All work and some play: the rise of the ‘Bleisure’ travellers

When you’re one half of a couple, frequent business travel can take its toll on your relationship.

Often you find yourself miles away from family on special occasions, missing birthdays, parties and anniversaries. There’s also something particularly poignant about sitting down to a table set for one in an unfamiliar restaurant amid the sound of strange accents and clinking glasses.

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8 Easy Contract Changes to Make for More Sustainable Events

8 Easy Contract Changes to Make for More Sustainable Events

It is our responsibility to make the changes we can to be more sustainable but naturally we cannot all chain ourselves to an oil rig and declare to stop flying places. We can however use the events industry to make small but significant changes. We can review our venue contracts and make conscious decisions to ask the questions about waste and sustainable resources.

Here are 5 easy changes that can be made today.

1. Food wastage

Think of the amount of food waste during any one event. Whether it is a corporate dinner, a lunch buffet or a mass participation sporting event.

Catering is greatly wasted and not only is it environmentally really bad it is ethically heartbreaking.

Ensure your venue has special measures in place for its food waste. Healthy and safety laws make it much more difficult now with food leaving premises but with the right disclaimers and pre planning you can have local food kitchens collect the unused food or at the very least packaged up for crew to take home.

2. Buy local

Wherever you are planning your event ask your venue to ensure they buy local food and drink product and wherever possible use local suppliers. We are able to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by reducing our import levels and more importantly we are supporting our local workers. This notion is true of whatever city you are in.
If you are buying wine in France, buy French wine.

3. Recycle

I’m not saying you have to go paperless. Sometimes we just need things written down and all we really want is an agenda on a piece of paper! But make sure the venue has suitable recycling facilities available and put confidential recycling bins all around your event.

It is not the use of paper that causes the problems, it is the lack of correct disposal facilities meaning paper goes into the regular bin, then to the regular dump and then into good old regular landfill.

4. Reduce washing

Ask your venue what its policy is on towel and bedding washing. Then also explain to your delegates that this is the case. Most people know that a towel in the bath means wash me, but if people thought about the frivolous waste of detergents and water that washing towels and bedding once a day creates they might think twice. After all, do you wash your towels every day at home? Unlikely.

5. Utilise Students

Developing our future event professionals is key to ethical sustainability. Ask your venue what their policy is on work experience and graduates and if they don’t have something in place bring in your own! The University of Greenwich run a great placement programme for corporates and agencies looking for interns and event students. They may also be your most enthusiastic and dynamic employees and are perfect for registration and hospitality support.

6. Arrange arrival and departure transfers

Commuting accounts for a third of all car travel and events are a great opportunity to reduce that. Make sure you have provided in advance adequate group transport instructions and also utilise coaches to reduce individual cars. Organise arrival transfers from the station, from the office, from a convenient location. Just don’t leave it up to all attendees to “hop in a taxi.” It affects both carbon emissions and the amount of expense receipts coming through!

7. Save energy

Have your venue put in writing that they will turn off all lights and air conditioning when meeting spaces are not in use and make sure they stick to it. Have your event manager walk around the venue an hour after the meeting and turn off all switches and electricity outputs. If you are at an offsite dinner you do not need the air conditioning on in your meeting room!

8. Communicate

Let your delegates know that you are making these changes. Do not just call your event “green” and hope that does the job. It is not enough and it will not resonate with people. Outline the exact changes you have made and what they can do. It also reduces resistance if they are prepared in advance that towels are not being washed daily!

Sustainability is not just about being “paperless” but it is easier than you think to bring sustainable measures into your programme. No event manager really wants to see food go to waste when someone is in need and every successful event professional was given their break by someone, so pay it forward and get event students on board!

Chances are your venue and suppliers are willing to make all these changes, they just need to be asked the right questions!

Hannah Luffman

Hannah very kindly spoke at Assist Travel which took place in London on 9th September.

AT 2016 logo

Using Instagram for business

I’ve been using Instagram for a few years now and I love it! Although since I’ve had kids, I don’t feel the urge to Instagram my life as much as I used to (who needs to see me covered in milk, pureed vegetables and goodness knows what else!) Anyhoo… I’ve been looking into how I can use Instagram for the blog and have found a few really good tips that I thought I would share with you today. Firstly, you may need to explain to your Executive why Instagram is a good social media platform to use for business but once you get over that hurdle there are a lot of benefits. Let me give you a few reasons you can fire at them…

  • There are over 500 million users on Instagram (more than Twitter) and the majority are active on the platform
  • 70% of users have at some point looked up a brand on Instagram and 62% follow a brand because they like the content being posted
  • There is no hard sell required on Instagram. If users like the images being posted they will soak up the sales messages.
  • Here is a quote from Mike Hayes, Digital Marketing Manager of Ben & Jerry’s: “Since its launch, Instagram has provided us with an amazing platform to connect with our fans and tell our story visually.” 

So where do we start with Instagram..?

Here is a great overview of how to set up your Instagram account for business. There are the obvious tips like – set up a separate business account rather than a personal account, connect all of your social media channels so that your followers can see all of your content and ensure you have the Instagram Analytics available to track your progress.

Once you have your business account set up the next step is to create a clear strategy. These are my Instagram goals for Practically Perfect PA:

  • To showcase our events
  • To raise awareness of the blog
  • To build the Practically Perfect PA community
  • Share news and updates

I would image your business would have similar goals for their marketing activities. If you are looking after your business social media or your Executive’s it is important that you come up with objectives for using the platform, what you want your Instagram account to look like and the content you will publish. It is also really important that you understand the type of audience you will attract on Instagram. For example, roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram and 25% of 30-49 year olds use it. That is a young audience – but one that might stick with your brand for years to come if they like what they see.

Instagram tips

After lots of reading, this is what I have learnt about Instagram for business and how to make the most of the platform:

  • Like any social media platform your biography / description is the first introduction to the brand so make the most of this space. Most business’s include their slogan and a brief description.
  • Your profile picture should make it very obvious who you are. Most business’s use their logo. I would suggest you do the same.
  • You are only allowed to use one link on Instagram so that tends to be the business homepage. You can change this if you have a big campaign or product you are promoting.
  • What should you post about? This is the tricky part of Instagram and it really depends on your Organisation and its culture. Some brands focus solely on their products, others like to include pictures of their staff and activities within the business. This will have to be decided by you and your Executive. I’ve noticed the brands that use Instagram really well post a mixture of content including: behind the scenes images, product demos, fun images and inspirational quotes, visuals showing the human side of the business, customer stories and testimonials.
  • What should your pictures look like? The best thing about Instagram is that you can add filters, play around with the composition and generally make a picture look much better than the original. In everything I’ve read the general advice is – don’t post rubbish pictures. Try to make them look as good as possible and ensure your audience can see what you have actually taken a picture of!
  • You can add a caption with every image that you post on Instagram so again this is a space that can connect you with your audience. You can use 2,200 characters. But, most marketing experts suggest no more than three lines.
  • Instagram use hashtags in the same way that Twitter does. You can search for any subject via a hashtag and you will see all of the content related to that subject. Do your research on this one. What hashtags are your competitors using?
  • With everything social media related, consistency is key. Include information on how many times you are going to post into Instagram in your content plan. You can now use Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance.
  • Remember to follow others, your clients, customers and colleagues. Following other people and liking their content is the key to increasing your followers.
  • You can also post short videos on Instagram. Having a mixture of visuals will help keep your audience engaged.

So these are the tips that I have picked up while sorting out my Instagram platform. I will let everyone know once I go live with it! In the meantime if you would like to know about Instagram for business, check out this great article from Social Media Examiner.

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to San Francisco

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to San Francisco

San Francisco is a magical cosmopolitan city; known popularly as the city by the bay, it has evoked songs, poems and popular sayings. Rich in cultural attractions, it is both liberal bastion and commercial hub with tech-hot Silicon Valley reaching north and embracing the city with global headquarter giants like Twitter, Pinterest, and SalesForce. Think Napa Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, North Beach, Alcatraz and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. You need to plan ahead!

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Feeling undervalued….

We are chuffed to bits to be guest blogging today for the Practically Perfect PA Blog. After sponsoring the first ever Big Questions event in Edinburgh, we wanted to introduce ourselves to some of you that weren’t able to make it along.

One of the main topics discussed at the Big Questions was “How do we get our organisation to value the work that we do?” and it was really interesting to hear a lot of your opinions on this. In many companies, employees feel undervalued in their role and also unmotivated to go the extra mile. At Highland Fayre, we help employers show their staff the gratitude they deserve. Since 1985, Highland Fayre has been Scotland’s No.1 Luxury Gift Company providing bespoke hampers and personalised gifts.

Receiving a hamper, personalised gift or branded product is a gesture that speaks louder than words. We work closely with companies such as BP, Amazon, Sky, Vision Express and ExxonMobil, to create gifts that really help to increase their employee and customer loyalty.

Feeling undervalued….

There are many occasions throughout the year that we can help employers show that they care – Long Service Awards, Promotions, Christmas, Maternity and Retirements.

Every employer is aware of the importance of letting employees know they are appreciated. One of the biggest challenges companies face is finding the time to search for a suitable gift. Personalised gifts have taken off in recent years and no wonder! Last year we invested in several engraving machines and we really want to show them off! We have had a great start to our new range, creating personalised gifts for the likes of Savills and Revolution Bars to thank their employees and customers. Our engraving machines help make a gift extra special and really leave a lasting impression.

Feeling undervalued….

We understand that cost is a significant feature in rewarding clients and staff for their loyalty, however we have options that will suit any budget!

Feeling undervalued….

As a BPMA accredited distributor of promotional merchandise we also hold a range of over 70,000 products that we can brand with your logo/message.

For your chance to win a £100 Luxury Hamper from Highland Fayre, enter your details on to our Request a Brochure page and use the code PRACTICALLYPERFECTPA in the comments section, Good Luck!

Feeling undervalued….

This blog post is sponsored by Highland Fayre. Follow the link for more information about Practically Perfect PA’s sponsored posts

How can you help your Executive with travel delays?

Picture the scene. You’ve planned your Executive’s business trip to a tee. It is perfect. The itinerary is flawless, the hotels are top notch, the ground transport has been planned to whizz your Exec around the city. You are confident your Executive will be able to cope with all of the business trip details while you are sitting at your desk in your office. Your Executive waves goodbye and you think phew! … And then you get the dreaded phone call… ‘I’m stuck in traffic and I’m going to miss my flight’… Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

No matter how perfectly we plan our Executive’s trips there is always the potential of something going wrong. It is how we cope with these delays and problems that make us super duper Assistants. Here are some tips if your Executive does experience a travel delay:

  • Be prepared. It is always, always worth checking the weather in the places that your boss is travelling to. It kinda goes without saying that if there have been any weather warnings or any unusual weather there will be travel delays and you should be prepared for this.
  • Make a temporary hotel reservation. Some hotels do not charge until you turn up at the reception desk so it is well worth making a reservation just so they have someone to put their hesad in case they are stuck in the city. Ideally you want to book a hotel attached to the airport or one that offers a shuttle service to the terminal so that your Executive doesn’t have to worry about ground transport.
  • Make sure your Executive is a member of the loyality scheme for the airline and the hotel. Members can use the lounge and they generally get treated better.
  • Prior to the trip ensure your Executive has the phone number of the hotel, your Travel Management Company and the Airline stored in their phone. Tell them the numbers are there in case of emergency.
  • Just be aware of alternative flights on other airlines that are flying around the same time as your Executive. You may be able to book them on or get your Travel Management Company to switch the booking asap.
  • Use social media. Many airlines and airports will post up to date information on their Twitter feed before they get round to telling people on the ground. It is also worth sending a tweet or two to the airline… a little complaining never hurts!
  • It isn’t just weather that can delay a trip. If there are any strikes that are taking place while your boss is travelling this can cause huge delays. Air traffic Controllers, Baggage Handlers, public transport workers often go on strike, but they will announce it in advance so that travellers can plan accordingly. The airliners may say they are running a usual service, but from experience this is not the case.
  • Book early morning flights where possible. Any flight delays will be much worse as the day goes on so make sure your Exec is on the early flight so they are the first to leave.
  • Most Executives will ask you to book a complete flight (rather than a connecting flight) but if your organisation has a small budget for flights it is worth noting that a continuous flight will not be as affected by delays.
  • Always inform the local office if your Executive is experiencing delays. They may have arrangements in place tht you are not aware of.
  • Most Executives don’t check in luggage these days, which is a good thing. This helps when airline staff have to pick who can quickly run across a terminal to catch a different flight. Travelling light really does help in these situations.
  • If your Executive decides to hire a car to make it to the next part of the trip do make sure you let the airline know. They may cancel the rest of the trip and put your Executive down as a ‘no-show’.
  • If your Executive is stuck on a plane that is sitting on the tarmac the airline can only keep them there for up to three hours. This is worth letting your Executive know they can ask get off after that point.

Assist Travel

For lots more business travel tips we recommend you come along to Assist Travel. Taking place on Friday 9th September in London it is the conference for PA’s who book business travel for their Executives.

News from Assist Travel

Discount for Practically Perfect PA readers

Our early booking fee of £100 is still available for Practically Perfect PA readers and you can book your place right now. This is the only event in the UK specifically for PAs who organise business travel. I would love to see you there! To get more information about the conference you can visit the Assist Travel webpage or you can book directly through Eventbrite.

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

Since opening its doors to the world since the fall of the wall, Berlin has become a bustling, cosmopolitan and hugely popular destination for business and leisure travellers alike. It’s no coincidence that a city with such historical and cultural significance should become a key exhibition hub for industries to showcase their innovations. Few cities in the world have the unique mix of the old and the new with such a vast amount of iconic landmarks and things to do and see if your schedule allows you the time.

CityCube Berlin, Messedamm, 26, 14055 Berlin

CityCube is a very popular business venue hosting among other things festivals like App World every year.

How to get there…

From Berlin Schönefeld Airport, it will take you about an hour to get to the venue. Hop on the RB14 Towards Nauen Bahnhof, change at Berlin-Lichtenberg for the S5 to Messe Süd.

If you’re flying into Berlin Tegel Airport jump on the 109 towards S+U Zoologischer Garten, in 10 minutes you’ll be at Berlin Charlottenburg. From here, get the S5 towards Spandau Banhof, and alight at Messe Süd.

Getting around Berlin

Berlin is a relatively small city, with great public transport that runs like clockwork. There’s the U-Bahn (underground/subway) and the S- Bahn (above ground train) – at times you might switch between the two to get where you’re going. Oh and it runs 24 hours, so no excuses for not exploring the city!

And remember: STAMP YOUR TICKETS. At each station, there’s a box that you should time-stamp your ticket at before boarding any public transport. Plain clothes ticket officers may pop up – and they will fine you.

The nearest station to CityCube Conference Centre is Messe Süd, on the S9 (which the Flughafen Berlin Schönefeld is on too, albeit on the other end) and S75. These are great lines to be on, and can whizz you from West to East in no time. Here’s a handy tube map.

You can, of course, use Uber whilst in Berlin. Or download the handily named Taxi App, which works in the same way but also allows you to pay in cash (especially good if you’ve got some extra Euros to use).

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

Local Eateries and Bar Hotspots

House of Small Wonder (Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany)

Climb the twisting staircase through jungle plants and odd paraphernalia. It’s not the biggest café, so make sure to arrive with plenty of time. Foodwise, their Okinawan Taco Rice is delicious and they serve their coffee with a smile.

 The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

Dr. Pong (Eberswalder Str. 21, 10437 Berlin, Germany)

No trip to Berlin would be complete without a trip to the local’s local Dr. Pong. It’s gained a bit of a reputation in recent years with travelers, but the core essence remains the same: beer, and a whole lot of group pong action.

Any bar near Sonnenalle…

It’s totally worth taking a little trip to Neukölln of an evening. Take a little walk and peek behind any number of doors and you’ll probably find a dimly lit bar serving beer and €2 Prosecco. If locals are to be believed, Neukölln is the new Kreuzberg, and it’s packed to the brim with bars and restaurants.


Ban Ban Kitchen (Schillerpromenade 32, 12049 Berlin, Germany) Korean Soul Food is totally a thing in Berlin. They’ve got two locations, so whether you’re looking for a quick snack or ready for a proper meal, they’ve got you covered. And simply put, they have the best darn Kimchi Fries ever (yes, they’re a thing!).


Das Gift (Donaustraße 119, 12043 Berlin, Germany)

This has to be the only Scottish bar in Berlin, and it’s owned by Mogwai keyboardist Barry Burns. It’s a dive bar, in the best possible way… and one of the only places in around that knows (and appreciates) what ‘cider’ is!

Klunkerkranich (Karl-Marx-Straße 66, 12043 Berlin, Germany)  This shopping centre on Karl-Marx-Allee might look like every other mall around. But hop in the elevator and head to the top of the car- park, and you’ll be rewarded with great views of Berlin, a welcoming beer-garden and an ice-cold Fritz Kola.

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

Evening Entertainment

Let’s Go Gaming: IRL or VR?

Head to the achingly cool Urban Spree (Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin, Germany), which is 1700sqm dedicated to art and DIY ideas – and just down the road from the East Side Gallery. And they welcome everyone from experts to n00bs.

Or go analogue at dinner and grab a bento box and a board game at Go Bento (Stubbenkammerstraße 5, 10437 Berlin, Germany). The chef’s philosophy is simple: meat, or no meat? Then he’ll whip you up a bento box filled with the freshest flavours. It’s BYOB, and green tea comes free. What more do you need?

Tech gets techno…

Golden Gate (Schicklerstraße 4, 10179 Berlin, Germany)

Looking for some classic Berlin club-scene but don’t want the Berghain queues? Golden Gate is the one – world class DJs, sticky floors and the kind of front that looks like you’re stepping into an abandoned building. It’s what house music was made for.

For the Health and Fitness Conscious

Let’s go swimming!

Behind every door in Berlin there’s a surprise, and that extends to swimming too. If you’re looking central, check out Stadtbad Mitte (Gartenstraße 5, 10115 Berlin, Germany) – a public swimming pool housed in a Bauhaus building. The outside isn’t much to look at, but push open the door and you’ll be rewarded with high windows that let the light flood in.

If you’re East, then Stadtbad Neukölln (Ganghoferstraße 3, 12043 Berlin, Germany) is another hidden gem, with palatial domes and grandiose columns to gawk at whilst you paddle by. Then there’s the infamous Badeschiff Berlin, which is equal parts beach bar and Spree swimming. It gets busy though, so be ready to queue.

Vegan? No worries!

There are lots of vegan and veggie places in Berlin, but if you’re looking for something a bit more high class then head to Kopps (Linienstraße 94 10115 Berlin). It’s determined to do fine dining and fresh food the right way – not a schnitzel in sight!

The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

Retail Therapy

Fancy a spot of shopping? There’s only one district you need to head to, and that’s Mitte, near Alexanderplatz. It mixes alternative high-street gems like Monki and Muji with vintage kilo shops and independent boutiques.

Pick n Weight Kilo Store (Alte Schönhauser Str. 30, 10119 Berlin, Germany): Does what it says on the tin – gather as much as you can, and pay per kilo. Just remember those baggage limits on the way home!

Highstreet with a Berlin twist: Weinmeisterstrasse

Just around the corner from Pick n Weight is Weinmeisterstraße. It’s got all the best high-street stores like Urban Outfitters, Monki, ACNE and COS with some independent boutiques thrown in. If you head the other way down Neue Schönhauser Straße, you’ll find even more. Basically, wander round Mitte whilst you have the shopping bug and you can’t go wrong.

Fancy Something a Bit Different?

AREA: Prenzlauer Berg 

Bearpit Karaoke + Mauerpark Flea Market (Bernauer Str. 63-64, 13355 Berlin, Germany)

If you’re staying on for the weekend and want to do one tourist-y thing in Berlin, you HAVE to go to Bearpit Karaoke. Held at the heart of the famous Mauerpark flea market, make your way through the food stalls and junk tables towards the amphitheater. There, you’ll find the bear pit. Armed with a bicycle and portable karaoke machine, every Sunday Joe Hatchiban brings sweet (and not so sweet) singing to the city.

Right, that’s your itinerary covered. Now for all your business hotel booking needs, Roomex has you covered. No costs, no fees, no contracts, it’s a no-brainer. Request a demo.

Looking for the inside track on all of Europe’s highlights? Download our Ultimate European City Guide for Business Travellers below.

We’ve covered all the main business capitals and we’re adding a new city every week. If you know someone who travels a lot on business, download it below for free and share it with them!

 The Practically Perfect Business Traveller’s Guide to Berlin

This post is sponsored by Follow the link for more information about Practically Perfect PA’s sponsored posts.

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