Planes, Trains, Automobiles. . .and then some

June 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

by Tony

Given many that read our blog are “in the biz”, I wanted to share a recent journey with those who will hopefully appreciate it.

I was invited to speak at the Advantage Travel Centres Conference last week in Lucerne, Switzerland.  Now I’m sure those of you that know me are probably thinking “this guy will go just about anywhere to hear himself talk”, which is mostly true, but in my defense, I did have some business in London and since the Conference was on the weekend, I figured I would give it a shot.  Boy, am I glad I did!  First off, the Advantage guys ran a top notch Conference (special thanks to Ken McLeod for taking such good care of me).  Well attended, great facility, and quite frankly it would be pretty hard to screw up something held in a place as beautiful as Lucerne. If you have never been I highly recommend you add it to your list of places you want to visit.

My topic was how technology and mobile innovations will impact travel, and it seemed to strike a chord with the audience, but back to that in a bit.

I really want to share more about the journey there. Starting in Miami on Thursday afternoon at about 430pm, I took a taxi from my hotel to MIA where I boarded a 610pm departure to Boston. I had a 45-minute connection that I just did make for my flight to London which arrived at about 8am local time. There I took the airport shuttle bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5, for my next flight to Zurich. Upon arrival I found my way to the rail station at Zurich Airport where I then boarded a Swiss Rail train that, as advertised, was right on time for the little more than an hour’s ride through the Swiss countryside to Lucerne. I was close enough to walk from the Rail station to my hotel, and quickly showered and walked to the dock which is on the back side of the convention center, to board a paddle steam boat that cruised leisurely across the lake while we sipped wine and enjoyed the view. Once on the other side of the lake, we boarded a cog train that took us up the side of a mountain to a restaurant where we enjoyed more wine and a great dinner. The ride down the mountain was by cog train, where this time we boarded a bus that took us around the lake and into the center of town for the short walk back to the hotel. Total elapsed time 26 hours…. during which I rode on three planes, three trains, one bus, one taxi, a slew of elevators, escalators and people movers, combined as you might imaging with a fair amount of walking. The only mode of transportation I missed was a bicycle, of which there are plenty on the streets of Lucerne, and good thing they were all locked up or I would have clipped one of them and pedaled back to my hotel just to say I did.

It amazed me that I managed to come and go without incident. As someone who spends a good deal of time on the road often regaling the difficulties of travel (it is called Carrying On after all), it is only fair to share those times when everything goes as planned, and this was one of them. Heck, I didn’t even have to take my shoes off in either Heathrow or Zurich. I started contemplating why that was and just figured I should leave it alone and just enjoy it. After all that time travelling, it’s probably just as well that my shoes stayed on because I left my Odor Eaters at home. (By the way, ever sit next to someone who was the reason why they invented those things? Good God man, when was the last time you changed your socks!)

Back to the conference, my speaking gig, and the audience of mostly Brits from the agency side of the business. All in all, it was a lot of fun. I saw some old friends, met some new ones. Everyone seemed very engaged as I spun my tales of how online tools need to mirror the ease of use of the consumer websites. They appreciated my wake-up call as I ranted “if you don’t have a mobile strategy you are missing a trend that is already having a major impact on our industry and on your business”.

Hope you all had a fabulous long weekend, with hassle free travel.

PS: For those of you who track this stuff, my bowling season ended and my final average was 214. My team “Medicine” finished 26 out of 28 (and in fact there was a team that dropped out, so we really only beat out one team). In case you were wondering, we call ourselves “Medicine” because when you bowl us you will likely end the night feeling better. Next year we’re committed to doing better so if anyone has any suggestion as to a new team name, send them along :-).

Entry filed under: Business Travel, Mobile, TAP, Tony's thoughts. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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