Rachel Wimberly is Executive Vice President of Business Development at Tarsus Group, U.S. Follow her on Twitter @TSNN_Rachel.
Heading on a Business Trip Soon? Make sure to Pack Your Patience
In the past several weeks, I have traveled to several cities across the U.S. for different-sized trade shows and industry meetings. As a frequent business traveler pre-pandemic – at least a few times a month – I will tell you that traveling right now is simply not quite the same as it used to be in more ways than one.
In short – PACK YOUR PATIENCE – and realize that everyone, and I mean everyone, is doing the best that they can in a challenging environment.
Also – work with your hotels, venues and CVBs to find out what impacts there may be on any of the points below in their cities and make sure to communicate to people coming to your events how they can have the best experience possible.
Here are a few tips based on my recent travels:
No Daily Hotel Room Housekeeping? NO big deal
Most hotels are very understaffed right now – especially in the housekeeping departments. I stayed at a large name brand hotel recently that offered no housekeeping services for my four-night stay, although they would bring any supplies needed up to the room at any time. I have seen variations of no housekeeping, to a little housekeeping, to on-demand only housekeeping services being offered. I keep my own house clean, so I just picked up every day and asked for any trash to be taken, and it was really no big deal. I also make sure to leave a nice tip because the ones who are working are doing so harder than ever.
Uber/Lyft Drivers Can Be Scarce
Uber/Lyft drivers have been scarce in several cities I have gone to, leading to surge pricing and long wait times. There have been taxi drivers available for the most part, but not as many as usual – especially in the larger cities. I have made sure to ask every hotel I am staying what the situation is on transportation since it’s a bit more unpredictable right now.
Restaurants Are Often Short Staffed
Everyone knows that the restaurant industry has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. In a lot of places I have traveled to, especially in metro downtown areas, restaurants are closed completely or closed several days a week (usually Sunday/Monday/Tuesday). Many of them are short staffed in the front and back of the house, so reservations are highly suggested, and I would make them before you even get into town for your event if possible. Make sure to tip nicely too, even if service is a little slow – it's likely not their fault right now!
Hold Times for Airlines Can Be VERY Long
I am a diehard Delta Airlines customer, and in the past few months I have received several messages from their CEO Ed Bastion apologizing for the impossibly long hold times if anyone was trying to call. He said they were hiring thousands of people to remedy the issue. In the meantime, all airlines are experiencing hiring issues in the customer service departments (and other departments), so I highly suggest making sure you have the latest version of the app for whatever airline you are flying in case there are last-minute changes needed on your flights and most anything else you might need in the moment (Where is baggage? Where is flight? Book new flights, etc.).
Convention/Meeting Venue Services
If you think about it, our industry went from absolutely no meetings and trade shows at all to suddenly having some – all of which require different needs and levels of staffing. The venues are walking a tightrope trying to figure out the right balance to ensure they have staff to cover what’s booked – but it’s not always possible to have everything in place for every event. So, there might not be, for example, the same catering services you used to have, but undoubtedly there will be enough on hand.
Most of all, please know that all the people who work in all levels of our industry deserve our respect and patience as we get through these challenging times together!