I remember one time as a school kid I received an assignment where I was asked to keep a journal. It was 5th or 6th grade and I just didn’t get it. Asking this kid to keep a journal was like asking a hippo to poop on the banks of the river, rather than in the water…I just wasn’t going to do it. I suppose the point of the exercise was to teach us at the end of the week about how interesting and informative it was to ponder the events of the week you’d just had. The last thing in the universe a ten-year-old kid wants is to “ponder the previous week,” unless he’d just returned from
Today, it’s a whole different story. Our lives in the business world are controlled by the details, and we have hundreds of thousands of them to remember in a given week. We do most of them mindlessly, but others require thought and a degree of pontification. What was a journal in the 5th grade became a Franklin Planner, then a Palm Pilot, Web page, smart phone, blog, and now I have a wiki.
When I first started traveling and when it first occurred to me that I might be visiting some of these cities more than once, I had an epiphany that I should try to remember the good from the bad in each city. I started recording good hotel values, excellent restaurants, live bands I enjoyed in the area, names of local business partners or associates, cab drivers, hotel managers, etc. I used it a lot and I can still flip through my old files and find the San Francisco file (for example) and tell you where I stayed, where I ate (good and bad), and how I got around. It brings back memories but more importantly, it makes my future trips easier.
Today, I’ve expanded that idea even further. I started a travel wiki on our intranet for our group of travelers. There’s a large but finite group of cities that we all visit and it occurred to me that we could all benefit from one traveler’s experience in one of those cities. This has many benefits! Before I book a trip to a city I haven’t been to yet, I can check the wiki and read Lee or Jason or Lori’s notes on:
- Whether or not I should rent a car
- What hotel choices are near the client site
- What rates they paid for car/hotel/plane
- What restaurants to visit or avoid
- What side of the hotel offers the best view
- Where to find free parking
This also helps us save cost. Skipping an expensive hotel breakfast buffet in favor of a local breakfast cafe is a lot more fun if someone you trust has already been there and reviewed it for you. This is how I discovered one of the coolest little croissant cafes in
Our managers can read the wiki and they can gain a better understanding of a particular environment and why it is expensive or, (better yet), gain insight into how one traveler is able to go there for less money than others.
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.