Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Working on Time Travel

In the wake of the Marriott news of their cancellation policy change, I think I'm going to have to brush up on my time travel skills.  Why?  I have no idea what I am doing tonight, much less 48 hours out! 

Sure, I am at home this week and my schedule is based on the kids and friends schedules and those are fluid, but when I travel, the same thing happens.

As with many in corporate travel, meetings, customers and engagements change all the time.  We have a relatively high exchange percentage within our company and what does that tell me, it tells me that plans change.  Travelers find out today that a meeting they were travelling to tomorrow had to change because of a conflict.  Travelers get the airport to find they will misconnect on their way to Miami so they aren't sure they will make it there on time, or at all!! 

Now, let's talk about what corporate travelers have come to expect.  Travelers expect that when they travel and have to make the changes, that our supplier base will understand.  They expect that we have their back and are making sure they can make changes when needed. 

Investors and owners are excited about this because it means more money and more reliability of income.  Of course they are!  If I cancel inside 48 hours now, they keep MY money and with the extra time, probably resell the room, therefore doubling the income on that room.  I'd be tickled with that news as well! 

Time will tell how this impact will be felt across the corporate travel spectrum, but I can say without a doubt that travelers and their ability to make needed last minute changes will be impacted.  I have to go now, but if I can perfect my time travel skills, I will come back to this point and time and adjust this blog to let you know how it went!  Keep going folks...keep going! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hyper Connected Isn't Always a Good Thing.

Yesterday on GMA, they did a piece on anxiety in America.  It talked about how so many people are suffering with anxiety at an alarming pace and the ranges of the disorder are all over the board. 

Then, this morning, I look at my desk which is normally pretty organized, but could use a cleaning today.  As I look around here is what I see:

Laptop/Tablet - My tried and true sidekick for Oracle related business. 
iPad - There so I can keep in touch with the weather rolling through Fargo today. 
iPhone - Duh, everyone needs a phone. 
Desk Phone - Oh, I guess I need two. 
Another laptop - Well, to be honest, I JUST got a new one, so I am still going through files on that one.
Another laptop/tablet - But this is my kids' and probably should be moved to another desk somewhere in the house, but right now, it's here. 

I think about how all these tools are feeding into the anxiety of people.  I think about the Mom who the minute an email comes in about a play date has to respond and delete so she doesn't have to see it as another thing to do.  I think about the cute photo that someone posted on their Instagram page which others tore to shreds and now that person feels like they can never share anything again.  I think about the person who has to carefully plan every move they make and every word they say for fear of someone taking it the wrong way.  I think about the teenage girl the other night in Target taking a Snap picture of the guy in front of her because she wanted to make fun of his outfit to her friends!  (BTW, after the man left, I told that young girl that what she was doing was inappropriate and she should find a way to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem!) 

In this hyper connected world, NO WONDER people have anxiety.  There is always someone watching.  Always someone critiquing you.  Always someone who will take what you say out of context.  Always someone who is waiting for you to drop your guard.  We strive to be perfect.  We want to be understood and we love to receive affirmation in the form of a "like," a thumbs up, a heart and we strive not to be the "open arrow" friend!   


I live without a filter and I know there are times it will come back at me, but I am fine with that.  I am a pretty confident person but there ARE times I second guess myself.  There are times I think twice about what I say, do, write or post and I think that is normal. But there are people who that "thinking twice" stops them from doing something or saying something, all day, everyday.  That has to be painful! 

All the things that sit on my desk are just tools.  They are not my family, my friends or my life.  Sure, they connect me with family, friends and help to organize my life, they help to capture fun moments, they help to keep me on track, but they don't run my life.  We need to put them down, connect with people, enjoy each other, be spontaneous and be real.  And above all, keep going! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rainbow Stew

There is an old Merle Haggard song that was first released in 1981 called "Rainbow Stew."  I think about it often when sustainability discussions begin.  I wonder what The Hag would think about things these days?  Here are some lines from the song that make you think about what has changed in the with my commentary:

When they find out how to burn water, - Haven't see that one yet. 
And the gasoline car is gone. - It's on the horizon. 
When an airplane flies without any fuel - Well, not NO fuel, but they are working on it. 
And the sunlight heats our home. - Many are doing this now. 
When a President goes through the White House door,
An' does what he says he'll do. - Not sure how to comment on this one! 
We'll all be drinkin' that free bubble up
And eatin' that rainbow stew.

Yes, I am a fan of old country music and I laugh when I think about how in 1981, people were singing this song thinking none of it would ever happen, that these things were never possible.  I don't give any of the credit to the sustainability efforts to The Hag but I am going to pay attention to the lyrics of today's music to see if there is a hidden gem in there I can work on for the next 36 years....then again, probably not.  

To those out there trying to make our world better, keep going!  I am excited to see what the next 36 years will bring!  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Took a much needed break

Yes, I took a break in the last few months.  Between work, sports, kids, family and life in general, I didn't find time to breathe much less right.  Let me catch you up on a few things in my life:

1 - My daughter's basketball team ended up with a second place in state finish.  It was a fun ride and while we would have loved to be state champs, we didn't play well enough to win and therefore lost.  It happens and losing is a part of life.  Sure, a crappy part, but a part nonetheless.

2 - We took their kids to experience Europe for the first time.  We spent time in London and Paris and they loved every minute of it.  I love seeing the fire in their eyes when they talk about travel.  They understand now why I love this crazy industry that makes so many things possible.

3 - Work has been crazy busy!  My new team is coming together (woohoo!) and we are working on making some pretty cool changes to how we are doing our jobs and how we look at the decisions we are making.  I hear excitement in their voices as we talk about new ideas and that is what I, as their leader, love about leading people! 

4 - The airline industry has gone bat crap crazy!  United, Delta, American are under fire for a number of things.  Were they avoidable?  Some...wait, most.  Have they made the changes needed to address the challenges, I think so.  Were the airlines in the wrong, not as far as I can tell.  Sure they could have handled all of the challenges better but under the rules, they weren't wrong.  Today's mainstream media is making people only hear what they want them to hear.  Social media is worse! 

For those that have reached out asking me to start writing again, here I am!  I have been jotting down a few topics to cover so know that there is more to come.  After a breather, I am still going, I hope you come along for the ride! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WINiT Needs You

It’s been a while since I talked about WINiT and now more than ever, its time. 

WINiT, Women in Travel, is an organization I am proud to be a part of and have been since the day the “doors” opened.  I have been involved in many ways and now am the Chair of the Board for this amazing organization.  The team, since day one, has been about helping people, all people, women and men!  Helping them to be empowered, enabled and engaged.  Through events like the annual summit, career board or the mentorship program, WINiT is helping men and women in the travel industry. 

Here are some numbers:

  • 3 Annual summits with over 700 attendees.  Some held in conjunction with other events and the most recent was a standalone event that people are still raving about.   
  • Mentoring program going on 3 years with over 140 people engaged as mentors or mentees.  In this program, people are learning from veterans in the industry and veterans of travel are learning from others.
  • Job posting board with many opportunities within our travel community.  
  • WINiT has provided industry speakers and leaders at 13 events and growing. 

When you look at those numbers, most would be shocked to know that all this has been done at NO COST to the member.  All their work has been because of suppliers and individuals who looked at the mission statement and believed in it.  Believed that helping people to be the best version of themselves is a good thing. 

Doing the right thing for the right reasons can only go so far.  WINiT now needs your help to make sure they can continue with their mission.  We want to be able to bring value to everyone who needs it, everyone who wants it and everyone who wants to continue to grow in this industry we call home.  I invite everyone to visit the WINiT page and if you can, make a donation to support this cause so we can keep offering programs, insight, inspiration and a path forward.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sunday in the Rearview Mirror

I am a survivor!  I made it through to other side unscathed, for the most part. 

No, I didn’t run a marathon, I didn’t beat a disease and I didn’t even make it through a challenging meeting.  I lived through the Delta Airlines system outage on Sunday night.  While many would want me to complain and yell about it, I’m not going to do that.  I am, however going to talk about what I learned during the event.

1 – Having a TMC that had my back was a life saver.  The minute I knew about the issue, I called CWT to put a back in plan in place.  Delta, couldn’t show me options, which makes sense when systems are down, but the agency was able to cover my behind so I could have a plan to get to my meetings if things went really wrong. 
2 – Having a mobile solution that wasn’t just the airline app, also saved me.  I couldn’t get into my Delta App, so I couldn’t find my confirmation or flight details.  Having another solution made me feel secure about what info I was missing.
3 – Delta employees faced the challenge with the right attitude.  They opened and kept open a Sky Club that has been closed for renovation to meet the demand.  When I checked in, I asked how long they would be open, they said, “Until our travelers are taken care of.”  What a great testament to serving a customer.  (Trust, they were exhausted when I left there at 1:05am, but you wouldn’t know that based on their attitude.)  Outside the club, I saw employees bringing blankets, pizza, drinks and a smile to those in need.  Sure, it sucked for them, but they got it that it sucked more for the travelers. 
4 – Car rental counters don’t say open “just in case a flight comes in” so when your flight lands, you are stuck with options that exist.  At 3:25am, taxis at Sacramento Airport are few and far between.  Uber and Lyft were both at a 100X.  At that point, I didn’t care, I needed to get to my hotel and to bed, so 100X with Lyft was what I paid.  The line at Super Shuttle was VERY long, but from what I could tell, they were working quickly to get people the help they needed. 
5 – I saw the best in people.  The guy who was going around the G concourse making balloon animals for kids who had enough! 
6 – I saw the worst in people.  The lady who would not move her “real Gucci” bag to the floor or hold it in her lap so someone could sit in the seat. 

So, yes it sucked to be a traveler in this.  Yes, it sucked to get in SOOO late and try to function yesterday.  Is Delta going to have to answer to why and how this could happen twice in a year?  Yes.  Did I learn things that I will share with my travelers?  Heck yeah!  Learning, sharing and still, keep going. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Lies Ahead

I know I am not the only one looking to the next few months with a very keen eye.  With the new administration, people are wondering how our country will change or if it will change at all. 

From the travel side, I am reading articles about how the new administration will be business friendly.  How the stimulus packages will help drive business development.  How the new administration's focus on keeping and creating jobs in the US.  How the Pres-Elect is focused on infrastructure improvements in airports and aviation security. 

So if I believed everything I read, I would think the Golden Age of Business Travel is upon us.  Companies will be making more money, thus spending more on travel.  Suppliers will be benefiting from programs that help to make them financially profitable.  Travelers will be safer than ever before.

Then, I remember that I live in a world with other people.  People who are set on doing the unspeakable.  (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Paris)  Companies who are going to falter and collapse and people will lose their jobs.  So while I look ahead to the next few months, I choose not to look at it with fear or delight, I choose to look at it with an open mind, a watchful eye and a trained ear. 

2017...the year we all keep going!