With travel budgets dwindling and entrepreneurs pressed for time, travelers are spending less time seeing the towns they visit and more time at the airport. Indeed, many are choosing to hold their meetings at or near airports, says Karen Goodwin, editor in chief of Frequent Flyer magazine. That way, travelers can get off the plane and get down to business without spending time and energy going to and from meetings. And for those flying in from around the country, it makes good sense to hold engagements at major airline hubs with easy accessibility.
"People want to just fly in, have the meeting and get out as quickly as possible," explains Goodwin. "[The trend is] definitely on the upswing."
One way more business travelers are holding meetings at airports is by taking advantage of airline clubs. Equipped with fax machines, data ports and conference tables, airline lounges have become a convenient and productive place to hold meetings on the fly, says Goodwin.
Greg Cowley, vice president of sales for American Express Group Travel Management Services, also sees a trend toward travelers meeting at nearby airport hotels. Most are either within walking distance or have a free shuttle, thus reducing transportation costs and hassles. Airport hotels also boast easy parking, on-site catering and state-of-the-art conference facilities.
What are airport locations lacking in? Says Cowley, "Groups locked into airport environments are really limited in their entertainment and dining capacities, so if you have off-site needs, it's really not the [ideal] niche."