• 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Busy Season Business Travel

    By | January 29, 2018

    Are your frequent flyer miles starting to rack up? Busy season can be hard enough when your clients are local. Add travel and some sleep deprivation, and it can make even the most cheerful manager bite your head off. Here’s what I recommend to you so you’ll be well rested and able to respond with grace and understanding:

    1. Get a better airplane pillow.

    Who doesn’t have a donut-shaped pillow they forget to bring half the time when they rush out the door? I know I have a couple. I don’t find them that comfortable.

    A friend of mine who flies every week stumbled across a couple of great alternatives that will help you seem more rested when you finally get to that meeting after a long day of travel:

    • Trtl Pillow is a strong contender and a fan favorite on Amazon. It’s a machine washable neck support wrap that doesn’t look as ostentatious if you’re in business casual as the standard U-shaped pillow.
    • Travelrest has a pillow that loops around the headrest and gives you something to lean against, meaning you can sit on the aisle and drool on something other than the stranger crammed in the middle seat.

    2. Take advantage of the airport lounge.

    You may not be eligible to saunter into the airport lounge based on your frequent flyer status, but now you can simply buy your way in. Loungebuddy is an app that grants you access when you have a mind-numbing layover.

    Stuck in Atlanta for the day? Buy access traditional-style lounge with a bar for $36 and grab a drink or, if you want to take a nap, check in to the Minute Suites lounge for $46. It offers a more secure and private area with a couch to relax on. Not every airport has a participating lounge at this point, but it looks like they’re growing their reach.

    3.  Book an Airbnb

    Once you reach your destination, Airbnb can be a great alternative to a hotel and gives you a more home-like setting to start your day. While it might be sort-of old news, lots of people swear by Airbnb, so it’s worth a mention. You may even snag a rental that has a kitchen and space to spread out. While you might not get to enjoy it much each day, it can’t hurt to have an inviting place to crash.

    Granted, it’s not a perfect option. The unknowns can be a challenge for Type-A accountants. You have to get over the worry that the owner will be creepy or the place will smell horrible even if it had glowing reviews on the website.

     4. Give newcomer Stay Alfred a try.

    I was excited when I heard about this hybrid option — half Airbnb and half hotel. According to their website, the business model is unique:

    Stay Alfred aims to provide the consistency of a hotel and the size and space of a vacation rental in desirable downtown locations with first-class modern amenities, attractive decor, 4-star housekeeping, and all the comforts of home. The company furnishes, manages, and maintains 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments in Class A residential buildings in the downtown districts of U.S. destination cities.

    The Spokesman-Review interviewed company rep Jeanne Ryan, who said:

    Every time someone stays with Stay Alfred, we want them to have more than a hotel experience and something that’s better than a vacation rental… Like Airbnb, you could be staying on Bob’s couch, for all you know. This is not like that.

    The company offers “nearly 400 upscale apartment units in 12 U.S. cities, aims to grow its rental inventory tenfold and go global over the next five years.” For the amount of funding it’s garnered over the last couple years (over $15 million), it looks like it will continue to grow in the corporate housing on-demand scene.

    5. Posh training accommodations are standard at large firms.

    If you are gearing up for national training this Spring, you can expect to stay in a swanky hotel. You might even enjoy a branded ice sculpture when you check in. I know from experience that KPMG is a fan of ice sculptures.

    Protip: ask for your own refrigerator if it’s not standard in the room. Most hotels can accommodate on check-in. A well-stocked fridge can make training much more enjoyable.

    Deloitte is known for setting the bar in this arena, spending $300 million on its fancy 5-star establishment that Going Concern once described like this:

    This morning I linked to this Bloomberg piece on Deloitte University, aka DU, aka Deloitte Disneyland, aka Deloitte Delta Chi. If you read it, you can’t help the FOMO. You will want to go there. One of the reviews on Yelp states, “I’d live there if I could.”

    And the other firms got jealous, so now KPMG is working on their exclusive training center in Orlando. We are still flabbergasted by the epicness of the details, not to mention the price tag of $430 million.

    Since the competition for talent if fierce, training can often be a nice selling point. You can expect to be wined and dined as a result. And, hey, no one is complaining.

    Image: Bill Anastas on Unsplash

    • Brian F. Tankersley

      For airport lounges, many platinum AX cards ($550 annual fee) gets you $200 in Uber credits, access to airport lounges through Priority Pass, AX Centurion Lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs. My favorite way to enjoy travel this time of the year is to not get sick in the cramped compartments, so I use hand sanitizer a lot and drink a lot of water while on the road since airplanes and hotels tend to have very dry environments.

    • Ron Burgundy

      For me, an upgrade is to book a outcall massage to my hotel room (with a happy ending, of course). The only drawback is these masseuses don’t have a point system like the hotels do.

      • sludgemonkey

        You always tip them with the clap

    • guest

      That Travelrest pillow is the bombdiggety. I love it for long flights. The cover for it is worth it, too.