I have been hosting the Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence for 25 years. I also host a high-end training program for executive assistants and administrative assistants called World Class Assistant, in Las Vegas. I have observed hundreds of assistants travel and heard numerous stories about their travel experiences both while in transit to Las Vegas and during their stay in Las Vegas.
Since I travel most of the year and every trip is an adventure, many of the things I hear attendees complain about are typical, yet they appear to be larger than life to the attendee. What is most interesting is that administrative professionals are the ones who are very involved in their executive’s travels yet are not road warriors. It is for this very reason that I had Nancy Fraze, an Office Dynamics journalist, write, a list of Travel Tips. While these were written for our administrative professional conference attendees, they can apply to any trip you may whether it be a business trip or vacation. It will certainly reduce any travel stress you may experience.
First and foremost: No trip is perfect! You must expect the unexpected and go with the flow. Adapt quickly and bring lots of reading materials for downtime at the airport.
Town Cars vs. Taxi:
Your choice should depend on the city you are traveling to, the distance you will be going from the airport to the hotel, and any other local traveling you will be doing—such as going from a hotel to a restaurant; plus the time of your arrival (are you arriving after dark and traveling alone?). I travel to many cities where a town car is not much more than a taxi and it is safer travel. Plus the town car is usually very professional, assists with your bags and pampers you by providing water, newspapers, and mints and shares good information about what to do in town, where to eat, where not to go. As a woman traveler, my safety is the #1 value I hold highest and I am willing to pay more for feeling safe.
You need to find out if that hotel shuttle has specific times airport pick-up times. Does that schedule fit with your arrival? Or if it is a half hour out from your arrival time, is it worth it for you to sit around the airport and wait? It depends on what you need to do upon your arrival. Do you have lots of free time? Or do you need to get to your hotel, quickly unpack, and get to a meeting? It also depends on whether your flight arrived on time or not.
Share Ground Transportation:
Sharing a taxi or town car with other attendees from your organization may be a cost-effective alternative. Be organized and schedule your flights where you arrive within 15 or 20 minutes of each other or travel on the same flight. If you are traveling alone, find out who else is attending that administrative conference or a training event, coordinate arrival times and share your transportation. It takes being proactive and organized.
Hotel Requests or Repairs: Most hotels do their best to provide good customer service, neat and fully functional sleeping rooms, efficient staff, and tasty food. However, with that said, the hotel staff are people and people are not perfect. Equipment does burn out or needs maintenance. This is just a simple truth. Fire alarms inadvertently go off while you are in the shower! Air conditioners stop working. Walls are thin and you can hear the person in the other room talking. Guests will be outside your bedroom door at 11:00 p.m. laughing and showing no consideration that you have to get up at 6:00 a.m. for a full day at a conference or training.
While it is upsetting when these things happen, and you may have been traveling all day only to arrive late, your room is too cold or too hot, you have not eaten all day, and your luggage did not arrive . . .
- Remain calm.
- Call the front desk from your hotel room phone and state your issue.
- If you do not get a satisfactory response within 10 minutes (the repair person or a call that they are being dispatched), call the front desk again. Request to speak to the “Manager on Duty.”
- For repairs such as burned out light bulbs, be aware that hotels often change them during the day while the cleaning staff is servicing your room. Simply report it and go on about your schedule.
- Do not sit in your room waiting! The engineers often come into the room while I am at dinner or off to my training session.
- Request a credit or $20.00 off your dinner if they have really messed up! Be assertive in a professional fashion.
Ambiance: Hotels, restaurants, and spas spend thousands of dollars planning an ambiance that will please you. Most hotel rooms create an ambiance with lighting that is not as bright as you are used to at home. You may find the task light at the bedside table or desk area is necessary in order to enjoy reading in bed or to check emails at the desk. Hotels are designed for the vacation traveler even though the majority of their business is the business road warrior.
Be flexible and remember to savor the unfamiliar and find the joy and beauty in it. You can also sink into a deliciously deep tub for a long soak; enjoy the marble shower or the marvelous scenery, not to mention the lighted makeup mirror! Or if these are not provided (find out ahead of time), then bring your own makeup mirror or little reading light.
Expect the unexpected:
When traveling, you must expect the unexpected. Perhaps your flight is delayed or overbooked. Perhaps you miss the shuttle, your baggage is delayed or lost; the hotel room is not quite ready when you arrive. This happens to every traveler at some point. When it happens to you, how will you respond?
- Remain calm! (Again, we’ve all witnessed the cranky traveler – you don’t want to be that person.)
- Prepare: pack a good book or your MP3 player so you can entertain yourself during downtime.
- Consider it a learning experience that will help you know how best to help your executives when someday it happens to them!
- Use your administrative skills and a winning attitude to find the joy in that unexpected moment, no matter what.
- Remember: people are human and mistakes sometimes happen.
- Keep a positive outlook throughout the unexpected experience. It feels much better than going through it any other way!
Travel tips provided by Nancy Fraze.