It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way people around the world do work. There’s a bigger reliance now than ever on remote work, and more people are using virtual transactions and adopting automation, according to research by McKinsey & Company. Businesses and employees are finding that a lot of work can be done without leaving home—but that doesn’t change the value of doing some business meetings in-person.
Why do business meetings in person?
Conducting meetings and attending conferences in person makes better opportunities for businesses and their clients (both current and potential) to build relationships. It’s hard to replicate the connection that comes with meeting in person on video calls, corporate trainer Paul Axtell said. Additionally, research published in the Washington Post shows that face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than requests sent by email.
Don’t underestimate the value of in-person meetings to your employees and for your potential clients. And when opportunities for in-person meetings come up, make sure to prepare so that you can get the most out of the time.
How to prepare for your next in-person business meeting
1. Do some research
Spend some time researching your destination. What’s the nearest airport and hotel to the location you’ll be working at? What’s the weather forecast for the days you’ll be in town? Can you get around the city by taking public transportation, or do you need to rent a car?
COVID restrictions vary widely around the country (and even more around the globe) and are always changing, so you should look at your destination’s local guidelines.
2. Make a hotel reservation within your company’s travel policy
Once you’ve done this initial research, you can start to look at accommodations and make a hotel reservation. Make sure to pick a hotel that’s within walking distance of the business or conference center, or use your new knowledge of the city’s public transportation to find a train or bus stop close to the hotel.
Your company probably has existing travel policies, including limitations on how much you can spend, what kind of room you can book, and which expenses you can be reimbursed for. Before you book, make sure the hotel you choose fits these guidelines. If your company doesn’t have an existing travel policy, ask your manager or administrator to give you some guidelines.
3. Make back-up plans
With inclement weather, a lack of crew members and pilots, and other operational issues, there’s a chance that your flight will be delayed or cancelled. Be prepared for delays by looking at other airlines and flight times, and bookmark your airlines’ website and your manager’s contact information so you can contact them quickly if your flight is disrupted.
Additionally, many hotels are overbooking to make sure their occupancy rate is as high as possible, so you might arrive at your hotel and find out that there’s not a room available. Researching other hotels in the area before you arrive can help you find alternate accommodations that are within your company’s travel policy more quickly.
Here’s a pro tip: Hotels often prioritize guests who specify when they make their reservation that they’re traveling for business. You can decrease your chance of being walked by the hotel if you book in advance and make sure the hotel knows you’re a business traveler.
4. Create a trip itinerary
You may already have an agenda for your business meeting or conference, but you’ll also want to detail the rest of the time you’ll spend traveling. Create an itinerary that includes what time you need to leave for the airport if you’re traveling (or what time you need to get on the road if you’re driving), what time you can check in to the hotel, when you need to leave your hotel to be on time to your meetings, and what time you have to check out of the hotel.
5. Pack light—but don’t forget the essentials
If you’re taking a short trip, you might only need to bring a carry-on suitcase. Plus, if you don’t check a bag, you can avoid any potential disruptions in the form of lost baggage or waiting at the baggage claim.
When you pack, though, make sure to bring items that you absolutely need for your trip: any phone or computer chargers, outlet converters if you’re traveling internationally, your ID and/or passport, payment cards, and insurance cards.
Traveling is simpler with Travelcor.
Travelcor provides solutions that prepare every member of your team for travel—from the employees flying to their next business meeting, to your in-house administrators managing your budget and finances. Visit travelcor.com to learn how we save businesses time and money on travel.
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