From waiting in line for security clearance to sitting through flights and shuttle rides at odd hours, traveling for business can be tiring. Fortunately, travel planners can use their emotional intelligence to make traveling much more pleasant. Whether you're making travel plans for an executive, a manager, a team or even a client, here are a few ways to use your emotional intelligence to aid your planning process.
Putting Yourself in the Traveler's Shoes
Part of having emotional intelligence is the ability to empathize; in this case, it means putting yourself in the place of a business traveler. If you were getting ready to travel yourself, what would you do to make the trip as comfortable as possible? What precautions would you take to get to each destination on time? Go through the entire trip plan in this way, choosing services and making arrangements that make the most sense.
Putting Preferences Into Action
Empathizing with your traveler is the first step, but you should also use your emotional intelligence to understand the value of personal preferences. While you may love a window seat, an executive with bladder issues would be much more comfortable in an aisle seat. Another example is transportation. Some professionals love the informality of services such as Lyft or Uber, while others feel more comfortable in a certified taxi. Make a list of questions to ask your traveler so you can better understand specific preferences, and let your traveler review all your plans in case you didn't catch an important preference.
Combining Emotional Intelligence and Travel Smarts
Once you use your emotional intelligence to inventory what a traveler needs, come up with clever tips to help ensure smooth travels. For instance, create a list of travel essentials to help your traveler pack, and remind him to bring plenty of $1 bills for tipping for services or getting snacks from vending machines. Don't forget to factor in small pleasures, such as finding a good restaurant near the hotel or locating a spa for the traveler to relax after a busy morning conference.
While making travel arrangements from a distance can leave you out of touch with the risks of travel, an important aspect of emotional intelligence is paying attention to the safety of your traveler. For example, if a female traveler may not feel comfortable walking alone in an unfamiliar city, don't plan any pick-up points that aren't close to the traveler's lodging.
Reviewing Your Work
Hold a debriefing after the trip to ensure your traveler had a positive experience, discussing what worked and what didn't. Use your emotional intelligence to know when your traveler is holding something back, and ask for complete honesty to help you plan future trips better.
Traveling for business can be pleasant or painful, and much of this rests on the back of the planner. Fortunately, good emotional intelligence can help you ensure a positive travel experience every time.
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