As the holidays near, travel delays will become more commonplace — and it’s very important for you to have a contingency plan in place, especially if you’re running on a tight schedule. Regardless of whether you’re at the airport waiting for a plane or stuck in traffic approaching the city, you’ll need to initiate damage control.
Don’t Just Push Your Schedule Back — Push It Way Back
When you’re under the gun, it’s easy to promise more than you’re certain you can offer. If you’ve been delayed by two hours, it’s usually a bad idea to ask your client to reschedule for two hours later. Ask for three or four hours instead. Why? Because a delay usually begets another delay and other complications. If you add more time, you won’t need to go back to the client again and ask for another delay. You also won’t need to worry about rushing.
Swap Appointments Rather than Delaying Them
Do you have a client who can be talked to on a conference call rather than in person? Rather than simply delaying every item on your schedule, consider shifting them around. Conference one of your clients now and then meet with another client later. This will mean that the other items on your itinerary don’t need to be shifted; you can simply move one client up and one client down.
Reach Out as Soon as Possible
The moment there’s even a hint of delay, you should already be on the phone calling your next appointment. Many people make the mistake of waiting as long as they possibly can to confirm the delay before they schedule — this only adds irritation. The worst case scenario is that you simply call back in twenty minutes saying that you weren’t really delayed; this is far better than calling in twenty minutes and just then giving the client the bad news.
Of course, the best option is to avoid delays entirely. As more people travel, it’s often best to rely upon ground transportation rather than flights and to pad your itinerary to preemptively compensate for any possible issues, such as traffic. Ground transportation tends to be more reliable; when a vehicle has mechanical issues, another vehicle is immediately sent. When a plane has mechanical issues, your flight is canceled.Tags: business travel, travel tips