From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA – PA Life Club

From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA

762 508 PA Life Club
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Here’s an interesting titbit of information for you: research shows that 96% of PAs say they are responsible for booking business travel. I know it’s a big part of my job, which is exactly why I couldn’t wait for this year’s Business Travel Show at Earl’s Court. I hope those of you who have slogged through London during the tube strike to make it to the event have found it as brilliantly useful as I did.

There were actually three shows in one, but I made my way down the red carpet (sadly with no paparazzi to take my picture) to the main event. Well over 200 suppliers were in attendance at this year’s show and I think I managed to get around to just about all of them. With so many mega-impressive stands and displays attracting my attention (did anybody else drool over the ultra-comfy Carlson Wagonlit Travel hub?), I must say I felt quite inspired as I did the rounds.

Dutifully skipping the many offers of sweets and cupcakes (it’s not easy looking this good, you know), I planned a route to see some of the exciting innovations being displayed, starting with the new business-focused cab-ordering app kiosks from the forward-thinking team at GetTaxi. These clever little beauties can be found in hotels and restaurants around London. They display an app where you touch a few buttons and a black cab is sent right to your location, leaving you to finish that last glass of wine after dinner while you wait for it to arrive.

Next up, I was given a demo of the new online booking tool from CTI called Sherpa. Amazingly, this programme is designed to pick through every travel search enquiry for certain terms to determine if a live agent would be better suited to handle the query. It could potentially save mucho dinero the next time I have to book flights with multiple stops for Mr P because if the search terms are flagged, the job is taken offline and sent to an agent in the CTI office, who will then pick the trip apart and call around to find the best possible price.

After hours of chatting with so many business contacts, you’d think I’d just want to head straight home, but I do love meeting new people, so I headed over to the nearby Atlas pub, a lovely little establishment just around the corner from the exhibition centre, for drinks with the team at ATPI. It was a small event, so I got to have some interesting conversations and Chief Operating Officer Peter Muller gave a speech to tell everybody what’s in store for the ever-growing company.

Now that the excitement is drawing to a close, it’s time for me to start trawling through the business cards and leaflets I’ve taken away and get to work on reporting my findings to Mr P – will the fun never end, I hear you ask?