BostonCoach Friday Finds for 3/29/13: The BEST Business Travel News of the Week

BostonCoach_RGB_Logo_250x250@72[1]Every Friday the BostonCoach blog scours the World Wide Web for the BEST business travel tips and news of the week. In this edition: Scary facts about hotels, fly by weight, WiFi for JetBlue, revenge of the hotel staff, places to relieve business travel stress and more!

Eight Things You Should Never Do in a Hotel – Smarter Travel
You may think of it as your “home away from home,” but try not to get too comfortable in that hotel room. Private hotel rooms are a surprisingly public space, shared by several thousand strangers each year. And whenever you share something with that many people, things are bound to get dicey. For your own sake, we recommend that you avoid these eight activities no matter where you stay.

Pay-as-you-weigh for airline passengers a possibility?
Airlines should introduce “pay as you weigh” pricing for plane tickets, an academic has suggested. Charging overweight fliers more would help carriers recoup the cost of the extra fuel required to carry them.

Can Wifi Really Be a Differentiator for JetBlue?The Cranky Flier
When JetBlue first launched, it used inflight entertainment as one of the greatest initial product differentiators of all time, and now it’s trying to do it again with a new breed of wifi. Is this really going to have the same impact? I’m far from convinced, but it’s an interesting play.

Hotel Staff Revenge: Rude Guests Face Sabotage, Says UBC StudyHuffington Post
While it’s always a good idea to treat your fellow human being with kindness, failing to do so can end come with some nasty results according to a study from the University of British Columbia. The study found that when faced with rude customers, disgruntled hotel staff reacted with sabotage but the severity of that payback depends on where travellers are staying.

Female Business Travelers Make a Case for Pen KnivesNew York Times
Here is what the Transportation Security Administration said its screeners discovered in passengers’ carry-on bags at airport security in the seven days that ended last Thursday: 32 guns, 23 of them loaded and seven with rounds in the firing chamber; eight stun guns; a four-inch knife concealed in a suitcase lining; and an eight-inch tactical spike hidden in a sock.

Find peace and quiet on business trips at these placesUSA Today
At USA TODAY’s request, editors of Menasha Ridge Press’ Peaceful Places guidebook series chose the 10 top places in six cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. Menasha Ridge publishes Peaceful guide-books for those cities and Portland, Ore. Its No. 1 choice, Chicago’s Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, may be fitting so soon after Steven Spielberg’s film, Lincoln, won two Academy Awards.

US Airways Remains Without an App for Its PassengersYahoo Finance
US Airways finished last among the five biggest airlines in a recent survey of customer satisfaction with their mobile apps and Web sites, which is not surprising given that US Airways is the only major airline without an app for its passengers.

5 Tips to Make Your Next Event a Social Media Sensation

EventkeyboardMediumThe days of promoting your event exclusively through trade journals and direct mail is a thing of the past. You need to go where the people are, and social media will get you there. These tips will help you engage your target audience and get them excited for your next event.

1. Choose An Event Platform or Build a Registration Landing Page
Before you build the social media “spokes” of your wheel, you need to construct the “hub.” Create an internal landing page with a registration form or use an event platform such as Eventbrite. This site does all the work for you: register your guests, provide badge templates, and track your fundraising efforts. And the less work for you, the better, right?

2. Blog About Your Upcoming Event
Blogging about your event gives readers all the details they need to make a decision about attending.

  • Be sure the content is engaging and shareable. You want to give people all the reasons why they SHOULD attend your event.
  • WordPress blogs tend to rank very high in Google searches. If you include the right search phrases and keywords, people will find your event.

3. Drive Attendees to Your Event “Hub” Via Social Media
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are free promotional tools that you should utilize for your event to be successful.

  • Build Facebook and LinkedIn event pages.
  • Choose an event hashtag # and promote it on Twitter. Make sure to do your hashtag research. You want something unique that will cut through all the “noise.” Others will then use the hashtag when they tweet about your event, which means more FREE promotion.
  • Engage your followers on social media with interesting content. Be sure to respond to comments and participate in discussions.


BostonCoach’s Linda Capo Braves Blizzards to Get Her Job Done

Linda CapoPosition with BostonCoach: Accounts Payable Specialist

Years of service with BostonCoach: 17

Location: Everett

How did you get started with BostonCoach?
I knew someone who worked in the events department at the time, and she told me BostonCoach was hiring. It worked out for both of us — she got a referral bonus and I got a job! I started as a customer service agent. After working in that department for two years, I moved into the billing department. I’d been working there for about two years when I was asked to learn a completely different job — accounts payable — so that I could cover when the woman in that department went on maternity leave. That three-month period of coverage turned into what I have been doing for the last 13 years.

What do you do to make sure every client has a great experience?
I always try and respond to an email within an hour of receiving it, with either an answer to the inquiry or a time frame of when I’ll respond.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Routine. I love knowing exactly what needs to be done when I walk in the door each day. I also enjoy BostonCoach as a whole, it’s a great company to work for.

What’s your most memorable experience at BostonCoach?
I will never forget the blizzard of ’97. I came in for my morning shift and by the time I left here, it was two days later and I had worked in affiliate relations, automated reservations, fleet control and the call center, helping cover for the people who couldn’t make it in. I couldn’t leave the building, because the snow was piled 3-4 feet high and my car was buried.

Personal / hobbies:
I have a daughter who will be 21 in August. I never thought I could be as proud of anyone as I am of her. Every day she makes me laugh, surprises me and impresses me with how strong and committed she is in everything she does. I also have two dogs who I can’t imagine my life without. Anyone who knows me knows they are my fur babies, and I treat them like my kids.

I have a little photo studio set up in my house and I take pictures as often as I can. I like to take pictures of my friends and their kids for their Christmas cards, family group photos, that kind of thing. I also go on site to take pictures of memorable occasions so the families can enjoy the get-together without having to worry about capturing the memories themselves (I did a 100th birthday party recently and it was so much fun!). I really enjoy photographing food too.

Linda’s dedication to her job is apparent in everything she does. Those who work with her are continually appreciative of her attention to detail and can-do attitude.

Venue Selection: It’s All in the Details

iStock_000015240803SmallLocation, location, location. Real estate agents live by this rule and so should event planners. The location/venue you choose can easily make or break your event. For example, you could be in a tropical island paradise, but if the hotel is more like purgatory, you’re doomed.

Follow the tips below and your next event should be a smashing success.

 1. Get Ahead of the Game

Don’t wait till the last minute when selecting a venue; start thinking about it well in advance. The more proactive you are in your planning, the more room for error you allow.

 2. Visit the Property Yourself

Before you sign any contract, make sure YOU visit the property. Do not let the local salesperson do the scouting. A flight and overnight stay is well worth the investment when you are spending tens of thousands of dollars on an event. As an event planner, you know the right questions to ask; a salesperson might not.

3. Build A Rapport with the Venue Manager and Staff

It’s essential to have a good working relationship with the venue manager. He/she is not just a vendor but a partner on your event. Make sure to ask all your questions while you’re onsite. Gauge how attentive and timely he/she is with answers. The venue manager should know the property inside and out. If they don’t, the lack of communication and knowledge could jeopardize your event.

It’s also important to meet the staff members who you will be working closely with over the coming months. It will help you get a feel for your on-property support network.

4. Take Pictures and Take Notes

Pack a camera and a note pad. Be sure to take pictures of the ballrooms and meeting areas you will be using. Have multiple options in case some rooms are already booked. The more you have on paper, the better, because you won’t remember everything!

5. Match Your Needs with the Venue’s Benefits

When you return to the office, consult your notes and pictures. Ask yourself, does the venue meet my needs? Will it accommodate my headcount? Are there appropriate catering and A/V services? If so, contact the property and begin negotiations.

6. Go Over the Contract with a Fine-tooth Comb

Read every single page, and word, closely. Once you sign the contract, you are held responsible for all terms. That room block charge could come back to haunt you and wreak havoc on your budget.

Those are the keys to choosing the venue that’s right for your event. Good luck and take no prisoners!

Safety First Is the Rule for All BostonCoach Chauffeurs

Limousine with driverBostonCoach believes in safety first for all of our clients. Our training program, which includes over 50 hours of classroom and road instruction, is the most rigorous in the industry. Our chauffeurs are trained according to the Smith System® 5 Keys.

Smith System is the leading provider of collision avoidance driver training. The 5 Keys are as follows:

  1. Aim High In Steering – Looking further ahead than other drivers
  2. Get The Big Picture – Seeing more around you than other drivers
  3. Keep Your Eyes Moving – Being more aware than other drivers
  4. Leave Yourself An Out – Maintain better positioning in traffic than other drivers
  5. Make Sure They See You – Making yourself more visible than other drivers

These basic principles of being aware of your surroundings and thinking ahead dramatically cuts down on road incidents.

BostonCoach takes great pride in the “safety first” mentality and professionalism of our chauffeurs and drivers.

American Airlines Gives iPads to Pilots (VIDEO)

American Airlines 767-200 N324AAIf you have an iPad or tablet, you know how great it is for travel. You can bring it everywhere, it keeps the kids entertained for hours, and it makes a long flight go by quicker.

Now passengers aren’t the only ones with these devices. American Airlines pilots are using them as well, replacing some 40 pounds of flight manuals and printed documents they used to carry with them on every flight.

From Gadling:

To get that approval, American had to have the iPad tested in a hypobaric chamber to simulate how the device would handle during a rapid decompression. They also had to arrange for mount testing with the FAA, which is ironic since our manuals weigh far more than the iPad and aren’t secured in place. Many takeoffs have resulted in a book or two sliding off the side table and onto the floor.

Bet you’re wondering if the pilots have to shut their iPads off during takeoff. We doubt it.

BostonCoach Biz Travel App of the Week: Pocket

img02Did you ever want to read an article or view a video from the web but had no Internet service? You’re not alone. The good news is, now there’s an app for that.

BostonCoach’s Biz Travel App Pick of the Week: Pocket

Pocket Lint:

Formerly Read it later, the hugely useful paid-for multi-platform smartphone app, has had a rethink, a rename and dropped the price tag. Now more tempting than ever as a download, Pocket promises a one stop shop for all your reading needs.

Here’s how it works:

This is a must-have app for any road warrior stranded in an Internet-free zone.

BostonCoach Friday Finds for 3/22/13: The BEST Business Travel News of the Week

BostonCoach_RGB_Logo_250x250@72[1]Every Friday the BostonCoach blog scours the World Wide Web for the BEST business travel tips and news of the week. In this edition: Who drops the ball on baggage, tidbits about turbulence, BYOD for travelers, foreigners avoiding America, top airport lounges, and a cure for jet lag?

Best and Worst Airlines for Lost LuggageTravel & Leisure 

Nearly 1.8 million pieces of luggage were lost, stolen, or damaged by major U.S. airlines in 2012 — and that’s just on domestic flights. While it sounds staggering, mishandling 3.09 bags per 1,000 passengers actually represents an 8 percent decline since 2011.

10 Surprising Facts about Turbulence – Executive Travel Magazine 

Knowing what pilots know about turbulence can soothe nerves when flights hit bumpy air. There’s a certain mystique about the piloting profession, and people have a lot of questions when they get the opportunity to talk to a pilot.

Bring-Your-Own-Device Policy Is The Best Bet For Travelers, Managers – The Beat

Connectivity is as much a part of the business travel process as flight and accommodation. A new concept sweeping the industry is “BYOD” — bring your own device. Contrary to the established methods of corporate control, this approach enables employees to use the handheld device (smartphone or tablet) of their choice to access the corporate network.

VIDEO: The science of jetlag and using light to cure

Last month at TED conference, a “Photon Shower” chamber meant to cure jetlag made a lot of waves. The chamber, still in concept demo, is the result of neuroscience and sleep research by Professor Russell Foster of Oxford, and is underwritten by Delta as part of the airline’s attempts to improve the sleep experiences of its passengers.

Foreign travelers say they’ll avoid U.S., survey saysUSA Today

Overseas travelers say they’ll avoid the United States because of long wait times and inefficient entry procedures at gateway airports — and recommend to others that they too stay away, a new survey of foreign visitors out Tuesday indicates.

Top Airport Lounges for Business Travelers – Executive Travel Magazine 

While most airport terminals have a few desks, an electrical outlet or two and wireless access that you may or may not have to pay for, getting work done is rarely possible amid the roar of screaming children, the fear that your bag may be stolen at any moment and the constant drone of the PA system begging Mr. Smith to please pick up the white courtesy phone

Tips to Avoid the Pain of Business Travel Expense Reconciliation

iStock_000005654992SmallExpense reconciliation. The mere phrase evokes images of crumpled-up slips of paper, missing receipts, Excel sheets and endless disputes with Accounting. Here are some tips to avoid, or at least reduce, the pain of every business traveler’s most dreaded task.

  1. When booking your own travel, be sure to seek out the least expensive flights. Check out regional airports; they tend to be cheaper. Your company will be more likely to approve your airline expenses without flak.
  2. Compare the costs of renting a car and using a car service. Do your research and weigh your options. You may find a hotel near your meeting, in which case a rental car isn’t a necessity.
  3. Consult your company’s travel expense policy. Be aware of what you can expense and what you can’t. Don’t set yourself up for unwelcome surprises.
  4. Be organized and thorough while tracking your expenses. Make your life easier by downloading an app such as Expense Cloud. It’s free, so you don’t have to expense it!
  5. Be sure to have backup. Make sure you get every scrap of paper and receipt to reconcile against your credit card statement. Less ambiguity means less chance of an expense dispute.


“BostonCoach Made Me Look Pretty Good Last Night”

iStock_000019062287SmallNo matter how carefully you plan, some things are just beyond your control. Weather can derail even the most proactive and prepared travel arranger. To avoid disaster, you have to have a contingency plan in place and a reliable vendor to partner with.

BostonCoach and Philip were there for Kelly, an executive assistant for a senior-level executive:

I have to send a HUGE thank you to your team for your excellent service last night. I called during a snowstorm needing to cancel two sedan pick-ups due to a private aircraft getting rerouted. I asked BostonCoach to find me three SUVs and get to a completely different airport to meet the passengers upon arrival. The passengers gave me a 25-minute heads up that they were landing. 

Your agent, Philip, was amazing. We were able to get two SUVs and one sedan there within 15 minutes of the passengers arriving. All worked out in the end, and I just wanted to say thank you! On top of it all, I had very limited information on where the plane was landing – what FBO, tail number, etc. Boston Coach connected me with the drivers so I was able to confirm that my VIP passengers were safely in their vehicles.

Boston Coach made me look pretty good last night. Once again, thank you!

Going the extra mile for our customers is an everyday occurrence for the BostonCoach reservation team, and Philip is no exception. We pride ourselves on getting our customers the service they need no matter what it takes.