Issue: October 2002 Issue
Hitting the Road
By Sara Lepro and Jeff Rozic
Area experts offer trip-taking advice
Q: How have business travelers been utilizing corporate travel in this recessed
A: 'Business travel is still an important vehicle
for corporate executives to utilize for business growth,' says Rob Turk, executive
vice president of Professional Travel Inc. in North Olmsted. 'The value proposition
of business travel is being looked at closer. It's more discretionary than it
was. Companies are scrutinizing, to a degree, the purpose and necessity of a
business trip. Instead of sending eight people, they send four. It's been reduced,
but by no means replaced.'
Q: Why are executives choosing to travel via a charter flight than a commercial flight?
A: 'When you fly charter, you eliminate wasting
time,' says Michael H. Grossmann, president and owner of Castle Aviation and
Northstar Business Aviation. 'How many times have you said, I hate waiting
in line, flying with people I don't know, [eating] airline food, missing a flight,
walking two miles to get to a gate?' Most of those things wouldn't happen when
flying business charter. You eliminate the rental car and the two-hour drive
to the airport and get back from your meeting without wasting time. How much
is your time worth? If you're truly a family person, you can have dinner with
your family and put your kids to bed. You can't put a price on that.'
Q: How are businesses using resorts as business centers?
A: 'They select a resort simply to have a captive
audience,' says Denny Carlstedt, director of sales for The Lodge at Sawmill
Creek. 'Everything's right there and it's all under one roof. Resorts ensure
the fact that they [attendants] won't be out on the town at night and will be
prompt at the meeting the next morning. In addition, it gives people a chance
to develop a relationship with people they only see once a year at a conference.'
Q: What are the benefits of conduct- ing business meetings in a country setting just beyond a major city such as Cleveland?
A: 'It really gives a very calming effect and allows
companies to get more work done,' says Gordon Safran, owner of the Red Maple
Inn. 'I have found that when meetings are held at a country bed and breakfast,
more business is completed than when they are in an urban setting. People relax
more; they're not as tense. It allows them to be more expressive. There's also
the flavor of being in the country. In an urban setting, everything is more
hurried. People bond less. Even though (most businesses) are close to the city,
they can actually be in a country setting in a short time, which is sort of
unique to Cleveland.'
Q: Why should companies which own their own aircraft consider outsourcing its management and operations?
A: 'When you weigh having a flight department versus
hiring a company, the cost and the resources that a management company has is
going to exceed the resources that a company can devote to a single aircraft,'
says Mike Hoyle, president and CEO of Business Aircraft Group. 'A management
and operations firm handles tracking expenses, scheduling flights using a sophisticated
program that a smaller department might not have, supporting an aircraft on
the ground, fueling, cleaning and moving the aircraft to the hangar. Most companies
can't get their own flight department developed to that degree because aircraft
management companies have more resources.'
Q: How do business travelers decide where to stay?
A: 'The business traveler likes
things to be very convenient,' says George M. Iannacone, general manager of
the Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Gateway. 'Convenience means location, easy access
to the freeways. Technology has become very important in their decision on where
to stay especially free local calls and free high-speed Internet access. Food
and beverage and fitness centers are very important. The business traveler is
looking for one stop shopping for their guest room needs and for their meeting
needs. They also want to have convenient access to restaurants and entertainment
areas. If it's within walking distance that's only a plus.'
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