A client rang me to ask for a hotel near her conference. She told me where the conference was. I got onto google maps and added the word hotel not the search box. 15 years ago this would have been a much more difficult task which would have involved checking the address of each hotel and postcode and then phoning the hotel or the venue to make sure. Now I can easily check the route by taxi, public transport or walking.
We ourselves were given the name of our hotel in Paris and straightaway realised it was some distance out of the city. Again I looked at google maps, worked out the best route and then I looked at street view and walked myself from the station to the hotel. I need the metro entrance opposite the stone wall and then walk towards and over the bridge and the I have to cross a busy road and it’s the second on the right.
Another client emailed from America and asked if I had Skype. I don’t but I do have FaceTime so this client can speak to me for free. Email has made dealing with overseas clients so much simpler. It would like to say that dealing with overseas hotels is easier too, but far too often their email address is a closely guarded secret.
Instead of having a cardboard ticket in order to travel, I could scan my QR code. Unfortunately it didn’t work but in theory the technology is there. This technology saves on postage as well since I can print my own ticket. Talking of postage I now weigh and print my own post using smart stamp. Since my nearest post office is a mile and a half away and really unpleasant with a very long queue this saves me hours for a small fee. Time is money so the time saved is time I can spend earning money.
Banks have replaced bank staff with machines but this hasn’t necessarily improved matters. I once wanted to transfer money between two accounts in the same bank and I was told that I had to get the money from one machine and then deposit it in another machine. I did so under protest and then closed my account and moved to a friendlier bank. A couple of weeks ago I needed to transfer money abroad believing that this would be both quick and easy, far from it. If I wanted it done quickly, it is a staggering 32 euros.since the amount I needed to send was only 70 euros, I chose instead to pay the 3pc credit card fee.
As well as it being easier to contact clients who are overseas, it is also easier to work overseas. More and more hotels now have free wi fi and this is often a deciding factor between one hotel and another. Free wifi at least enables me to answer clients emails and do a limited amount of work on the move.