How the Killing of Osama Bin Laden Will Affect Business Travel

Introduction

The death of Osama Bin Laden does not conclude the global threat of terrorism but in many instances it will trigger a new wave or business travel threats. If you want to know more on how the killing of Osama Bin Laden will affect business travel then you need to read this article. This article will identify the major delays, disruptions, risks and threats to business travel as a result of this high profile leader’s death. By the end of the article you will know the key issues affecting business travel as a result and be able to identify the primary areas for travel planning and risk management focus.

Bin Laden’s Death

The death of Osama will no more signal the collapse and conclusion of global terrorist events than if the CEO or chairman of a major multi-national were to die also. Global and local terrorism threats are made up of networks, many redundant and independent of any one single point of leadership. Standing Armies, Air Forces and Navies are also constructed along such lines. Would the death of a General bring an Army to a halt? Not likely. Therefore, while being a major news and emotional event for many it will have little to no effect on the command and control of sympathetic terrorist groups. It will embolden some to act, rally to the cause and even further elevate Bin Laden as an icon for their actions, much the same as Che Guevara has evolved as the face of freedom fighters the world over.

Terrorism

Terrorism remains a minor threat to business travel based on the volume of travel and those affected. The responsibility and duty to combat such a threat still remains within the government realm and not that of corporate entities although they do need to be aware of developments and capabilities for local governments to combat or prevent attacks to ensure their travellers do not become targets or affected. Business travellers will still be more likely to be affected by delays, disruptions and threats from more routine and frequent issues such as motor vehicle accidents, illness, airline disputes and bad weather.

The Real Threat to Business Travel

The real threat to business travellers in the wake of the death of Bin Laden will be the subsequent response by the global aviation security and government intelligence agencies. Most will view this result as a success but also be immediately focused on the potential for reprisal. Many individuals and groups are already in the advanced stages of planned attacks but others may rush to action and attack in support of Al Qaeda or Islamic extremists. Their single-minded attention on these issues will result in greater inconsistencies, delays and threats to business travellers.

Airport Security

Airports will become even more unpredictable as to what and how security measures are implemented and changes are all but guaranteed. These changes will further disrupt the efficiency and flow of check-in, boarding, screening, arrivals and departures. However, the effects and approach will not be universal nor predictable to the average traveller and delays, disruptions and missed flights will results and further impact the effectiveness and efficiency of business travel. Company risk and security managers may also be on a hair-trigger and cease, suspend or defer business travel until they get “more information” on the situation, further compounding the issue. If history is any indication, any minor or major incident in the coming weeks and months will result in knee-jerk security treatment solutions that impact more travellers than it prevents terrorists.

Affected Demographics

Profiling and heightened security measures will be applied to specific ethnic groups, nationalities and those traveling through identified travel corridors. Once again this will be inaccurate, inconsistent and opaque to the majority of travellers who will suffer the wider effects and possibly even personal effects of such changes. Those traveling from the Middle East, of Pakistani ethnicity, Muslims, single males, those with beards, women in burkas, travellers with no check-in luggage, those paying by cash or even those that “act funny” at the airport will all draw the attention of someone who is looking at reasons why someone poses a threat or could jeopardize air safety and security, therefore requires interception.

Conclusion

The world is no safer or riskier than it was the day before Osama Bin Laden was killed. The subsequent actions and reactions following his death however will impact the landscape in which business travellers journey through. Hopefully it will be short-term but should we see the slightest hint of threat or reports from the government agencies then we are all likely to be subjected to greater delay, disruption and risk due to this relatively low level threat. Osama’s death will not signify the end of terrorism, business travellers need to remember there is continued and greater threat from the more routine, airport security will have it’s ups and down in the coming weeks/months and the color of your skin, accent, religion and point of origin will all play a role on how you are viewed by the various security agencies.

While this event should not have had any major impact upon business travel, in reality it will. Now you know what the real threats are, you should prepare yourself and your travellers for the road ahead to ensure they continue to remain productive, efficient and safe during the course of their various business travel demands.

How Companies Can Cut Costs on Business Travel

With countries just starting to get over the economic downturn that affected the world in 2009, companies that have survived are always on the look out for ways to cut costs. Business travel is one of the areas that take up a large amount of company spending. It is true that travel is necessary for businesses whether it is within the country or abroad. However there are ways to reduce on the costs of business travel and thus save your company money.

1. Use of technology. With modern technology now available like web conference and video calling, it may no longer be necessary to travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars in order to attend a conference or be in the same geographically location with the person or people you are doing business with.

2. Use of one credit card to buy company travel. One major benefit of doing this is that the company will accumulate frequent flyer miles from different airlines and even from hotels which will eventually translate into various awards, like upgrades on the class of travel by an airline, free air tickets, free hotel accommodation and even airport transfers which may be a saving for the company.

3. Negotiate with airlines and hotels for special rates. It is surprising how many companies do not do this and yet the amount of money saved in business travel can be enormous if a company negotiated preferential rates with airlines and hotels many of whom are very ready to provide this if it will mean the organisation patronising their services.

4. Have a company travel policy. Lack of a company policy on travel can lead to unnecessary travel abroad, including excessive spending on air travel and hotel accommodation. A company should have strict policies on when travel can be undertaken and by whom and staff members should be made aware of these policies. Also there should be accountability for any business travel done including reason for travel, class of travel, hotels stayed in and number of days spent on business travel.

5. If your company uses a travel management company to handle its travel and hotel bookings, it is important that they are aware of your company’s travel policy and its desire to minimise on travel costs. You should use a travel management company that is willing to work with you in minimising these costs. If possible compare the rates of several travel management companies to determine if you are getting the best rates available in the market. This comparison should be done on a regular basis. Also from time to time, you should ask your travel management company to issue you with reports of all the travel done by your company to help you monitor and know how much you are spending on travel.

Business Travel Management — Travel Tips In A Terrorist World

No longer relegated to film noire roles, real-life bad guy terrorists troll constantly for new and sinister ways to disrupt global trade. Major targets? Transportation, energy, trade, and capital. Reality check for business travel management is that government can no longer provide complete protections for the traveling public.

Results? Business travel management is forced to enter a sobering re-thinking of priorities including keeping track of personnel, evaluating political risks in international travel, refining travel insurance risks and even incorporating corporate security and training programs in order to upgrade skills and responses to threats.

Yes, money matters and corporate travel management policies will constantly focus on discounts and expense control. But what’s changed is now money factors have become dilute against the backdrop of 9/11 attacks in America, London subway bombings, Bali nightclub bombings, train bombings in Spain and even more grisly examples where organized society is confronted by non-state independent terrorist militia and suicidal fanatics.

Corporate Travel Management Specialists For A New World — Travel Safety And Travel Intelligence. Security, employee training, business traveler tracking and more are being conducted through technology-enabled centralized corporate travel management firms. No longer is business travel management merely the hunt for group travel discounts and frequent flyer miles programs. Lives are at risk.

Learning The New Ropes — Business Travel Seminars. Businesses regularly use seminars to teach the latest techniques in travel security. For example, Westerners are taught to avoid placing identifying stickers on luggage, or to wear clothes with logos that might readily identify themselves as Americans or Brits. Low key anonymity equals lower risk business travel.

What Happens When Terrorists Attack — Surviving Captivity. What about being captured by terrorists? Travel management pros now regularly pass along detailed guidelines for surviving captivity, how to cope, what to expect, what to say, understanding political and ideological motivations of terrorists.

Travel Intelligence — Real Time Employee Tracking Data Access. Business travel management experts stress real-time data access, beginning with meticulously planned and documented business travel plans… providing hour-to-hour movement details in advance… along with hotel and meeting venue contact access information, cell phones, names of customer contacts and more.

Pre-Flight Advice — Tip On Carry On Gear. Check to verify with your travel management advisors, but you’ll soon be restricted to bare-bones carry on gear. Cell phones, lap tops, food, beverage, backpacks, even books may become banned as permitted carry on gear, following attempts in August by Pakistani and British terrorists to plant IED’s (improvised explosive devices) in 10 flights departing to the USA.

Pre-Flight Advice — Tip On Airport Parking. Leave nothing to chance. Security delays, busy flights, limited on board services means that business and leisure travelers need to pre-book airport parking needs at least several days in advance of your scheduled departure. Get your business travel management experts to lock-in reservations for airport parking, car rentals and related needs throughout your travel itinerary.

Pre-Flight Advice — Tip On Airport Hotels. Airport security restrictions plus limited carry on allowance means significant “down time”. You’ll need to identify airport hotels that are technology enabled, offering you high speed web access to your business files, emails, as well as webex video conferencing so that you can contact customers, home office, prepare reports and presentations, plus stay in contact with family.

Business Travel Trends 2010 – Part 1

It’s that time of year again; time to predict marketplace trends. Whether trying to explain the past year’s business ups and downs or preparing for next year’s marketplace, those in the know have begun forecasting, prognosticating and generally gazing into their crystal balls. After having read many of these predictions, including the results of various, pertinent surveys, here’s my take on what we can expect in 2010 and beyond with regard to trends in business travel.

Corporations will gradually begin to concentrate on managing trade and reducing travel. While everyone seems to agree that face-to-face meetings will continue to remain fundamentally indispensable in the way of doing business, most notably with regard to client relationships, corporations will put the emphasis on managing trade and reducing travel. Even so, businesses will carefully study how they may obtain the greatest return on investment from travel, doing away with any needless or excessive business trips.

The competition for employee talent may well lead to a noticeable reduction in limiting travel protocols, balanced by stronger compliance standards. Travel guidelines may also turn out to be less restrictive as businesses increase their attempts to draw and maintain suitable professional individuals. Further attention will be focused on employees’ work-life balance as well as managing productivity and less on accomplishing savings at the expense of traveler comfort and well-being.

Companies will ramp up attempts to control travel-related hazards. Preserving the safety of business travelers will continue to be of the utmost importance to travel managers, especially with regard to high-risk travel destinations. Corporate travel professionals will be looking for the ability to recognize services which will facilitate the improvement of traveler safety.

Consumers will depend upon merchants to become a motivating force in discovering “green” solutions. Fundamentally, businesses will seek to balance environmental issues with economic obligations, putting into practice a holistic, sustainable methodology with regard to travel.

Technology will continue to enhance the business traveler’s experience. Significant concepts will feature self-service, plug and play, one-stop shop and cellular phones. Simply put, from the decision to travel to post trip reporting of expenses, corporations will persist in seeking out technology that is more user-friendly and of worth to employees during their travel process. At the booking stage, additional travelers will make use of on-line tools as companies strive to better accommodate individuals within their travel design.

Believe it or not, this is not the complete outline of significant changes that may impact business travel as a whole. In Part 2 of 2010 Business Travel Trends we will continue to explore the very real possibilities that may play out for the business traveler in the not so distant future.

Do Not Let Business Travel Disrupt Your Fitness

You have your ticket, you are packed, and the airport van is picking you up for your next business trip. Leaving Sunday afternoon and returning Friday evening has become routine over the last couple of years. You ran your errands and spent time with the family. You managed a brief workout early Saturday morning so you could attend the kid’s soccer games and birthday parties. Business travel is difficult. Lately you are feeling your clothes tightening around your waste. It has not gotten to the point of buying new clothes, yet. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar. There are more and more business professionals challenged with stressful jobs compounded by stressful travel. Surely, this takes a toll on the family and personal life[1], but even more important it could be destroying your health. When your health is gone, your family and job is in jeopardy.

Health and fitness for traveling business professionals is a serious concern, “But it is also a source of a variety of stresses, often overlooked or denied by both organizations and travelers themselves. The World Bank, studying its own travelers, discovered that both their physical and mental health-care claims were significantly greater than those of nontravelers.“[2] The typical executive travels 3-5 days per week. They eat ninety-five percent of their meals in airports, restaurants, or fast food establishments. They eat late while entertaining clients. Most of them do not exercise on the road even though gyms are available in hotels. In addition, most traveling business professionals do not get the deep sleep they need. Any medical professional, or fitness expert, will tell you this lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.

There are several resources offering ways to eat right and workout while traveling.[3] Videos abound on exercises you can use while traveling.[4] Still with all this information available, the vast majority of business travelers fail to eat right and workout on the road. Why is this? The problem is more behavior than access to good food and workout facilities. The solution is more education about fitness, not more facilities, workouts, and supplements. People who understand “why” about anything tend to accept and change more than those who do not take the time to understand a subject. Think about this principal. Continuing education is designed to make you more proficient at your job. The more you know and experience the more valuable you become to your employer. Your self-worth and self-esteem increases. This is true when it comes to fitness. The difference is you are your own boss. Here lies the root cause of the problem. If fitness is not a priority in your life, you have too many irons in the fire, you are stretched thin, and now your travel time takes up twenty percent of your waking hours, then you will put fitness on the back burner. The next thing you know you are twenty-five pounds heavier, your body fat percent is nearing obesity, and you have little energy at the end of the workday. At this point, your doctor informs you that your blood pressure is elevating and recommends blood pressure medicine.

A CEO who has all the distractions mentioned earlier recognizes the problem, does not drop everything, and still attacks the specific problem. They would contract a professional, e.g. lawyer, CPA, or consultant to help them filter through all the information and establish a good plan to attack the problem. These professionals allow the CEO to attack the problem while dealing with all the distractions, and still achieve his/her goals. The traveling businessperson should have the same approach to solving their fitness problem. Their professional is a private personal trainer, or fitness consultant.

Private personal trainers have the ability to provide you the right amount of information you need at the time you need it without you spending large amounts of time researching nutrition or exercise routines. They have the ability to assess your current fitness level then design a nutritional and exercise program that works for you. In addition, they can continually assess you, and make changes that will allow you to progress. Good private personal trainers have the ability to council behavior as well as design programs. They hold their clients accountable the same way a CEO uses a consultant to help them maintain accountability for a strategy. In most cases, a private personal trainer is more expensive than a gym personal trainer, but offer services that are more customized and personal. They are normally much less expensive than business consultants. You should consider a private personal trainer as an investment not an expense, the same way a CEO considers a consultant as an investment. So if you are traveling how can a private personal trainer help? You sure are not going to pay them to travel with you. The good news is technology helps to solve this problem.

Today private personal trainers have a wealth of technology available to them to help resolve the two biggest problems preventing fitness while traveling, i.e. education and accountability. Private personal trainers normally have their own web site. This web site provides the tools necessary to help their traveling client. Let us review a few tools that provide a near personal training experience on the road for a fraction of the cost.

  1. You have access to articles, other web sites, and educational material on your personal trainer’s web site. Your personal trainer can provide information based on your level of fitness. In other words, they provide the right information at the right time. You are not wasting time.
  2. Your personal trainer can provide a private login on their web site that has all your information, e.g. measurements, training schedule, exercise videos, meal programs, etc. This section of their web site is password protected for your privacy. Google documents offer great tools for this type of interface.
  3. Accountability is available with the use of Google’s calendar and SMS notifications. SMS messages are pre-assigned via the Google calendar for clients. They receive alerts on their phone saying to snack, complete a workout, etc. Business travelers have the ability to respond through SMS text messaging, email, or a phone call letting the trainer know what they have eaten, or that they completed their workout routine. If not contacted the trainer will follow-up. This happens no matter where the business travelers, or the trainer, are in the world.
  4. Clients can sign-up on http://www.fitday.com and enroll in their internet service. It is less than $10.00 per month and offers the ability to track and monitor nutrition, activities, journals, and moods. By providing their trainer access, the trainer can track all activity 24/7. This combines nutrition, exercise, and behavior extremely well. This provides the trainer the information needed to council clients through a variety of virtual techniques, e.g. SMS texting, web site response, email, phone call, or SKYPE.
  5. Skype, Google Video Talk, and other video conferencing tools allow clients to schedule times with their trainer in order for the trainer to view the business traveler’s workout. This is convenient if they are working out in a hotel room.
  6. Finally, it is important to meet at least once a week when possible with your personal trainer face-to-face to celebrate your progress, establish new measurements, and set new goals.

This type of professional and private personal training is available to travelers. One company providing this service is Strategy for Fitness(TM). Overcoming a lack of education and accountability will be a big step to improving your fitness level. These services are an investment in your life. You have someone who is interested in your health and wellness and can counsel you on an ongoing basis no matter where you are. Using technology reduces your overall cost for personal training. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Trainers can hold business travelers accountable through advanced technology services. Do not let excuses become a barrier to improving your fitness while you travel. There are no excuses.

[1] Espino, C, Sundstrom S, Frick H, Jacobs M, Peters, M, “International Business Travel: impact on families and travelers”. Occupational and Environmental Med Medicine. January 11, 2010 .

[2] James Striker, Lennart Dimberg, Bernhard H Liese, “Stress and business travel: Individual, managerial, and corporate concerns”. Journal of Organizational Excellence Vol. 20 Issue 1 pages 3-10. January 11, 2010

[3] todaysengineer.org/2009/Jun/exercise.asp

[4] ehow.com/videos-on_66_exercise-traveling.html