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Traveling Technology

June 18, 2004

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Despite the fact that traveling, especially by airplane, is getting more and more troublesome, there are still a lot of people traveling around the US and the world. Whether they are traveling for business or pleasure, those people are probably bringing some type of personal technology with them. Digital cameras, GPS receivers, laptop computers, PDAs and more are finding their way into suitcases these days. This provides an interesting opportunity for high-tech careerists. If people are traveling with this technology, they are going to need help with it. High-tech workers might find that they can still practice their trade while living and working in a tourist town or resort.

You’re calling from where?

I have several clients who spend almost half of their time traveling. They have taken their Handspring Visor to the Amazon, only to have the humidity render it useless. We have spent hours searching for Internet access points throughout the world. Even a simple trip to their vacation home in Northern California generates a call or two about printer connections or software support. Techno-travelers need support, no matter where they are in the world. As a computer consultant, there is only so much I can do over the phone, even with remote control software. Sometimes they need a local tech worker to “lay hands” on the device in order to keep them working.

This is where you come in. Have you ever had the desire to live in an exotic locale? Do you really like the beach, the mountains, skiing or surfing? Have you ever thought of living in a place where you can indulge your own desires while still making a living? Today’s techno-travelers might help make your dream come true. While the opportunities are very specialized and the market somewhat limited, you could make a good business out of serving the traveler s that come to your favorite vacation spots.

High-tech in a laid back world

This concept recently occurred to me when a reader emailed with an interesting issue in their high-tech career. They were attending college in the US, but would be returning to Baja Mexico once they received their degree. They were rightly concerned about their career options in a state that is known more for its recreation than high-tech. In discussing these issues , I hit upon an idea. What areas have the highest concentration of technology? What types of businesses make the biggest use of technology? The answer immediately jumped to mind…the resort industry. Perhaps they could focus on using their high-tech skills there.

Not only do the resorts themselves rely on technology to accomplish their business, many of their visitors are bringing more and more technology with them. When you include the burgeoning availability of Internet connectivity via Ethernet and wireless connections in these resorts, it is clear that there is an opportunity for high-tech workers to set up shop in some of the prettiest locations in the world.

How does it work?

You could make a variety of arrangements with resorts and hotels. One method would be to contract with the hotels, as well as bed and breakfast operations, in your area to become their “technology guru” of choice. Whenever a customer had technology issues, they would refer them to you, instead of offering up the vague choices of various, local computer stores, if there are any. This would be a tremendous “value add” to their customers without requiring them to hire, train and deploy there own staff. This new service could be marketed as an additional reason to choose this hotel over others in the area. If one resort could not offer enough work to meet your needs, you could add additional hotels, as necessary.

You don’t have to limit yourself to resort or tourist communities, either. Developing relationships with hotels in your area could help to boost your monthly earnings. Here in the San Fernando Valley, I have perhaps 100 hotels/motels within 15 minutes of travel. Developing relationships with just a few of them, mainly the long-term, business-residency type, could increase my bottom line dramatically. There are great possibilities, even if you already like where you are living.

It is a simple fact that travelers are carrying more technology than ever on their trips. As technology becomes ever more ubiquitous, the need to technical assistance while traveling grows along with it. Whether you have dreams of living on the beach in the South Pacific, or simply growing your business at home, look to providing service to the growing numbers of techno-travelers in your area today. It is sure to boost your high-tech career in ways you might never have dreamed.


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