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CEO Open Letter – Business Traveler Disruptions Due to Coronavirus

I’ve been a business traveler for 25+ years, graduating from “road warrior” status to “business executive” to “entrepreneurial business owner” during my career. Over the years, there have been many disruptions that have significantly impacted the business and occupied my life.  Some events captivated headlines (was traveling in Germany and the UK during the Bush/Gore hanging chad election in 2000).  While others changed the world (I was in Chicago on 9/11 planning to fly to Los Angeles later in the day, which, of course, did not happen).  During the “crisis” – and I do not use the term lightly – things seemed very overwhelming at best, and life threatening at worst.  

Today, business travelers are facing a global disruption.  For those who travel internationally, many destinations are currently on “no fly lists” while others are in the “recommended not to travel” category. Many offices are encouraging, if not demanding, telecommuting and setting up remote locations to minimize social interaction. We’ve come to learn a new term: “social distancing” (I’ve seen some humorous memes joking that this is a practice introverts have been working to perfect for years). But, for those of us who thrive on the social interaction, the face-to-face business meetings, the win-win proposals and trying to add value to our business partners and customers, this is a rough time.  

At Business Traveler, we value our readers who rely on us to provide indispensable information about airlines, hotels, destinations and many other lifestyle pieces that make business, leisure and bleisure trips more enjoyable, rewarding and valuable.  We will continue to provide this information as it becomes appropriate and necessary. However, we are planning, in addition, to add more features to help our readers get through this disruption. As a father of two children in college, one of our first practical actions has been to increase our home internet connection speed from 100 MPS to 400 MPS.  The process, via our internet provider Optimum Online, became painless once I was committed to staying on hold for a substantial period of time.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will be looking to provide more news that will help add value to daily life in these odd times and we will continue publishing features on great destination experiences, such as the Signature Retreat at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village outside of Los Angeles.  Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor for Allianz, recently made a statement about the wild fluctuations in the financial markets, which I believe is relevant to business travel. He said, “The problem is not the destination, but the journey.” Mr. El-Erian is confident that our financial markets will recover in time. And we, at Business Traveler, are confident travel will recover in time. However, the journey, that path to recovery, will be rough. Our goal is to help our readers get  through the rough journey and back to enjoying the many destinations and experiences this wonderful world has to offer.  

Thank you for your loyalty.

Jerry Ruud,

Managing Director at Business Traveler USA & CEO of Grateful Media Group, Inc.