Beating Out the Competition and Becoming a Client Magnet

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There were two male birds challenging each other and trying to win the attention of the nearby female bird.

She walked away while they ‘duked’ it out. When the ‘hero’ emerged and I captured him on digital film, he was following her up the hill for a little fun and merriment and family making.

So what does this have to do with you?

Few of us are in businesses that are so   unique  that we don’t have any competition. So as a result, we’re constantly having to distinguish ourselves as different, better than, smarter than, more prestigious than, cheaper than…You get the picture. It’s a primitive battle where only the strongest survive. And it’s really hard getting deals done like that.

The key is to position yourself as the go-to expert so that your reputation raises your above the herd. When you do that, you get people seeking you out. When they seek you out, they’re already pre-sold on you. They’ve already decided they want YOU so there is less need for you to ‘convince’ them that you’re the best choice. You become a client magnet!

So how do you become that expert & client magnet? There are 3 ways to do that.

Speaking – Most people are literally scared to death of speaking in public. You’ve probably heard that when surveyed, people rate speaking in public ahead of dying as their top fear. So if you have the guts to stand up in front of a crowd (even a small one) and have your voice be heard, automatically, you’re a rock star in the eyes of the audience. Even if you’re quaking in your boots on the inside, you’ve still accomplished a mighty feat from their perspective.

Writing – Whether writing articles for a national publication or your local neighborhood periodical, having your name in print makes you look smart! Clearly the national publication will get you seen by WAY more people, but you’ll get credibility none-the-less with the readers of your work

Publicity – Being written about is even more compelling. That third party endorsement goes a long way toward building credibility. When someone with familiarity, name recognition and credibility (like a report) writes about you, their importance and credibility transfers over to you. It’s like having someone make a referral introduction for you.

I’ve been using all three of these strategies for years and now I get to reap the benefits of them. Wherever I go, people tell me “I see you everywhere!”

Can you imagine how great (and humbled) that makes me feel? Can you imagine if people were saying that about you, that you wouldn’t have to work so hard to dredge up new clients? You betcha! So start using these three magic strategies to raise your visibility, credibility and client-magnet quotient.

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Business Travel Trends For Healthy Flying Are In The Hands of The Millennials

According to the American Express Global Business Traveller Survey 2013 if you are a business traveller and you sat next to me on your next flight there is a one percent chance that you would engage me in conversation, so much for business going social! Whether you would want to engage me in conversation is another matter but this article is not about me it’s about the developing trends in business travel from a healthy flier perspective.

The survey was conducted by American Express in the summer of 2013 with participants from the US, UK and Australia. Approximately 500 randomly sampled business travellers were surveyed in each country.

The standout headlines are

(1) As the global workforce goes through change the Millennials are beginning to make up a larger portion of it.

(2) As a group the Millennials value a better work life balance and are savvy about it while on the road.

(3) There is an added focus on relieving travel related stress.

Narrowing in on the US market the travel stress theme is specifically in evidence.

74% of travellers said they drank extra water to stay hydrated.

48% stretched on the plane.

44% use a hotel gym.

20% avoid alcohol.

The majority use a combination of diet and exercise to stay healthy while on the road and 41% supplement their diets with vitamins.

Even if it is only implied these figures show that more business travellers are beginning to recognise and value the correlation between flying healthily to arrive well, be productive and successful in business.

This can only mean good news for the healthy flying niche. If the influence of the Millennials as a demographic block is brought to bear the way the baby boomers have done for the last few economic boom cycles the healthy flying niche and other industries will be better for it. This period in time is all the more important because we have the makings of a perfect storm. We have an influential demographic that fliers and values health. We have challenged or non existing healthcare provisions which mean staying healthy and out of the healthcare system is at a premium. We have an epidemic of Autoimmune disease and we have Globalisation and Technology which play the roles of saint sinner and saviour all at the same time. There are more people taking to the sky that before, journeys are more stressful than before and the frequent flier has to negotiate all of this while still performing at the top of their game.

Globalisation is forcing the pace of change we are experiencing. The good about it is more nations are coming online as it were, the bad is it becomes an even more crowded marketplace to negotiate. The same applies with Technology it forces change but also brings an always on and in view aspect to our lives. How we are able to harness both of these forces to enable a better flying experience for health inclined frequent fliers is a million dollar question in more ways than one.

Some strides in this direction are already being made, I would expect efforts to continue in this direction with some seriously useful kit to be available to fliers. At the moment we have a few notable players. The Napwell sleep mask, the Re-Timer sleep glasses and Valkee LED earbuds are a few aimed strictly at jet lag or sleep trouble often accompanying jet lag. On the other hand there are technologies that have a native use which can be adopted by fliers for relief of some jet lag symptoms. Brainwave Apps and Barefoot Earthing Technology products are some of these second category technologies. The Photon shower revealed at a TED talk in 2013 sounded promising but is only a concept with no firm plans for production. The explosion of fitness gadget that work with the latest smartphones or stand-alone is a curve you can expect travel related gadgets to follow. There are actually some such gadgets already in the marketplace. The AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper on how to manage traveller productivity used such a product.

As I mentioned earlier the most potent indictment of the times we live in is to be found in the strong currents of change caused by Globalisation and Technology. I would argue that Globalisation is increasing global collaborative work where people travel and come together on a project for the short-term. This trend is already prevalent in show business, journalism and the fashion world and even in the technology industry. As it continues to develop the need for people to arrive on form and ready for business becomes more obvious. Even without going that far the multinationals who spend large sums of money to recruit the best they can find want them to maintain their performance edge when they are sent half way around the world on the company’s business. It is common knowledge that it is no longer enough to just book a business class seat and expect the employee to arrive well.

As the travel industry players and the corporate world become more cognizant of the costs of travel related stress and jet lag, quantifying it in terms of the bottom line becomes a useful yardstick. The aforementioned AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper and the Carlson Wagonlit Solutions Stress Triggers for Business Travelers White Paper (which includes the Travel Stress Index tool) are two attempts to put a perspective on the scale of the problem. How the data in both of these tools is put to use is a question for the corporations individual fliers as well as the airlines and the travel industry intermediaries. For airlines at least it seems the battle lines are drawn, with the rollout of the latest offerings from Boeing and Airbus creeping into the stocks of most major players the focus is moving away from the hardware (the planes) to the software (customer service and deliverable product enhancements) this last category could potentially include any number of health initiatives to make sure business frequent fliers arrive well.

Cited Works

“American Express Survey Finds Majority of Global Business Travelers Balancing Work and Play While on the Road” – The Plane Facts (Infographic)

AirPlus. Traveller Productivity: How to tailor your travel policy to improve traveller performance (White Paper) PDF File.

Carlson Wagonlit Solutions – Stress Triggers for Business Travelers: Traveler Survey Analysis (White Paper) PDF File.

Get Paid To Play Video Games

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With the turn of the century, the means of entertainment and relaxation have been revolutionized. Video games, PC games, and console games have grown greatly in popularity. Better gaming systems, advanced micro-chips, and video enhancement and display cards clearly indicate the improving game designs, mind blowing game ideas, and spectacular levels of detail. Casual and hardcore gamers look for games that completely mesmerize them and draw them deeper into the scenario of the game. Video gaming has become so popular that organizations have actually started offering money to video gamers.

A large number of hardware companies, software developers, and game promoters employ hardcore gamers having excellent skill in the games. These gamers are commonly referred to as Pro-gamers. Pro-gamers and even teams are employed on a contract basis to represent the employer at large gaming events and tournaments. Gamers are given a sponsorship deal and the employer pays for gaming practice sessions at cafes, provides personal computers and accessories, pays for travel and lodging expenses during tournaments and so on. Some of the common games that skilled gamers can be contracted for are Counter-Strike, Quake 3, Quake 4, Starcraft, Warcraft 3, FIFA, and so on. Gaming contests for these games are held through out the year all over the world. Mega gaming events are sponsored by multinational companies such as Intel, Pepsi, Coca Cola, and so on, and may involve cash prizes for up to $400,000 for the winners.

Another way of getting paid for video games is through video game testing. Large game developers and designers require reviews and feedback about a game before finally releasing it in the market. Game testers are experts that can provide a fair view and opinion about the quality of a game, its game play and over all storyline. Developers actually employ gamers to play their video games and assess them. Game testers are paid after they complete their contract.

In today’s world, playing video games has become a viable career option.

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How to Delete Index.dat Files – Completely Erase Internet History

For those of you who are concerned about your privacy and don’t want any other users who have access to your computer to know what sites you’ve been visiting online, need to know how to completely erase internet history. You see you do not fully clear your internet browsing history when you clear the private data, cookies, browsing history etc. using your internet browsers lame privacy tools. In order to permanently delete the records of sites you have visited, pictures you have viewed, videos you have downloaded, or even emails you have sent online, you need to know How to delete Index.dat files. These files are hidden system files that keep a record of every single website and action you’ve performed online and if anyone gains access to them they can see exactly what you’ve been online. So by now I think you would’ve realized the importance of clearing index.dat files and since Microsoft doesn’t provide any utilities to delete index.dat files.

I’m going to show you how in this article.

Index.dat files are used by Microsoft to record information about internet sites that have been visited and details of cookies being stored on your PC. Whenever you visit a website on the net; the URL address, images viewed, time of visit, and other web page contents are all saved to your hard drive. There is no clear explanation as to why Microsoft needs these files but the primary reason is that the contents can be opened up quicker from your hard drive if you re-visit the same page again. One example of its use is when you type in the first few letters of an address in the URL bar that you’ve already visited and the full address quickly comes up, now this is great if you can’t be bothered re-typing the address but it’s a huge invasion of personal privacy if someone else is using your computer.

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of fully searching internet history or has heard about the existence of index.dat files will be able to know exactly what you’ve been doing online. So if you are worried about your privacy then you must learn how to delete index.dat files immediately, before someone else gets a hold of them.

Now I’m afraid erasing or clearing index.dat files is no easy task and it is virtually impossible to accurately delete all the files using manual deletion methods. The reason being, index.dat files are critical system files and are constantly being used by internet explorer and Windows all the time so you cannot simply drag and drop them in the recycling bin. You may be able to remove them using MS Dos if you are using Windows Me, Windows 98 or Windows 95 and then find and delete all the index.dat files one-one. However This is method is pretty complicated and vulnerable to errors as Windows usually stores more than one copy of index.dat and finding them all when they are located in hidden directories can be difficult. If you are using Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 or Windows NT this tactic won’t work at all and you will need some help.

Because Microsoft hasn’t provided any utilities to easily delete index.dat files and also considering the fact they are near impossible to erase using manual methods, third party software designers have created programs specifically to erase index.dat files. Usually known as index.dat viewers or index.dat erasers, these programs are easily able to locate all index.dat files and quickly remove them, all at the click of a few buttons. Personally I use a program called Privacy Guardian 4.1 to completely clear my internet browsing history; it is able to fully secure my privacy by ensuring all traces of my online Internet and computer activity are permanently erased and unrecoverable.

So if you wondering how to completely erase your internet history then you must know How to delete Index.dat files. They cannot be deleted easily by manual methods and I must recommend you grab a good Index.dat eraser if you wish to delete index.dat files and fully secure your internet privacy. The good news is that most programs offer a free download so you can remove these files today at no cost. I can guarantee you will feel a lot better and be letting out a strong sigh of relief when you know you actually deleted all your internet browsing history permanently.

Finding Your Niche

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What is a niche market anyhow? A niche market is a specialized market that has a limited and clearly defined range of products sold to a specific group of people. So when you are starting your own website or online business you want to have a specific niche to base your website around but you can’t seem to come up with anything? Well not to worry! I will show you a couple methods I have used and recommend for people just like you.

I must tell you when deciding what you are going to sell or what your website will be about, make sure it is something that you are passionate about. This is very important to the success of your website and to keep you motivated! Its much easier and fun spending time working on something that you can really wrap your arms around and get into versus going through the motions. While there are a number of different ways to make money online such as selling your own products, affiliate marketing and so on. I always suggest trying to come up with at least a couple products of your own but you can decide that later.

Here are a couple of easy methods to help you figure out what you’re niche market could be and how to narrow it down. Go to Google Keyword Search or AdWords. Now think about something or a topic that interests you, lets say for example “Gardening” type it in the space that says word or phrase.

Now also check the small box under that says “only show ideas closely related to my search terms” and do a search on it. This will give you a list of related topics or phrases generated for that one keyword. This search will then break down the related phrases and tell you how many times each one was searched per year and per month.

It will also tell you the level of competition for that word or phrase. Let’s say one of the phrases was “tips to a healthier garden” and the competition was listed as high. This means you are going to be competing potentially against several other websites on that particular phrase. Now let’s say another phrase was “how to grow a healthier garden” and the competition is listed as low or medium. This is narrowing down your niche and gives you a better chance at targeting a certain group of people and potentially lowering the competition.

Another thing I would suggest is go and do a couple searches on Google and a couple other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. Use the same method as far as using a keyword or phrase and search for websites that would be similar to what niche you are interested in. Take notice to the title of their website and the description. This is another useful method to see what some of the competition may be in that particular niche. One thing is for sure these days, if you can imagine it, it’s available on the internet! The main thing is to find something you are passionate about and are willing to put some work into, then take the time to position yourself as well as possible before just diving in. It will payoff in the long run.

Now you should have some good ideas on what niche market you may want to plan your website around. If not keep trying and playing around with the methods that I showed you. Take your time and don’t rush into things. Plan out your site and write things down. Once you put things on paper you have your own guide that will help you make the next steps. Follow your ideas and take it step by step.

To Your Success!

Joseph P Helberg

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Slash Thousands From Your Business Travel

When it comes to your business travel we all know that this comes write out of your bottom line, but in order to keep good customer relations this is something that you must do. One of the most common things to do is to hire a business travel manager to handle all your business travel arrangements.

Did you realize that the median salary for a business travel manager is $73,000.00 per year? (FACT) Where’s the savings?

The best way to slash thousands from your travel expenses is to out source. You can have a travel agency do the same things as a business travel manager without spending thousands doing it. By having a travel agency handle your travel arrangements, you can save anywhere from 80 to 90% depending on how many traveler’s you have. By doing this makes your bottom line more profitable.

Let me ask you, would you rather spend 73,000 or 10,000?

The responsibilities of a travel manager are to choose transportation and lodging for company employees, advise about passport and visa requirements, rates of currency exchange, all things that a travel agent is already doing. Additional perks of hiring a travel agent is they can handle convention planning and group vacation organization for employees.

One of the best benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager is that a travel agent is offered reduced travel rates from preferred vendors as to where a business travel manager is not.

By out sourcing and hiring a travel agent over a travel manager, you are not only saving from paying a large salary, but you also save by not having to provide benefits such as health care and retirement. These could easily bring the cost of hiring a business travel manager to well over $100,000.00 a year. That’s Insane!!!

There are so many more benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager because they are so much more knowledgeable in the travel industry. How, when, and where travel is booked whether online or offline is very important when it comes to saving money on your business travel. These are techniques that only travel agents will know because they deal directly with travel vendors. Nine times out of ten a business travel manager will either call a travel agent or go to a travel agent’s web site for their information.(FACT)

Haven’t we learned in the past couple of years that foolish spending is not the way to go? Look at what it has done to big business. It’s time we get smart and trim the wasted fat. Wouldn’t you rather spend the money growing your business than hiring someone that’s probably looking out for them self rather the company?

When looking for a travel service for your company make sure that they have incentive and rewards programs. Look for a service that has the customer’s best interest at heart.

I understand that customer service must come first in order to have long standing business relations. I want to help you to accomplish this same goal.

3 Major Steps to Implement in Your Home Based Business

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As usual, most things turn out to be common sense or very obvious to the Internet Marketer with experience. To some folks, especially new marketers, it’s not so easy to follow the logic which is there all the time.

Let’s take a moment to review the obvious… our priority is to have customers/clients willing to spend money with us. An ONline or OFFline business has the same challenge, buyers are needed to make profits.

1. Profitable Niche – how do you discover a profitable niche? Common sense tells us that you look around the marketplace and search the Internet to discover where people are spending money. Places where you might find new brides; husbands to be; 18 to 25 age group; deer hunters; bass fishermen; serious golfers; motorcycle enthusiasts; etc.

Some profitable niches are far too competitive for the small business person to compete. BIG companies with highly trained staff, the experienced Internet Marketers are usually deeply entrenched within the most popular niches.

Search tools are readily available to seek out niches where you can find a quality product that people are buying and the competition is fair game for you.

2. Build a LIST – your own email list [customers/prospects] is usually the KEY to long term profits once you have built a list of people that LIKE – BELIEVE – TRUST you. Most Internet Marketers give away a gift as an inducement for people to give their name and email address on a “squeeze page” with a sign up form, agreeing to future messages by email.

3. Market related products to YOUR list… your ultimate goal is to build your own list of “like minded” or “enthusiastic” people who are focused on a similar hobby, desire or obsession, where most of them spend money long-term.

To better understand the logic of our list building goal, look at your own family and their buying decisions. Look at your church friends, country club members, the Rotary club or wherever YOU spend your money and time.

Think about where people spend money with abandon, carefree, buy without much concern about the cost. $300 golf club? $200 tennis outfit? Buy a new motorcycle, $20,000+/-? Accessories for a classic car? Horse Shows? Dog Shows? There are hundreds of groups, clubs, of “like minded” people.

Home based business trainers, consultants, coaching is a huge niche where many Internet Marketers are very successful. Price points rise based on success and expertise, even with a small list.

[sidebar: $500 fee x 1,000 buyers, owners, coaching clients is BIG money for an Internet Marketing coach… more than the CEO’s salary of most corporations]

You don’t necessarily have to have a huge list to make a substantial income for yourself as an Internet Marketer. It does take some talent to make top dollar and that’s where 97% of most start up businesses fail per statistical data.

It’s easy enough to give you 1,2,3 steps but truth and experience tells us that things are never that simple or easy for any of us. It does take time, effort and learning through trial and error for most Internet Marketers.

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How Do Equity Indexed Annuities Stack Up?

Sales of equity indexed annuities (EIAs) have grown considerably in recent years. These products are positioned as simple investment vehicles that enable the investor to participate in market gains but offer protection from market losses. In reality, these are complex investments and because salespeople are paid large commissions for promoting these products, it’s difficult to get an objective opinion on whether they are right for you.

How Do Equity Indexed Annuities Work?

EIAs produce an investment return that is tied to a market index, most commonly the S&P 500. Each product has a minimum guaranteed return (currently, 1% is common) and a cap rate, which is the highest annual return the investment can generate (currently, 8% is common). Consequently, an EIA with these common parameters would generate the same return as the S&P 500 of that return was between 1% and 8%. If the S&P 500 produced an annual return of less than 1%, the EIA would guarantee 1%. Similarly, if the index produced a return greater than 8%, the annuity would be capped at an 8% return.

Further, EIAs have participation rates that commonly range from 70% to 100%. For instance, if the index increased in value by 10% during the year, an EIA with an 80% participation rate would produce an 8% return (80% of the index’s 10% return).Also, it is important to note that minimum guarantees, cap rates, and participation rates can change at the whim of the insurance company.

Other Important Factors

As mentioned previously, salespeople are handsomely compensated for selling EIAs. To protect the insurance firm from paying a large commission to a salesperson only to have the investor sell the annuity, these products have a surrender charge if the investors sells within a certain time frame, which can be as long as 10 years. This surrender penalty can be as much as 10%. Thus, liquidity is severely limited with these investments.

EIAs offer tax-deferral, meaning an investor doesn’t pay taxes on investment gains until the annuity is sold. This tax-deferral is similar to the benefit offered by a 401(k) or IRA. However, unlike investments in a 401(k) or IRA, investments in an EIA don’t reduce your current income or tax bill when the investment is made. For this reason, many financial planners encourage their clients to maximize contributions to other tax-deferred vehicles before considering an annuity.

It’s important to note that most EIAs only count equity index gains from market price changes, and exclude any gains from dividends. Since you’re not earning dividends, you won’t earn as much as if you invested directly in the market. For example, the S&P 500 earned 15.1% in 2010, but 2.3% of that return came from dividends which would not be included in an EIA.

Lastly, the guaranteed return on an EIA is only as good as the insurance company that gives it. While it is not a common occurrence that a life insurance company is unable to meet its obligations, it happens. Information about the financial strength of insurance companies can be found on the SEC’s website.

Investment Return

Suppose a 45 year old with a 40 year investment horizon was looking for an investment that offered impressive returns with relative safety. Would an EIA be a good choice? Let’s consider a $10,000 investment in three unique options: an investment in the S&P 500, an investment in a conservative diversified portfolio* consisting of 75% bonds and 25% stocks, and an investment in an equity indexed annuity tied to the S&P 500. For illustration purposes, let’s assume the annuity has extremely favorable conditions: a 100% participation rate, a 3% minimum guarantee, and a 10% cap rate. Further, let’s give the EIA the benefit of the doubt and assume it includes the portion of the S&P 500’s return due to dividends, which few EIAs do. All and all, this annuity is significantly more favorable than any real product you are likely to find. Since the investor intends to live another 40 years, let’s look at what would have happened to these three $10,000 investments during the last 40 years, starting in 1970.

As you would expect, the $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 grew the most over 40 years, to $495,551. However, this investment endured significant volatility, losing as much as -37% in one year. Clearly, this investment is too risky for an investor willing to endure only a small amount of risk. Alternatively, the $10,000 investment in the diversified 75% bond, 25% stock portfolio grew to $433,838 — still an impressive return. However, the largest loss this portfolio suffered in a calendar year was -6% (1974), which might be tolerable to an investor with a low risk tolerance. Finally, while the equity indexed annuity with unrealistically favorable terms never gained less than 3% per year, our $10,000 investment only grew to $195,479. What if we consider an EIA with more realistic terms: 100% participation rate, 1% guarantee, and an 8% cap rate? Our $10,000 investment would have grown to only $103,767. Clearly, when comparing an EIA to investing in a diversified portfolio with a conservative ratio of bonds to stocks, an investor benefited of accepting a small amount of volatility in their portfolio.

ity indexed annuity without full knowledge of the product? Annuities have a “30-day free look” that enables you to surrender the product free of charge within 30 days of signing the contract. If you recently purchased an EIA, speak to a fee-only financial planner immediately to ensure the product was right for you. If you decide the annuity wasn’t what you thought, a fee-only financial planner can help you exercise your free look provision and find an alternative investment that is more appropriate.

Business Travel Trends 2010 – Part 1

It’s that time of year again; time to predict marketplace trends. Whether trying to explain the past year’s business ups and downs or preparing for next year’s marketplace, those in the know have begun forecasting, prognosticating and generally gazing into their crystal balls. After having read many of these predictions, including the results of various, pertinent surveys, here’s my take on what we can expect in 2010 and beyond with regard to trends in business travel.

Corporations will gradually begin to concentrate on managing trade and reducing travel. While everyone seems to agree that face-to-face meetings will continue to remain fundamentally indispensable in the way of doing business, most notably with regard to client relationships, corporations will put the emphasis on managing trade and reducing travel. Even so, businesses will carefully study how they may obtain the greatest return on investment from travel, doing away with any needless or excessive business trips.

The competition for employee talent may well lead to a noticeable reduction in limiting travel protocols, balanced by stronger compliance standards. Travel guidelines may also turn out to be less restrictive as businesses increase their attempts to draw and maintain suitable professional individuals. Further attention will be focused on employees’ work-life balance as well as managing productivity and less on accomplishing savings at the expense of traveler comfort and well-being.

Companies will ramp up attempts to control travel-related hazards. Preserving the safety of business travelers will continue to be of the utmost importance to travel managers, especially with regard to high-risk travel destinations. Corporate travel professionals will be looking for the ability to recognize services which will facilitate the improvement of traveler safety.

Consumers will depend upon merchants to become a motivating force in discovering “green” solutions. Fundamentally, businesses will seek to balance environmental issues with economic obligations, putting into practice a holistic, sustainable methodology with regard to travel.

Technology will continue to enhance the business traveler’s experience. Significant concepts will feature self-service, plug and play, one-stop shop and cellular phones. Simply put, from the decision to travel to post trip reporting of expenses, corporations will persist in seeking out technology that is more user-friendly and of worth to employees during their travel process. At the booking stage, additional travelers will make use of on-line tools as companies strive to better accommodate individuals within their travel design.

Believe it or not, this is not the complete outline of significant changes that may impact business travel as a whole. In Part 2 of 2010 Business Travel Trends we will continue to explore the very real possibilities that may play out for the business traveler in the not so distant future.