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In today’s international business world 24/7 connectivity is a prerequisite, speed is a virtue and, more often than not, face-to-face interaction across continents is the deal-breaker. The quickest, easiest and most utilised form of business travel is by air.
But what about the most cost-effective and efficient mode of transport once travellers have arrived at their destinations? Rushing to make back-to-back business meetings, sometimes in far-flung, obscure locations, can be extremely stressful; particularly if it’s the business traveller’s first time in the country.
To be successful, each business trip requires careful, detailed planning with built-in flexibility; enabling the traveller to react quickly and effectively to unforeseen changes and developments.
“A working knowledge of the foreign country and city – including the culture, the language, the geography and, very importantly, the modes of transport – is essential,” says Sharon Nash, Travel Operations Director of Club Travel Corporate. “This is where the input of a trusted, reputable travel management company (TMC) is invaluable.”
The appropriateness of transport options depends on myriad factors; how long and what is the nature of the visit? Is the foreign city difficult to navigate or does it have a proven infrastructure like London’s Tube, Paris’s Métro, New York City’s Underground, Rome’s Metropolitano or Warsaw’s Metro Warszawskie?
Does the business destination have an efficient and safe taxi/shuttle/or Uber service? Do the streets teem with pedestrians, motorbikes, cars, trucks and busses as is the case in many African, South American and Asian countries? Does the business require travel to pothole-infested outlying areas, or does it comprise short trips to and from where the traveller is staying and his/her place of business?
The TMC has the answers to most if not all these questions, as well as the solutions. For example, in traffic-challenged regions where Uber is available, this would probably be more efficient and less frustrating than a rental, as the drivers are experienced in navigating the best route to beat the congestion. However, a rental is a good choice if the destination has relatively free-flowing traffic, and if the traveller has time to relax and explore once the day’s business meetings and/or conferences have been concluded.
Wherever possible, the traveller can experience the country’s culture first-hand by taking a train or bus; much cheaper options although more dependable than taxis or rentals.
Of course, if proximity to the next business appointment allows, and depending on safety, the traveller can always revert to the time-proven way of enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and tactile beauty of a destination’s many surprises; and that’s to walk.