Keeping Busy

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I know, it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me.  For that I apologize.  Been a busy couple of weeks over here at JK Squared.  Why you ask?  Well, I’m glad you did.

Last week I made another trip out to San Diego to visit a client.  With 8 meetings in 3 days, I knew it would be a hectic schedule, but I was determined to get the most out of it.  They say bad news comes in threes?  Well, that trip definitely defined it.  First, a personal situation caused one of the major meetings we’d scheduled to have to cancel.  Then, flight delays caused two more meetings to be postponed.  And finally one prospect had an HR crisis, turning our one-hour presentation into a one-minute “hello, and lets talk soon”.  On the positive side though, I was able to reschedule a few things, enjoy cocktails in the sun facing out at the Pacific Ocean, and help lay the groundwork for what could be a very interesting opportunity to come.  Not a terrible visit in all, but certainly a crazy one.

This week’s been equally fun.  First, two days of snow (well, one day of snow but two days of being home with the kids) followed by three busy days of new business prospecting.  I was invited to participate in a new RFP here in my home town that looks interesting.  We’re going up against some of the biggest players in the industry for a local county project, but I like our chances.  We’re the “hometown” team, with the right mix of experience – and I’d like to think that will count for something in the review.  It’s given me the chance to renew some old alliances and create some new ones.  Today I’ve got another prospecting meeting trying to help a friend with one of his customers.  Both of these new prospects are sports related – somewhat ironic since I’ve made more opportunities in the category since I left my sports marketing agency than while I was there it seems.  I guess it’s just a matter of responding to what’s coming my way.

A couple of things I’ve learned the past couple of weeks.  Stay focused – just when you think the pipeline is dry, things tend to turn around for the better.  Starting something new means adjusting to a different and unexpected pace – it’ll take a while for me to figure out when it’s okay to be slow and how to take advantage of those opportunities.  But I’m starting to get the handle on it.  Also, expect the unexpected – whether it’s travel delays, personal situations, budget changes – something is always going to mess up your plans.  The more you can roll with it the better you’ll do.  It sounds trite, but the only constant in life is change, so we’d better get used to it.

So, that’s what’s been happening with me.  What’s been happening with you?

Airspace Lounge – Making Travel Great

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I travel a lot for work. In many ways, it’s become routine. Parking garage to gate. Gate to plane. Stop for fast food. Search for wifi. Hope rental car doesn’t smell. Check in to hotel. Enjoy miniature soap. Turn around and head back. So, when I am surprised (either in a good way or a bad way), I stop and notice.

That brings me to American Express’s new Airspace Lounge. I’ve been to two thus far: Baltimore and Cleveland. What makes these airports unique is that they don’t have regular airport lounges. So in the past there hadn’t been a spot for reliable wifi, a quiet place to sit, or a free cup of coffee. For $20 (or free with certain types of Amex cards), you get all of that and more. The decor is simple, yet comfortable. There is a conference room you can rent (although I haven’t yet). And you get a $7 credit for snacks or cocktails. (This morning, I enjoyed the cheese plate).

What is really great is that allows you to be productive. I can set my laptop on the counter and work undisturbed until my flight takes off. Many lounges I use are often overcrowded or not practical – a comfy chair is nice, but it’s hard to edit a presentation with a computer on my lap. The mix of comfort and practicality at the Airspace Lounge is top notch.

My only complaint is that there just aren’t enough of them. Hopefully, that will change in time.

Business travelers – which airport lounges are your favorites and why?

Does Your Pet Love Being On The Road? Prove it!

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Busy week this week, so we’re going with a “link of the day” strategy here at JK Squared.

Today’s link features AAA and Best Western, who are in the process of compiling their annual “AAA Pet Book“.  AAA will judge entries based on artistic qualities and ability to convey the joys of safely traveling with a pet.

I’ve got one dog who hates to travel, and another who drools all over the car – so we don’t take them most places.  But I see a lot of people who do when I pass through rest stops on my travels. 

From a marketing perspective, I love this promotion.  First, people love to take photos of their pets.  Tying that into marketing for a brand is a natural fit.  And, AAA partnering with Best Western on a pet-friendly hotel guide is a great co-branding opportunity for both companies.

So, what are you waiting for?  Have a great travel picture of your pet?  Jump on board and enter.