Jim Treliving: Bringing Prestige Back To The Art Of Travel
Insight Star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Jim Treliving shares the secrets to travelling over 200 days a year.
Question: What is the most common frustration you face while travelling?
A: I am a busy person and I like to keep moving, so delays during travel can be quite frustrating. I hate standing around or waiting in line so I try to set up my travel plans to minimize delays wherever possible.
Question: When travelling to the same place over and over, often the experience becomes dull and repetitive. What do you do during your down time to keep things new and exciting?
A: In most places that I visit frequently I am there for work, so I actually prefer the efficiency of “dull and repetitive” versus the uncertainty of trying the new and exciting things. I save the adventure for when I am traveling on pleasure and can explore new places.
"I am a busy person and I like to keep moving, so delays during travel can be quite frustrating. I hate standing around or waiting in line so I try to set up my travel plans to minimize delays wherever possible."
Question: There is a perception that business travel has lost its prestige, what do you do to ensure you can maximize the pleasure and enjoyment of travel for business?
A: I usually travel with my wife, even when on business. That helps to keep a lot of my travel enjoyable. We’ll often arrange to meet friends for dinner so that we can mix in some social time in between work commitments.
Question: How do you stay productive while on the go? (In the air, in a car, hotel etc.)
A: I prefer to speak with people on the phone rather than going back and forth on emails whenever possible, so I often will use down time in the airport lounge or car service to catch up with my business contacts over the phone.
"When even the smallest things are done right, it makes a huge difference to the guest in your business."
Question: Throughout your business career, is there a time you were most impressed with over the top service?
A: Since getting into the restaurant business over 40 years ago, I have been a strong supporter of outstanding customer service. When even the smallest things are done right, it makes a huge difference to the guest in your business. I have been fortunate to encounter excellent customer service a number of times in hotels, restaurants and airlines. I appreciate those experiences and it reinforces my commitment to providing the best possible customer service in my businesses.
Question: For someone who travels so often, I’m sure you have a few tricks up your sleeve for the fall and 2014. What’s next for Jim Treliving?
A: Well, next year we’ll be celebrating Boston Pizza’s 50 year anniversary with some major events across Canada and the United States. It will mean an even busier travel schedule for me in 2014 but it is very exciting and I am looking forward to it.
Question: How do your various organizations plan and structure employee travel?
A: It certainly varies for each business, but normally we plan travel as part of our annual budgeting process based on goals and objectives for the following year. For Boston Pizza, the key inputs for employee travel planning would include new restaurant openings, store renovations and operations support.
I’d encourage growing businesses to make the most out of their business trips by adding some time to explore other opportunities, check out the local competition or develop new contacts.
Question: As an employer, what are the most important aspects when planning for employees travel?
A: We have a few key components, starting with our employee travel policy and some corporate preferred hotels, rental cars, etc. We try to keep consistent and also perform audit reviews to see if there are opportunities to improve our employee travel processes.
Question: Do you find flying charter or commercial flights more efficient for employee travel?
A: We’re mostly commercial but there are times when charter just makes more sense. It depends on the destination and the timelines.
Question: What advice would you give a growing business that is starting to travel more often?
A: I’d encourage growing businesses to make the most out of their business trips by adding some time to explore other opportunities, check out the local competition or develop new contacts. Sometimes those extra experiences can be more valuable to your business than the original reason for your trip.