– pandemic-era ‘rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated’ …again
(The answers to the quiz question, the ROI of business travel, is at the bottom of this page.)
It was a typical livery service ‘fire drill.’ As they sometimes do, the Teddy’s dispatchers pulled me away from the phone to run out and drive a Teddy’s private car service customer.
This one was probably the early ‘90’s and the trip was short: Norwalk to probably Westchester County Airport in White Plains (straddling Harrison and Purchase, NY ..and mere yards from Greenwich, CT). Or maybe it was just the eight-mile run to Amtrak in Stamford.
Anyway, one of our full-time professional chauffeurs probably got hung up on the previous trip or maybe this client called and was ready early. The fare, I remember, was a man and a woman and the pickup was at an office building on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk.
In short order, one of them thanked me, “we heard you were the company president so thank you for coming for us.” If I was true to form, I probably said ‘my pleasure’ followed by “if Stew Leonard can take a register when it gets busy, I can certainly service a VIP customer.” Tom Peters had recently highlighted Stew Leonard’s grocery store in A Passion for Excellence so it was safe to assume everyone in a business suit knew about the Norwalk grocer.
They asked me how our dispatchers communicated with our drivers and I explained we had three Nextel repeaters and we’d have to dial into the right one depending on where we thought the chauffeur was: was he within a 25 mile radius from the channel 1 repeater on the Chrysler Building in New York City? …or would the repeater in Syosset, NY work better which gave us good coverage across Long Island Sound into Greenwich, Stamford and Darien, CT. …or maybe the repeater in Bridgeport would work. (Ironically, with this system, the closer to our Westport office a driver was, the worst the radio reception.)
The woman passenger said I might be interested to learn about the project they were just pitching. She showed me a piece of paper with a honeycomb design and said they were going to buy our three Nextel repeaters then build 300 more in our region and 30,000 repeaters across the United States. ..and they were going to call it cellular telephone. That explains the honeycomb.
“Cell phones were going to be the death of the private car service industry.”
We heard that a lot. But business travel continued to grow every year as it always does.
Quite a few years before that, we heard we were upon the demise of business travel with the fax machine became widely available. Then with the 1995-’96 growth of the World Wide Web .. “who in the world would ever need to fly to a business trip again!?” Statistics continued to strongly prove otherwise.
Video conferencing, clunky at first, came quickly on the heels of the Internet and the refrain was the same. But business travel continued to grow significantly nearly every year. For seven consecutive years, Teddy’s was an INC Fastest Growing Companies in America.
AFTER ALL, Face-to-face meetings allow for clearer communication. In addition to being able to read facial expressions, body language and inflection, in-person meetings often end up being more positive and considered more credible than online or virtual conversations according to Entrepreneur.
Without non-verbal cues, you also run the risk of misinterpreting information. In fact, 60% of people regularly misread tone or message when communicating via email or phone.
No matter how much we may like social networking, in-person interactions are at the very core of relationship building, both personally and professionally. In fact, 85% of people believe face-to-face meetings contribute to stronger, more meaningful business relationships.
So, if you want to form true, concrete connections, try to meet in-person rather than online whenever possible according to an article in Medium.
Answer: Business travel has a 12.5-to-1 ROI
The Medium article also reminds us in-person meetings are more focused and more productive. In fact business travel is said to have better than 12:1 Return On Investment, or ROI according to Business Travel News.
So while you still have to be extremely cautious when you travel and its smart to avoid it a little while longer, if you can, incentives are far too high to believe Zoom is going to be enough to allow you to get the job done faster and better than your competition.
To learn more about the Teddy’s Platinum Reward Miles program, click here.