Local Store Marketing: The Business Traveler

Ah, the glamour of business travel. The security lines, the $8 airport beers, the ongoing game of “how much can I stuff in an overhead bin”, all for the privilege of boarding a bus with wings. Well, this week I passed a milepost of sorts: 1.5 million airline miles flown in my lifetime – the majority of these miles business-related. This week’s trip was no different, a two-day, one-night trip to Ohio to evaluate a retail location. I prefer quicker trips – 2 nights is generally my limit – so as a business traveler, I do not get too acclimated with the places I visit. It is a quick in-and-out type of business travel.

When I travel, getting a quick lay-of-the-land is critical in order to establish some sense of order while on the road. Every little helpful tip is appreciated and providing incentives or direction to the “local jewels” makes even business travel pleasant. Ironically and prior to my travel, I had targeted this week’s article to feature how store owners can capture the business traveler and when I checked into my hotel – viola! – a restaurant had done just that! The restaurant was in walking distance of the hotel and provided a perfect combination of proximity and incentive.

Here is how store owners can attract and maintain a consistent flow of business travelers to their stores:

Find The Sources: For store owners who target business travelers or provide products and services to the out-of-towner (such as food/drink), building strong relationships with local area hotels is an excellent way to continually feed your sales hopper. Hotel guests constantly ask hotel managers for their recommendations on restaurants, retail stores, gas stations and so on. Therefore, your store needs to be top-of-mind in order to be recommended by these hotel managers.

Create Incentives: Consider developing incentive programs for hotels that recommend your store by offering discounts to their hotel guests or giving the hotel incentive prizes. Develop a tracking device so that you can ensure that the recommendation was solely due to a specific hotel and their front desk.

Tap The Revolving Door: A hotel sales strategy can provide ongoing sales opportunities simply due to the ever-changing pool of hotel patrons. If a local hotel has 500 rooms, for instance, it is a reasonable bet that nearly half of those rooms will change over every day, providing your store with a constant new pool of prospects. Hotel sales, while they will not provide long-term customer retention (hotel visitors are from out-of-town), nonetheless provide incremental sales to your store and often repeat sales when hotel customers return to town.

Diversify Your Approach: While the above strategy focuses on hotels, you should consider other key businesses (i.e. car rental places, etc.) to obtain recommendations to your store. Think like a business traveler and gain access to all the business that they will touch on their trip. Identify businesses that provide the opportunity for delivery/pickup orders.

Make A Plan: Within your 3-mile trade area, contact every hotel and ask to speak to the hotel manager. Offer the hotel manager an opportunity to earn discount product vouchers based on how many hotel patrons they refer to your store. For every 10 customers from the hotel, provide the hotel manager with a voucher that their employees can use to receive discounts at your store.

The business traveler is often overlooked with a store marketing strategy but executed correctly, can provide an unfettered stream of new business into your location. Being creative sometimes only means being “johnny-on-the-spot” for the oft-frazzled business traveler.

Running Opportunities When Business Traveling

If you are a die-hard runner, then you may have had a difficult time traveling for business because you have felt that it took you away from your running routine.

Of course, an airline flight early one morning when you usually would run during that time segment will interrupt your running schedule that day. But you do not have to let all travel days turn into days of no running. No, there are many opportunities to run when traveling, if you take some time to think about. And here are some ideas for running when traveling.

Time Idea #1 – Get up early so that you can go for a run from and back to your hotel before your business day starts. You may have to excuse yourself from your clients or business colleagues a little early the evening before that morning, so that you can go to sleep in your hotel room early enough to get a good night of sleep before you awake extra early the next morning. But excusing yourself a little early the previous evening can actually impress the people whom you tell — because they may assume that you are extra studious about your business project or are otherwise extremely disciplined, which can be an excellent impression to leave with them!

Time Idea #2 – Excuse yourself at the end of the business day from joining colleagues or clients for dinner or drinks, so that you can return to your hotel room early that evening and go for a run before retiring for the evening. If you do not want to tell your listeners the specifics of why you are excusing yourself, then you could make a vague reference to a family obligation. (Hey, running is part of your life, and you are part of your family, so running is a family obligation, if you think about it!)

Location Idea #1 – If you awake early or return at the end of the day to your hotel room early only to discover that there is lightning or other dangerous weather outside, one of your options is to run on a treadmill in the gym of your hotel. Although treadmill running is definitely not the same as road running, you can still get a very good workout while you are exercising most of the same muscles in essentially the same way.

Location Idea #2 – Another indoor option for inclement-weather conditions is repeatedly to run up the stairs of your hotel and to walk back down them. This will give you a type of hill training that you may find especially beneficial after you return home after your business trip.

Bottom line: Be creative when you travel. You can find opportunities to run while traveling on business!

Dr. Kirk Mahoney loves to walk and run, and his SpryFeet.com website provides practical research for runners and walkers. By going to the Books section of his website, you can learn more about the books that he has written for runners and walkers, including the book Mental Tricks for Endurance Runners and Walkersand the book 123 Cellphone Tips for Runners and Walkers.

Get the Best Business Travel Hotel Discounts

Every company is looking for hotel discounts as tough economic conditions continue. But it can be time-consuming and difficult to find the best business lodging rates that will save your company money.

And how do you know you’re getting the best deal?

That task gets easier when your company signs up for and use a business lodging savings card.

It’s available to any size company, whether you have one traveler or several. The best part is that it will save a company’s business travelers every time they check in to a hotel. It gives access to 20 to 40 percent savings off hotels’ lowest published rates.

Typical candidates for this service are workforce travelers who use their cars or truck to get to their job sites and who prefer discounts when they stay in economy or midscale hotels.

Companies with crews, drivers, field service representatives, maintenance teams and other employees who travel can participate. The size of the company doesn’t matter, either. It can be a sole proprietor business or a company that has a few or lots of employees.

These cards offer several advantages for low-cost travel, including the fact that there are no minimum usage requirements. That makes a business savings card great for workforce travelers on per diem or who have a lot of seasonal travel.

Who uses these cards to save on business lodging? To name just a few enthusiastic supporters: truckers, pilot car companies, construction firms, alternative energy installation crews, well and drilling companies, artists who travel the festival circuit, traveling salespeople and more.

Many companies find that they can save thousands of dollars annually with a lodging card.

London Hotels For Business Travellers

No matter if you are visiting London on business or pleasure, whatever your budget is, however long or short you’re staying, you are sure to get a good room in one of the many London hotels. The augmented trades taking place in London has increased the need of good and quality business hotels in London. Few years back, the hotels were not so well equipped to welcome the business travellers specifically, but London being world capital for finance and trade the demand of London hotels for business travellers is continuously rising.

Many hotels have emerged in London to meet this demand. Some of the London hotels for business travellers are luxurious and provide all amenities to its guests for their business conferences or meetings. These hotels in London offer fully integrated systems with personal computers, high-speed Internet and digital movies and even music on demand. The systems are generally connected with flat-screen television sets which offer the clarity of a PC monitor without any issues of reformatting pages to fit traditional Web-TV services. Using a wireless keyboard from anywhere in the room, guests can receive and reply e-mail messages, surf the Internet, download digital music and movies on demand, and even listen to radio from cities around the world. Many business hotels in London are now offering Wi Fi Internet access in guest rooms and public areas.

Apart the big luxury hotels, there are also many mid-range hotels in London located at key commercial hubs of the city providing a perfect blend of contemporary international facilities with traditional hospitality including the best of it’s class dining to the discerning business travellers in London. One should make sure to spend little time in surveying the right hotel from the lot. In addition to the basic or luxurious facilities of the hotel, the locality is also important. A hotel being in a central location or near a tube station is always advantageous. The commitment to impeccable services by hotels serving business travellers in London expresses themselves in their attention to detail of everything starting from business appointments, secretarial services to travel arrangements.

You are sure to find a good business hotel in London, with increased availability of rooms especially in central London hotels which are close to business districts.

Business Travel in Taipei

Business Travel Getting In and Out Easily in Taipei
Many people find it so excited when going abroad to have their first business travel thinking about having flying in business class, Benz waiting at airport arrival hall for pickup, staying in the 5 stars hotel and dinning in full course fine dining restaurant, and etc. But the days are gone for luxuries corporate travel budget. We are now back to square one with tight budget travel with kind of many restriction and lengthy guidelines to follow. No worries, here with years of business travel experience in Asia, the author can provide you the inside out information on getting around like local in Asia cities. Let’s start with Taipei as the 1st stop of your business travel destination.

Pre-Departure Planning – Hotel Searching and Customer Location Identification
It is always very important to do some homework before you board your plane at your homeland airport, since you may not know what things will went wrong when you arrive at your destination. However, please do not worry so much as Taipei people English proficiency is high enough to help you.

Even you are working in a top multi national companies but still you need to find out where the corporate prefer hotel located whether is it near to customer site or very far. Since by understanding the locations of each customer site it helps a lot in planning the meeting time and arranging transportation to get there.

For big corporate traveler working in HP, Dell, Intel, GE, etc, usually they have corporate rate with Taipei Sheraton Hotel, Taipei Sherwood Hotel, Taipei Grand Hyatt, Shangri-la Taipei, Westin Taipei, Taipei Farmosa Hotel, Yu Shan Hotel and other 5 star hotel. What about for people that with own business or work in small corporate? It is too luxurious staying in such world class hotel sometimes it is really unnecessary. You can try out some business hotel which are mainly located in Chong Xiao East Road, Taipei Main Station, Ming Sheng East Road, Ming Quan East Road, etc. These business hotels are ranging from NT$1800-NT$2500 (tax included) including breakfast, one of the author prefer is Delight Hotel Taipei which is so convenient which the Zhong Shan Guo Zhong MRT is just 5 minutes walk and same goes to the 7-11 convenient store.

You need to understand where is your customer site as whether is it in Taipei city or in Taipei Prefecture. Customers sites are around Neihu, Shichi, Chonghe, Banqiao, Tucheng and some even as far as in Xinchu. If your customer is in Chonghe, Tucheng, and Banqian region, stay in Chonghe is a better option. A good hotel with reasonal price around NT$3200 (tax included) is Fourpoints Sheraton Hotel Chunghe, convenient store is just 10 steps away at the left hand side from hotel entrance.

Transportation and Access Information
It is not wise to get a hotel pickup at airport, as it is always cost few hundred NT dollars more than Taxi and sometimes even a thousands dollar NT more than pre-arrange private service car that a lot of MNC applied which we called it “MiMi” car (usually is Toyota Camry 2.4L version, not too bad at all!). Hotel pickup cost range of NT$1900-NT$3000 depends on what type of limousine you ordered; taxi cost about NT$1100 to Taipei city; “MiMi” car cost about NT$800 to inner city of Taipei. If you are not rush, try the shuttle bus cost about NT$110-NT$150, only 10% of what you paid for taxi! It takes about an hour to reach Taipei city. Just find out your hotel address and show to the lady at the bus ticket counter, she will let you know which bus to take. Just ensure you counter check with bus driver asking him when approaching your stop, please remind you to get off. No worries, once you are in the Taipei city, can get taxi easily and getting around will cost little only within NT$100-NT$250.

Once you are in the city after check-in, you can travel around using the subway or MRT which is so convenient and easy to go anyway. So it is important to find a hotel which is nearer to MRT station as it will help you save a lot of your transportation fees. Since MRT cost so little from NT$20 onwards, with EasyCard you will have 40% discount! Just get one at the subway ticket counter.

Business Dinning and Personal Dinning Sharing
Do you know business travel does not mean you only suppose to have your meals in 5 start restaurant, you too can have the same quality of foods in a lot of local restaurant or even at night market. Save you some dollars for raining days use. Business dinning can have it in any Taipei city restaurant which you can easily find it. Here which the author want to share more is the night market foods which foreign business traveler should try out after a whole day of tiring business meetings. Check out Shiling night market just board the MRT at any station along the red color subway line and stop at Jiantan station. Don’t straight go after the food court at Shiling market, instead go into the night market place and check out the small hawker stores beside the road, some really cool delicious foods like fried chicken drumstick, jelly drink, ice cream rap in thin flour with peanuts, crab meat soup and many more. One should not miss is the ice shop inside one of the valley beside main street of Shiling night market, selling all sort of milky shredded ice with many different kinds of toppings. Try out the strawberry or mango toppings, really delicious! Business travel can be fun, too!

Almond Hazel is an experience business and leisure traveler in Asia main cities. The author has been working in multiple multi national companies (MNC) as well as some start up business from united states and locals in Asia region, some business relocation experience in Taiwan, Japan, China, and South East Asia countries for the past 15 years. Beside having business travels, the author is also a leisure traveler, and has been to many Asia countries, US and Europe for vacation. Throughout this vast travel experience the author can share a lot of travel tips to all. Further more the author speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Bahasa Melayu and Japanese, so this help to find out more local authentic foods and guides from exchanging conversation with local people.