Travelling on business can be quite stressful if not planned properly. It’s not just about choosing a right hotel but you need to be sure of a comfortable stay and hospitality attached with it. There are many other factors that contribute to a successful business meet -the locality you choose to stay in, its proximity to corporate offices you will be visiting, availability of transport, the amenities and facilities provided by the hotel you are put up at, and ofcourse exploring the city as well.
Pune, the second largest city in Maharashtra, is a manufacturing and IT hub. A business trip to Pune ought to be well planned and executed, and here are some pointers to keep in mind before you set off.
Don’t Overload: I have grown up seeing my parents managing work and traveling to various cities to attend corporate meetings. From them I have learnt how important it is to travel light, a principle I blindly follow during my own travels as well. Carry the basic and essential stuff only. Not only does this saves time while you pack but it also helps you organise your stuff in a better way. For someone travelling on business, nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find a document or piece of clothing when needed. Also since Pune is the city in question, you might want to pack according to the weather. No bulky suitcases here!
- Organise your clothing based on your travel. Make a list of what you need and omit the extras.
- Carry appropriate attire. Yes, you are on a business trip but don’t just go overboard with the whole three-piece suit. Business casuals will do the trick here.
- Check the weather before you travel – Never underestimate the natural elements.
- Organise your travel kit – keep your important papers and business documents in separate files, segregate your medication from your toiletries, and so on.
Prepare and Prosper: A business or a corporate trip can get really hectic. Back-to-back meetings, presentations and demos, visits to vendors – the list of things to do can go on and on. If not managed or scheduled properly, one could end up being deprived of sleep and exhausted. I have seen my parents plan in advance. They always ensured that they have their trip planned down to every detail with no last-minute running around. After all, productivity is of paramount importance, lest your efforts go in vain.
If you need to travel from one office to another for meetings, time and plan them, keeping the traffic in mind. Add a buffer time of 5-10 minutes. Download maps on your smartphone and use it appropriately
Another important tip – keep all your electronic gadgets charged. You don’t want to run out of battery while making a presentation or have your phone go off while navigating the streets of Pune.
- Being part of an airline loyalty or a frequent flier program is a smart way to travel. Not only do you get to accumulate travel points, you can also redeem them against tickets or special gifts. Also, this gives you access to airport lounges, a blessing when you have to travel around the country.
- Read up about the city you are travelling to.
- Use maps when travelling instead of depending upon local drivers.
Choose your Hotel Wisely: Perhaps the most important part of your preparations is choosing the right hotel. If you happen to be in Pune just for a day and do not plan to travel much, a hotel close to the airport would be best. However, if your business meet spans over three days and requires you to travel around Pune, you might want to put up at a good hotel within the city.
So what should you look for when choosing a business hotel? Make a checklist of the following and make your hotel choice accordingly.
- Does the hotel provide free WiFi?
- Does the hotel come with and well-equipped business centre that allows you to print documents, make presentations and access your email?
- Is the hotel easily accessible? No staying at a hotel located in a dark alley, please.
In addition to these, you may want to put up at a hotel that provides laundry facility, airport/railway station pick-up and drop facility, and great service. A friend of mine, recently recommended me Treebo hotel in Pune near Airport, where he stayed during his recent travel to the city. According to him the hotel provided him with everything he needed in a good budget, during his stay. He shared details on ‘Treebo for Business,’ a corporate program that comes with a plethora of benefits for business travellers.
All work and no play? No way!: Just because you are on a business meeting doesn’t mean you forget to enjoy yourself. Take time out from your schedule and get the foot tapping to explore the beautiful city of Pune. Check out the popular tourist attractions like Aga Khan Palace, Chaturshringi Temple, Rajgad Fort, Pataleshwar Cave Temple, Pawna Lake, Shaniwarwada, Mulshi Dam, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, Osho Garden, ISKCON Temple, Vetal Hill, National War Museum and more.
This aside, sampling local cuisine is a must when in Pune. Try the food at Fish Curry Rice, Prego, Paasha, Malaka Spice, Cafe 1730, Baan Tao, On Fire, Spice Factory, Savya Rasa and Khandani Rajdhani.
As for shopping in Pune, for those who wish to go local, make your way to Tulsi Baug, Phule Market, MG Road, June Bazaar, Bajirao Road, Laxmi Road and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar. Looking for malls, Pune Central, Phoenix Marketcity, SGS Mall and Dorabjee’s Royale Heritage Mall.
No Transport Woes: From buses to taxis, prepaid autos, six-seaters, and round the clock rickshaw service, the transport scene in Pune offers plenty of options. However, traffic is unruly and thus one must be careful when commuting. The buses, though cost-effective, do get a bit too crowded for comfort while the auto rickshaws tend to take advantage of the situation and demand unreasonable fares. The trick here is to refuse fare quotes and go by the meter. Opting for a cab is the best way to get around the city but do not make the mistake of renting a car here as the traffic can get to one. Nevertheless, there are options galore and you can choose one based on your needs.
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