Fly in, fly out meetings

As executives spend more time travelling for meetings and events, we take a look at how airport hotels and venues can save time and money.

Today’s businesses are more spread out than ever. Going digital means branches and departments work together across cities and states. But to be their best, teams still need to physically meet to share experiences, learn from one another and simply put a face to the name. To this end, companies and leaders across the world are choosing to meet and stay at airport venues to cut down on time.

When a group of directors from different cities need to meet, everyone hops on a plane, walks into the nearest hotel, has their meeting—maybe spends the night if it’s a longer session or event—then jumps on a plane and is back in the office the next morning.

EAs organising group meetings, or even company conferences can take full advantage of the convenience of airport hotels and meetings. If the scenario above hasn’t convinced you, here’s a list of reasons why an airport venue should be on the top of your list.

Airport meetings save valuable time

Executives’ and CEOs’ time is precious—EAs know that saving an hour, minute or second of their boss’s time is crucial to their success.

Recently, Harvard Business Review released a study that followed 27 CEOs around for three months, asking their EAs to log their time in 15 minute increments. The study—which is the most comprehensive of its type so far—revealed that CEOs on average have 37 meetings every week, and spend 72 percent of their total work time at meetings.

The report says, “their sheer number and variety of meetings is a defining feature of the top job.”

With CEOs working over 60 hours a week, plus nearly 10 more on the weekend, meetings take up a huge number of hours every week.

By setting up meetings and conferences at airport hotels and venues, EAs can save their bosses a significant amount of time travelling to and from airports, and in and out of traffic-locked CBDs.

They save on costs

Hotels in CBDs are getting more expensive. In world cities like Sydney, New York, London and Singapore, the cost of accommodation is steadily climbing as demand for rooms increases.

Airport hotels offer a competitive alternative to staying in the CBD. Business travellers are airport hotels’ bread and butter, so they understand the importance of keeping that expenses spreadsheet under control.

Not only are they competitively priced, but airport hotels and event spaces also cut down on—or even completely eliminate—travel costs. A short stroll from the check in desk is nowhere near as expensive as a 45 minute taxi ride into town. If walking isn’t an option, most airport hotels offer free shuttles for guests or event delegates.

They take the stress out of business travel

While travel and meetings are essential for business, particularly for executives, they have a human cost. A survey on business travel related stress has found that people who are taking frequent business trips are more stressed than occasional travellers.

The biggest cause for stress on business trips, according to the research, was a feeling that travellers were wasting too much time in positions or situations where working was impossible.

Everyone who has travelled for work knows that a business trip can make for some long hours. Flying in for an event or meeting, working all day, then leaving at the crack of dawn the following day to the airport is a draining experience.

Having a meeting and staying the night next to the terminal means executives can wake up, have a relaxing breakfast, and get some good solid work done before catching their flight home—which takes off 100 metres from their hotel room.

With data showing that CEOs sleep less than seven hours a night and only manage to get 45 minutes of exercise a day, a two hour respite on the morning of a flight can also be invaluable for an exec’s wellbeing.

Pullman Brisbane Airport voted best hotel in Australia Pacific

Earlier this year in London, Skytrax held its annual awards for the airline industry, where the Pullman Brisbane was crowned the Best Airport Hotel in Australia Pacific. The Pullman Brisbane Airport also scored fifth position in World’s Best Hotels 2019.

Opened in October 2017, the Pullman Brisbane Airport was part of a $150 million project that also included the 243 room ibis Brisbane Airport and the 1,800 square metre Brisbane Airport Conference Centre. Alex Penklis, Chief Operating Officer of Brisbane Airport Hotels Group, said the award is a testament to the dedication and determination shown by everyone involved within the hotel.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve so far in our first year of operation. Our success is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of our team in delivering a quality product and high level of customer service to our guests on a daily basis.”

Airports are becoming mini cities

Airports have evolved to more than just check-in counters, departure gates and food courts. EAs organising a conference or meeting at an airport venue no longer have to worry if their guests will have wifi, or if their event will be able to use the latest tech.

Caused by a massive increase in air travel numbers, airports are fast becoming ‘mini cities’ with technology parks, shopping centres and hotels growing out from terminals. This means that EAs booking airport meetings in the future will be spoilt for choice.

In 2018, international (not including domestic) arrivals reached a staggering 1.8 billion. Plus the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that present trends in air transport suggest passenger numbers could reach 8.2 billion in 2037.

Inside the terminal doors, airports are bringing in more services and amenities to cater for the crowds.

Take Changi Airport in Singapore as an example. It’s practically famous for its facilities—it has a swimming pool, art galleries and installations, a movie theatre, numerous gardens, and even a suspended trampoline walk.

Inside Changi Airport, Singapore.

But it’s not just the airports developing. Experts are predicting that soon the areas around airports will become increasingly developed. Academic and airport business advisor, John Kasarda wrote a book titled ‘Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next’ where he predicts people will begin living around airports, much like the way cities sprung up around major coastal trade ports.

Australia and the Asia Pacific are set to be the centre of air travel

In what researchers are calling an ‘Eastward shift’, China, Australia, Singapore and the rest of East Asia will soon count for more than half of the world’s travel.

This is good news for fly in, fly out meetings, because airports will be upgraded with new facilities, more flight routes and new runways.

This is already happening down-under, as Brisbane Airport is set to double its capacity with a brand new runway in 2020. The $1.3 billion development is the largest aviation construction project in Australia, and will bring more flights and better service to Brisbane.

Works are nearly completed on Brisbane Airport’s new runway.

Meetings and events are all about bringing people together. In today’s business environment—where executives are spending a massive amount of time at meetings—organising a trip that costs less, is more time efficient, reduces stress, but still delivers a high quality experience, is something worth considering. So, next time a remote team needs to get together, or a conference is on the calendar, an airport venue should be on your list to call.