Business Travel Etiquette to Make a Professional Impact

This is an age of globalization and nations all round the world have come very close as it is imperative for all of them to work together for fast progress. Multinational corporations have their offices in almost all countries and to carry on operations smoothly, they need some employees to move for some time and work at their foreign offices. Those jobs, which involve traveling for company work abroad, are considered to be quite prestigious in society. Top-notch companies pay for air tickets, luxury accommodation and all needs of their employees when they are in a foreign land. At the same time, it is the duty of employees to maintain the business travel etiquette so that they create a good impression about themselves and their company when they are meeting with their clients.

Etiquette for Business Travel

Pack Your Essentials Properly
Make sure that you take along all essential items which you will be needing there. It should not happen that you leave important documents and fall into trouble later on. Along with the documents and office related things, packing the best clothes you have – both formal as well casual is also important. Other essentials such as your laptop, cell phones, etc., should also be apart from your packing list for travel. Packing for a trip will be easy if you can prepare a list of the essential things.

Follow Airport Guidelines
So, you are going abroad on a business trip with some of your colleagues and are quite excited about the same. Reach the airport on time and co-operate with the airport authorities by completing all the formalities properly. When you meet your colleagues at the airport, greet them with a warm hello followed by a handshake. Getting help from travel agents while traveling by air is a good idea. You should possess important travel documents such as passport, visa, identity and age proof, nationality proof, etc. Once you enter your plane, follow all instructions and air travel tips given by the cabin crew and staff and do not argue with them. Air travel restrictions are common for all and so abide by them to avoid falling into difficulties. Be polite and humble as this can alone get you a gentleman’s tag.

Look Good and Presentable
Among the various business travel tips, being presentable and looking decent is an important one. So, when you are on a business trip, look into the mirror and make sure that you are wearing ironed, clean and good clothes. Wear the necktie and suit properly to look like a sincere professional. Have good posture while walking and sitting and a smile on your face. Maintain eye contact with people while talking and talk sensibly as these are the signs of a person having good body language. This is also one of the most commonly suggested international travel tips.

Conduct
Throughout your travel, your conduct should be extremely good. Do not make gestures and actions which can be irritating for other people or your own colleagues. If you are traveling with your boss, do not get too casual, give him the respect which he receives in the office. There would not be any ban on cracking jokes, laughing or having fun, but you should know exactly when to indulge in some good fun. Carefully listen to what the other person is speaking and then give your own opinion. You cannot just start entertaining everyone in an ongoing meeting or serious discussion!

Party Behavior
Party behavior is also an important section in business travel etiquette. Often these days, parties are arranged in hotels or restaurants for employees for some recreation. However, since it is an office party, you need to follow some behavioral norms. Avoid over drinking and making any kind of obscene gestures which can annoy the people around. Always be in your senses and be extra polite when it comes to interacting with female colleagues.

Dining Etiquette
In the course of your business travel, you are always under observation. So, even while dining with your colleagues, you must follow important etiquette. Never go late for the dinner and keep others waiting for you. If this happens, apologize immediately for your late arrival. Start your dinner along with all others and not before them. Avoid talking over the phone while eating or talking too loudly which can be disturbing for others. If you have to attend an urgent call from someone, then excuse yourself and come back immediately after attending the call.

By following these business travel etiquette, your journey would be a very memorable one. If you are planning for a business trip in a hurry, then last-minute air travel tips will help you a lot. So, hoping that you will carry out these suggestions, I would like to sign off here. All the best!

Ways to Calculate Mileage for Business

The efficiency and knack of calculating mileage expense is indispensable for receiving adequate compensation. Even in the case of small entities or self-owned businesses, calculating business mileage can prove to be the thorn in the bush for smooth functioning. Business mileage is simply the term used for the traveling done for work or job-related errands. Obviously, it excludes all the private/personal travel or traveling to-and-fro, from the workplace to your residence. The best way to calculate and ensure that you avail proper reimbursement from the concerned organization for the ‘business miles’ or travel you have put in for that entity, is by simply keeping a track of all the travel data.

How to Calculate Mileage for Business

The following tips help to calculate mileage and get due compensation for the same. These are the simplest and the most crucial records of any business travel.

  • Keeping records of the miles put in, by noting the starting and ending mile reading.
  • The expenses incurred for repairs or maintenance made during the course of travel for business requirements
  • The toll and parking charges and gas charges
  • Diligently recorded date, time, and purpose of travel.

All these details must be systematically maintained in any of your spreadsheets or even a simple clipboard exclusively used for this purpose. Thus, every single time a business entails traveling, make sure that the above factors are always recorded.

Methods to Calculate Mileage Expense

There are two standard methods followed by companies to keep track of all the data related to business travel. The standard mileage method and the actual mileage method.

The Standard Mileage Method

  • Here, you make a note of the starting and the ending mile, and calculate the actual distance traveled on a particular task.
  • Next, multiply the total number of miles by a fixed rate as decided by the government (e.g., For 2009, total number of miles x 55 cents per mile).
  • In this figure, the toll and parking charges along with a percentage of charges, like repair work are added.
  • It should be noted that the compensation for these maintenance charges is a percentage paid in whole or as a percentage of the amount.
  • The rate for the same may vary across different firms. The standard rate for the same happens to be 60% of the expenses incurred.

The Actual Mileage Method

  • The calculation for this method is a bit different from the previous method. However, the choice of the method is a concern and decision of the firm involved.
  • The procedure to calculate business mileage in this method is more elaborate.
  • The total number of business miles put-in is noted and divided by the total number of miles actually put in and the percentage for work related travel is deduced.
  • The next step is the same as in the previous method, which involves multiplying the percentage by the standard rate and adding the other expenses like toll and parking charges.

Once this is done with, the vehicle depreciation charge is calculated. It involves figuring out how much the vehicle has depreciated in value over a period of time and what percentage of that period was used for business related travels. All these details are to be submitted to the concerned company and the firm pays the due compensation either as a percentage of the amount or in full. The repair, maintenance, fuel charges, servicing of the vehicle, loan interests, vehicle registration charges, and such miscellaneous charges met during business travel, are to be taken into account while calculating mileage for business.

Thus, by being particular and learning the ways to calculate mileage, you can save some unnecessary expenditure and get due compensation for the services provided for an organization.

Organisational Strategy of Emirates Airline

Introduction

Emirates Airline is one of the most reputable Airline companies in the Asian continent and also in the world over. The Company has been in the business for the past twenty three years. Emirates Airline is owned by Dubai’s government; where Dubai is one of the seven cities found within the United Arab Emirates. Thus company flies to ninety destinations found throughout the world and manages to reach about sixty different countries in the world. Dubai is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is one of the fastest growing cities in the Middle Eastern region. (Butler & Keller, 2000)

External changes that have affected Emirates Airline between 1997 & 2007

The external changes will be examined through PESTLE analysis.

Political

Emirates Airline has been very fortunate during the 2000s and beyond. The political scene in the region has been quite favourable because most of the countries in the Asian Pacific have been making agreements that facilitate better trade between countries especially in relation to the aviation sector. These countries have signed agreements between themselves and also with other countries in the United States and also in the European continent. These agreements have opened up Emirates to the world and have provided ready made markets for the Airline Company.

Any aviation company must be ready to tackle high fuel costs and Emirates is no exception,. In the year 2005, the country reported an increase in fuel expenditure of seven percent from the previous year. Fuel costs represent the highest form of expenditure in the company as this has really eaten into their profits.

Economic

The Asian Pacific region and in particular the United Arab Emirates, has been nurturing its economy at a rapid pace. Most of the countries located there are becoming more mature. These economies are growing at a substantial rate consequently affecting their overall income. This means that most of them are earning more revenue per capita and they can therefore afford to use air transport. This is probably the reason why Emirates Airline has been steadily growing over the past few years. Markets are changing rapidly and more governments in the region are streamlining their economic policies so as to suite the Airline industry. (Tayeh, 2006)

Airline traffic in the rest of the world has reduced drastically. However, the Middle Eastern region has improved especially for Emirates. Emirates success is directly linked to the City’s success-Dubai. Dubai is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world. It represents a lot of potential for investment both in the tourism industry and also in the business world. First of all, there are so many projects that re coming up with time. First of all, the City is building a theme park that resembles Disney world; it has embarked on a project that will house over four hundred thousand residents through a waterfront project. As if this is not enough, there are plenty of businesses that are always coming up all the time. Real estate is one particularly interesting sector because it attracts lots of capital investment. All these business ventures are encouraging more visitors to the City and the country in general; this has been reflected in the overwhelming market for Emirates.

As if this is not enough Emirates Airline is located at a very suitable region in Asia, it is in the middle of the Eastern and Western regions. Consequently, the Airline is capable of tapping resources from both sides. The Asian continent has a booming economy and Emirates Airline has really benefited from this.

Social

Emirates Airlines operates in a region where there are numerous employees and workers. Most of these workers rarely demand for high compensation. When the United Arab Emirates is compared to other countries such as the United States, it can be found that there is a significant difference in labour costs as the latter country uses up thirty eight percent of its operating expenses while the UAE only uses up eight percent of its operating costs to pay its workers. Consequently, the Airline has made a lot of profits due to those differences. (Morrison and Winston, 1997)

Labour issues are adversely affecting employers in the region and also in the rest of the world. Workers are becoming increasingly ware of their potential and most of them are demanding more. Many Airline Companies are increasingly recruiting different types of labourers. This is especially with regard to the fact that there are numerous types of Aircrafts in any one type of Airline. For instance, an Airline Company may have regional jets, four engine planes, wide body and narrow body aircrafts. Such kinds of aircrafts are operated by different types of pilots and engineers. These workers all belong to different worker’s unions and all of them may require special attention by the human resource department. Payment schedules may also be difficult to maintain if some of these workers operate in stable economies. Emirates Airlines has also been affected by this problem but not to a large extent. Emirates Airlines has not bought too many varieties of Aircrafts. Consequently, there is room for the Company to grow and without having to spend too much in the labour section.

Technological

The world had a technology boom in the nineties. However, there was a technology but in the decade 2000. Companies that were using technology to gain competitive advantage over their players in the industry may now have to look for other sources of competitive advantage.

Additionally, Airline companies have to deal with the advent of better informed clients. Most people are now more knowledgeable about the reputable companies. They can get all the strengths and weaknesses about a given firm using the internet. For instance, clients tend to shy away from airlines with numerous stopovers in comparison to those ones that have direct routes. These are al issues that can be checked out at the ‘touch of a button’. Emirates Airlines has been affected by this issue because it needs to ascertain that it offers better services to its clients and that it can meet future demand. (Tayeh, 2006)

Legal

It should be noted that in the past, most governments within the Asian Pacific used to operate under a paternal government policy. Governments felt that thy had to protect airlines against external factors, but after the recent policy changes, Airline industries have now been opened up to competition and this is the reason why air carriers like Emirates have grown. They can now follow the rules of economics to sustain competitive advantage instead of worrying about government hindrances. This means that there are less legal hitches when running operation in the region.

Environmental

It is a known fact that Airline Companies need to adopt strategies that provide them with a good corporate image. For instance, some Airlines may decide to take part in environmental sustainability projects such as tree planting. Additionally, some companies may also exercise extra caution in terms of the quantity of waste that they send to the landfill. This is something that seems to be taking a lot of attention from Airline companies. Lastly, the issue of recycling is also taking up a lot of precedence in the Airline industry. Some Companies are offering recyclable cutlery to their clients in order to further this campaign. All in all, it should be noted that most environmental campaigns in the Airline industry are part of the corporate responsibility strategy within a specific Airline Company. (Directory, 2007)

Critical evaluation of the strategies used by the Airline between 2002 & 2007

Strength

The company has adopted a very unique business model. It thrives upon flexibility and espousal to existing external environments. The company’s management is quite creative and is always looking for ways of coping with their current situation. This is the reason why the Airline has been able to tackle some of the global economic problems that have attacked the aviation industry.

The Company has won a number of awards between the years 2003 and 2007 from the World Airline Entertainment Association. The Company was given the World Airline Entertainment Association Award for the third year running. Emirates Company has been quite effective at including technology in its customer care. The Company had an in-flight entertainment system during the world up in 2005. it was able to give al its passengers access to the matches. Those who may not have been interested in watching the entire match were give updates through their top-of the-range-screen systems. In addition to this, the company has gained a wide esteem for the inclusion of email services for all its passengers. It also allows live text news for customers in their aircrafts. The Company was also the first to introduce a Digital Widescreen System in 2005. This was something that ha not been included in other Airline Companies of the world. (Morrison and Winston, 1997)

Weakness

Emirates Airlines is quite reputable in the Asian Pacific Continent. The company has marketed itself very well in the region and as it can be seen form the able below, it is one of the most successful companies in the region.

Airline Market Share

Emirates 39%

Air India 2%

Gulf Air 8%

Qatar Airways 13%

Sri Lankan Airlines 4%

Singapore Airlines 26%

Thai Airways 8%

However, when the company’s market share is analysed in other regions of the world, such positive and encouraging results may not be seen. Some regions such Australia have not embraced the services and benefits that come with using an Emirates Airline Aircraft. Emirates Company therefore needs to improve its performance in the global market. Most successful companies are those ones that adopt a global dimension and decide to spread their success to other regions of the world. Over – reliance on one region can bring about economic down fall in case the region is faced with a natural or man made disaster and the Airline may not have other areas to turn to. (Directory, 2007)

Additionally, Emirates is rather conservative about the issue of Labour Unions. This could be the reason why the company has shied away from diversifying its Airline operations. The Company seems to fear high labour costs and this is coming in the way of its improvements. The Company needs to disregard some of the labour cost that come with expansion because these costs will simply be offset by the higher rate of returns that will be achieved by the company after the passage of time.

Opportunities

Carriers within the Middle Eastern region are growing rapidly. The Asian Pacific region has an association for its airline companies. During the year 2006, the association registered an overall increase in passenger traffic of about twenty three percent. It was also found that in the year 2004, the overall traffic in the region grew by a whooping twenty four percent. The figures were deduced by the differences between passenger kilometres and seat kilometres that were available.

China (which is one of the most thriving economies in the region) provides the highest potential for growth and profits. The Asian Pacific Region found that traffic to and from this country had reached a whooping fifty one percent. Such positive figures indicate that there is a huge airline market in China and that the Emirates Airline needs to expand some of its operations to this country. It is also crucial from this company to understand that it can boost its performance in that country by making their services even better or by marketing themselves aggressively within China. (Tayeh, 2006)

Threats

Overall air transport within the Asian Pacific region has improved. While this can be seen as an opportunity for attracting more clients to the region, it can also be seen as a threat. The positive growth means that more and more Airlines are improving their positions within the industry. It is very likely that Emirates will be facing stiff competition within the market. It is a known fact that beyond the 2000s, Emirates has been dominating market shares in the Middle and Far East. However, this position may soon be toppled if the company relaxes.

Additionally, Emirates Airline has to deal with an increase number of competitors in Dubai and its environs. This is because they have realised how profitable the route. Such competition could potentially lead to diminished business. However, this has not been the case for the company. Emirates have adopted a competitive strategy. The company believes that it is quite possible to still soar above the rest even when there are other players in the market. Emirates encourage more competition because this means that overall standards in the industry will increase and there will be greater acknowledgment of good performers within the industry.

Impact of stakeholder pressure on strategies

Most airline companies are particularly fond of mergers and acquisitions. It is indeed a global trend, for companies to form alliances. However, Emirates shareholders and management believe that alliances are not an appropriate strategy to adopt for the company. They have asserted that Emirates needs to establish some sort of trend in this area. The Company needs to remain independent and mergers will com in the way of such a strategy. More so, Emirates’ main business principle is flexibility. They believe that they should always have the ability to change their approaches depending on the external and internal circumstances. Consequently, making an alliance would come in the way of such a strategy. One can therefore conclude that shareholders have greatly affected the way the business conducts itself in the global arena. (Doganis, 2001)

Emirates decided to adopt a strategy of free competition because of mounting pressure from key persons within the company. These key persons asserted that following the trends used by other companies in the airline industry would make Emirates seem like a company that is simply trying to survive the increasing competition within the field. It would make them look like a company that has its own survival at heart and not the needs of the customers. The Company is built upon the premise that the customer comes first. This is the driving force behind the company strategy. Additionally, the reason behind the company’s financial success is the fact that the company is not linked to other business interests. Consequently, stakeholder pressure has affected the company positively because it has yielded encouraging results.

The government of the United Arab Emirates is a key stakeholder in the operations of the Company because they are part owners of the Company. They have created a lot of pressure in the manner in which the airline conducts its operations. It has created a liberal market in the Far East in order to enable the Airline operate in liberal markets. This is especially in contrast to some of the strategies that other stakeholders in the Middle Eastern region have adopted. Airline companies in such areas have no idea what it means to compete in the aviation sector. (George, 1982)

Coping and encouraging competitiveness is a key element in the Company’s strategy (this is called the Open Skies strategy) and this can be highlighted in the way the company conducts its businesses. For example, Emirates shares its Dubai airports with one hundred other Airlines. This would have been ordinary if the foreign companies were operating in regions outside the Asian Pacific region. However, it has been found that they actually target one hundred and fifty destinations in the region. Additionally, surveys conducted in Emirates’ main hub found that fifty percent of their passengers belonged to other Airlines. This is in huge contrast to what goes on in other regions of the world. For instance, in the United Kingdom, it may be possible to find that one Airport is filled up with passengers who belong to one airport. This means that Emirates is acting as a leader in this arena if it has managed to achieve what some seemingly ‘sophisticated markets’ have not achieved in the market today.

Evaluation of future strategies

It is possible that Emirates Airline will expand its operations into other non – Asian countries/. This means that there will be greater need for the company to take up some of the global trends. For instance, they may increase their flights to the United States. Consequently, the company will have to adopt some of the approaches that air carriers in those regions use. While creativity has been an essential part of Emirates operations, it may be necessary to re-channel some of these creative efforts in the field of technology. (Doganis, 2002)

Some of the Airline carriers in the US are constantly coming up with new ways to increase customer satisfaction through technology. For instance, online booking may have to take greater precedence that it does currently. It may also be necessary to improve customer care in the luggage section through employment of better technologies in keeping customer’s luggage. The Company may also have to employ these same technologies in the security problems. Most US air passengers were quite shaken up after the September eleventh attacks. Consequently, security is a crucial part in the US aviation industry. Passengers are demanding greater levels of security through surveillance cameras and the like. These are all issues that Emirates will have to incorporate once it becomes more global.

In the future, Emirates may not be able to access certain markets because of its ‘open skies’ strategy. This strategy requires that the Company remained independent of others and hence the reason why the company has stayed away form, alliances. Presently, the Company has met some stiff resistance from certain countries such as Australia. Consequently, Emirates has been prevented from accessing such markets. In the future, it is likely that Emirates may be forced to relax this policy of staying away from alliances. It may decide to maintain such a strategy in most markets but in the event that it meets too much resistance from certain countries, it may be necessary to bend some of its rules. (Smith, 2002)

It is also likely that Emirates Airline will consider expansion strategies as one of the most viable options for the Company in the future. This means that the Company will need to come up with Company representatives in those regions.

Emirates Airlines will have to accommodate greater varieties of employees and this means that the Company will need to leave out a substantial portions of its annual budget to meet this greater increase. However, this is not a totally bad idea for the Company because it stands to get a lot of returns on its investments.

Al in all, the most suitable strategy for Emirates in the future will be a fit strategy. It has been operating on the stretch strategy but this is mostly appropriate in the region. Such a strategy may not work in the rest of the world.

Conclusion

Emirates Airlines was a started in the year 1985 and has undergone numerous changes over those two decades. It is now the best Airline in the Asian Pacific region with awards for innovation in its in-flight entertainment systems. The company has also gained a lot of mileage for its Open skies strategy. It believes that free market solutions are the best drivers for any Airline Company and this is why the company has stayed away from mergers and acquisitions. However, the company needs to embrace more global markets and this will force it top comply with some of the rules in operation within those markets. This means that the company will have to relax some of it open skies policy. It will also have to embrace online systems as a sound marketing tool in the global arena.

Ways to Keep in Mind When Flying on Business

Do you remember the times, when you got a call from your boss at 5 a.m., and had to pack your bags and leave for the airport to take the 7 a.m. flight? That’s how hectic and random, business travel can be, that too when you are least prepared for it. Business trips are not similar to informal trips, as in the latter case, you have ample time to pack, re-pack, and make arrangements. No matter how easy it sounds, to just pick up the necessary things and dump them in a bag so that you can rush out of the house, there’s always something you miss out at the last minute! To make such travel easy, here are a few simple tips.

Make a Checklist
The first and foremost rule is to make a checklist of all the things you would need to carry. This is important, so you don’t end up missing something essential, and your last-minute travel arrangements are made in time. You can include clothes and toiletries, travel documents, first aid, emergency cash, cell phone, laptop, business documents, and travel tickets in the list. Prepare a common checklist which can be used for any business trip, and stick it in a convenient corner.

Pre-Pack
Now, that you have a well thought checklist, you need to make sure you pack all these items well in advance. It makes sense to purchase a travel bag and use it exclusively for business trips. You can pack all the essentials in organized compartments to avoid confusion. This way, you will save packing time, won’t have to run around for missed items, and will definitely not get delayed in catching your flight.

Carry Extras
During a trip, you never know, what you might run out of! Well, in case of emergencies, always carry an extra toothbrush, towel, pair of socks, business suit, shoes, photocopy of filed documents, cash (don’t depend on debit and credit cards), and pair of clothes.

Be Attentive
It is possible that you may be visiting a new place, therefore, you need to make sure you have the right resources for your destination. In case you have to book your own tickets, make sure you look for the best fares available. Make stay and local travel arrangements in advance, so you won’t have to face unexpected problems. Also, carry addresses, a GPS device, and a language translation book, to avoid getting lost. This is especially important for international travel.