Although we have certainly come a long way, being a woman in business isn’t always easy. In 2005, Cynthia Good looked around and realized that there were almost no resources speaking to women about their businesses and career. As a result, she started PINK, a national women’s business magazine, which has now become Little PINK Book, a daily e-note with tools, resources, and expert advice about everything working women need to know. (I’ve subscribed to Little PINK book for over a year now, and look forward to reading it over my coffee every morning. You should definitely check it out!!)
Not surprisingly, Cynthia is on the road regularly for Little PINK Book. This road warriorette hast teamed up with Embassy Suites to talk about their latest business travel survey, and has lots of insight and information to share. I was lucky enough to get to talk to her recently—here’s what she had to say!
RW : First personally, what do you look for in a hotel?
CG: Well, we do a lot of traveling, certainly a lot of business traveling. I’m a business owner and I’m very cost conscious! I’ll tell you a horrible story which just happened the other day to my head of finance. She took a few days off to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary, but she had to keep up with work. And the hotel, which will not be named, their internet system didn’t work so she could not log on to her computer. And then they charged her a fee for using it. I worry about women travelers because they don’t always know to ask… Do you have an internet system that works, do you have a business center, when is it open, can I print out a document, and am I going to be charged for that. So that’s the kind of thing you want to look for.
RW : Wow that would be really frustrating. Was it in the US or somewhere international?
CG: It was in the US, in Florida. I think that’s the kind of thing, as a women business owner and business traveler, you expect everybody is going to have, but you can’t just automatically assume. You have to ask: Is it available, is it available 24/7, and am I going to be charged for it? I know that’s one nice thing that Embassy Suites does, so it’s not a problem there. But the data shows that this is the number one cause for a travel melt down: if you can’t print out documents and conduct business, really your hands are tied.
RW : So speaking of travel melt downs…what’s the worst one you’ve ever had?
CG: I once had to tell a client that the proposal that I was going to send to them, that they were expecting on a certain day was going to have to be a day late because I was traveling. Even though I had all of my technology with me, because of the hotel I couldn’t send it.
RW : So what’s something else you look for in a hotel?
CG: When we travel for events I bring my team, and they’re very cost conscious. They will room together, which is great, but that can be difficult because if you just have one room and the space is really small, you want to spread out all your work materials. So it’s nice to have a larger space. That’s something the study found, is that everybody looks for is enough room to conduct their business. And if you’re trying to cut costs, employees may want to share a room.
RW : Writing a business travel blog, that’s actually something I’ve gotten questions about: how do people share rooms nicely? Space is critical.
CG: That can be a huge challenge especially for me as a business owner. I love that my team is doing that but I also want to make sure they are comfortable, otherwise…
RW : They’re not going to be effective
CG: Yes. When I have my own room it’s still nice to have that second room. When [my team] comes to go over the schedule the day before an event, or if I have a client come in, you have a separate space where you can talk to them just about business things. They don’t have to see your suitcase explosion!
RW : Not that I know anything about that! What is your best tip for women business travelers?
CG: Definitely take advantage of the market today. To make your dollars go further, do your research because you can find more value for your money. Make sure to look for hotels that are going to be a reasonable cost, and then look for amenities. The study shows that people are looking for amenities, and you can find things like a complimentary happy hour, a hot breakfast, and the business center all included, but you’re going to have to do a little research. Nearly 1 in 5 business travelers say that amenities are the most important factor when booking a hotel.
RW : Right, although I did laugh when one of the things that people look for is an HDTV. I thought that was really funny.
CG: Another thing I think is really funny is that the data shows that you miss home while you’re away, but when you’re home you sorta miss things from the road. And the number one thing that the men missed…the personal bar tender (laughing). And the number one thing the women missed was the housekeeping (laughing). So I thought that was really funny, I could definitely relate to that. My husband and I were laughing about that.
RW : I think I would also miss someone to make me breakfast.
CG: Right that was on the list too!
RW : Any other tips?
CG: Take advantage of the business travel to make it a combination business-leisure trip, or “bleisure” trip as it’s called. The data shows 61% of travelers do this. My husband and I have done this for 20 years and we have had a blast. And it turns a dreary business trip into a great time and an extended date night.
RW : What’s been your most memorable bleisure trip?
CG: Well I would have to say it was just a few weeks ago when went to Brazil to do profile on one of the top women in publishing in Brazil. It’s our 21st anniversary, so before we went to Sao Paolo for business we spent 48 hours in Rio! So it turns a work trip into a fun trip. We had fun and then we did the business part of it. We try to do that as much as possible, to take advantage of trips where we can. And that’s the whole idea behind PINK: it’s a beautiful career, but the point is to have a beautiful life.
RW: So what made you start Little PINK Book?
CG: Well, at the time we launched in 2005, nobody was speaking to women about women in business and their career. And so it was this huge wide open niche! We felt that something created by women for women made sense, because it was simply not on the radar of the big publishers where most of the firms are really run by guys. They didn’t think there was an open niche. I even had the editor and chief of a widely read business magazine say, “Well what difference does the stock price make if you’re a man or a women?” But at the time, in a recent issue of that magazine, there was not one picture of a business woman. We need somebody to talk to us about how to achieve more in our career.
RW: So true! One last question: what is your most important travel item?
CG: I I have a laptop which totally saved my life, but when I’m on the plane I think it’s Carmex. I get dry and thirsty!
RW: I can relate! Thank you so much for your time, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.
Thanks again to Cynthia Good. Readers, don’t forget to check out Little PINK Book!