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Richard Branson on How to Take an Inspiration Vacation

This summer I spent a lot of my time on Necker Island, since there’s no better place for me to unwind. I had a great, inspiring break that is going to keep me charged in the months ahead.

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Now that readers in many parts of the globe are returning from their vacations, it’s a good time for us to take stock and consider how we actually spent our time, as opposed to how we promised ourselves to spend it.

Did you take a break from work?

During your vacation:

  • How often did you look at your smartphone?
  • How many quick jobs did you do on your laptop?
  • How many work emails did you respond to?
  • Could they have waited until you returned to the office, or could someone else have answered them instead?

When you’re on holiday, it’s nice to have a Wi-Fi connection, if only so you can see what’s happening on Twitter or share some snapshots.

However, it’s important that you don’t allow your smartphone to tether you to the daily work at your office and interrupt your vacation.

Related: Are You Always On?

Use the break for inspiration

Maintaining focus on having fun isn’t just about rest and recuperation: When you go on vacation, your routine is interrupted; the places you go and the new people you meet can inspire you in unexpected ways.

As an entrepreneur or business leader, if you didn’t come back from your vacation with some ideas about how to shake things up, it’s time to consider making some changes.

I make sure that I disconnect by leaving my smartphone at home or in the hotel room for as long as possible – days, if I can – and bringing a notepad and pen with me instead.

Freed from the daily stresses of my working life, I find that I am more likely to have new insights into old problems and other flashes of inspiration.

When this happens, it’s important that I jot everything down on a piece of paper.

Back in 1998, I was ballooning in Morocco over the High Atlas Mountains near Marrakech when I spotted an amazing property in some foothills. An idea crystallised as we floated past. I later returned to the area and we managed to purchase it.

We built a lovely retreat there – Kasbah Tamadot, a hotel with all the amenities that is now in our Virgin Limited Edition collection of properties.

Another question you should ask yourself is: Did my colleagues and employees return to work inspired as well? Did they have the time and space to turn off and recharge?

Related: Is Your Holiday Stressing You Out?

How about a group holiday?

Aside from helping your employees to find ways to leave their work behind, a terrific way to encourage creativity among your staff is to book a group vacation.

Back when we were building up our record label, Virgin Records, many of us who worked there travelled to the West Indies together and spent our time trying to find up-and-coming reggae bands, as well as sampling a few of the local delicacies.

There was, and still is, an amazing atmosphere in the Caribbean that lends itself to discovery.

Since then, I’ve always encouraged our staff to go on holiday together. Lots of the best ideas occur when camaraderie and chemistry has built up between employees, and breaks from the office together – even for just a day – can make all the difference.

We often encourage family members to come along too; lots of Virgin people end up meeting their partners at work.

Senior management follows the same formula. We all get together to discuss how the year is going and what we can improve on, as well as evaluating new business opportunities.

Take a considered risk

One final note about being adventurous: During a management meeting on Necker a few years ago, we took a boat ride to nearby Mosquito Island.

We all had lunch on the beach and then I took the team on a walk that ended at a cliff. I encouraged everyone to jump off the cliff into the sea below – a leap that I and my family had made many times over the years.

However, I underestimated the strength of the sea that day and as the various Virgin CEOs jumped in, I began to realise how dangerous the landing was.

Virgin’s entire senior management team was soon bobbing helplessly in the ocean and I was terrified for them. Thankfully, a boat soon arrived to pick them up, and everyone arrived back at Necker safe and sound.

So summer is an excellent time to take risks and step out of your comfort zone – but that doesn’t necessarily extend to jumping off cliffs!

Do you check work email and voicemail while you’re on holiday? Tell us in the comments section below…

 

Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He is the author of "Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur."

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. best events asia

    Sep 29, 2013 at 16:41

    Yes, I do as I’m a sole proprietor and relatively new in a very competitive events industry so a slow response time means a possible lost opportunity but I limit my email checking times to twice a day, the beginning and end of the day.

  2. Rhazy Ngwaru

    Sep 30, 2013 at 10:11

    Like BEA, i’m a sole proprietor and a new entrant in a highly competitive industry, I find it too risk to cut off communication with my business when on holiday! I tend to get updates from work from time to time.

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Travel At The Touch Of A Button

The revolutionary Travelit app has been developed for the global marketplace to meet your business travel needs.

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Travelit has launched an easy-to-use mobile app that simplifies the trip approval process, provides a full trip itinerary and assists in management of travel expenses.

“The app is designed in South Africa, for the African and global marketplace,” says Wayne Muirhead Chief Sales Officer at Travelit. “We have developed the app locally with our own developers, and opted not to use a white labelling solution.”

The app interface enables the requirements of travellers, approvers, users, as well as finance and procurement role players to be met so each trip is seamlessly planned and executed.

Stress-free financial administration

“Expense management is an integral part of the complete travel cost; businesses want to understand their complete travel bill,” says Wayne. This is why the app incorporates features that facilitate:

  • Capturing of photographs of receipts real-time
  • Immediate allocation of expenses to the correct description
  • Uploading expenses for workflow approval
  • Attachment of an expense to a travel trip, or generating a non-travel related expense.

Simplified trip approval process

In addition, approvers’ features enable simple visibility into the trip’s cost and details:

  • Approval of booking requests
  • Trip confirmation once trip has been successfully approved
  • Managing alerts — approval notifications, pre-trip notification as well as travel notifications
  • Out of office activation for approvers.

Related: How Travelit Makes Travelling Affordable For Small Businesses

Trip management made easy

With Travelit’s new app, travellers have the ability to update, create new profiles directly from their phones and update and store all their information, including:

  • Updating of profile details
  • Personal information
  • Visas, passports, meal types, seating preferences
  • Loyalty programmes.

As a traveller, when you are travelling, you require information, updates and access to your travel documentation in real time. The Trip Manager function provides you with this through the following functions:

  • View current, pending and past trips
  • Trip itinerary information
  • View trips that are awaiting approval
  • View supplier vouchers
  • Locate properties via the Map option
  • Boarding passes are available
  • Real-time alerts to travellers.

Related: Save Up To 25% On Your Travel Costs

Happy travels

“We have done a soft launch with the app and offered it to strategic users and clients within our ecosystem,” says Wayne. These corporates have enjoyed the functions within the app, such as:

  • Real time information for the traveller (itineraries, vouchers, boarding passes)
  • Approval notifications and the approval capability
  • Notifications
  • Contact information for the consultants after-hours, and assistance
  • Access to the traveller profile to ensure their data is updated and correct
  • Check-in to the airline.

The Travelit app is available in the Google Play Store and iOS Store. Travelit will make monthly app releases by offering users ongoing functionality and features.

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Company Posts

Access To The Best In Travel Excellence

As a global company, business travel plays an important part in Hatch’s successful operation. Yolandi Coertze, facilities manager at Hatch, explains how switching to Travelit changed the way they travelled forever — for the better.

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Multinational engineering consultancy, Hatch requires a travel partner that provides easy access to its regional and international offices for meetings, conferences and client engagements. This is why Hatch chose Travelit, and has since experienced reliable and consistently superior service, says Yolandi Coertze, facilities manager.

“Travelit allows us to have the flexibility in terms of work sharing with global offices and makes it possible for us to attend to our client requirements in a professional and efficient manner.”

Here’s how partnering with Travelit has helped Hatch soar as a market leader.

What have Hatch’s biggest business travel challenges 
been to date?

Our biggest challenge has been to provide our travellers with an easy booking solution that gives them the best options available at a glance, in line with our travel policy for their travel arrangements, without taking up valuable time when booking their travel. In addition, managing cost against convenience and ease of travel is an ongoing challenge.

Why did you start using Travelit?

We were in the market for an online booking solution. Travelit made an impressive proposal by building the system around our specific needs and requirements. They incorporated our travel policy guidelines, while offering us an easy-to-use booking system which decreased our monthly expenditure. The platform also allows us to manage our travel more effectively.

Related: How Travelit Makes Travelling Affordable For Small Businesses

How has Travelit made doing business easier?

We have seen a big change in travel behaviour and travellers are more aware of unnecessary costs that can be avoided when booking travel. Travel booking time (once travel bookers became used to the system) has also decreased, which allows travel bookers to utilise the extra time 
more efficiently.

What benefits have you experienced as a Travelit client?

We have seen a big decrease in our missed savings, which means that our travellers are booking in line with our travel policy by utilising the parameters that have been set up in Travelit. Our contracts with certain suppliers are also maintained on the Travelit platform, which allows us to utilise the lowest rate to keep in line with our travel policy. The ease of booking online at any time when travel is required is an additional benefit. We have reduced our paperwork by being online, and uploading data into our accounting system has made the process simple and efficient.

Why would you recommend Travelit to other businesses?

Travelit is efficient in terms of booking travel, cost-effective and allows for flexibility where required.

What makes Travelit the best in the market?

  • Multi-leg international routings
  • Travel behaviour reports
  • Alternative solution to bill-backs
  • Tracked booking patterns
  • Accommodation feedback solution
  • Comprehensive fare calculator.

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Company Posts

Beyond Business Class

RwandAir, the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety – and it has one of the youngest fleets on the African continent.

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Vital Stats

RwandAir has just celebrated yet another big milestone as the airline continues to expand its network. “Our aim is to provide to our customers seamless and better connections on the continent and beyond. Abuja and Cape Town come in as a boost to the different economies in terms of tourism and trade on one hand and enhance bilateral partnership between our countries on the other,” beams Chance Ndagano, previous CEO of RwandAir.

RwandAir, an IATA member, recently renewed its IOSA certification and has been ISAGO and EASA certified. With a fleet of twelve aircraft, including two wide-body Airbus A330 acquired last year, the airline currently reaches out to 26 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Related: ‘Shark Tank’ Investors Reveal Top 5 Tips To Make Your Business Famous

Rapid African advancement

Launched in December 2002 as RwandAir Express, RwandAir is among the continent’s the fastest-growing airlines, despite its recent entry into the market. Since its first flight took off, RwandAir has boasted unsurpassed, safe and reliable service, operating from the city of Kigali.

The Rwandan airline aims to connect Rwanda with the world and vice versa. This goal is being achieved through its network that currently covers a number of cities throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. RwandAir’s most popular flight routes include flights from Johannesburg to Dubai, London and Mumbai.

A year of successes

Recently, RwandAir started flights from Kigali to Mumbai, London (Gatwick) and Brussels as well as Dakar from its new hub in Cotonou. The airline also introduced flights to Abidjan, Libreville and Brazzaville from its Cotonou hub. In May 2017 the airline started flying direct from Cape Town to Harare.

This year the airline will be introducing new routes to Addis, Tel Aviv, China and New York.

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