February 11

ABCs of a Realistic African Diaspora Engagement

download (25)Almost every African country is trying to engage with its diaspora. However, when it comes to how to convince the African diaspora to work with their country of origin, the methods used are not working. One of the first things that comes to the mind of most Africans living in Africa is to ask the diaspora to help them, forgetting that no one is helping the diaspora for free. In contrast, the first thing that enters the mind of most diasporas is not how to help Africa, but whether Africa knows why they have left the continent and what they are doing abroad!

Do I need to underline that many African immigrants have left the Black Continent because they were chased away by some leaders and sorcerers who, today, are begging them to invest back home? Most Africans leaders are not trying to better know and understand their diaspora before asking them to come invest their money in Africa. Sometimes, I even wonder how many African Professionals in the Diaspora are richer than the African leaders who are begging them for money. Worst, some African leaders act like if their diaspora have forgotten the wounds they have suffered in Africa before finding a way to flee the continent of Kwame Nkrumah. Undoubtedly, a lot of basic first steps needs to be addressed in order to start aligning the mentality of Africa with that of its diaspora. Otherwise, the synergistic coalition needed for African Diaspora Engagement will continue lacking!

The migration of the diasporas from their home country to their new country of residence is a kind of “divorce or break up” with their roots. Some Africans have had some bad experiences with their own people that they do not even want to reverse their “divorce” with the continent of Nelson Mandela. Other immigrants have been highly afflicted by the people in their home country that they do not want to hear any request coming from them. No intelligible man dates a woman by starting to ask about anything that is supposed to be last. Moreover, no reasonable man can win back his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, and vice versa, by starting the conversation with a list of requests or a list of things that the ex must do. Sadly, certain political leaders who orchestrated the migration of their own people cling to power and then, ask their diaspora that they have hunted to come and invest in their country. These types of diaspora engagement cannot work, particularly in the African context where people seem to pull each other toward the bottom of the misery pit. At the same time, many foreign countries are taking advantage of the divergences among the Africans!

The engagement of the diaspora in the development of their home country must follow certain basic rules of courtesy. I believe that Africa and its diaspora need to start “dating” each other in a format similar to that of a man trying to win back his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, and vice versa. However, while some people that have broken up can easily find new loves, it is not easy for most diaspora to quickly forget their roots and embrace the culture of their new country. This implies that many opportunities still exist to start engaging the African Diasporas in a dialogue with their homeland which dearly needs them. For this dialog to succeed, it must not begin with begging the diaspora to come back to Africa or to invest in Africa. Similarly, the diaspora should not inaugurate this dialog by requesting that the African political leaders change overnight. The African Diasporas need to know that, though their new life abroad has changed the way they used to think, many of their brothers and sisters in Africa still act as if they have no brain or if they cannot get rid of the legacy of the colonial ignorance. Therefore, the African Diaspora must be tolerant with their own people who need to be willing to realign and renew their mentality so that synergistic coalitions can be fostered in a win-win framework for the advancement of our dear Africa rather than allowing the so-called super powers to continue poaching their rich lands and mines like a cake of their grandmother or like their heritage or like the field of their slaves!

When it comes to engaging the African diaspora in the development of Africa, ten questions need to be asked first:

  1. Who are the African Diaspora?
  2. Who is who among the African Diaspora?
  3. Where are they living?
  4. What are they doing?
  5. What problems are they facing?
  6. Why did they leave Africa?
  7. How can Africa help them to heal some of their wounds?
  8. What can we do to forgive each other and embrace a new journey of partnership?
  9. How can we partner rather than how can they help us?
  10. How can we initiate this partnership without bringing up money as the first issue?

And these questions must be answered without forgetting the millions of African-Americans, descendants of the slaves, whom some “stupid” or naive African Leaders think are not worthy to be called African Diaspora! It is after these questions are sincerely addressed that Africa and its Diaspora can start talking about who can do what for who? Without following these simple strategic steps, the African diaspora will just keep creating thousands of African Diaspora Associations, while the African Political Leaders will keep creating more Political Parties in Africa, yet, sinking Africa.

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on ABCs of a Realistic African Diaspora Engagement
February 3

Things to Know About Flight Delay Compensation

download (24)You arrive at the airport, your flight is delayed or even cancelled? Flight delay compensation is an important topic travellers should know about, especially when it comes to business travel. Whether it is due to bad weather such as snow, a security alert or a strike, there are many reasons for flight delays and cancellations. But whatever the reason, it means you have to stay involuntarily longer at the airport before you can travel to your destination or back home. Plus, you may be entitled to flight delay compensation or a refund. Here are some important rules helping you to make sure you are not left out of pocket and make the most of the involuntarily gained extra time.

1. Know your rights

From getting refunded for all your food and drink expenses to getting a hotel or some alternative transportation, you should know what you are entitled to. So, if your flight is cancelled or heavily delayed, you’re protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation (EU rule 261/2004 and repealing regulation (EEC) No 295/91). Unless ‘extraordinary circumstances’ apply, you can claim a financial flight delay compensation for cancelled or heavily delayed flights totalling:

€250 (£210) for inter-EU flights of 930 miles or less

€400 (£330) for flights between 930 and 1,860 miles

€600 (£500) for other journeys (long-haul flights)

It applies for EU flights, which includes any flights leaving from or arriving at an EU airport with an EU-based airline. Plus, your compensation may be reduced by 50% depending on flight distance and the ultimate arrival time. This means the reduced compensation applies to short haul flights within two hours, to medium haul flights within three hours and to long haul flights within four hours. But remember, flight delay compensation is only applicable if it is the airline’s fault (i.e. no act of God applies, such as natural catastrophes, incl. earth quakes, volcanoes or bad weather or political unrest). To claim flight delay compensation simply write to your airline stating the flight number, date, length of delay and reason for the claim. Sometimes airlines try offering you vouchers as flight delay compensation, but you don’t have to accept them and can ask for a cash refund instead. If your airline refuses to compensate you, contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for support and advice. Note, technical faults, unless they result from events which, by their nature or origin, are not part of the normal exercise of the airline, do not count as extraordinary circumstances.

Your right to reimbursement comes into play, if the delay is a minimum of five hours. You should get a reimbursement within seven days, for the cost of the flight ticket, the part of the trip not travelled and the parts already travelled, provided they are then useless. Where applicable, you may be even entitled to the earliest possible return flight to your departure destination or rerouting along with a refund.

During the travel disruption you should receive assistance from your airline, including food, drinks, two free telephone calls, faxes or emails, as well as accommodation and transport transfers to and from the hotel – where applicable. This is regardless of the reason for the delay/cancellation.

2. Networking

It’s always good to make friends, so why not use the downtime for extending your network. Try to see the positive of dealing with flight delays. Seen from a practical level, you may be able to share costs, e.g. for a taxi into town. Also being friendly towards the airport staff may prove helpful. Especially in these kinds of situations they encounter a lot of stressed and unfriendly customers, although the delay/cancellation is none of their personal fault. If you are friendly they are much more likely to help you, maybe even give you some extra advice.

3. Gate-crash the airport lounges

Those of you flying Business Class or being members of corporate airline loyalty or frequent flyer schemes will already be in the VIP lounge enjoying a nice drink and peanuts. It’s a far quieter and relaxed environment. This may be the best option when having to wait for a delayed flight. But if you are neither flying business class, nor a member of a loyalty scheme, be advised that in some cases these lounges are not exclusive and you may be able to access them for a fee of around £20. This could be much cheaper than getting your food and drink from an airport bar.

Furthermore, desk agents in these lounges are often authorised to make fast, last-minute reservations’ changes and there are usually far fewer people ahead of you in the queue. At least you can enjoy the Wi-Fi and free snacks (or booze!) while you have to wait. In the case of a flight cancellation or major delay, and you are at the airport immediately contact the airline you are travelling with. To change the ticket and get advice on the available options, it is best to go to your airline’s ticket desk, as soon as possible. Your business travel management company should continually provide pro-active telephone support throughout, as Flightline Travel does.

What are your top tips for dealing with flight delays and cancellations?

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on Things to Know About Flight Delay Compensation
February 2

Home Is Where the Heart Is, Book a Serviced Apartment and Come Home

download (21)That’s how the old adage goes isn’t it?

And well, for us, it’s never been truer than in today’s amazingly fast-paced, multi-cultural, media savvy world.

Businesses tend to focus heavily on productivity and the balance sheet but in order to have staff who are ready and able to work, it’s so easy to overlook the vital importance of a stable home life. In relocation and business travel particularly temporary accommodation is often relegated down the list precisely because it is ‘temporary’ but this is exactly the time when it’s most essential. Still very few companies focus on the emotional fallout that can occur before, during and after the move.

The first month of a relocation can make or break the move. And we should know… we deal with the aftermath of many a poorly planned and executed relocation! To the person (or people) arriving, everything’s new – the country, the job, probably the language, possibly the company – and even the most seasoned relocatee can find the first couple of weeks pretty stressful.

“International mobility reinforces the link between a happy couple and contributes to the dislocation of already dysfunctional couples before departure.” Jean-Luc Cerdin, Professor of HR Management, ESSEC Business School of Paris

And again, leaning on our experience, we’ve noticed that it’s not always the big issues that are the major cause of stress. There doesn’t have to be a cataclysmic event… sometimes it’s just the smallest things that can make a difference and that’s where serviced apartments can really come into their own. They provide the individual and more importantly the family unit (on average about 80% of expatriate workers move with their spouses.), the calm, sheltered haven from which they can begin to order and adjust to their new life. Simple things that we take for granted, like being able to whip up your favourite meal from back home, not having to worry about expensive hotel restaurant prices, or the astronomical cost of raiding the mini-bar! It’s having the space for everyone who’s staying together to nestle in and find their own place without being on top of one another. These are the little things that money just can’t buy and that hotels (due to the way they’re set up) quite often aren’t able to provide.

And actually, the very same rules apply to business travel although in the harsh maelstrom of defined business objectives, target driven performance and an expectation of constantly high energy levels, this too can often be forgotten. Business travel may appear glamorous on the surface but (take it from me – I know) after the first couple of trips it starts to get very much less appealing. It significantly disturbs your routine and seems to take up an inordinately disproportionate amount of time and money. Serviced apartments may not all offer the 24 hour service levels of a hotel but what they do offer in spades, is space, privacy and that all important home from home environment.

So for instance, there’s no need for you to have to be up and dressed just to make breakfast in the hotel dining room when you can get in your own supplies, chill out, and make (very probably) a far healthier brekkie in your apartment’s kitchen. You don’t have to sit on the edge of your bed because there’s nowhere else to perch when you can flop out on your apartment’s sofa. You don’t have to remember to meet the hotel laundry times either because you can put your washing on in your apartment whenever you need to. So many benefits, really… I know!

Working in the serviced apartment industry I’ve always been amazed that more people aren’t aware of what they can provide. I’m also a big fan of posh hotels for those rare occasions that I get to go off on treaty holidays, but as an extremely seasoned business traveller myself I find the serviced apartments product absolutely invaluable. So hey, why not try a serviced apartment yourself on your next business trip or relocation and join the revolution that’s sweeping the industry

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on Home Is Where the Heart Is, Book a Serviced Apartment and Come Home
January 25

Some Common Misconceptions About Business Travel

download (19)Whenever you come across a business traveler walking around the airport, there are many thoughts that cross your mind. Let me begin by warning you, a lot of these might be wrong.

Business travelers face plenty of challenges. Always racing against time, they are constantly going from one airport to another, catching one flight to another. Lack of sleep, longer than expected working hours and sometimes even skipping meals are what a lot of travelers can tell about their trips. Naturally, it is not easy to cope up with such a routine and only the toughest manage to survive.

Traveling faces a lot of misconceptions. Here are some of the top of these.

1. It’s Always about Pleasures

Typically, whenever you hear of business travelers a lot of people think this trip is all about pleasures. Of course, all they can think about at that time is a paid trip, free air travel and all the other expenses.

It’s true that most of the companies pay for the entire trip. However, it’s way more than free meals and a stay at luxurious hotels. A business travel person often have to sacrifice a lot of their leisure time in order to meet deadlines and fulfill tasks.

2. They Travel in Style

It’s true that business travelers mostly have a charismatic personality and no matter how many insomniac days they’ve lived, they’d always travel in style. But the definition of style for many is entirely a different one. When you think of business travelers, you are automatically inclined to think that they must be traveling through the luxurious classes of the airline and staying at the most royal hotels.

The truth is, not many companies are able to afford this. Many business travelers commonly fly through the economy class and stay at the budgeted hotels.

3. Formal Clothing

It’s always desired to arrive at a meeting looking your best. However, the luggage restrictions can often make it hard to carry your best suit to a foreign land for the business meetings. It’s a huge relief that the businessmen all around the globe understand this restriction.

So the next time you’re eager to spot a traveler, they don’t always have to be in a suit to qualify as one. A fine looking pair of trousers and dress shirt would do an equally good job. A suit is no longer a qualification criterion of being a businessman.

4. A Lot of Work is Done

Of course, the trip is planned to get certain projects fulfilled. However, this is not always the case. Business traveling may not be always as successful as what the company has planned.

At times, business trips mean no work actually gets done. However, that trip might open more pathways to future successes. The trip might keep you very busy, but the company might not get the desired results.

Category: Business | Comments Off on Some Common Misconceptions About Business Travel
January 23

How Taxi Businesses Are Advancing and Their Resulting Impact on Customers

download (23)Taxis are an inevitable part of today’s transport setup and it can be rightly said that most people are completely reliable on them for their transport needs. Given into the rising demand, many taxi services have blossomed that constantly compete with each other to provide the best services to their customers. All these taxi services try to incorporate that one differentiating feature that gives them an edge over the others in competition. That is where advanced taxi management systems come into picture. These taxi management systems are a one stop solution to launch and run a smooth and successful taxi business. Such management systems take care of everything from pointing out available taxis, bookings, payments and post use services. They are of mutual benefits to both the customers and service providers.

Here is a look at what makes these taxi business management systems exclusive in the existing scenario:

· Easy to install apps

The new to the world and easy to install apps bring in great ease of usage for the customers. In world where everyone is smitten by the use of smart phones, these apps come in really handy. They are mostly supported by all kinds of IOS and Android devices and hence are accessible to majority of mobile users. Just a click on the app, you have a taxi on board. Making a booking on these apps is as easy as child’s play.

· Easy payments

Now you can carry cash or simply may choose not to. The advanced taxi management systems come with easy taxi payment solutions where bills cab be paid through credit and debits cards. You can even make use of online payment wallets that are linked to your accounts to make payments within seconds. For the drivers also, it is easier to accept secured payments and take up customers even when they travel cashless.

· User Engagement

Most taxi business management systems are designed around attracting more customers towards the business concerned and maintaining them through effective services. The more advanced and user-friendly the service is, greater are its chances to find a place in the customer’s mind such that he is driven to opt for the same service even next time. Here simplicity is the key. Taxi management software solutions are one of the most convenient and simple systems available for businesses in the market today.

· Well knitted dispatch systems

A well monitored taxi dispatch system ensures to bring on board the nearest available taxi. This makes a taxi quickly available to the customer and saves a lot of time on the driver’s end as well. All in all, an economical affair for the taxi businesses!

So, we observe that a taxi business has a lot of scope of up-gradation through advanced taxi management systems all which can loop in a lot of customers. This eventually would speak in favor of the taxi business enterprises while bringing convenience to customers.

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on How Taxi Businesses Are Advancing and Their Resulting Impact on Customers
January 23

Duty of Care Is a No Brainer, Right?

download (22)More and more, Travel Risk Management is finally being addressed as organizations have realized the world is changing rapidly and what was done before, likely does not apply now. Cases are being litigated and lawsuits won due to a lack of knowledge and preparation on the sending organizations part. Much of the neglect is due to knowledge gaps, although some is due to cost (as it always is).

Many organizations are under the impression that they need to write policy for Travel Risk separately from other occupational safety and risk policies. This is not the case and it would make the task less daunting if organizations understood this. Rolling Travel Risk into a current security/crisis response plan would be much easier that trying to implement an entirely separate plan, although travel expertise is needed to write relevant and accurate travel policies.

We are asked to justify why Travel Risk Management should be as important a task as physical security of a building or safety measures taken on a factory floor. The answer we offer is in the form of another question; why would it not be as important?

Travel Risk is important mostly because organizations fail to acknowledge it as a vulnerability, therefore allowing organization members to travel without addressing the vulnerabilities at all. By failing to acknowledge threats or vulnerabilities associated with travel, the organizations is increasing the vulnerability level of their organization and putting their own people at risk. Organizations that have identified risks associated with travel, yet still refuse to address it could be found guilty of neglect, should an incident take place. A secondary effect of refusal to acknowledge travel risk is a false sense of security among travelers that could easily lead to a catastrophic event.

An easy way of determining the importance level of Travel Risk Management within your organization might be to ask yourself this, would I allow an employee onto a factory floor without a proper safety brief, or would I allow an employee to drive a company vehicle without ensuring they have a license to operate that vehicle (as well as insurance should an unavoidable event take place). Of course you would not, so why allow an employee or member to travel to an unfamiliar location without proper training and the information necessary to avoid a crisis situation.

Organizations have also refused to provide the necessary mitigating services to their members because “nothing bad has happened so far”. This is an argument that has no validity in regards to mitigating risk in any area or on any topic. In finance, you would not say that “this customer has never defaulted on a loan before, so we should give them the money without a proper risk assessment”. The same goes for the physical security of a building. You would not leave the front door unlocked just because you are in an upscale neighborhood that has never experienced crime in the past.

There are many reasons that organizations could use to avoid implementing policies that address Travel Risk Management. Fortunately the safety of travelers is not one of them. Most organizations would agree that safety is paramount over cost and that their company would not operate very efficiently without good workers. Understand that Travel Risk is very much a threat to your organizations continuity and success. If you continue to ignore it, you will be blindsided by civil and possibly criminal litigation. Don’t put your head in the sand, take the lead in corporate responsibility. Protect your investment in human capital and implement the safety measures necessary to avoid crisis situations abroad.

Category: Business | Comments Off on Duty of Care Is a No Brainer, Right?
January 22

Lifehacks to Make Your Business Trip Relaxing

images (4)5 Lifehacks to Make Your Business Trip Relaxing

Whether this is your first time to travel or you’ve traveled for more times than you can count, relax. Business trips can be fun. Of course, you have meetings to attend, business to take care of and employees to follow up with. Work does not mean you cannot see new places and meet new people. If you’re visiting a new city, you should take time to walk around and have fun. Here are the things you need to do to make your trip relaxing.

#1 Plan Your Trip

The words sound like a no brainer but seriously plan your trip. If you want to have fun, check events, restaurants, and places you are interested to see online and how close they are to where you intend to stay. You don’t want to spend your trip worrying about missing a meeting and definitely not exploring the city’s transportation system. Take some time before you actually travel and plan exactly where you want go. For directions, you can download Tripomatic: Trip Planner. This application comes with maps needed, so download it to your phone and you’re good to good to go. Tripomatic works offline.

#2 Follow Up With Your Employees

You can’t fully relax when you think of the disasters you might encounter when you go back to your company. All the issues you should’ve taken care of when you were traveling suddenly pops up. A good work-fun balance is definitely needed but once you start running your own business, you know that you have to work 24/7 to keep everything running smoothly and there are tools to help you. Sign up for an online time tracking system and you can easily follow up with your employees and check who showed up for work and who did not. And also they can write shift reports daily so you can exactly see what they are working on. ClockIn Portal is a good online time tracking tool that your company can use.

#3 Read Your Postal Mail Online

One of the things that makes a lot of company owners or managers worried when they travel is postal mail. A simple lifehack is to get yourself a virtual mailbox. That way you can read your postal mail online. Virtual mail companies receive your mail and you can view what you received online. You can also decide what you need to do with your mail through an online applications. So if your business trip lasts for only a few days, you can ask mail facility to scan contents of your mail and read it like you would read an email. All through an easy-to-use online application. PostScan Mail offers this service for a very reasonable price. I forgot to mention they also do electronic check deposit.

#4 Make Sure You Are Connected to Internet

When it comes to internet connection, most hotels, if not all hotels, provide WiFi connection. It depends on when and how frequently you need internet access. In worst case scenarios, you can use data roaming. Make sure your hotel has an internet connection and also ask about data roaming expenses. Plus, it mainly depends on where you are going. Some countries have free WiFi almost anywhere. Just check before you go.

#5 Minimize Time You Spend Online

It sounds like a strange advice after listing all the applications you should use and online services you should download. If you want to relax and focus on what you traveled to get done at first place, you should not be distracted by Facebook or Twitter. You can focus on how your employees are doing and which mail items you received but that should not take more than an hour or two of your day. Decide on a time to take care of business at home and forget about it the rest of day. Being a businessman is an all-day-long career but schedule a time to take care of business, and remember to have fun. Look around and enjoy the city you are at.

Category: Business | Comments Off on Lifehacks to Make Your Business Trip Relaxing
January 22

Top Tips To Stay Productive On Your Next Business Trip

download (20)While others might find business trips appealing because of free travel and accommodation, all business travelers worry about is getting the maximum productivity on their trip. This isn’t particularly easy. Because they are away from their comfort zone, it can often get very difficult to stay focused and keep a track of so much happening around them.

If you are a business traveler, here are some helpful tips for you to stay productive:

1. Become Tech-Savvy

If you are not, you have absolutely every reason to become one. Technology can solve a lot of your travel miseries. A lot of people complain that travel has become very complicated. The truth is, they haven’t made much use of technology to make their trip more convenient.

So where do you begin with? Firstly, you must pack all the gadgets you would possibly need. Now you may need a lot of things, but if you don’t intend to use them a lot there is no point in carrying all the weight.

Essentially, all business travelers need a laptop and a speedy internet connection. Because you will travel to different places, it is best to arrange for the internet before you leave on your journey. There would be a lot of important messages to respond to and it’s best to stay connected.

2. Do Your Homework

Before you set out on your journey, it is very important to do the destination search. Just knowing your flight times, address of the hotel and timings of the meetings is just not enough here.

Since it might be a new destination, it can be difficult to get around and keep a track of all the routes. For this reason, it is best to do a thorough destination search. Get to know the area you are staying in and the available transportation options.

If you have ambiguities of any sorts, it is best to connect with the locals and address them all your worries.

3. Make the Most of Layovers

Because flights with layovers are relatively cheaper, you may have to book them every now and then. A lot of businessmen hate the thought of layovers because it ends up wasting a lot of their precious time. Layovers can be a very productive part of your trip. Once you have settled with all the travel formalities, move to a quiet corner at the airport lounge and get all the pending work completed. This is the right time to plan for the upcoming meetings and make any other last minute arrangements that are needed.

4. Keep Hydrated and Stay Fit

If you are a business traveler, health has to be a priority. For this reason, it is best to stay hydrated at all times. Drink as much water as you can and leave no chance of getting up during the journey for a few stretches. This helps to keep your mind and body active and helps you to focus on important tasks ahead.

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on Top Tips To Stay Productive On Your Next Business Trip
January 11

Vietnam – A Brief Tourism Guide for Business Travelers

download (18)Vietnam is a booming center of global commerce, with a highly skilled workforce and strongly growing economy presenting great opportunities. However, if you visit this intriguing country on business but return home without spending a little time as a tourist then you’ll be missing out. Vietnam has a huge amount to offer, from stunning scenery to great food, and, of course, a strong sense of recent history.

Travel around Vietnam is somewhat complicated because of its geography. The two main cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) are at virtually opposite ends of this long, thin country which measures around 1000 miles from north to south, while being at times no more than 32 miles east to west. The distance between the cities is best traveled by plane, taking a little over two hours. Although a flight will mean missing out on experiencing the densely forested highlands of the country’s interior, Vietnamese trains are generally overcrowded, slow, and unreliable, and the journey will take up to a day and a half.

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi is situated in the north of the country, nestled in a bend of the Red River Delta. As befitting a city with a history spanning more than a thousand years, there is plenty to see and do. The Old Quarter offers all the noise, bustle and atmosphere you’d expect from this most South East Asian of cities, where adventurous eaters can enjoy some of the best street food in the world. The proud heritage of the city is expressed in countless ornate temples and ancient monuments, set alongside romantic 19th century architecture and ultra-modern commercial buildings.

A little further afield, Ha Long Bay, just over 100 miles from Hanoi, is a destination well worth a visit if you can find the time. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, this coastal idyll features dramatic limestone pillars and islets rising from emerald seas, and is a haven of peace and tranquility despite being the number one Vietnamese tourist attraction.

Hanoi offers a wealth of accommodation options, from 5 star hotels such as the Hilton Hanoi Opera to the venerable Sofitel Metropole which can claim Charlie Chaplin, Jane Fonda, and many more as celebrated guests.

Ho Chi Minh City, far in the south of the country on the Mekong Delta, is perhaps more famously known as Saigon even to its more than eight million inhabitants. Visitors can enjoy the French colonial atmosphere of the older parts of town, as well as the more modern districts of a city that in recent years has grown to rival near neighbors such as Singapore and Bangkok as a powerhouse of South East Asia.

As well as being the economic and commercial center of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City also has a rich and troubled history which the visitor is never far removed from. From the claustrophobic Cu Chi Tunnels to the War Remnants Museum, the city and surrounding areas are full of strong reminders of the trauma of the country’s recent past, but also of the remarkable transformation in fortunes since then.

As Vietnam’s largest city, Saigon is blessed with a wide choice of places to stay. Ma Maison is a little way out of the city center but makes up for that with its romantic, otherworldly French atmosphere, while the Cinnamon Hotel in District One offers modern comforts in the heart of the town.

Vietnam is a country rich in attractions for the visitor, so no matter how tight your schedule, exploring what the country has to offer beyond business possibilities is an opportunity not to be missed.

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on Vietnam – A Brief Tourism Guide for Business Travelers
January 2

Top Tips For Business Travel Safety

download (17)Do Your Research

If you’re going abroad, do some research on the country before you go. Make sure you have any vaccinations you may need and all the correct documents, and are familiar with the laws of the country. It’s also a good idea to keep up to date with any political disturbances to avoid dangerous situations.

Electronics

You can never be too careful when using electronics. If you’re working whilst travelling, ensure you have arranged a data plan before you leave so you don’t have to use open Wi-Fi connections – these are not always secure and could result in data loss for your company. It’s also not a great idea to use public computers as again these are usually pretty simple to hack.

Watch your Luggage

Throughout your journey, always keep an eye on your luggage. If you are taking a carry-on, choose a bag that fully zips up and if any of your luggage contains important documents be sure to use a coded padlock. When taking a laptop, avoid putting it in the overhead as it could be stolen or damaged; instead keep it on your lap or place it under the seat in front of you. As long as you’re careful with your items you should be fine.

At the Hotel

One of the first things you should do when you get to the hotel, is check that there is security available 24/7 – available by phone and there should also be a patrol. You should also always leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door to stop anyone from coming in, and only answer the door if you are expecting someone. If you have booked the hotel independently, make sure your company know where you’re staying.

Business Travel Security

Business travel security is available; this can be especially useful if you’re going to a high-risk area or carrying out important work that you could be targeted for. They can provide risk assessment and management, travel training and close protection amongst other things. If you work for a company, you could suggest they look into this for all staff to reduce the risk of any issues and make staff more comfortable with travelling for work.

Avoiding any threats to yourself and your work should be your biggest concern when travelling. By taking small precautions you’ll make your trip run smoothly and ensure your security, leaving you to focus on the work at hand and come home safely.

 

Category: Business | Comments Off on Top Tips For Business Travel Safety