Tech-savvy connected and powerful, women today are the fastest-growing segment of business travellers in the world. Nearly two-thirds of all travellers today are women. What’s more, women make 80 per cent of all travel decisions.
In light of Women’s Month this August, Nicole Adonis, GM FCM Travel Solutions, shares her business travel hacks, from balancing family and business travel to bleisure and packing tips.
- How to balance family and business travel
Being away from family or a partner is one of the main challenges associated with business travel for most women, according to the recent Women in Business Travel study, published by FCM Travel Solutions.
“Being away from home and my children make me the most uncomfortable,” admits Adonis. “It would certainly help if my family could travel with me all the time, but of course, this cannot be the case.”
To successfully balance family and business travel, Adonis explains that she books at least one day off from work after a trip, allowing her to spend time with her children. She adds video calling also helps stay in touch with family and friends back home.
- How to enjoy business travel with a few days’ leisure
Whilst women are trying to ‘juggle it all’ with work and family obligations, a night away to catch up on sleep and some much needed ‘me time’ can make a business trip an enjoyable experience. In fact, the FCM study shows that women enjoy business travel more than men do.
“You get to experience new places, hotels, aircraft and of course learn from the people you meet,” says Adonis.
The best way to enjoy these additional perks is to add a few days’ leisure time to your business trip. “Try to do this after the actual business trip,” advises Adonis, “so you have something to which you can look forward.”
- How to pack wisely?
A business trip packing list doesn’t have to be complicated, you just need to remember a few essentials.
“Pack an outfit for each day, an extra T-shirt and a set of heels,” says Adonis. She adds that a moisturiser also needs to be on your packing list. “With weather changes and aircon on the flight, you always need a good moisturiser,” she laughs.
It’s important to include various “fix-you-up” medication in your bag as well, according to Adonis. “There’s nothing worse than getting sick in a foreign country. That is also the reason why it’s important to have travel insurance in place and to give your next of kin a copy of your policy.”
When it comes to technology, Adonis won’t travel without her mobile phone and airpods.
- How to survive the airport wait?
Who said waiting at the airport has to be boring?
Airport lounges, with amenities like free Wi-Fi, drinks, snacks, and glossy magazines, can be the answer to most of your travel annoyances. At the very least, they can give you sanctuary from the stress and hubbub of the airport.
“Make sure you check-in early and that you take advantage of the airport lounges,” advises Adonis. “Book the lounge well in advance and if you have enough time, you could even book a massage.”
- How to stay safe?
The vast majority (71 per cent) of female business travellers believe they face greater risks than their male counterparts. This is according to a 2018 online survey conducted by AIG Travel and Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) of women who travelled on four or more business trips within the past year.
To mitigate possible risks, it is important to know where you are going and try to book your transportation in advance. “If you do not have data, it is important to have a map,” Adonis says.
Your mobile phone is important when it comes to your safety. however. “Ensure your mobile is ALWAYS charged,” says Adonis.
With regards to accommodation, staying in a hotel close to where you need to be will go a long way in ensuring your safety, according to Adonis.
- How to stay productive?
One of the biggest productivity killers when travelling for business for Adonis is the unavailability of Wi-Fi. “Make sure you connect wherever possible and have your roaming activated before your leave,” she advises.
Being sick or tired can also play havoc with your productivity, says Adonis. “Travel with your meds and make sure you sleep on the aircraft,” she advises. “A good book and a herbal tea can help with this.”
- How to adapt the travel programme to the needs of female road warriors?
In an age where gender diversity is a red-hot topic, are travel programmes treating male and female travellers any differently and, if not, are travel managers missing a trick?
“I think we have come a long way to where we were just a couple of years ago,” says Adonis. “Organisations today are much more open and flexible to look at costings, services, locations and times of day when it comes to women travellers.”
As an example, Adonis notes, travel managers today are more open to private transfers as opposed to ‘on-demand taxi services’. They are also more open to looking at day-time travel versus night travel.
Still, Adonis believes there is an opportunity for organisations to mandate this, and include an official ‘addendum’ geared towards women business travellers to the travel policy.
One key travel hack is to use a reputable travel management company (TMC) for your travel needs. Ultimately all travellers – male and female – want to be productive and get the job done. A reputable TMC will give you the advice and support you need to make your business trip a success.