Before heading to your next aviation conference, you might want to consider how you’ll recap the event with a trip report.
A trip report is a communication document addressed to your aircraft owner, aviation reporting executive, director and/or members of your team.
It’s meant to review why you attended, what you learned and who you met. It will likely also include your recommendations based on your learnings. You might even include tips to prepare for next year’s event.
The Importance of a Trip Report
Why are trip reports important? For starters, your company is likely making a significant investment to send you on business travel. Whether it’s for personal or professional development reasons (or both), they’ll want to ensure that there’s a benefit.
We thought it might be helpful to share the following few tips with those planning to attend NBAA’s upcoming Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. Hopefully, in this way, you can make the most of your company’s investment—ahead of your return. And, when you do write your trip report, you’ll have a wealth of relevant information to include.
Tips for Writing a Trip Report
Have a plan
First up, having a plan is critical to getting the most out of your event attendance. Before you go, research what sessions you’ll be attending and who you’ll be meeting with (colleagues, partners, vendors, etc.).
Be sure to ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish? To learn? Why am I attending? And how can I use my experience at the event to train/educate others when I return?
Schedule your time
If possible, use the show’s event app to schedule where you’ll be during the NBAA event. This allows you to make sure you’re using your time as wisely as possible. It also serves to let others know where you might be if they’re interested in getting hold of you.
It’s extremely helpful to use a Google Sheets app (or other recording tools) to document what you’re learning—as you learn it. You can also take notes on your iPad or laptop during sessions. Capture relevant content, products, important presentation slides or signage using your phone or iPad. Don’t forget, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Your digital documentation helps you avoid having to go back and retype everything when you return from the show.
Lastly, we recommend scanning any collected business cards into your phone using a free digital scanner. One example is the CamCard app. It’s free and will save you time retyping contact details into your Outlook, Gmail, etc.
Try to frame what you’ve learned in terms of the benefits it provides you. Did you meet the goals you set out for yourself in your plan?
Provide specific examples of events relevant to your goals or anything that happened that will benefit your company. Discuss specifically how those benefits will help the company—for example, it might be that you are able to decrease the company’s need to hire outside vendors now that you have a particular skill you picked up at the show.
The event app is a great way to see who’s exhibiting, along with who is attending special functions. More than likely, the app will offer a messaging tool (similar to Twitter), and you maybe be able follow the official event hashtag, such as “nbaa18.” If you’re traveling solo, connecting with others online might be the perfect way to break the ice.
Use your time wisely
Be mindful of the free time you have at—and following—the event. Perhaps you can use your travel time on the trip home to document the salient points of your trip in a PowerPoint or Google doc. Doing so will ensure that you’re ready to go on the Monday after your return.
An easy way to capture all your expenses is to snap photos of your receipts. Doing so will help you calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) for your attendance. List the total cost for the trip, any expected financial benefit to the company and your recommendation for the future. The more specific you can be about the benefits of your trip, the easier it is for your management team to calculate a return on their investment.
If the trip was worth it to you, try and list any tips for attendees who might be planning to attend the same event next year (these tips might include recommendations where to stay, how to get around, how to use the app, etc.)
As we hope these few tips will remind you, a little bit of planning and structure around your attendance at the NBAA event (or any other one, for that matter) can make a world of difference when you sit down to write a trip report. At the very least, you’ll return from the event with the satisfaction of having gotten the most out of it you can.
How about you? Do these tips spark any of your own you’d care to add? If so, we encourage you to share them