By And Large, Business Travel Is Not A Pleasurable Experience

Business travel has become so common that a considerable proportion of the corporate world of America is spending more time in airplanes and hotels than on their couches or in their automobiles.

According to a recent estimate, about 40 million adults in the US travel on business at least once a year to a location about 50 miles from home. More than 20 percent of the trips made by African Americans, for instance, are related to their work.

Those who do not need to travel frequently on business consider business travel glamorous and exciting. However, in reality, business travel is often arduous.

It is tough physically, tough on the family, and especially tough on the pockets of businesspersons who do not have the luxury of generous expense accounts to take care of their travel expenses.

In addition, those who travel on business regularly, quickly wise up to the fact that a stress-free and safe journey requires the smooth functioning of a number of interconnected factors, which includes the vagaries of the weather.

According to a study conducted recently, monitoring business travel trends:

– 58 percent of business travel is undertaken for association meetings and conferences,

– 43 percent comprising of business travel made by individuals,

– and 29 percent for corporate meetings.

The study also identified some of the most popular destinations within the US for business travel. They are:

– Washington, D.C.,

– New York,

– Los Angeles/Long Beach,

– Chicago,

– Atlanta,

– Boston,

– Houston,

– Minneapolis-St. Paul,

– Detroit,

– and Dallas.

Irrespective of what the destination is, business travel is seldom an enjoyable experience. Some companies will allow their business travelers the opportunity to enjoy their travel surroundings but this is usually short lived depending on the demands of the trip.

Business travelers, who have to make frequent trips, need special facilities to ease the hassles of traveling. Airlines and hotels are increasing the levels of services they provide in order to meet the growing demands of business travelers:

Usually, business travelers research fares on their own and make their reservations online. According to a survey, it was found that only 32 percent of corporate travelers used the services of travel agents for their reservation needs, while the rest, 68 percent, preferred using the internet or online services to plan at least some part of their business traveling arrangements.

Business travelers are usually technologically conversant; hence, choose to handle all their traveling arrangements through the Internet, limiting the necessity of having to interact with travel agents and professionals dealing with customer service.

Most tourism related sites offer one-stop travel facilities for reservations of flights, booking rooms in hotels, and providing transportation on the ground.

Major airlines like Delta and American have included travel-friendly features like locating cheap fares, finding economical hotel accommodation, and hiring cars on a rental basis inexpensively on their websites.

Travelers, thus, can make arrangements for an entire business trip, which includes seating preferences, confirming special food requests, and a text message or e-mail verifying their flight status and information about the departure timings with a few clicks of the mouse button.
Most of these sites provide boarding passes that can be printed out and online check-ins within 24 hours of the departure of the flight.

At the airport, those travelers in a hurry can take advantage of check-in kiosks in order not to have to wait in long lines, and get their boarding passes and their seating information.

Frequent Flyer Miles, Automatic Upgrades, and Comfortable Seating:

One of the biggest perks of traveling frequently on business is the facility of accumulating points, which can be exchanged for vacations. Travelers, therefore, are always on the look out for hotels offering generous points facilities.

Frequent air travelers also favor automatic upgrades and comfort inside the airplane, such as generous legroom and additional storage facilities overhead. Business traveler programs like EliteAccess provided by Continental Airlines offer comforts like guarantees of no-middle-seat and upgrades to the first class if possible.

Getting Value for Money:

Companies are constantly curtailing overhead expenses by cutting down on the travel allowances they give their executives, while business travelers look for ways in which they can maximize their allowances to the fullest.

For example, several hotels offer free breakfasts, while others provide complimentary facilities such as a welcoming snack or allowing their guests to make free long distance and local calls. Many hotels also offer free newspapers, tea and coffee.

Feeling at Home Far Away from Home:

Business travelers are so frequently away from home that they look for services that replicate their home comforts.

Although hotels are selected primarily for value and location, but business travelers expect home-like comforts like high quality toiletries, comfortable bedding, choices in beverages, cable TV and films, broadband internet access, exercise and convenient check-in/out facilities, and so on.

Business Travel Insurance

Anyone that travels a lot should consider travel insurance, but those that travel for business often overlook the importance of this protection. Business travel insurance is simply a good idea because it can provide you with the protection that you need whether you are traveling just a short or long distance away from home. You never know when you are going to need the protection that insurance can provide, so you should look into business travel insurance before you go on your next trip.

The great thing about business travel insurance is that the individual can purchase it or a company can purchase it. Many companies are choosing to purchase the insurance for all of their employees that travel. This is a very economical way to buy the coverage as many companies can offer bulk buy discounts. This can be a particularly good idea for companies that host a lot of conferences, meetings, team building events, training courses, product launches, and the like. Many businesses offer corporate hospitality outings and the like, and even on these fun getaways employees should be protected and business travel insurance is a great way to get that protection.

If you happen to be an employee that travels to a lot of business oriented annual general meetings, exhibitions, seminars, or conventions and you aren’t provided with business travel insurance you can buy it yourself. The coverage is not at all expensive, and you may even be able to purchase the coverage at the same time that you plan an event or plan your travel, which will make it convenient to purchase. When you purchase this protection you can go on your business travels and not worry about what would happen if you were robbed, if your luggage was lost, or if you needed medical attention in an area where your usual medical or dental insurance was not valid.

Many of us think about travel insurance when we are going on vacation or visiting exotic vacations, but this is not the only time when you need the protection that this type of insurance can provide. Business travel insurance is just as important as the insurance that you would buy when flying across the world for an exotic vacation or honeymoon because there is just as much opportunity for you to encounter health problems or circumstances that you just did not plan for. Why should you be any less equipped to handle these problems on a business trip than you would be when you are on vacation? When you leave home you should feel safe, secure, and confident in your abilities to handle any situation and with business travel insurance you can do this.

If you don’t travel often or you only travel once a year you can opt to purchase your business travel insurance for just one trip. All you have to do is disclose when you will be travelling, where you will be going, and when you will be returning. This is generally very affordable and will offer you the protection that you should have on your one trip. If you travel all the time for work you can choose to buy your business travel insurance for the whole year. While this is more expensive in the beginning, it is cheaper over the course of the year than it would be to purchase the coverage every time you go away on travel. Many times there are also different levels of coverage to choose from, so you can choose from very basic coverage to very extensive coverage, based on your needs. When you purchase the travel business insurance you may want to consider the areas that you travel to as well as what sort of coverage your other insurance coverage may provide as this information will help you determine what sort of coverage you need.

It used to be more difficult to buy travel insurance, and that is why many people simply opted not to do it. In many cases you had to go right to an insurance agent and you had to fill out a ton of paperwork, or you could go to a travel agent and do the same thing. Now, you can purchase your business travel insurance right along with your other travel needs such as but not limited to your event planning services, your car rental services, lodging, transportation, and airfare. This is very convenient and allows for those that didn’t want to bother with the coverage before because of the hassle to purchase the benefits of travel insurance. Next time you receive notice that you have to travel for your job, why not look into travel business insurance and see what protection it can offer you? It’s better to have the protection and not need it than need it and not have it!

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.

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.

Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid business travel reporting. Business travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s business travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients business travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most business friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most business travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the business travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a business should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the business travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the business travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a business travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.

A New Way to Invest in Property

The two most frequently asked questions by investors are:

  1. What investment should I buy?
  2. Is now the right time to buy it?

Most people want to know how to spot the right investment at the right time, because they believe that is the key to successful investing. Let me tell you that is far from the truth: even if you could get the answers to those questions right, you would only have a 50% chance to make your investment successful. Let me explain.

There are two key influencers that can lead to the success or failure of any investment:

  1. External factors: these are the markets and investment performance in general. For example:
    • The likely performance of that particular investment over time;
    • Whether that market will go up or down, and when it will change from one direction to another.
  2. Internal factors: these are the investor’s own preference, experience and capacity. For example:
    • Which investment you have more affinity with and have a track record of making good money in;
    • What capacity you have to hold on to an investment during bad times;
    • What tax advantages do you have which can help manage cash flow;
    • What level of risk you can tolerate without tending to make panic decisions.

When we are looking at any particular investment, we can’t simply look at the charts or research reports to decide what to invest and when to invest, we need to look at ourselves and find out what works for us as an individual.

Let’s look at a few examples to demonstrate my viewpoint here. These can show you why investment theories often don’t work in real life because they are an analysis of the external factors, and investors can usually make or break these theories themselves due to their individual differences (i.e. internal factors).

Example 1: Pick the best investment at the time.

Most investment advisors I have seen make an assumption that if the investment performs well, then any investor can definitely make good money out of it. In other words, the external factors alone determine the return.

I beg to differ. Consider these for example:

  • Have you ever heard of an instance where two property investors bought identical properties side by side in the same street at the same time? One makes good money in rent with a good tenant and sells it at a good profit later; the other has much lower rent with a bad tenant and sells it at a loss later. They can be both using the same property management agent, the same selling agent, the same bank for finance, and getting the same advice from the same investment advisor.
  • You may have also seen share investors who bought the same shares at the same time, one is forced to sell theirs at a loss due to personal circumstances and the other sells them for a profit at a better time.
  • I have even seen the same builder building 5 identical houses side by side for 5 investors. One took 6 months longer to build than the other 4, and he ended up having to sell it at the wrong time due to personal cash flow pressures whereas others are doing much better financially.

What is the sole difference in the above cases? The investors themselves (i.e. the internal factors).

Over the years I have reviewed the financial positions of a few thousand investors personally. When people ask me what investment they should get into at any particular moment, they expect me to compare shares, properties, and other asset classes to advise them how to allocate their money.

My answer to them is to always ask them to go back over their track record first. I would ask them to list down all the investments they have ever made: cash, shares, options, futures, properties, property development, property renovation, etc. and ask them to tell me which one made them the most money and which one didn’t. Then I suggest to them to stick to the winners and cut the losers. In other words, I tell them to invest more in what has made them good money in the past and stop investing in what has not made them any money in the past (assuming their money will get a 5% return per year sitting in the bank, they need to at least beat that when doing the comparison).

If you take time to do that exercise for yourself, you will very quickly discover your favourite investment to invest in, so that you can concentrate your resources on getting the best return rather than allocating any of them to the losers.

You may ask for my rationale in choosing investments this way rather than looking at the theories of diversification or portfolio management, like most others do. I simply believe the law of nature governs many things beyond our scientific understanding; and it is not smart to go against the law of nature.

For example, have you ever noticed that sardines swim together in the ocean? And similarly so do the sharks. In a natural forest, similar trees grow together too. This is the idea that similar things attract each other as they have affinity with each other.

You can look around at the people you know. The people you like to spend more time with are probably people who are in some ways similar to you.

It seems that there is a law of affinity at work that says that similar things beget similar things; whether they are animals, trees, rocks or humans. Why do you think there would be any difference between an investor and their investments?

So in my opinion, the question is not necessarily about which investment works. Rather it is about which investment works for you.

If you have affinity with properties, properties are likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with shares, shares are likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with good cash flow, good cash flow is likely to be attracted to you. If you have affinity with good capital gain, good capital growth is likely to be attracted to you (but not necessary good cash flow ).

You can improve your affinity with anything to a degree by spending more time and effort on it, but there are things that you naturally have affinity with. These are the things you should go with as they are effortless for you. Can you imagine the effort required for a shark to work on himself to become sardine-like or vice versa?

One of the reasons why our company has spent a lot of time lately to work on our client’s cash flow management, is because if our clients have low affinity with their own family cash flow, they are unlikely to have good cash flow with their investment properties. Remember, it is a natural law that similar things beget similar things. Investors who have poor cash flow management at home, usually end up with investments (or businesses) with poor cash flow.

Have you ever wondered why the world’s greatest investors, such as Warren Buffet, tend only to invest in a few very concentrated areas they have great affinity with? While he has more money than most of us and could afford to diversify into many different things, he sticks to only the few things that he has successfully made his money from in the past and cut off the ones which didn’t (such as the airline business).

What if you haven’t done any investing and you have no track record to go by? In this case I would suggest you first look at your parents’ track record in investing. The chances are you are somehow similar to your parents (even when you don’t like to admit it ). If you think your parents never invested in anything successfully, then look at whether they have done well with their family home. Alternatively you will need to do your own testing to find out what works for you.

Obviously there will be exceptions to this rule. Ultimately your results will be the only judge for what investment works for you.

Example 2: Picking the bottom of the market to invest.

When the news in any market is not positive, many investors automatically go into a “waiting mode”. What are they waiting for? The market to bottom out! This is because they believe investing is about buying low and selling high – pretty simple right? But why do most people fail to do even that?

Here are a few reasons:

  • When investors have the money to invest safely in a market, that market may not be at its bottom yet, so they choose to wait. By the time the market hits the bottom; their money has already been taken up by other things, as money rarely sits still. If it is not going to some sort of investment, it will tend to go to expenses or other silly things such as get-rich-quick scheme, repairs and other “life dramas”.
  • Investors who are used to waiting for when the market is not very positive before they act are usually driven either by a fear of losing money or the greed of gaining more. Let’s look at the impact of each of them:
  • If their behaviour was due to the fear of losing money, they are less likely to get into the market when it hits rock bottom as you can imagine how bad the news would be then. If they couldn’t act when the news was less negative, how do you expect them to have the courage to act when it is really negative? So usually they miss out on the bottom anyway.
  • If their behaviour was driven by the greed of hoping to make more money on the way up when it reaches the bottom, they are more likely to find other “get-rich-quick schemes” to put their money in before the market hits the bottom, by the time the market hits the bottom, their money won’t be around to invest. Hence you would notice that the get-rich-quick schemes are usually heavily promoted during a time of negative market sentiment as they can easily capture money from this type of investor.
  • Very often, something negative begets something else negative. People who are fearful to get into the market when their capacity allows them to do so, will spend most of their time looking at all the bad news to confirm their decision. Not only they will miss the bottom, but they are likely to also miss the opportunities on the way up as well, because they see any market upward movement as a preparation for a further and bigger dive the next day.

Hence it is my observation that most people who are too fearful or too greedy to get into the market during a slow market have rarely been able to benefit financially from waiting. They usually end up getting into the market after it has had its bull run for far too long when there is very little negative news left. But that is actually often the time when things are over-valued, so they get into the market then, and get slaughtered on the way down.

So my advice to our clients is to first start from your internal factors, check your own track records and financial viability to invest. Decide whether you are in a position to invest safely, regardless of the external factors (i.e. the market):

  • If the answer is yes, then go to the market and find the best value you can find at that time;
  • If the answer is no, then wait.

Unfortunately, most investors do it the other way around. They tend to let the market (an external factor) decide what they should do, regardless of their own situation, and they end up wasting time and resources within their capacity.

I hope, from the above 2 examples, that you can see that investing is not necessarily about picking the right investment and the right market timing, but it is more about picking the investment that works for you and sticking to your own investment timetable, within your own capacity.

A new way to invest in properties

During a consultation last month with a client who has been with us for 6 years, I suddenly realised they didn’t know anything about our Property Advisory Service which has been around since April 2010. I thought I’d better fix this oversight and explain what it is and why it is unique and unprecedented in Australia.

But before I do, I would like to give you some data you simply don’t get from investment books and seminars, so you can see where I am coming from.

Over the last 10 years of running a mortgage business for property investors:

  • We have executed more than 7,000 individual investment mortgages with around 60 different lenders;
  • Myself and our mortgage team have reviewed the financial positions of approximately 6,000 individual property investors and developers;
  • I have enjoyed privileged access to vital data including the original purchase price, value of property improvements and the current valuation of close to 30,000 individual investment properties all around Australia from our considerable client base.

When you have such a large sample size to do your research on and make observations, you are bound to discover something unknown to most people.

I have discovered many things that may surprise you as much as they surprised me, some of which are against conventional wisdom:

Paying more tax can be financially good for you.

This one took me years to swallow, but I can’t deny the facts. The clients who have managed to get into a positive cashflow position have paid a lot of tax and will continue to pay a lot of tax, whether it is capital gains, income tax or stamp duty. They don’t have an issue with the tax man making some money as long as they continue to make more themselves! They regularly cash in the profits from their properties and reduce their debt, but always continue to invest and park their money where the return is best. In fact, I can almost say that the only people who enjoy positive cashflow from their investment properties are the people who have little concern about paying taxes as they treat them as the cost of doing business.

Just about every property strategy works. It just depends on who does it, how it is done, when it is done and where it is done.

When I first started investing, I went and read many property investment books and attended many investment educational seminars. Just about every one of them was convincing and this confused the hell out of me. Just when I was about to form an opinion against a particular property strategy, someone would show up in one of my client consultations and prove that it worked for them!

After testing many of these strategies myself, I came to realise that it is not about the strategy,(which is only a tool) but rather it is about whether the person is using the tool appropriately at the right time, in the right place and in the right way.

There is no such thing as the best suburb to invest in, forever.

If you randomly pick a particular property in what you think is the best suburb over a 30 year window, you will find that there are periods during which this property will outperform the market average, and there are periods when this property will underperform the market average.

Many property investors find themselves jumping into historically high growth suburbs at the end of the period when it is outperforming the average, and then stay there for 5-7 years during the underperforming period. (Naturally this can taint their view of property investing as a whole!)

There is no such thing as the worst suburb to invest in, forever.

If you pick a property in the worst suburb you can think of from 40 years ago, and pitch that against the best suburb you can think of over the same period of time, you will find they both grew at about 7-9% a year on average over the long-term.

Hence in the 1960s, a median house in Melbourne and Sydney was valued at $10k. The worst property around that time may have been 30% of the median price for then, which was say about $3k. Today, the median house price in these cities is about $600k. The worst suburb you can find is still around 30% of that price which is say $200k a house. If you believe a bad suburb will never grow, then show me where you can find a house today in these cities, that is still worth around $3k.

Median Price growth is very misleading.

Many beginner property investors look at median price growth as the guidance for suburb selection. A few points worth mentioning on median price are:

We understand the way median price is calculated as the middle price point based on the number of sales during a period. We can talk about the median price for a particular suburb on a particular day, week, month, year, or even longer. So an influx of new stocks or low sales volume can severely distort the median price.

In an older suburb, median price growth tends to be higher than it really is. This is because it does not reflect the large sum of money people put into renovating their properties nor does it reflect the subdivision of large blocks of land into multiple dwellings which can be a substantial percentage of the entire suburb.

In a newer suburb, median price growth tend to be lower than it really is. This is because it does not reflect the fact that the land and buildings are both getting smaller. For example, you could buy a block of land of 650 square metres for $120k in 2006 in a newer suburb of Melbourne, but 5 years later, half the size block (i.e.325 square metres) will cost you $260k. That’s a whopping 34% annual growth rate per year for 5 years, but median price growth will never reflect that, as median prices today are calculated on much smaller properties.

Median price growth takes away people’s focus from looking at the cost of carrying the property. When you have a net 2-3% rental yield against interest rates of 7-8%, you are out-of-pocket by 5% a year. This is not including the money you have to put in to fix and maintain your property from time to time.

Buying and holding the same property forever doesn’t give you the best returns on your money.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely you will achieve an average growth of 7-9%. But you will be bound to hit periods where your property outperforms the 7-9% growth and periods where it under performs the 7-9% growth.

The longer you hold a property, if its growth is at or above average, the lower its rental yields will become.

The longer you hold a property, the higher the capital gains tax you will need to pay when you sell, and the less likely you will be able to sell it.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely there will be a need for an expensive upgrade of the property.

The longer you hold a property, the more likely you will forget which part of the equity actually belongs to the tax man, AND the more likely you will be to try to leverage the equity that doesn’t belong to you. This can get you into a negative equity position with a negative cashflow forever, unless you have proper financial guidance.

Why International Business Travellers Need Specialized Travel Insurance Cover

In this work driven world, people are goal-oriented and often financially driven; and sometimes people take for granted the importance of physical safety. Insurance makes security tangible. The insurance industry has delved its hands into various aspects of life, securing animals to kids to education to cars. You name it, insurance can secure it. Insurance has become so important in our everyday life that it’s now considered an imperative need.

The largest group of insurance companies are engaged in the travel insurance business. These insurance companies typically offer specialised policies to business travellers. The policies cover risks associated with international or domestic travel which include accidents, deaths, trip cancellations, lost tickets, damage to properties like car rentals and other concerns related to travelling. Procuring this type of insurance is important because it provides security not only to the traveller but also the employer.

Business travellers, especially those travelling internationally, are people on the go. Their employers are potential policy holders. Business travellers are exposed to more risks. The risk covered by the corporate travel insurance is unique to the business the traveller represents. For example, a business traveller working as a car dealer meets an accident while on a Cessna plane can be compensated by a travel insurance covering the risks of medical expenses while working on the job. In getting a corporate travel insurance policy, it is important to tailor the policy in order to cover all the risks that the business traveller is exposed to in relation to the work he’s involved in. Equity dictates that tailored fit policies are necessary for the safety and security of both the employer and the business travellers because of the basic reason that their travels are considered work; it is but a natural obligation for the employers to compensate and insure them.

Corporate travel insurance differs from the usual holidaymaker insurance because it cover more risks and could be specialised in accordance to the type of business the business traveller represents. For example, if the business traveller is working for mining company, the travel insurance policy can include accidents met while visiting a mining site. Because of this specialisation feature, the premium paid for these corporate travel insurance is higher than the usual travel insurance.

A tailored corporate insurance policy is being offered by various insurance companies. One of the most comprehensive policies is the group business travel insurance. For this type of insurance, it is important that the insured or the policy holder is the employer and the beneficiaries are the employees or group members. As to the requirements, each insurance policy provides for different requirements; basically if the employer can pay the premium and the insurance company is willing to cover the risk then a tailored group business insurance policy can be issued.

People work to earn a living. Often than not their work is the cause of their injuries. It is important for employers as well to prevent lawsuits filed by employees they send for travel. The best and equitable solution is to procure corporate travel insurance.

Business Travel Insurance Policy – Getting The Right One

If you travel regularly on business, you should always carry a business travel insurance policy. This is essentially just a insurance policy for traveling that is customized to the needs of the business traveler. Nearly all of these insurance policies for business travelers will include coverage of any travel arrangements, luggage loss, and rental car accidents.

While it is possible to purchase a policy that will cover a single trip, for regular business travels, annual business travel insurance policies are typically a better deal. Insurance plans for business travel are usually cheaper than regular insurance plans, depending on coverage needs. It is also cheaper to purchase domestic business travel insurance plans than insurance coverage for international business travels.

Typically policies for business travels will include up to $50,000 in benefits whether it is a one-time policy or an annual policy. But regular insurance plans often caps coverage at $25,000.

Luggage coverage goes beyond just checked luggage. It also covers laptops, cell phones, pagers, projectors, and any other equipment the business traveler typically carries.

If the trip gets interrupted by bad weather or mechanical problems the business policy holder can cancel the trip and be reimbursed for the cost of the trip.

This plan also includes trip cancellation insurance which is much like regular travel insurance’s trip interruption coverage. However, business policies usually include more coverage, such as allowing for changes in accommodations to complete the trip.

Funds are provided for anything lost on the trip. This can be very important if passports or tickets are lost during the trip.

You may also be able to get some legal services in case of accusations of crime by you or crime committed against you. Generally luggage or equipment that is stolen is covered. In some cases even kidnapping ransoms will be replaced by your business insurance policy.

One of the coverage benefits you’ll want to look for in your coverage is medical expenses. You’ll want to know for sure whether all medical expenses are covered or just accidents and emergencies. In particular, find out what kind of coverage is provided for illness. Many travel medical insurance policies cover emergency evacuations, but many do not cover other medical expenses. You’ll have to decide how much medical coverage you need.

Fortunately, even with all of the available coverage options, business travel insurance is generally quite affordable. Some other features that may be included with your business insurance plan include road side assistance and life insurance.

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.

5 Tips For a Smooth First Business Travel Experience

Travel help from business travel experts is as good as meeting a business tycoon for management tips. Learning from them will bring smoothness in your trip.

In today’s working world, business operations have become more global. There are many business travel opportunities for the newly hired or promoted employee. While grabbing these travel opportunities a must, first time business travellers like you should travel smarter.

Sort Things Out
For first timers, it is best to be aware that you have two major classifications of the things that you will be bringing. One is your work-related things and the other one is your personal stuff.

Therefore, while choosing a light carryon luggage, it is also suggested that it is multi pocketed so you can enjoy more spaces.

Be Organized
In order to have an organized business travel, create a travel checklist of the work-related things that you need like your laptop, flash drive, printed reports on folders, brochures, calculators and the like. This will protect you from forgetting important or urgent tasks that your boss asked from you.

Make sure that you brought a good number of your business cards. Businesses can start with your plane mate or some other people you have bumped in the airport lobby.

Also check the lifespan of the batteries of your communication device so you won’t miss any important office correspondences and instructions.

Be Budget Conscious
If your office allows you to take care of your own transportation and reservation as part of your per diem during your business travel, the internet is your tool to check online for the best flight and hotel deals in Europe or Asia available.

Look for package deals, promo flights, and reasonably-priced business hotels or even nearby hostels. Tips would be to ask if the published rates are inclusive of applicable taxes. Also ask for the rates of late check-ins so you can include it in your travel budget.

Always Be Prepared
For your personal belongings particularly your clothing, it is best that you have brought clothes with business colors and shades like black, dark blue, brown, white and gray. This will allow you to be flexible in doing some mix and match so you maintain your being presentable as well.

In the business world, there are times that first impression lasts. As first time business travellers, you may not be familiar or accustomed to the foods of your destination, it is highly recommended to have anti-histamine with you all the time. This will help you stop allergic reactions instantly in order not to disrupt or disturb your meeting schedules and appointments.

Follow Airport Rules
Your liquids, including gels, in the array of your toiletries should be in zip-lock plastics as it is mandatory in any airports. It is also best to use slip-on shoes going to the airport so it would not be time consuming for you to untie and tie your shoelaces during security checks.

With these travel help gathered from seasoned business travellers, you will be ready for a remarkable business travel that will widen your perspective of the career you have chosen and loved. This might be the start of a series of world travel experience from work to leisure.