BEST IN THE BIZ • September 2021
Employers are starting to bring back their employees, in-person meetings are rocketing up the agenda, and global businesses are basking in cautious optimism: business travel is back. But what it is not, is boring. At least not with this handy guide…
Befriend the concierge
Make the concierge your best friend. (S)he isn’t solely there to book tables in expensive restaurants, but a portal for jogging routes, gallery recommendations and tips on theatre shows. The Society of the Golden Keys concierge association recommends being specific with requests. “Where’s good to eat?” will get a different response to “I’d do anything for an amazing burger and decent mojito”. You get what you ask for – concierges aren’t mind readers.
Build in some fun
Factor in something you know you’ll enjoy each trip. It might be something as simple as a cocktail in the hotel bar, or as extensive as turning those expenses-paid flights into an excuse to stay for the whole weekend. Have Avios to spare? You can use them to book an ‘experience’ with British Airways – everything from walking tours to tasting tours, attraction tickets and more.
Squeezing in a bit of fitness on the road is a sure-fire way to optimise your trip – even if you don’t want to, it’s a universally acknowledged fact you’ll feel better once you have. Keep fit starts at the airport with The Club’s heart-pumping guide, but it’s also worth checking out what your hotel has on offer. Westin Hotels & Resorts, for instance, are industry leaders in keeping guests fit thanks to a partnership with TRX, which lends gear for in-room workouts, and bespoke RunWestin running maps.
Why work in the office?
Taxi on tap
Make the most of Uber. It’s active in more than 85 countries and 10,000 cities, and will get you from A to B, and everywhere in between, without you having to worry about local currency.
A hotel for every taste
The big chains are diversifying into endless brands geared at different travellers. If you want to experience a sense of place and local culture, IHG recommends its Indigo brand as ‘the industry’s first branded boutique hotel experience’. The art’otel chain – as its name suggests – is a collection of contemporary hotels that blend architectural style with art-inspired interiors, hosting regular artistic events.
Or, try a different ‘hotel’
Did you know you can collect Avois with Airbnb? A few tips for those who do: book with a ‘Superhost’ – each has received at least 10 five-star reviews in the preceding three months; use the ‘Entire Home’ option if you’d prefer not to share your breakfast cornflakes with the host; and message ahead of your stay with specific requests in case the host isn’t around when you arrive.
Need a little something extra?
Look for hotels offering events if you have free evenings dying to be spiced up. Many are free, such as Z Hotels’ top-quality cheese, wine and chocolate offering every evening. Otherwise, there’s a growing trend for boutique properties offering lively social calendars, including recent opening chouchou in Paris, with stand-up and DJ sets most nights.
Always join a hotel’s loyalty programme to collect points to use for free nights and extras such as access to club lounges – useful if you’ve had to check out of your room but still have hours until your flight. With Marriott’s loyalty programme, Marriott Bonvoy, you’ll even rack up Avios per stay.
When you can work in paradise?
Successful business stays, of course, begin and end on the plane. Book a flight with a fully flat bed (available in Club World and First only) and arrive ready for action. And try British Airways’ new Headspace meditation in-flight entertainment channel. Nine guided meditation programmes can be continued on the ground by downloading the Headspace app. Blue-sky thinking at home and away.
Everything’s made better with a nap – business trips are no exception. Luckily, new ‘power-nap pods’ at Heathrow T5 make this possible. Currently available in the First Lounge (but soon to arrive at the Concorde Room and New York’s JFK Terminal 7), the pods combine a privacy visor and ‘gravity neutral’ positioning to help travellers drift off. They work on a self-service basis – you can check the availability of the pods via the in-lounge Your Menu app, then simply rock up, set your alarm, and get snoozing.