Frank Guardi, spent the past several years working for the IBM Watson Customer Engagement marketing team. His experience includes building an influencer marketing program, managing events end-to-end, and creating an employee advocacy program. His projects expand outside of North America, working with influencers in England, Spain, France and Germany.
His specialties include social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, employee advocacy and event strategy.
He graduated the University of Connecticut, where he played D1 football for four years, winning the Big East Conference Championship.
Travel Products & Places mentioned:
- Austin Bergstrom Airport
- Newark Airport
- 21 inch Olympia roller bag
- wireless studio Beats
- Whole Foods
Business Travel Hacks Episode 4 show transcript:
[00:00:00] Fortunately for me it was actually through a friend of mine. We were we were traveling to Austin from Newark. And he checked a bag, again something that I never do. And you know this is partially one of the reasons but at Newark and I’m sure a lot of other airports if you are not at the airport and if your bag is not is not checked at least an hour before the flight they won’t accept it. So my my friend actually had to get on a later flight because we are we arrived about 50 minutes before. And I as I was going to go I wasn’t checking a bag. But you know making sure if you’re checking a bag I would be there at least an hour and a half early. At least to make sure that you have time to check your bag and then go through security because you definitely don’t want to be in that situation where you’re on time to make your flight. But because you can’t check your bag then you can’t get on the flight. So that would be a big lesson learned to make sure if you are for some reason needing to check the bag at least an hour and a half early.
[00:01:44] My name is Frank Guardi. I travel about once a month. I’m an influencer marketing manager for IBM Watson Customer Engagement. So about once per month I go to different retail, marketing, supply chain conferences and work with external influencers like yourself to help create content and promote IBM.
[00:02:06] So you’re based here in Austin like I am. Do you have any favorite tips for people coming through the Austin airport or traveling from Austin or anything that you really love about our airport? Yeah. So there’s actually, it’s fairly new. And I know you’re a fan but there’s a JuiceLand now in the Austin airport and it is a month when you’re in an airport to stop that at that JuiceLand. I think you know where you’re getting into town whether you’re leaving town. It is an awesome place I get a smoothie, get a bowl. Definitely my favorite spot in the Austin airport is the new Juiceland.
[00:02:55] Tell me about your favorite travel hack? It’s using the app Waze. So you know let’s say I’m flying from Austin to L.A. and I don’t know L.A. traffic is crazy I don’t know L.A. particularly well I’ve only been there a few times. So when I land in L.A. and I’m getting my either cab or Uber to my hotel I always make sure that I’m pulling out the Waze app on my phone and making sure that whether it’s uber the cab has dragged me to my hotel that we’re going in the most efficient and quickest route ways take all that into consideration real time traffic accidents et cetera. And it shows you that the quickest way to get there. So that has saved me time and it saved me money. I would I would definitely recommend you making sure that even if you’re not familiar with the area and using the app to make sure that you’re getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
[00:04:04] So you’re squeezing all your clothes into the roller board and backpack. Are there, do you have any special roller board that you have to kind of lets you kind of really finesse how you put everything in, any special travel clothes that you use just make sure you have everything in there and I know you know you obviously take very good care of itself so how do do you do all the clothes you need for the business side for the conference process. Anything you might need for athletic wear.
[00:04:33] Yes. Yes. Good question. So I have a 21 inch Olympia roller bag that I’ve been using for a couple of years and it’s been great. I haven’t had any issues with it. And what’s nice about it is the bag there is zipper with in the bag. And on one side of the zipper I put all my business clothes and then on the other side you know I’ll put my running shoes. I’ll put my gym clothes. You know I’ll keep protein and a water bottle and a shaker on that side. So it’s pretty much split between my business and then work out gear. And I’ve found that I’ve always been able to fit everything in there. Very very rarely have I ever had to put any clothes in my backpack. So typically I’ll have my my carry on roller bag for all of my clothes and shoes and then my backpack. That’s where I’ll keep my, my laptop, my chargers, my headphones, you know any snacks that I want to have on the plane. I always, always bring snacks with me any protein bars or RXBars as I want to travel with. So that’s kind of how it split it up between the two items that I carry on with me.
[00:05:59] My favorite travel gadget is my headphones. I have noise canceling Beats they are the wireless studio Beats and they make the traveling experience so much better especially compared to the headphones I had previously. They are great because it really does block out all that extra noise on the flight whether you know the engine or you know the people around you. So it makes it a lot easier to listen to music, podcasts and movie. Definitely my Beats headphones are my favorite to travel with.
[00:06:45] So you know when you’re on the road and you’re on the road usually for several days at a time and you know you’re a former athlete. You obviously work out a lot. How do you maintain your kind of routine while you’re on the road? It’s not always easy. I know specifically when I travel and when a lot of other my colleagues travel for business there’s a lot of late dinners there’s usually late drinks, early mornings. So really what I what I you know before I even leave for the event I get it in my mind that you know I’m not going to be sleeping normal hours, I’m not going to be eating normal hours, not going to be working out of normal hours. So you know once that’s established in my mind I think it’s a lot easier to kind of accept that and get workouts in while you’re traveling. What I do is I always commit to working out in the morning. I know that if I were to not go in the morning and put it off until later in the day, odds are I would never get to it because a lot of times unexpected drinks or dinners come up. So my number one tip is to do morning workouts because you have full control over when you wake up. I will always get myself about two hours before my first breakfast or meeting to get up, get a workout in the shower and then get ready for the day. I do think it makes a huge difference when you’re traveling if you’re able to you know get out and be active early in the morning. It gives you a little bit more energy throughout the day. So you know, committing to a morning workout is something that I always do when I’m traveling. It helps keep me on track. And you know like we mentioned before you the JuiceLand in Austin. Often whenever I travel and I know whenever I’m traveling with you we always make it a point to stop and make sure we get our greens in and make sure that no we get some sort of you know a healthy meal and at least once throughout the day. So you know between committing to the morning workouts and making sure that you know you’re getting something green in you something healthy and you that will really help keep you together and keep you healthy and focused throughout your trip.
[00:09:16] What do you drink onboard? Yeah when I go when I fly, I chug water like crazy. I think I drink more water than anybody on any flight. The flight attendants probably think I’m crazy but it really it really does just make me feel a lot better staying hydrated as I travel. So you know I always bring a water bottle with me on board and then you know when they come around and offer the water and I’ll drink that too so 100 percent always drinking water on my flight.
[00:09:52] Because I know I drink a lot of water. I make sure I always sit in the aisle. You know I’m getting out and using the restroom I’ll make sure I get that aisle seat. So it is a pet peeve of mine when someone is sitting in a window seat gets out multiple times throughout a flight and especially you know when there’s someone in the middle of the aisle that has to get up for that person to get out of that. If you just say if you know that you’re someone that’s going to have to get it multiple times throughout a flight try and get an aisle seat. That way you know you’re not really bothering the people next to you.
[00:10:30] What’s the one thing you never travel without? Other than you know the necessities, phone, wallet, laptop, obviously I always have those with me, some some type of snack. You know I always need something when I’m traveling in my bag. Usually I’ll go to a Whole Foods or or HEB, the local grocery store here in Texas and stack up on protein bars or RX bars and make sure that I always always have those with me while I’m traveling.
[00:11:09] You know whether it’s if I want them at the airport, I want them on the plane, if I want them back in my hotel room, making sure that you always have you know some sort of snack and you know relatively healthy. It’s something that I’m I’m always traveling with.
[00:11:26] What or who has impressed you during a travel experience? One thing that that really impressed me. Actually the last GVS Summit that I was in I was in Atlanta and we stayed at a resort. It was also it was also a winery. And I get into my hotel room and there was a handwritten welcome note. There was a bottle of wine and there were chocolates. It was such a welcoming experience at this event. And I thought you know after a long day of travel you know that was a really, really genuine great great way to start my event was a handwritten letter. Plus the wine, plus the chocolate. It was it was very very impressive. I was really happy to see that. Any time you know that someone can provide that welcoming, you know personal experience is always very impressive.