Cycling becomes a priority for networking business travelers

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cycling becomes a priority for networking business travelers

For today's busy executives, serviced apartments are an ideal alternative to corporate suites in traditional chain hotels. Combining elegance and sophistication with convenience at a competitive price point, this type of accommodation is also an excellent way for guests to entertain other professionals while on a business trip. More typical networking events, such as meet-and-greets and business lunches, still reign supreme when it comes to forging new connections. However, as executives place additional emphasis on exercise regimens and wellness when traveling, the landscape for corporate connections is changing. According to The Economist, many business travelers are meeting new people and establishing relationships while cycling.

'The new golf'
In years past, executives frequently bonded over a round of golf. Combining the leisurely pace and relative peace and quiet of golf with the perfect environment for business networking, the gentleman's game is still a popular way for executives to discuss business in relaxed surroundings. However, some forward-thinking companies in London have begun to experiment with new ways to meet like-minded individuals, such as cycling. The news source reports that, for some organizations, cycling is becoming "the new golf," as executives choose to prioritize wellness and exercise with networking.

"When you play golf with somebody you have to decide if you're going to beat them, or let them beat you," Peter Murray, a former architect and journalist, told the news source. "If they're a client and you don't want to beat them you have to sort of cheat in order to lose. That seems to me not a good way of doing things."

To combine his passion for cycling with raising money for charitable causes - and establishing new relationships with potential clients - Murray founded the annual Cycle to Cannes bike ride. Beginning in London, this grueling test of endurance takes riders on a more than 7,000-mile journey to Cannes, France, and offers participants the opportunity to meet other professionals, forge new relationships and work toward common goals.

"If I walk into a meeting and somebody says 'I've done Cycle to Cannes' it's a done deal really," Murray told the news source.

An emphasis on wellness
Increasing numbers of executives who choose to stay in furnished extended stay apartments are making wellness and exercise a central part of their daily routine. However, cycling and other forms of physical activity are becoming integral to many companies' work ethic, particularly in the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley in the U.S.

According to Wired magazine, organizations such as Facebook and Google have legions of workers who combine exercise with commuting. These tech giants provide employees with company bikes to ride around their sprawling campuses, but some workers take cycling to a whole new level, particularly the skilled engineers at Google. The news source reports that some Googlers ride the 42-mile journey from San Francisco, California, to Google's corporate headquarters in Mountain View, and that the ride has become so popular, many of the company's employees embark on this arduous route every day.

The riders, who formed an unofficial collective known as SF2G, meet up with one another in coffee shops along San Francisco's iconic Mission Street before setting off on the ride to work. Although not for everyone, SF2G demonstrates that wellness and exercise are becoming increasingly important to today's professionals, especially those working in traditionally sedentary industries such as technology.

Executives planning their next business trip should consider staying in serviced apartments or corporate housing instead of chain hotels. Not only does this type of accommodation offer guests the comforts of home at a competitive price, but many of these properties also boast extensive gyms and fitness centers, making them the ideal alternative for executives who want to stay active during their trip.