Reid Sherwood, National Sales Manager
Starting in 2000, my primary job has been to travel around the country to meet with potential clients or to work with existing customers. For eight years, I worked for Optima Graphics and for the past year and a half, I have worked for Classic Exhibits/ClassicMODUL. Generally on my trips, I leave either on a Sunday evening or early Monday morning, fly to a city, and visit customers within the area (or within an hour or two of the city). I’ve always tried to schedule a mid-afternoon flight home on Friday so I was back by Friday evening. Ten years later (almost), I am a true road warrior and feel qualified to share these tips for a successful business trip.
Airlines and Airports. This may sound like a cliché, but the most important thing is a good start. That means NO DELAYS or excessive layovers on the outbound flight. I’ve learned to stick with one airline as my primary carrier. Two million airline miles later, American Airlines is my go-to airline. It’s great for some things . . . horrible for others. They have the best “loyalty” program of the major carriers. You get more miles, more upgrades, and more “favors” than the others. The downside is O’Hare. I’m based in Michigan and fly into O’Hare a lot. No airport in the world is capable of handling the two largest airlines as hubs (American and United). Chicago’s O’Hare is no exception. Weather is only one of the problems. The other is space for all the airplanes. Obviously, you can’t control the weather, the airlines, or mechanical problems. You simply hope for the best and cross your fingers.
Luggage. NOTHING is more frustrating than not having your luggage arrive, especially if you have product samples for your sales calls. I am convinced there is nothing you can do to totally prevent this situation (short of carrying on all your luggage), but there is something you can do to lessening the chances of your luggage getting lost. No matter what — DON’T SWITCH AIRLINES! For instance, don’t fly from Jacksonville, FL to LAX and switch from American Airlines to Delta in Cincinnati. I guarantee that something will happen, and your luggage will NEVER make the transfer. If you have to switch, ALWAYS stay on the same carrier. All of this is just the pre-cursor to the crux of the trip – visiting your clients or potential clients. (more…)