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It's 3 AM. You're at the office, top button of your shirt released and tie loosened. You're nowhere near finished for the night, and there's a good chance you'll see the rest of the company show up before you go home. So, you reach into the lower right drawer of your desk, take out your stash and do a quick, refreshing line off your desk. Exhilarating.
No, you don't have to call Nancy Reagan on me to leave an acerbic comment below. I'm not talking about coke ... I'm talking about cocoa. Chocolate.
We all know someone who loves chocolate, and there are always a few who take that tasty affair to a totally uncomfortable level. Well, when Christmas comes this year, you won't have to try as hard. When I was in Bruges, Belgium a few weeks ago, I ran into the one gift that will appeal to the choco-holic in your life.
What often gets overlooked, however, is the impact that business travel can have on your business habits. We all lament the personal effects, but we tend to miss those that matter most to why we're on the road to begin with! Hectic schedules and long lists of business needs can ultimately cause your performance to suffer.
Let's take a look at five good business habits that are jeopardized when you're on the road:
What does all your HomeAway use mean?
Well, for starters, it translates to $216 million raised in one day. HomeAway went public yesterday, and its shares shot up 49 percent to just over $40 each. Now, the vacation rental company is worth $3.2 billion. Trading at 19 times 2010 revenues, HomeAway's valuation is more generous than that of Priceline (8.1X 2010 revenue) and Expedia (2.3X 2010 revenue).
So, what's all this financial stuff have to do with us, the traveling public? To me, it signals behavior. For HomeAway to be valued so richly, investors must see a lot of potential. Look for more people to look at the vacation rental alternative to hotel rooms and other traditional lodging options.
It isn't unusual at this point to lament the state of customer service in an industry that won't even call us customers. How nice it would be to be treated well and given a product worth consuming, right? Well, we all know that isn't going to happen. And the truth is that there's no reason for it.
The airline industry really wouldn't benefit from making our lives better, while the impact of the status quo on airline shareholders is as positive as it is evident. Let's take a look at five reasons why it would be stupid for the airlines to start treating us better:
Don't let this problem get in your way!
There are a number of ways you can change how you pack to make your business-and-pleasure combo easier to manage. Let's take a look at five of them:
Think about it: all those hotel reviews you've written, photos you've posted and advice you've sought could be worth as much as Facebook generates in advertising revenue this year. Clearly, you've been working hard to churn out all that free content for your fellow travelers.
So, here's the cosmic justice in all this. Expedia, the largest online travel agency in terms of revenue (which is what really matters), is set to benefit in a big way. But, you don't post to TripAdvisor for fame and fortune. You do it to help your fellow travelers. Well, imagine how much traveling the folks cashing in on this IPO will be able to do. Maybe they'll take your reviews to heart!
Look for the IPO filing in a few weeks ... and celebration by a handful of people around the Christmas holiday.
[photo by jollyUK via Flickr]
So, he's the CEO and he can say what he wants. This isn't really how it works: most CEOs have plenty of people telling them what to say and when to shut up. This is why O'Leary has it made.
And now it's time for my confession: five reasons I'm jealous of Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair:
Gallery: A Closer Look at Ryanair
Well, this is yet another month-over-month increase. In March, the airlines spent an average of only $2.80 a gallon on get fuel, according to the latest data from the U.S Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In 30 days, we're looking at a 6.8 percent spike. Look back even further, and the numbers don't get any prettier. In April 2010, the U.S. airline industry spent an average of $2.29 on fuel. In one year, the average cost has surged an incredible 31 percent!
If you thought driving was too expensive because of gas prices, you'll find the skies decidedly unfriendly.
[photo by octal via Flickr]
Outside the travel world, everyone's marveling at the prospect of a Facebook IPO, which could be valued at as much as $100 billion. So, what are we missing while we fawn over Mark Zuckerberg's creation? How about the slow, stodgy, ugly airline industry. Known for a painful user experience and a steady decline of free features, the likes of Delta and American Airlines are outdoing the hottest online property in the world simply by annoying their customers.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, baggage and reservation change fees brought the U.S. airline industry a whopping $5.7 billion last year. Delta picked up close to a billion dollars on baggage fees alone, which doesn't include what they yanked from the wallets of soldiers returning home from combat. The largest airline in the country also brought in approximately $700 million from reservation change fees.
American Airlines, the fourth largest airline in the United States, came in second in both categories, with $580.7 million in baggage fees and $471.4 million in reservation change fees.
I'll be the first to admit that I thwart airline rules about turning on electronic devices during takeoff and landing. I don't like reading print, and a year and a half after getting it, I still have a comfortable yet steamy love affair with my Kindle. I just can't resist flipping the switch at the riskiest of times during my flights.
According to a report that ABC News got its hands on, though, I might be putting many, many lives at risk. ABC picked up a confidential industry study that indicates the safety issues could be real. Very real.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) studied survey responses from 125 airlines from 2003 to 2009 and found ... "75 incidents of possible electronic interference that airline pilots and other crew members believed were linked to mobile phones and other electronic devices." Twenty-six of them, a tad more than a third, "affected the flight controls, including the autopilot, autothrust and landing gear." Another 17 hit navigation systems, with 15 affecting communication systems.