Routine Or Not Routine

travelI’ve been traveling more with my job over the last three years. This is not a complaint. In fact, I love to travel. And, with the increased travel, I have become more savvy about HOW I travel, which has certainly helped me avoid transforming what has always been something I look forward to into a tedious chore. For me, what it all comes down to is finding balance. When does “routine” make sense, and when should it be avoided like the plague?


It’s been said that the worst part about travel is actually getting there. This can certainly be true, so this is where I employ routine. Driving to the airport I typically take the same route. I try to park in the same area, fly the same airline, rent my car from the same rental agency, and even stay in the same hotel in familiar destination cities. Doing these things helps. You’re building reward points, know how to easily find the rental car drop off spot, and know you’re staying in comfort. After a while, you start to meet people and if you treat them right, they’ll do the same for you. It’s nice knowing that the guy making your omelette at the hotel breakfast buffet is going to put a little extra care into preparing your eggs!


Generally, I try to use routine to help make the mundane parts of the travel experience a little easier to digest, and that’s where it stops. There is one more tip on the routine side that I’ll save until the end, yet the rest of my spare time when I need to make decisions on what to do, I try like heck to get out and experience the city where I am. Here are a handful of tips that have worked for me in keeping the excitement of travel alive:


• Visit trip advisor, Yelp, or other travel sites and do some research before you leave your house. Find out what the city is known for, identify the top tourist attractions and things to do in town, or find the restaurants that suit your taste buds. Then make a list of what looks to be the best to you.


• Ask the people you’re going to meet what THEY recommend and see how that jives with your research. Ask the people who work at your hotel for their thoughts, too. Nothing beats local knowledge, so use these thoughts to help hone your list.


• Don’t be shy about including pop culture on your list. On a recent trip to San Diego, my co-workers and I made a much needed stop at the home they used for MTV’s “Real World San Diego” show and it was a highlight of the trip.


• If you love music, download the “Bands in Town” app or check the marquee at some of the local hot spots and consider an evening of good live music. On my first trip to San Antonio, I made a point of driving up into the Texas Hill Country to visit Luckenbach, Texas. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, based on years of being absorbed by the music of Jerry Jeff Walker as well as Waylon, Willie, and the boys.


• Do what you need to do for work first (that IS why you’re in the town you’re in) … but then get out and go tackle your list!


• Try not to go to the same restaurants over and over … unless it is out of this world good … and try to avoid restaurants that you can go to “back home.” I’ve probably spent 30 nights in San Antonio over the past three years and have probably eaten at 25 different dinner spots, and I’ll keep looking for 25 more … and not one could I go to back in Pennsylvania.


Last, but certainly not least, the final tip I offer on the “routine” side is to call home first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. In addition to my loving and supportive wife, I’ve got two beautiful children at home who are currently six and two. Hearing them each morning brightens my day and kicks things off right. Likewise, wishing them a good night helps me rest more easily in my comfy yet lonely king-sized hotel bed. Only two more nights until I get to see them all again.




My wait time is how long??


Just got off the phone with an airline. Who doesn’t hate being put on hold and perhaps getting a message that your wait time is 17 minutes? We’re all busy, so this doesn’t make for a positive start to the day, unless you use that time to nap or meditate (and I don’t think my boss would appreciate either one of those options).


I am happy to report that I work in an office where all calls during the business day are answered by a real person in real time. Callers seem to appreciate that – I know I would!



The Importance of Planning – Don’t Be Thing Driven


Over the years, the DeeterUSA team has worked with clients to make some very snappy brochures when they want to get their message across to a wider audience. And sometimes the best way to do this is through a type of brochure that has all of the relevant information printed inside it (find out here for more information). We know how to create an advertisement … print, radio, television … check, check, check. We provide solid and effective recommendations on where to run said ads to maximize impact and minimize expense. Our events staging capabilities are first rate, as are our social media, website development, and graphic identity skills.


Facing a crisis, we can help. Got a big interview scheduled on “World News Now?” We can work with you to develop your key messages and offer media training tips to help you feel more comfortable in the interview situation.


I make these claims not to pound the collective DeeterUSA chest, nor in an effort to drum up more social media work. To the contrary. In fact, the point should be made here and now that we don’t see ourselves as “web guys” or “press release writers” (no offense to web guys and press release writers).


To us, on their own these are all THINGS. No question that when used together in an effective and comprehensive marketing and communications plan they are very important things, yet they are things. And if I could offer one piece of advice to anyone who finds themselves talking to themselves about their business saying “we need a brochure,” it would be DON’T BE THING DRIVEN.


At DeeterUSA we view ourselves as analytical thinkers and creative problem solvers. We work with our clients to provide a fresh perspective and help develop a collective vision for where the client ultimately wants to take their business.


We are information gatherers. We are question askers. And perhaps most importantly, we are listeners. It has often been said that we think of our clients as a tube of toothpaste, yet instead of toothpaste they are filled with knowledge and we try to squeeze as much of this knowledge out of the tube as we can to help develop a very clear understanding of our clients’ wants, needs, and motivations.


We then use the information we gather to develop a comprehensive marketing and communications plan that contains our best recommendations to help move our clients’ business from where they are to where they want to be. The plan is made up of very specific and well-thought-out tactics – often a combination of all of the kinds of THINGS listed above and more.


NOW, with all contained here being understood, please know that if you give us a call asking for our help in creating a brochure, we aren’t going to hang up the phone or chastise you for coming to us requesting a dreaded THING. We welcome your call and get excited about new and fresh opportunities. That said, don’t be surprised if the conversation shifts from one purely about a brochure to one that digs in a little deeper about what you are really hoping to accomplish. You may start feeling like that informational tube of toothpaste, yet we think you’ll find that this type of conversation is helpful and it will pay tremendous dividends as you move from being THING driven to being more analytical and strategic in how you go to market.