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Getting There!

As most of us know, travel for work is not the delight it is often assumed to be. Last month while returning from the Marriott International Travel Partners conference, I had the most unusual travel delay.  Due to weather, our flight circled Newark airport for ten minutes before the pilot came on to the intercom to tell us that we were low on fuel and we needed to divert to the next airport, Stewart Airport in Upper New York State for refueling. 

This delay added to the already one hour delay at departure would now extend our travel by more than two hours. While on the temporary runway, fellow travelers milled about and discussed concerns about connecting flights.  Suddenly there was a commotion at the back of the plane and security quickly boarded the plane and rushed to the back.

It took a few moments for the wave of news to reach us in Row 8 and when it did, we were in complete disbelief. Turns out a fellow passenger had reached his limit of patience with all the delays and he lit up a cigarette - right in his seat.

This security breach then further delayed our takeoff and finally with the decision made to have 'the guy' remain on the plane and deal with the issue in Newark.  Upon landing, 'buddy' was escorted off first and immediately greeted by three police officers.

Thankfully my 4.5 hour layover which I thought was going to be a marathon was shortened to just over 60 minutes which was enough time to find the next terminal/gate with a few minutes to exhale. Sadly some of my fellow travelers who had shorter layovers, did miss their flights.

The next time I book flights and find myself with a long layover, I'll remind myself that 'anything can happen' and to give myself some breathing space. What travel adventures have you encountered?      

Timely Yours, Brenda

PS. THG is growing!  Next month we will make the official announcement of the newest associate who is joining The Howes Group team!  If you can't wait until next month, Email me and I might tell you.  



TOP 5: Billing Tips For Meetings 

Here are five helpful tips to save you time and effort with your event billing:  
  1. Deposits – Hotels and convention centres require deposits upon signing of the contract as it begins the contract commitment process. Paying a deposit indicates to the the hotel that you are committed to the agreement. The funds are held as a security in the event everything doesn't go as planned.  As your start date approaches, incremental deposits may be required, pending the size of your meeting and financial commitment.  These deposits will be applied to your final bill.    
  2. Pay Own or Call In - There are many ways to set up how you will pay the final bill of an event. Guestrooms are a component that can be separated from the meeting space and food for the bills. If your company prefers to have the guests solely responsible to make their own room reservation, then you need to have “Pay Own” or “guest responsible” indicated prior to arrival.  This means you’re not responsible for anyone’s guestroom fees or charges to the room.
  3. Master Account or Bill to Master -  This applies if your group is travelling together.  In this instance, a rooming list is used to help the hotel understand who you are taking financial responsibility for. Some groups prefer to use a rooming list which details the names of each guest and their preferences.  Hotels have two ways to do this: you can apply to have a Master Account by submitting banking credit history and references from previous hotels you have used or be billed to a company credit card.  The credit card process requires that your balance be paid immediately.  If you choose the first option, the process allows a 30 day window before you need to pay the bill.  
  4. Daily Review –When trying to reconcile the final charges with your finance department, remember to keep all receipts.  Those who are not onsite don’t realize the small 'emergencies' that come up that require a quick credit card payment.  Perhaps you had to make an unplanned payment to release a shipment of supplies due to unionized dock staff, the tip here is to keep track of all the details.  By keeping a daily running tally on these sorts of expenses, it will help reconcile the account in the end.  Having a daily review with your CSM also keeps things fresh and clear vs. waiting until after the event and having to rely on your memory.  
  5. Get it Straight From The Start – There are so many people within a hotel or convention centre that are involved with making your event a success. With so many departments adding to the end result, having everyone involved with the preconference (precon) meeting is advisable and take some time to discuss billing and who has authority to sign, so everyone is on the same page.  Your finance team will thank you in the end!  

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