February 10 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Have you ever considered how many people you help remain employed when you hit the road?
Last week, I took a business trip to New York City to lead a panel discussion at Best Western's third annual Business Travel Summit. For the duration of my trip, the fate of President Obama's economic stimulus plan dominated the news. As I sat in my room at the Best Western Hospitality House, I pondered just how much my trip would help stimulate the economy and how many jobs I might be saving.
Here's what I came up with: In just a single day of travel, I helped preserve at least 33 jobs.
While there are countless folks behind the scenes that I probably benefited from my trip, I only counted the number of faces I saw or the voices I heard as they helped me on my way. Here's the tally:
Cab ride to San Francisco International Airport: 2 jobs
(The curt taxi dispatcher and the friendly Brazilian driver)
Airport security: 5 jobs
(The bored ID/boarding pass checker, the pre-check bin organizer, the x-ray reader, the metal detector attendant and the post-check bin organizer)
Airport breakfast: 3 jobs
(The lady with the kind face at the food court who served up four fresh pieces of dim sum, the cashier and another nice lady who cleared and wiped my table)
Airport check-in: 2 jobs
(The brassy blonde gate agent who was unable to upgrade me but was kind about it, and the one who scanned my boarding pass)
In-flight: 7 jobs
(The pilot, co-pilot and and, I think, four flight attendants, the gate agent at JFK who drove the jetway up to our plane, welcomed us to New York and informed us that it was 19 degrees outside)
Car service from JFK to the hotel: 2 jobs
(The dispatcher and driver from Dial 7, my favorite NYC car service, where fare, tip, and toll from JFK in a roomy sedan costs just $57-- just a few bucks more than an old cab with bad shocks and no leg room)
At the hotel: 5 jobs
(The check-in clerk at the Best Western Hospitality House who upgraded me to a two-bedroom suite, the hotel engineer who helped with my Internet connection, the hotel manager greeting folks in the lobby, my unseen housekeeper and the shy attendant at the free breakfast bar the next morning)
Dinner on the first night at Avra Estiatorio: 7 jobs
(The host, coat checker, server, food runner, busboy, bartender, chef. This popular and reasonable East Side Greek restaurant was packed on a Wednesday night, which made me think, "What recession?")
It would be too tedious to go on about the countless other folks I helped keep their jobs on this trip, but I think a safe guess would be close to 100.
Think about this the next time you consider canceling a trip. By putting fear aside, getting out there, spending wisely, visiting clients and maintaining relationships, you are doing far more for our economy than anyone in Washington has been able to do so far.