Ten Survival Strategies for Retailing Industry Road Warriors
By Al McClain
Knowing that many of you in the retailing industry travel for business as much or more than I do, and since travel budgets are down, we thought it might be fun to swap ideas
on how to survive the road without a complete meltdown. Without further ado, here are my Top Ten Survival Strategies based on too many years traveling for business:
- Fly early in the day. Lots of people swear by night flying (maybe because their bosses won’t let them fly during business hours) – but think about how much easier it is to
get going before flights start to back up, which allows a cushion so you can still get where you’re going if they do. And when you get to your hotel early, you’ll have plenty
of time to work from your “virtual office”.
- If you fly coach, book a seat in the back of the plane. You have a much better chance of having some room to spread out. And, all you lose is 5 minutes getting
off after the mad scramble is over.
- Get a gold card from Hertz, and rent with them most of the time. You’ll get preferred treatment, periodic upgrades, and they are the biggest, which means more buses
to get you to your car. No, I don’t get a commission for referrals — but it seems to me that a few extra bucks is worth more than riding around in a dilapidated
mini-bus on the way to an off-premise rental location.
- If you don’t have a corporate travel agent, use Expedia, Orbitz, or Travelocity to price your trip, then book the elements directly with the airlines. You’ll get the
bonus miles for Internet booking. This only applies to flights — hotels and rental cars are another matter.
- If the weather is bad, it’s night, and your flight is delayed a couple of hours, and you find yourself trying to decide what to do; walk straight out of the airport into the
nearest hotel, and grab a workout, dinner, and a good night’s sleep. You deserve it! This “rule for better traveling” comes straight from the George Anderson’s
book of “don’t fly in thunderstorms”. He’s right.
- NEVER fly coach to Asia. Quit your job first!!
- Do NOT get into a cab in the summer without confirming that the driver not only has air conditioning, but will use it. P.S.: 99.7% of cab drivers in Chicago are
NUTS. This is statistically verifiable.
- Don’t fly on airlines with leather seats in the summer (read: Continental).
- If you think your room is bad, it is! Turn around, and head straight for the front desk. Your gut instinct is right 95% of the time. (I once checked into
a premium chain hotel, got off the elevator, and saw a mouse scamper across the hall. Returning to the front desk, I was offered a complimentary upgrade to a suite!
Guess their policy was that mice couldn’t go in suites.)
- NEVER count on a hotel wake up call. The one time you do is when the phone won’t ring. This applies to first-class hotels nearly as much as the near-dumps we entrepreneurs
often stay in.
Moderator’s Comment: What are your best travel strategies?
Hey, business travel ain’t what it used to be, especially on RetailWire’s budget, but what is? May as well have some fun with it, and cope the
best we can.
Here’s a bonus strategy: Stay on the top floor of hotels (reduces the noise) and make sure the entire floor is non-smoking, not just your room.
McClain – Moderator