Why the London Riots Created a Greater Business Travel Threat Than a Terrorist Attack

Introduction to the London riots threat

If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again.

The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011.

London Riots and Demonstrations

The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result.

Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees.

Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify:

Affected areas,
Degree of threat,
Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers,
Arrival/departure points,
Safe and non-affected areas,
Mitigation or eradication options,
Cost of implementation,
Funds available,
Emergency support,
Accommodation options,
On-going or developing events,
Social or non-business activity,
Insurance claims and compliance requirements,
Cancellation criteria,
Resumption of travel criteria,
Extended event plans,
Travel alternatives (domestic and international)
The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s.

The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects.

A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation.

Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots

With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travellers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travellers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions.

Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travellers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travellers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced.

A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed.

Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues.

Travel delay, disruption and changes

Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats.

The instinctive and guided response of travellers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect.

Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travellers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travellers upon all available exit travel nodes.

Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources.

Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travellers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view.

This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan’s tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travellers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue.

Conclusion: London riots threat

You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travellers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management and response. This will happen again. Perhaps not in London, perhaps not a city wide demonstration but this kind and scale of business travel disruption event will happen more than once before the end of 2011. Review your plan and make the necessary enhancements now.

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How Do Timeshares Work? How’s Their Value Compared to a Travel Club?

My beautiful wife, Nancy, and I love to travel… a lot!!

We’ve taken over 70 vacations & trips together in just over 8 years as a couple, which means we’ve got a little experience being tourists and in vacation mode.

So over the years we had heard about timeshares many times and had been solicited to go to presentations for freebies but we never once bothered…

…not really sure why not?

Maybe it was the thought of wasting several hours of our vacation getting pitched to spend lots of money, maybe it was the thought of it being too much money or that we didn’t want to keep traveling to one property all the time, etc.

Whatever it was, we just simply never went to a presentation… wasn’t worth a free dinner or tickets to us.

But over the past 18 weeks, as we’ve been traveling around to awesome places in Hawaii, California, Arizona & Florida, we’ve been staying at many great resorts through an International Travel Club that we’re members of and we’ve talked to many timeshare owners (there are lots of them) staying at the same places…

…and we’ve been chatting it up with some of these people trying to figure out why they bought, whether they liked it/disliked it, etc.

Basically, we figured it was time for us to see if a timeshare could benefit us with all the traveling we do.

So with that said, in Las Vegas a couple of months ago, we took the plunge and went to a presentation.

(Side note: The $150 in dining vouchers we were offered to go to the presentation had nothing to do with us attending… we simply wanted to learn and would have seriously considered buying if it made sense.

Tip: Our recommendation would be to never attend a Timeshare presentation for “the gift”… if you’re truly not interested, you’ll be wasting several hours of your vacation and you’ll be putting yourself in a high-pressure sales situation… we were there for 4 hours, even though they said 90 minutes max, and they said no pressure sales up front but let’s just say, that was not so)

What was our experience like?

To be honest, we’re still confused from the whole thing.

As mentioned, we’ve traveled a ton over the years and I was a top-selling travel agent for years but pretty much the whole idea went way over our heads and we’re not really sure why billions of dollars of this gets sold every year.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re an owner yourself we’re not knocking you for buying… if we didn’t know of a better alternative we may have considered.

But when we logically looked at the #s, it just didn’t add up for us.

Of course, like many purchases, we understand most people buy on emotions, not logic…

…travel is a powerful motivator… look at us, 18 weeks ago we sold all of our “stuff”, are now homeless, we travel full-time…

…and have never been happier in our lives!! LOL

For most people, that wouldn’t be a logical thing.

So we get that many people buy emotionally to “lock” in an annual vacation and commit themselves to get away… and we’re huge promoters of that… our eBook we wrote is all about that.

But logically, we couldn’t figure the whole timeshare thing out.

They were going on about buying points and how many points you need depends on things like how many weeks you want, time of year you travel, resort you stay at, room type, your “status”, and on and on.

But they wouldn’t give us real examples of what an amount of points would get us, what availability was like, how much ongoing maintenance fees would be, etc.

We had to make a decision “there and then”, that was it… no info to take with us to evaluate or think about it because “no-one comes back and buys once they leave” we were told…

…it was actually a little insulting as we felt we were expected to make an immediate decision without doing any due diligence on a “points” system that felt like you needed a degree to understand with all the variables, exchange options, add ons, upgrades, etc.

Being a couple that spent $40,000+/year on travel the last several years (and that’s before we started traveling full-time) we feel we were great prospects but unless we were willing to make a decision ‘on the spot” our business wasn’t wanted…

…very weird business practices!?

When we initially joined an International Travel Club earlier this year, it wasn’t till 3 weeks after we first saw it we joined. That was AFTER we did a bunch of research and flew to Las Vegas to check out 7 of their properties, and they were happy to take our business.

So we can now understand why many people who buy timeshares regret the hasty decision they made (Google timeshare and you’ll see owners selling them is a huge market) as they were so confused and pressured at the time they didn’t really understand what they were buying.

Anyway, enough about our experience on that.

What great thing came out of it though was that we feel better then ever about our decision to join a Travel Club rather then buy a timeshare… let’s compare the #s and see why that option made better sense to us.

Regarding the timeshare we saw, depending on how many points we bought based on when we wanted to travel, we would have paid either $18,000 or $26,000 up front for 1 week per year… and if we financed that at their 15.99% rate over 10 years it would have doubled that #.

On top of that you have monthly maintenance fees that you’re locked into for LIFE.

They were $50-$70/month depending on the package we bought… let’s use $60 for our example.

Over 30 years we’d pay our initial $18,000-$26,000 up front and $21,600 in maintenance fees. (Keep in mind maintenance fees ALWAYS go up… that’s the biggest complaint owners tell us… we talked to one who’s fees jumped to over $2000/year due to a hurricane and major repairs being done… for our example though, we won’t even factor in higher fees)

So when you add it up for 30 years of JUST 1 week/year we’d pay $39,600-$47,600.

And if you want more weeks you have to buy more points. (Which could double or triple or more the above #s depending what you want) And if you can’t travel due to illness you still pay maintenance fees, etc.

It’s a HUGE commitment!!

Now let’s look at the travel club option.

For a typical, good quality Travel club, you’ll pay, approximately, a ONE-TIME $5000 fee for life-time access which allows you to book up to 10 weeks/year at the resorts for the price range of $298-$799/week.

On average members pay around $550 for each week they stay at a resort.

So in 30 years you’ll have paid $5000 up front and $16,500 for 1 week/year… $21,500 in total… that’s 46%-55% less then a basic timeshare.

So you can see why being a member of a Travel Club, financially speaking, makes sense!

And here are a few things to consider:

1. You can book up to 9 more weeks per year in a Travel Club and just pay the $550 on average per week…. over 30 years you’ll pay $16,500 per extra week whereas an extra timeshare would be MUCH more… basically you’re saving over $20,000 for each extra week compared to a timeshare… the more you use your club the savings get ridiculous!

2. You’ll have no maintenance fees, ever! If you can’t travel in any given year or ever again, no big deal, you’ll never pay another dime… no contract locking in ongoing fees.

3. As mentioned, your up front cost will be around $5000, that’s it! Not $18,000-$26,000. Not sure about you but we don’t want to pay for years and years of vacations today… we have better things to do with our hard-earned dollars!

4. All the above timeshare #s are based on a studio or one bedroom which is all you need if you’re a couple… if you have a bigger family though and need 2 rooms or heaven forbid 3 or 4 you’ll need a ton more points… your costs will sky-rocket. With a travel club, the $298-$799/week can be for 1-3 rooms, based on your needs and availability… they’re not penalizing you and charging double/triple for your large family.

5. Most people don’t need to “finance” an upfront $5000 fee with a travel club… with the $20,000+ for a timeshare, many do… the high interest rates double your #s and really make a timeshare pricey.

Alright, enough said about the whole timeshare vs travel club option… I could go on with lots more pros/cons but I’m pretty sure about anyone could look at the above and easily decide which one logically makes more sense and can at the same time get emotionally satisfied with the monetary savings.

As I said at the beginning, this post isn’t about knocking timeshares or owners… Nancy & I love all industries that promote travel as we believe it’s so important and we know many of you love the “ownership” aspect of timeshares and that’s cool.

But we know our readers & most travelers love to save money, like savvy travelers like us do, and we want to make sure you’re fully informed on the options…

…and in our experience, most people don’t necessarily want “Vacation Homes” or “Vacation Ownership”, they just simply want consistent vacations and in our expertise…

…being a member of a Travel Club vs owning a Timeshare is a much more economical and smart option… in this volatile economy…

… or in any economy for that matter!

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