WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
As the line between work and play continues to blur, the difference between travelling for business and pleasure is becoming increasingly obsolete. The creative class are a hyper-connected and aspirational psychographic whose individuality is reflected in everything they do – from where they live and work, to what they do in their downtime and how they travel. Likewise, today’s savvy employers understand that in order to build loyalty, they have to offer their staff unique experiences outside of the office – and no one knows that better than the corporate travel managers booking trips on behalf of the creative class.
To recognise their epic efforts in bridging the “work hard, play hard” gap, this year we held our first Creative Corporate Lab – an extension of the LE Labs series that brings you the annual Leadership Lab and regular contemporary travel trend reports. This closed-door event brought together 18 travel managers from an eclectic cross-section of creative class industries – from fashion and beauty, to advertising, TV and entertainment – who have, as it turns out, more in common than just their job.
Led by consumer psychologist and self-professed “mad man” Adam Ferrier, teams were chosen according to the number of days since each rebel had last “made love” (“not had sex, I mean genuinely made love” – there’s nothing like disclosing intimate sexual and emotional details to break the ice, right?), then set the challenge of creating a ‘pecha kucha’ style presentation (in case you were wondering, that’s ten 30-second slides…) addressing the issues that keep them up at night. Find out some of the key insights below, as well as a video interview with a few of the attendees to get their top takeaways…
Interview with George Grund, ITV; Alexia Perez Chalbaud, Estee Lauder Companies Europe; Michele Gregory, Audi; and Laurie Giraud, M&C Saatchi.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
Coming from different industries, many of the travel managers reported feeling alone with their problems – until they came to the Lab. It didn’t take long before it became apparent that they all face similar challenges (‘divas’ have a lot to answer for, it seems!); but having the opportunity to talk things through with someone who’s been there is invaluable.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Faced with time-poor clients who you may have little to no contact with, it can be difficult to understand their needs and meet expectations. The travel managers brainstormed ways to build a personal profile on clients – from creating engaging feedback forms, to getting colleagues to dish the dirt, to stalking them on social media! Getting to know them on a personal level allows you to gain their trust and anticipate what will excite them.
THE HUMAN TOUCH
There’s nothing more irritating than being sent on a wild goose chase to track the right person to resolve an issue with your trip, especially when you’re competing with a heavy workload, jet lag and any number of other challenges. Equally, changing travel policies and evolving technology can be confusing. Make sure your client has one point of contact who can walk them through the planning and help with any issues once they’re away.
LET’S GET CREATIVE
In an age of ‘luxury fatigue’ – ”If they’ve got the best they’re bored of it and if they don’t have the best they lose their minds” – it’s the experience that counts, not the stars. Revisiting the subject of communication, several of the travel managers identified the importance of building a relationship and closely collaborating with suppliers to find new and creative ways to surprise and delight their shared clients – working together as a partnership results in a win-win situation.
BACK TO BASICS
If, in the face of increasingly demanding clients, the travel managers occasionally feel a bit disillusioned, they agreed that sometimes it’s good to go back to basics and remind themselves why they love travel – because it’s about creating memories. Remember: behind every diva there’s someone who feels exactly the same.
Check out our liveLE interview to hear more of what our Creative Corporates had to say.
THE GUEST LIST
Andy Cassidy, The Net-A-Porter Group Ltd
George Grund, ITV
Alex Mady, Vivienne Westwood
Karen Allison, Sass & Bide
Christine Keegan, AMC Networks Inc
Michele Gregory, Audi
Froilan Fulgencio, Guess Inc
Lauren Bekesh, AMC Networks
Tom Mesquit, United Talent Agency
Eudice Paras, BCBG Max Azria Group
Audrey Bruininga, Scotch & Soda
Jorge Caamano, BET Networks
Ray Foley, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Alexia Perez Chalbaud, Estee Lauder Companies Europe
Jackie Parker, David Yurman
Jennifer Webb-Bernstein, NBC Universal
Michelle Dersookiasian, TONI&GUY
Laurie Giraud, M&C Saatchi