Guest Post: Mommy Guilt: Business Traveler Edition
The following is a guest post in our GBTA Ladders Blog Series. The GBTA Ladders program is a unique mentor program designed to help develop the passion and skills of business travel professionals enabling them to help solve the major challenges facing business travel. A call for new mentors and mentees for the next round of the program is open until September 30.
The winning blog post from the latest program of Ladders’ participants came from Christina Reichelt, Director, Business Development, ProTravel, part of Team Hank, led by mentor Hank Benedetti, Managing Director, American Airlines. Christina shares her thoughts on the future of Bleisure travel.
Mommy Guilt: Business Traveler Edition
By: Christina Reichelt
Is there anything moms don’t feel guilty about? There might be non-organic produce in my fridge – gasp! My baby’s first birthday party won’t be full of Pinterest porn – for shame! I breastfed/bottlefed/cuddled too much/didn’t cuddle enough/used disposable diapers/omg cloth diapers all the way and WHY DON’T YOU LOVE YOUR BABY?!? In the very sad, very real trenches of the Mommy Wars, battalions on either side of every argument are at the ready with their bayonets to shoot you down, then stab you for good measure.
Perhaps the thickest layer of guilt for me is being a Working Mom. It’s really hard to tear myself away from her every morning before she even wakes up. I miss her sweet face, her funny baby babble (which sounds suspiciously like Portuguese). I literally miss her major milestone firsts and watching her learn, play, and grow. Sure, I get a healthy dose on the weekends but I’m always questioning myself, “is it worth it?”. It follows then that business travel, missing bedtimes and that precious 1.5 hours I might get with her on a weeknight, must really wrack me with guilt, right?
Wrong. A hotel room dusted and vacuumed and clutter free! That beautiful, lush, made bed! I get to go out to eat instead of cook, maybe even take a bath (!) before sleeping the purest of uninterrupted sleeps. No husband snoring, no baby stirring, just…silence. And a King size bed you better believe I am star-fished across.
While these simple pleasures are my versions of working some “me time” into my business travel, 9 out of 10 travelers are mixing personal time into their business trips in some way1. “Bleisure” is a thing now and the movement is alive and growing. Road warriors have accepted the necessary evil of business travel and turned it into a golden opportunity. You can excel at your career, be where you need to be, without sacrificing quality of life. There is no reason to hold back anymore, don’t try to get out of that client visit in Portland when after the meeting you can try that hot new restaurant you read about. After negotiating that deal in NYC, hit up a museum or head to Brooklyn to observe Hipsters in their natural habitat. Traveling to a country you’ve never visited before? Most business travelers will tack on a few days for themselves to explore and play after the work is done. In fact, nearly half of respondents to a BridgeStreet Global Hospitality2 survey add personal travel days to business travel “every trip” or “most trips”, and more than half of Bleisure travelers bring a family member or significant other with them.
There is an enormous opportunity for innovation in Bleisure travel. Vendors have a new sector of the travel industry to mine for revenue streams with the creation of products and services designed to help business travelers make the seamless jump to the Bleisure world. Business travelers, for their part, have accepted and embraced the new world we live in. We must be more productive, constantly networking, and always connected. You want us to be available whenever, wherever? We can do that, but we’ll also be taking some time for ourselves. And there’s no guilt in that.
1 Source: 2014 Hall & Partner survey of Virgin Atlantic Travelers
2 Source: The Bleisure Report 2014