Diary of a Frequent Business Traveller: Heathrow Edition
Victoria Butler shares her experience of our bespoke chauffeur service. She has travelled the globe as a communications expert for some of the world’s most valuable brands, and now works with entrepreneurs to drive positive change.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve left the office in New York late in the evening and been whisked to JFK by our company chauffeur. Typically spending the drive mentally walking through my key client presentation, which I’ll be giving at 9 am London time. Once onboard, I settle into the flight and am greeted with my regular bellini, then dinner and the start of a movie. As soon as I’ve eaten, the seat goes down for some shut-eye, only to be woken a few short hours later as we make our descent.
Wherever I’ve lived or worked in the world, and however many times I’ve flown into LHR Heathrow, I still get a buzz every time the plane touches down.
Especially when coming in to land offered up a birds-eye view of Windsor Castle at sunrise. What a magical start to the day, irrespective of the time zone I’d flown in from, or the sleep I’d been deprived of. My business trips are invariably consumed with back-to-back meetings, client dinners and team briefings over breakfast. My time is not my own, so any glimpse of historic London is a bonus. It lifts my spirits, as otherwise, all I would see is airports, meeting rooms, restaurants and my hotel, which becomes repetitive and soulless.
The ‘in-between moments’ must provide much-needed calm to reflect on the day ahead, or the presentation I’ll be making at 4 am “my time”. I need to trust that everything is being taken care of, without being distracted by the details, providing a sense of calm.
My priority is hassle-free travel, and the little touches matter. Like the text that is waiting for me from my scheduled chauffeur when the seatbelt light goes off and my phone goes on. He’s asking what coffee I want when I clear customs, which counts as a little win at the start of a potentially challenging day.
Knowing I have a trusted chauffeur waiting at my destination lets me focus on what lies ahead. Like our company chauffeur in New York, my iChauffeur Paul is punctual, respectful, professional and safety-conscious.
Always impeccably dressed, Paul greets me with my coffee and takes my bags as we walk to his obvious pride and joy. His gleaming S Class Mercedes which he proudly describes as “in a class of its own, setting the standard in first-class luxury” if given the slightest prompt. It’s refreshing to be around people who truly love their work! Beyond being a stunning car, the ride is also clean and green, thanks to iChauffeur offsetting 100% of the carbon emissions on all rides. As a regular traveller, this is a key factor in my choice of a travel partner. If I have to travel, I choose to do it responsibly.
The drive to London is comfortable, quiet, spacious and discrete. Confidentiality is key, allowing me to make important calls on the way to my meeting that inform the finishing touches to my presentation. These up-to-the-minute changes can be the difference that gives me the edge, making iChauffeur an asset to my business.
When I glance up from my screen, I’m always impressed by Paul’s vast knowledge and experience of London’s streets. We seem to bypass traffic jams, navigating our journey efficiently and effectively. He’ll take backroads here and there to cut out unnecessary traffic, invariably reaching our destination ahead of the stated journey time on my phone app. And his knowledge of hidden parking spots is something to be applauded for.
Focused and flexible, Paul is there when I need him and invisible when I don’t. Supported by the ever-helpful iChauffeur back office, they are an unofficial extension of my team. Whatever I need, they can deliver. I put this to the test at JFK when I found that I had left my phone charger at the office. I messaged iChauffeur immediately, and they had the right charger waiting for me in the car.
The overall experience is part driver, part concierge and part PA. This makes the entire process smooth from start to finish, meaning I’m perfectly set for my day, and my night when needed. I tend to book a full-day experience, ensuring I’m covered for anything that comes up during my stay. This includes taking me to my various meetings, moving on to dinner, and then back to my hotel. They’ve even been known to book my party into the most prestigious restaurants when my team were told there was no availability. Knowing someone has my back provides welcome peace of mind, helps me optimise my time, and to free up precious downtime to process my meeting outputs.
First class service from pick up to drop off and beyond, my team struck gold when they discovered iChauffeur. We have high expectations of our suppliers, demanding the same level of exceptional client service that our business prides itself on. For a supplier to make our roster, they must adhere to our exacting standards and uphold core values relating to excellence, professionalism, transparency, affordability and sustainability. Above all, they must be willing to deliver beyond expectations, at a reasonable price for their offer.
While I appreciate a luxury experience, I am always mindful of the current commercial reality of inflationary pressures and fears of a recession. Slowing economic growth and rising prices mean that, like every smart business, we are cutting corners where we can. Across the board, we are eliminating excess expenses to remain competitive in our marketplace. My team are tasked with the balancing act of finding partners that deliver an overall package that optimises business efficiencies without breaking the bank.
I may be overcautious, but I’m still mindful that Covid-19 has not yet disappeared, and who knows what the next variant might bring? This remains front of my mind when travelling for business as potential exposure is a threat. While face-to-face meetings are less frequent, there are times like now when it is unavoidable. My team are briefed to ensure every aspect of my travel safety, throughout any business trip.
I very much appreciate that iChauffeur has not let its guard down concerning travel safety, with both passenger and chauffeur safety still a high priority. Their commitment to safety can’t be faulted, exclusively providing contactless travel, and reducing physical contact between passengers, chauffeurs and vehicles to the bare minimum. We’ve done our homework and I feel safe in the knowledge that the UK’s Licensed Private Car Hire Association consider that “iChauffeur have shown a fantastic example of best practice” for the industry and have “set the bar high with their virus prevention measures.”
For all these reasons and more, I can’t recommend iChauffeur high enough as they provide so much more than a luxury airport chauffeur service. I happily share their details with anyone travelling to the UK, as their offer is a complete end-to-end experience that goes the extra mile, without fail. That is why they have become an integral part of my informal London team, and have been elevated from outstanding suppliers to long-term partners.
Before we found iChauffeur, I felt a sense of rushing from airport to meetings, always stressing about whether I’d make it to my appointments on time. Travelling on the red eye can be a high adrenaline experience as it is, so it is critical to know I’ll arrive at my destinations on time, unruffled, fully prepared, and ahead of the game.
Having access to a good chauffeur whenever and wherever I travel is a necessity rather than a luxury. I see it as an investment in our business, facilitating productive meetings and positive client relationships. iChauffeur is a perfect temporary chauffeur solution to fulfil my needs whenever visiting the UK. They excel in client service and worry-free travel, leaving me to focus on the business at hand.
Anything that provides me with a competitive advantage, and helps drive my business success is a winner in my books. I truly love travelling to London and taking moments to appreciate the best it has to offer. iChauffeur helps keep my finger on the pulse of this amazing city.
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- Heathrow Airport (Wikipedia)
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