Episode 5 DeAnna RogersDeAnna Rogers is Director of Events for Digital Marketer (DM). She is responsible for one of the largest marketing events called Traffic & Conversion Summit, also known as T&C, along with other events such as WarRoom Mastermind, Certified Partner Program, and a new event called Content & Commerce Summit. DeAnna and her team produce over 30 live events around the globe a year.

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Business Travel Hacks Episode 5 show transcript:

[00:00:00] I’m traveling somewhere like let’s say for example I’m traveling to San Diego. I actually Google to find out what big conferences are in San Diego that time that I’m arriving because let’s say for example I’m arriving or departing San Diego when Comiccon is going on. Then an hour and a half to two hours at the airport ahead of time is not going to work. You have to have almost three hours, like you know so just knowing where you’re going, when you’re leaving in kind of your surroundings in what’s going on will really affect your travel time because what you don’t want to do is go into your trip being stressed. To me I feel like sometimes when you get really stressed that’s how you get sick and that’s how things just kind of you know they they stumble from there. So to me when you can start your trip on a good note it tends to make the rest of the trip go really well.

[00:01:21] Hi I’m the Deanna Rogers. I’m the director of events for DigitalMarketer, Boost Events and for Fun Circle so I have many hats. I have been running events for about 12 years now and I’ve written a couple of books on it and I’ve been very blessed to be working with the DigitalMarketer group for the last almost seven years now. Currently myself and my team. I have a team of five. We travel, we do about 30 events a year. This year will be 32 the year this year. So we are quite busy. We do a lot of events. So we travel a lot.

[00:02:06] So over the last few years of doing this have you figured out any tips and tricks to streamline that process of planning and who who brings what and just becoming more efficient with it?

[00:02:20] Yeah I think we have I mean we typically we call them magic boxes. So we travel with these magic boxes. So there are all the things that we would need on a trip and say typically we’ll get in there. You know the one thing that we never go without is we put breath mints and gum in and we will get Airborne. I know most of y’all probably don’t think about trouble with that but Airborne is amazing maybe 30 minutes on a tickle in your throat. You know you can put Airborne in the water bottles and get better with it like power. So I always go Airborne in there. I take cough drops in there. It’s interesting but you can also put a bag of chips but it has to be salty chips because if you start feeling like a scratchy throat if you eat these salty chips it’s just a little bag then you’ll start feeling better believe it or not. We always pack a steamer you can a get a really cheap steamer for like twenty five dollars on Amazon and we typically pack that in our box because then none of us have to worry about irony or having our clothes dry clean that saves a tons of money.

[00:03:30] And we just share that. There’s a lot of things that we will bring to anything to smooth out like Tide wipes and things like that. So we won’t have to have our clothes laundered as much, And just little things like that can make a big difference and typically isn’t our magic boxes so that way we don’t have to personally put those in our luggage. So that just kind of saves a couple things. You know I know you talked about like traveling frequently. We do travel frequently so there’s a lot of things I just don’t pack anymore unless I have kids I know that go into that hotel or going to wherever we’re headed. They’re going to provide it. So for example I don’t pack the heavy shampoo and conditioner anymore because it’s just heavy it makes my luggage way down. I know that I’m going to get it when I’m there. So typically unless I need something particularly I don’t pack it. I try to keep it as minimal as possible.

[00:04:28] What do you wish you knew when you first started traveling for business that you know? Well I mean I guess the question I guess that would be just, who to use. It’s really interesting. Like my favorite airline is Southwest. Believe it or not. I mean I can travel so easily for that. And when I first started traveling I didn’t use Southwest, I would use other airlines. But for me because I travel so frequently and because I always have so much luggage and bags. To me Southwest is beneficial for us especially with my team because with us. I mean literally there’ll be five of us going and we may travel with you know each of us have one bag a piece and we have like five trunks of magic boxes of different supplies. Well on Southwest we can bring two which makes it 10 bags which means we can bring ten boxes and bags and I’m not paying any extra baggage fees. Whereas on other airlines we can be 35 to 60 dollars a bag extra. You think about that if you want to be paying five to ten bags that easily three to six hundred dollars extra on top of your ticket that you’re spending each way going and coming back. So I’ve learned over the years that I really know. And again Southwest isn’t the perfect fix for everything that for us. We travel Southwest. They pretty much go everywhere. Now the bags are free. And I can bring so many bags they don’t even even if I were to bring more than two per person it is only 75 dollars. So it’s not outrageously expensive and I typically can bring everything I need with that 10 bags. Whereas before I didn’t think that through and I was getting my preferred airline or I would even go on Priceline. I was really bad about years ago. I did go on Priceline and find the cheapest flight and I would think oh OK I’ve got this flight for you know two hundred ninety nine dollars. But then by the time I bought everyone bags there and back it was like 500 dollars a person whereas Southwest might have only been let’s say it was 350. But all the bags are free. You have to think those things through. You have to look at the pricing and really make sure that you’re getting the best deal.

[00:06:50] Tell me about that one time you had perfect travel experience? What is it that you look for that makes it perfect for you?

[00:06:58] You know I actually just had an interesting time travel for what almost 12 years now and I literally just had it a month ago. I had the most amazing experience. So I was traveling to Costa Rica actually to do a site visit for a conference that we were we’re hoping to have very next year. And so I was going to fly down. So literally flying from Austin to Houston to Liberia in Costa Rica and everything from the moment I landed in Costa Rica every small detail this hotel handled. And not so unlike most hotels. So you know I’ve learned I’m checking those things out. And it’s such a great experience for you for you when you’re traveling. So the moment I landed they have someone there obviously with my name to pick me up my car servoce didn’t even have to look for a car. I didn’t ask for the car service the hotel had set up prior. I get in the car there’s water in the car. They had wine in the car, which is awesome. Most places don’t do that. I get to the to the hotel and the the G M, which is interesting. The general manager is outside greeting the people and they enter their hotel.

[00:08:24] Then when you come into their hotel instead of going to a registration desk they have little seating areas with little chairs and a coffee table. And they have they have you sit down. It is a little these little coffee table and lounge chair areas. They bring a masseuse up to you and massage your neck and shoulders while the attendant that’s registering you comes and sits down with you and register you from an iPad while you’re sitting there getting a neck massage. It was amazing. It was truly it was such a different experience versus standing in line waiting for the next person to pick you up at the counter. You know all those things. It just was not that at all it was more of, Hey come on in. They walk you to a little couch you set down the couch they brought you a fruity drink. They brought a massage therapist over the massaged your neck and your shoulders. And then this lady would come and sit down next to you. And she had an iPad and she would check you into your hotel room. And then they brought all your bags that when you got up here back to your room your bags were laid out and on the wall was a hat. And a personal note already before I even got there. And that was just me doing. They did that for every single attendee. There was like a little welcome card so it was the little tiny touches that just made my experience. The minute I stepped foot on the property was just amazing.

[00:09:52] It was so out of the box because not many people think that. Because the last thing you want to do when you’re tired and you just landed is to stand in line to get in here to get into your hotel. And that was such an amazing experience for me. I mean I obviously had talked about it a lot now when I talk to people about that. This was truly a way that a hotel was going above and beyond for their clients.

[00:10:18] So if we have to tell all the other hotel executives who hope that listen to this podcast what a great experience would look like, let’s give a shoutout to this place first of all, what was the name of it?

[00:10:31] It was actually the Hyatt. It was the Hyatt in Liberia Costa Rica and it was an amazing hotel. It was amazing. Because you know I know when you go to events you and your team are responsible for selling hundreds of hotel rooms. I would doubt that you actually have the GM waiting for you in the lobby and even those.

[00:10:56] No. Actually I’ve only had this is the second time in probably 12 years. And I originally when I first saw him I thought well he knows I’m coming because I’m an event planner right. So I just assumed maybe I was targeted but I wasn’t. I actually watched him after I checked out. I watched him doing it to all the other people coming in behind me. So it was quite a neat experience to watch this GM out there shaking hands with people as they entered the property. Really really unique experience. And then later during our trip while we were there the GM was walking around in the restaurant and shaking hands and talking to people you recognize him because he was the one that greeted when you, when you arrived. So it’s just really that personal experience that that really makes it very special.

[00:11:47] If we were to take that bag and dump it out. Not like TSA style but carefully dump it out. What would we find in there?

[00:11:57] Oh I have my laptop. I have an iPad. I actually have my charger. I have a little bag with all my chargers that’s really important. Make sure you bring chargers if you’re bringing anything with you, if you’re traveling overseas bring your universal charger, universal plug that that’s really important. I typically have those that I carry with me. I’ll bring my wallet. You have a passport. I always had my passport in a passport carrier. That’s important. And it protects your passport. A lot of people don’t want to bring them because they make you take them out you know to show that when you’re moving around and traveling and that it’s always good to protect that passport. You’ll also find that I have a copy of my passport and a copy of my driver’s license. I have a physical paper printout of each that I kind of have hidden away in a pocket because if something were to go wrong I definitely want to have those things a copy easier for me to get back home and get those things replaced. A lot of people don’t think about that. And that is something that’s very important.

[00:13:01] It’s not hard to do. So just go down and get a photocopy of your passport, your driver’s license tuck them away in a nice little area. And that way hopefully you’ll never have to use them. But if you do it’s there. You know it’s funny. I do pack dryer sheets. I don’t know why I always do it but it makes something smell really good. And when I get to the hotel I put the dryer sheets in the dressers because I don’t like my clothes smelling really badly. So you’ll see like a little box of dryer sheets in there. And I always packed inside that backback. You’ll see that I have Airborne and cough drops because when I’m on the plane I will typically while everybody else is drinking you know sodas or whatever. I typically drink orange juice I’ll drink orange juice I’ll put my Airborne in it and I drink that while I’m on plane just because I don’t I want to kind of keep my body protected from any germs and keep my body healthy. So I’m big about having that airborne in my bag. Right. Any time I leave it it’s right there. I can do that. I am trying to think of what I had in there. You know how many pens. Oh I know the other thing is, I have I always had a print out copy of my travel plan. So like for example I have a print out of the hotel information and the car information and if there’s any anyone else or anything that I’m doing in between here and there anything that I may need, there’s a print out physical copy of it, because you never know. What if your phone dies or what if you know something you need access to that information. So it’s just super simple to have that physical copy. You’ll find. I have my earphones. I actually listened to Audible books while I’m on the plane because I figured out to me that couple hours to learn. So all we usually have Audible books’s playing and I’ll listen to those on the plane so I usually hear my headset in there and I think that’s mostly what you’ll find in my backpack actually.

[00:15:25] I do recommend you do that no one will tell you is when you get to the airport. Regardless if you have anything in there or not that’s valuable I always tell them to put fragile stickers on there because when I go to the let’s use Southwest for example. I’ll stop at Southwest, I usually go to the curbside. I don’t go inside. You can tip them like three dollars. They’ll get your bags. And I always ask them to put fragile on my luggage because what happens is I tell them like oh I’ve got stuff in here that is really fragile, can you please put fragile stickers stickers all over it and they will do that that keeps them from just throwing crap and all other stuff all over your luggage that things can get broken or your luggage can get ruined or whatever it is. So just that one little thing is asking him to a fragile sticker. It keeps your luggage from being damaged as much