6/23: All Work and No Play for Business Travel?
On behalf of the Marriott Corporation, The Marist Poll conducted a study to assess perceptions of business travel among frequent jet setters in the U.S., China, Germany, and the UK. And who knew – I’m more like the Chinese than I realized! In fact, they are most likely to view business travel as glamorous, as relaxing, as their vacations, and want to extend their ventures for pleasure and exploration.
Last month, I attended the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona. And, unlike the majority of Americans (53%) who reported they prefer not to take along a spouse or family member on business, my husband and I relish these opportunities to pack in as much exploration in as little time possible. So, we crafted a mini-vacation around the conference.
We flew to Las Vegas on a Saturday; Monday morning we rented a car and headed to the Grand Canyon; Tuesday night we continued south to Sedona; Wednesday night arrived in Phoenix; Thursday commenced the conference. Of course, between intense methodological discussions of cell phone surveying, address based sampling, and cross-cultural research, there was time for hiking, great Southwestern food, and little relaxation. Perfection!
Here are a few tips, from many lessons learned, for having some play with business travel:
– Take clients, colleagues, or other people with whom you’re looking to network to local restaurants (outside of the conference/meeting location), museums, or scenic drives. It’s a great way to talk business while exploring something new together.
– Extend the trip even 1 or 2 days before or after your meeting/conference. It’s amazing how much you can see in a day or two!
– Connect with locals prior to your trip. It’s the best way to find off the beaten path activities and the best restaurants.
– Plan ahead! Given you’re likely to have so little time for excursions, it’s probably not the best idea to “wing it.” While I’m an advocate of spontaneity, you don’t want to lose time searching the Internet or missing the sites while your head is buried in a travel book.
– Rest another time. Meeting and work responsibilities are likely to take up the vast majority of your business trips. So, if you want time to “play” you’ll probably have to forgo some R&R and soak up all of the sites and local offerings of your destination…and you’d be surprised…every place has something unique to offer.