, and Comfortable Seating: One of the biggest perks of traveling frequently on business is the facility of accumulating points, which can be exchanged for vacations. Travelers, therefore, are always on the look out for hotels offering generous points facilities. Frequent air travelers also favor automatic upgrades and comfort inside the airplane, such as generous legroom and additional storage facilities overhead. Business traveler programs like EliteAccess provided by Continental Airlines offer comforts like guarantees of no-middle-seat and upgrades to the first class if possible. Getting Value for Money: Companies are constantly curtailing overhead expenses by cutting down on the travel allowances they give their executives, while business travelers look for ways in which they can maximize their allowances to the fullest. For example, several hotels offer free breakfasts, while others provide complimentary facilities such as a welcoming snack or allowing their guests to make free long distance and local calls. Many hotels also offer free newspapers, tea and coffee. Feeling at Home Far Away from Home: Business travelers are so frequently away from home that they look for services that replicate their home comforts. Although hotels are selected primarily for value and location, but business travelers expect home-like comforts like high quality toiletries, comfortable bedding, choices in beverages, cable TV and films, broadband internet access, exercise and convenient check-in/out facilities, and so on.

Jumat, 29 Maret 2013

Avoid Complacency: Employ Change Management Now

Any time that your business undergoes a change, it is important to utilize proper change management in order to ensure that the change goes through smoothly. This is becoming more and more important over time, as change becomes the norm rather than the exception. Once management identifies the need for change, it can be helpful to hire a change manager to assist them through the process. They can then be expected to undergo some of the following changes. First of all, the change needs to be effectively communicated to all affected parties. It needs to be made perfectly clear what changes are going to be made. Affected parties should understand why the changes are taking place. Just as important, they should understand what would happen if the change were not to take place. Finally, they need to understand what training will be undergone in order for the change to take place. This communication process is one of the most important aspects of change management. If it is not utilized properly, a company will be met with a great deal of resistance from employees. Managers and employees must then become heavily involved in the process of change. Management must effectively teach the necessary skills to the employees that they need in order to do their job properly. The next step is to incentivise the training process so that it works more effectively. The target goals should be divided into several smaller goals so that the change does not seem as large or as insurmountable. When short-term goals are met, employees should be rewarded accordingly. This helps motivate the work force, allowing it to work more effectively. This process also helps subdue critics and negative thinkers who hinder the transition process. Employees feel more comfortable and motivated when they are kept in touch with the results of the changes that they are making. When success is achieved it should be congratulated. Analysis of performance should be used to encourage continued improvement. Ultimately, the changes should be included in a new organizational culture. This means that the change should be recognized for the additional changes that it creates. When one aspect of business is changed, it has effects on all other aspects of business. This should be properly recognized and dealt with through structural changes. Both managers and employees will require regular encouragement for the transmission to be completed. Old habits can take quite some time to reverse. A change manager is highly recommended for this process to run smoothly.

Rabu, 20 Maret 2013

Why the London Riots Created a Greater Business Travel Threat Than a Terrorist Attack

Introduction to the London riots threat If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again. The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011. London Riots and Demonstrations The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result. Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees. Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify: Affected areas, Degree of threat, Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers, Arrival/departure points, Safe and non-affected areas, Mitigation or eradication options, Cost of implementation, Funds available, Emergency support, Accommodation options, On-going or developing events, Social or non-business activity, Insurance claims and compliance requirements, Cancellation criteria, Resumption of travel criteria, Extended event plans, Travel alternatives (domestic and international) The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s. The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects. A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation. Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travellers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travellers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions. Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travellers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travellers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced. A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed. Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues. Travel delay, disruption and changes Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats. The instinctive and guided response of travellers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect. Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travellers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travellers upon all available exit travel nodes. Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources. Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travellers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view. This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan's tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travellers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue. Conclusion: London riots threat You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travellers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management and response. This will happen again. Perhaps not in London, perhaps not a city wide demonstration but this kind and scale of business travel disruption event will happen more than once before the end of 2011. Review your plan and make the necessary enhancements now.

Senin, 18 Maret 2013

The Business March 20th 2013: The “So a Bishop and an Old Lady Walk Into The Business…” Edition

With a set-up like that, you just KNOW you’re in for wacky hijinks!!

This week we welcome back an old favorite before she becomes worm food.  

At age 77, Lynn Ruth Miller is a renaissance woman who wears many hats. She entertains audiences of all ages with comedy and song. She is living proof that the older you are, the more fun you have.Lynn Ruth is the host on two television programs on public access television, Channel 26 in Pacifica: “What’s Hot Between The Covers” (book reviews and interviews in the arts) and “Paint With Lynn” (a hands on creative arts series)

We are also happy to have, all the way from LA, the fabulous Pat Bishop.
Pat Bishop writes, produces, and directs sketches and other content at Funny Or Die, and performs stand-up across the country. He's super into ginger ale.  So he and Lynn Ruth already have a lot in common!

All these wonderful guests, plus your Business regulars Bucky “Chicken Crossin the Road” Sinister, Nato “Stupid Blonde” Green, Sean “Knock Knock” Keane and Caitlin “Yo Momma” Gill.  

This whole show is just $5!!! And you can bring a friend for freeeeeee!  http://thebusinesscomedy.blogspot.com/

Get there early!  WE SELL OUT.

BYOBurrito cause I ain’t sharin’ mine.  NO JOKE. 

Jumat, 15 Maret 2013

Help Desk Hangouts: Google+ Profile and Page Update

Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we chatted with +Navin Kadaba, who works on Google+. We walked through the updates to Google+ profiles and pages that rolled out last week, learning about the new, larger cover photo, the refreshed look and functionality of the About tab, and the new customizable tabs for profiles.

Miss the event? You can watch the whole thing on the Google and Your Business YouTube channel.

Check out the video description on the YouTube page for a minute-by-minute breakdown.

Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:
What size photo should I upload as my new cover photo?
We recommend that you upload an image that is 960 x 540 px (16x9 aspect ratio). At a minimum, please select a photo that is 480 x 270 px. For HD displays, we’ll take a maximum resolution of 2120 x 1192 px.

What does the update look like on mobile?
This is a desktop-only update for now.

Any tips and tricks to making my page look good?
We’d recommend keeping the essential aspects of your cover photo toward middle, vertically. The bottom fifth of the cover photo will sometimes be covered by a dark gray bar, and when people visit the page, the top portion of the cover photo may not be visible. We also recommend uploading a large, zoomed out profile photo, so you can crop the photo to appear as you’d like.

Senin, 11 Maret 2013

The Business March 13, 2013: The “Hand or Mouth?” Edition

What!?!  It’s a perfectly valid question!  Our guests this week include one half of the brilliant pair that run Hand to Mouth, which is an excellent monthly show where comedians perform all new material on a specific social, cultural or political issue. One show, one topic.  Juicy stuff like commercialism, technology, gender and conspiracy theories.  Check one out the first Friday of the month at 10.  Until then, bring your hands and mouths to The Business to see Trevor Hill!
Trevor’s humor oscillates between deeply personal material about homeless family members and adolescent trauma to absurd vignettes about Bolivian Phil Collins fans and bayou-dwelling pornographers. He has been described as inventive, candid, engrossing and infertile. 

And that’s not all!
 “Three goats are playing soccer. Christopher Hitchens, driving an armored car with a huge, blunt lance attached to the front, chases them off the field while chuckling eruditely to himself.” – These are the dreams of Matt Louv.  Find more of his subconscious musings at http://bearswithcigars.blogspot.com/and find him at The Business this week!
Plus, a set from Lyall Berhens!  Use your hands to put THAT in your pipe and smoke it with your mouth!

These fabulous guests plus your regulars, Sean “Handyman” Keane, Bucky “The Mouth” Sinister and Caitlin “Talk to the Hand ‘cause the Mouth Ain’t Listenin” Gill.

Just $5!  This whole show is just $5! AND you can bring a friend for free with these nifty coupons! http://thebusinesscomedy.blogspot.com/

BYOBurrito.  Carry it with your mouth and eat it with your hands.  VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE.