Challenge: Being Home While You’re Away

Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

Pictured: Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

I was sipping a papaya smoothie at a Mexico resort when I heard a loud, “Whoohoo!”

A woman jumped up from her seat with her cellphone and ran over to show a photo to her friends who were on line at the omelet station.

“The baby was born, the baby was born!” she said with unrestrained glee.


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As I eavesdropped through the rest of my breakfast (that’s okay if the topic is just about a baby, right?), I gathered she had gotten a text the night before that her daughter had gone into labor four weeks early. The start of her vacation had been one sleepless night of worry, but this morning’s news set everything right. Mother and baby were doing well; there were plenty of just-taken photos of both coming through every other minute on her iPhone and updates (the name was chosen, Amanda Marie!) were popping up regularly via email.

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Next Scenario: This summer, on a river cruise, I met an affluent working couple who had booked the top suites for their pre- and post-hotel stays, and the best room on the ship. Trip of a lifetime, but the woman quickly revealed she was a nervous wreck as her daughter proclaimed just as they departed for Europe that she was getting married in six weeks. That left Mom woefully little time to put a glorious Southern wedding together. Her free time on the cruise was spent at the communal desktop computer in the ship’s lounge as she checked her emails, trying to get quotes from caterers and collaborating on the wedding gown selection with her daughter, who was emailing photos of all the options over as she tried them on in the bridal boutique. Two months later, photos on Facebook verified that the wedding actually had taken place; everyone looked lovely but I’m sure few guests knew the bulk of the planning had taken place on the Rhine River.

Baby boomers are exploring the world en masse, just as the forecasts promised. Multiple trips to exotic places are the norm for many, but that doesn’t mean they don't want to be on hand for the life-defining moments back home.

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For this reason, you need to ensure the places you are sending your clients to have full connectivity and sufficient bandwidth to accommodate downloading a video of their grandson’s first steps or multiple PDF brochures from caterers who are bidding on a family wedding. Masterful connectivity is also a must to support their emails going back to the U.S. What's worse than thinking we’ve dealt with all of our issues while abroad only to realize there are 10 emails bottlenecked in our draft folder? That creates pure agitation, exacerbated even more so because a $20,000 vacation is going to waste.

So keep this important amenity in mind when planning travel for your mature clients. Strong connectivity is not just for the business traveler who needs Wi-Fi to download business presentations and to watch streaming video from his or her laptop to catch up on their favorite TV shows, and it's not just for 13-year-olds who are Instagramming their vacation to their friends and playing video games online.

While you're checking on the availability of strong bandwidth for your clients, determine what the hotel or cruise line is charging for it and how many devices are included in the pricing. If the fees add hundreds of dollars to your client’s final folio, the joy of being in touch with friends and family back home will become a distant memory and they may blame you for not forewarning them.

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