Episode 15 Dennis YuDennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company which partners with schools to train young adults.

Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit.

Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CBS Evening News and is co-author of Facebook Nation – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities.

He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo.

He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70 mile ultramarathon.

Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.

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Business Travel Hacks Episode 15 show transcript:

[00:00:00] Build in extra time when you fly somewhere else to enjoy the scenes to to meet people that you otherwise would not have known were there always built in buffer time and something random might happen you might need the extra time you want to go see some place do something. Your car breaks down. My car broke down in Costa Rica one time. And you know they had to come out and get me I was a day away from civilization. I didn’t have time buffered in for that.

[00:00:31] When you travel for a vacation you don’t worry about a wrinkled shirt but when you travel for business being connected being presentable and not having dead batteries or true causes for concern. So get on board some business travel hacks with your host Bryan Eisenberg.

[00:00:58] Dennis Yu, the CTO BlitzMetrics I’ve flown 4.5 million miles in the last 15 years. It started with conferences and it’s now included colleges and clients and the more you speak the more conferences invite you and I’ve learned to do this at a larger scale and now we’ve got a team of people that are flying around and we coordinate for workshops and events and I feel like I’m a full time travel coordinator.

[00:01:21] Well I think it’s very interesting for you especially because I know one of your early mentors was in the travel industry and it probably shaped a little bit of your perceptions about travel. I’m curious what lessons you took from that.

[00:01:33] Well having the CEO of American Airlines as a mentor teaches you a lot. I used to fly every single weekend. I remember we go to the airport and they’d be the A terminal gate 1 through 31 and we’d have numbers 1 through 31 in a basket and draw them. And if I pick 27 I go to Paris it was 28 it was Oklahoma City. So we learned a lot of trick tricks on how to travel. And in the airline industry before 9/11 when I was traveling it was so much easier. You didn’t have all these crazy security stuff. I’d be able to wake up Bryan. I kid you not. I timed it 30 minutes before departure. I would wake up 30 minutes before an pack and drive to the airport go to the counter because you know parked there at the terminal and board the flight myself. You can’t do that today.

[00:02:18] And a lot of things you learn in how to hack travel to get the best fares to get through security faster like Nexus and Pre-check, Global Entry these kinds of things. Most people don’t really know them working on the at the airline.

[00:02:33] You learn so much more because you get to travel for almost nothing and as an employee I got something called an ID 90 where I could fly for 90 percent off so I could fly the Concorde at 90 percent off. But you know it’s still a fifteen hundred dollar ticket right.

[00:02:49] Absolutely. So with all those 4.5 Million miles what do you believe your travel superpower is today?

[00:02:57] I know how to get to any city on the planet with the minimum cost and effort.

[00:03:03] What do you wish you knew when you first started traveling for business that you now know man I’m a big fan of Southwest Airlines in the United States companion pass is where it’s at.

[00:03:14] You can get the Southwest card that will get you perhaps halfway there you need 100 10000 points and I can bring you know we travel a lot I can bring someone else with me for free. And I use that in combination with the Admiral’s Club. So I have status on American Airlines. But what I’ll do is let’s say I’m in Denver or I’m in San Francisco I’ll chill out at the Admiral’s Club before flying out or if I’m connecting on Southwest where they’d like to connect through Denver and Phoenix lot where you don’t have to go outside of security back in. We’ll just chill while connecting at the admiral’s club and be able to eat drink and do all those kinds of things and that saves a lot of money. And we have a lot of flexibility because Southwest allows you to change things you get same day standby when you’re on the top tier and sometimes all have business meetings like the remodeled lounge at LAX, I’ll invite people to come meet me at the airport and I’ll get them a boarding pass through Southwest Airlines which takes me about two minutes to book them through points. Cancel the boarding pass before they go through security. My friend can go through security, meet me at the Admiral’s Club. We’ll chill out there. They’ve got conference rooms and food and showers and things like that. Use it as an office and then I’m on my way. I’ve had a lot of people that want to meeet and we meet at the airport and they meet me at the Admiral’s Club.

[00:04:32] So what would you think with all these experiences as your favorite travel happened you probably share with your team?

[00:04:46] Well it’s one that I shouldn’t tell anybody because at the airline I used to work on American Airlines. We would bust people for this but you can do what’s called a hidden city.

[00:04:58] And there are sites like Skip Lagged and you could do it at the Archaia database where let’s say that you wanted to fly Bryan from Austin to let’s see Portland. Portland. Sure. And it connects through that flight will probably connect to L.A. or Phoenix. Right. Or actually their flights. Let’s say you want to go to Portland and you find there’s a cheaper fare on Alaska that connects to Portland that goes to Seattle and Seattle is a more expensive market Portland so Seattle might be a cheaper market than Portland. So then you buy the ticket to Seattle which connects to Portland and you drop that second segment right. That’s called a hidden city. A lot of the flights go into Canada will connect through Portland and Seattle.

[00:05:43] And you just dropped that that extra city if you want to go to L.A. it’ll do the cheapest flights will be going in the Cancún which is a leisure leisure destination. So you just drop that second segment The trouble is that if you want to fly domestically and you do a hidden city by dropping the international segment you still have to check in internationally and show your passport and you don’t earn the miles and you also can’t check any bags of course because they’re going to go onto your destination. So that is my favorite thing to do. You’ll often get tickets for half the price you’ve just got to be careful because again it’s got to be one way. If you book a round trip with a hidden city if you miss one segment it auto cancels all the following segments. So the airlines don’t like that so don’t do that by logging into your frequent flyer account. I like to do it for team members. I don’t do it for myself.

[00:06:29] I just want to board early because if you’re I’d like to in fact I don’t check bags unless I have to. Even on long trips like a month long trip I will check bags. I have my backpack and my expandable Travel Pro carry on and I’ll try to make sure I board early so I can stick my carry on up above. And then my backpack I just slide under the seat.

[00:06:48] Do you have any special bags, you use any special travel clothes, footwear? Yeah. What’s what’s in that bag that lets you go for a month?

[00:07:01] So don’t do things like neck pillows that show that you’re a complete noob. Most of the flight attendants and pilots I discovered early on over 20 years ago when I started working American they use Travel Pro as their favorite brand and I thought. I when I just get a cheap old Samsonite are these other kinds of luggage. Travel Pros a little. I feel like a commercial is a more durable kind of luggage and you can get it on amazon for like 80 dollars for a regular size or a big one for like a hundred dollars. And they have a warranty they replace everything. Inside my luggage, I like to pack all the basic things. You know a few t shirts, a few dress shirts, a couple of pants, I like to pack two of them because you never know when one of them will get wet or dirty and a pair of running shoes so I can exercise at the hotel and try to choose hotels that have a good gym that’s 24 hours. In Vegas they don’t do that. They shut the gym down at 5 and adding an expandable roller board to the standard 22 inch roller board that’s expandable allows you to put an extra 30 40 percent more stuff so if you want to bring back souvenirs for your team then you could do that.

[00:08:05] The backpack I have with me that this is this is one trick that real road warriors know. Sometimes when you get on a little plane they force you to check the bag and they won’t necessarily gate check it which is to give it to you back. And you know valet give it to you back at the gate. They may force it to baggage claim or check it all the way through to your final destination. So I like to keep a dress shirt and pair of pants rolled up in my backpack so in case I’m separated from my luggage I’ll still be okay right. I’ve actually had a meeting with the chief marketing officer of California Pizza Kitchen and the airline lost my bag and so I had to go in there wearing a tee shirt and gym shorts into a boardroom full of all these executives and I had to make this excuse like Oh the airline lost my bag. This is not how it happened because I like the travel comfy. You should always travel comfy don’t don’t like wear it.

[00:09:02] When I worked at American I would be able to fly first class for like nothing so I would fly often like DFW to L.A. to see my mom. That was a 7 dollar ticket because he had to pay some of the extra for like food and your incremental cost of gas so would be 7 dollars to fly to LA. First class was 21 dollars. I remember thinking Do I want to pay the extra 14 dollars to fly first class. I’d only do it if there was a meal. So if I was flying on an 8 o’clock flight where they weren’t serving the meal then I would just sit in coach. But if I was if I bought first class for 21 I would eat the meal and then if it was relatively empty in the back I would just grab a row 3 of them lay down there right. That domestically. And then if I was flying internationally I would fly say like first class to London I eat the caviar the Haagen-Dazs ice cream they have the most amazing sundaes on American Airlines where they make this thing for you and then I instead of going to the back because when you’re three class service first class international. It was amazing so you the fully laid back seat of your own like little cubicle thing going on. I would just hang out there but that they would charge a hundred dollars and I know it sounds like nothing for you but for an airline employee it doesn’t make very much money. Paying 100 dollars to fly first class is kind of a lot of money if you’re flying every weekend right.

[00:10:19] What is in your carry on? You got it obviously you know you talk about the international adapter and you talked about your rolled up shirt and pants just in case you get stuck. What else is in there?

[00:10:34] Well I have a rubber squeeze chicken. And in fact I have it right here next to me. Which I always carry some kind of gift something funny some item to give away.

[00:10:46] Recently I’ve been carrying ring lights because we’ve been teaching people how to do one minute videos. And for people that make a good one minute video on stage we’ll give them these ring lights so we buy an Amazon for 13 dollars. I find it’s nice to carry things that are friendly for flight attendants so maybe some gift certificates which I’ll carry my backpack as well. It’s always just for the occasion. I also carry a pair of goggles in case I want to swim at the hotel pool or the beach. And I often carry a frisbee because I’m traveling with other team members and we want to be able to exercise and footballs too big but a Frisbees is easy to pack.

[00:11:21] What’s your favorite travel destination?

[00:11:24] Man. The North Pole. I was there a couple of months ago almost North Pole. And you can fly there from Oslo. There are direct flights into Svalbard. It’s amazing. Check it out. Seventy eighth degree and they got polar bears and glaciers and all kinds of super cold but super fun things. Northern lights, go hiking, ice caves.

[00:11:49] I’ve got to tell you I was not expecting that as an answer. That’s kind of awesome.

[00:11:56] Thank you for listening. Business travel hacks with your host Bryan Eisenberg. Catch us on the web. BusinessTravelHacks.com or business travel hacks on Facebook and Instagram.