Despite reports of South Africa’s economic decline, there appears to be a significant rise in travel among small and medium enterprises, reports Flight Centre Business Travel.
“Destinations like Addis Ababa, Abidjan and Ouagadougou are seeing enormous growth from outbound SMEs. FCBT has in fact seen 20% growth in its SME business travel year-on-year – a trend we are attributing to the rising numbers of travelpreneurs that need to travel for business,” says Ryan Potgieter, Brand Leader Flight Centre Business Travel
Thanks to the Internet and technology, there has been a global shift towards a more liberated way of living, and working for that matter. Many have started to opt out of the 9-5 rat race by creating their own income and embracing their freedom to travel.
This shift has led to the rise of the ‘travelpreneur’.
What is a travelpreneur?
A ‘travelpreneur’ is a new class of entrepreneur who travels the world to grow their business. Some of their characteristics include:
- Not being restricted to a certain location by operating their business online.
- Freedom to create their own schedule and choose their own hours of work.
- A deep-rooted passion of the travel lifestyle, and travelling regularly whether it be for the interest of the business, for leisure, or sometimes both.
Time is Money
Are you a travelpreneur? Think about how much you travel to grow your business. Think about how often you’ve had to change your plans on the fly for the good of your business. Think about how often that’s a last-minute change.
Travel plays a massive role in the lifestyle of a travelpreneur, but as a business owner too. For most can-do travelpreneurs, it takes a lot to convince one that itinerary decision-making, booking and changing can take up valuable time you could spend on building the business. Next time you need to book a trip to Johannesburg or Cape Town, think how much time you’ve spent trying to find the ‘best deal’ and how much your time is worth. And when you need to change that air ticket because something else has come up… think how much it’s cost to change all your travel plans accordingly.
A small business owner, or travelpreneur, may not think they’re ‘big’ enough to outsource something they believe to be so easy to do themselves. But if travel means business growth and profits, it’s essential that they get it right, and don’t spend unnecessary time on admin, they could be spending on growing their business.
Says Sntial’s Steph Reinstein: “I spend hours every month finding the right flights, only for it to be changed because I’ve had to accommodate another meeting or had to change my travel plans at the last minute. Sometimes I change my flight so many times, I have to actually forfeit my ticket.
“From time to time, I’ll be at a meeting that has overrun, knowing that I’m going to miss my flight and fretting over the repercussions of missing it, which of course I have to sort out myself. When I weigh the benefit of doing it myself against paying a travel consultant to do it for me, even if I think it’s easy, it’s a no-brainer.”
Annamarie Pieters from Global Roof Solutions says when you’re a travelpreneur, the last-minute changes are critical. “On many occasions, I’ve needed to change flights over weekends and in the late evenings. It helps when you know there’s someone who can help you 24/7. At the most critical time, there’s been someone on hand to assist so you don’t have to spend time changing your travel plans.”
“The last thing you should be doing as a travelpreneur is spend hours looking for the best flight, or changing your travel plans at the last minute because life happens, says Potgieter.
“Travelpreneurs, whose businesses are run based on their travel arrangements being successful, should consider the cost of doing it themselves.”
Here are FCBT’s top tips to ticking all the right travelpreneur boxes:
- Avoid the queues Those red-eye flights can be a killer, but did you know by travelling just an hour or two later, you’ll miss the crowds and preserve your sanity? Instead of booking the 6am to Cape Town, consider flying just a little later and clustering your appointments at one quiet café to save the commute between offices. It may even be worth your while to book a small meeting room at a hotel for the duration of the day than brave the traffic.
- Sit at the back of the ‘bus’: More often than not, by sitting at the back of the plane, you’ll be one of the first passengers off. Plus, like most travelpreneurs, if you’re travelling light, you’ll be out the airport in less than 20 minutes and ready to tackle your day with gusto.
- Don’t check your bags: From experience, try not to check your bag. If it goes AWOL and your company brochures, clothes and worse, your laptop charger, go the same way, not only will you be incapacitated, you will be flustered and unable to function at your meetings. Pack light.
- Embrace the cloud: Physical documents tend to go missing. Prep for your business trip by keeping all your documents on the cloud – whether this is a copy of your passport, your meeting schedule, or even your travel vouchers. Ever left your wallet behind? You’ll be glad you have your documents on a cloud.
- Ditch breakfast, for free WiFi: If you think free and uncapped WiFi should be included on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs put your hand up. When you are selecting a hotel, pay more attention to the WiFi service offered than whether breakfast is included. This is especially since as a travelpreneur you will more than likely have a meeting scheduled for breakfast in any case, and quick, unlimited WiFi during you stay will be far more important.