This is part of a new series here at WhyGo Business Travel featuring brief interviews with people who travel for work, asking them about what they do and some of their favorite travel tips. This way, if you’re looking for a career that will require travel, you’ll get to read about people doing some of the jobs you might consider – and you’ll also learn a few great travel tips from the travel pros!
This week, we’re talking with Angela Berardino. Angela is the VP of Travel + Digital at Turner PR, and she’s based in Denver. Her personal blog is digitialjuju.com, and she’s on Twitter as @CoTravelGirl.
What do you do?
I lead a team PR & Social Media experts, who focus on travel industry clients. In a nutshell: hotels, resorts, and destinations hire us to handle media (and blogger) relations, and create social media content, with the ultimate goal of getting more people to travel.
What kind of travel do you get to do for work? Do you get to choose where you go?
I’m in key media markets like New York and LA fairly frequently, but most often I’m traveling to see clients – and that can be anywhere in the US, Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean. I don’t get to choose where I go per se, but we only work with clients we’re excited about and they tend to be great places.
Business travel means a lot of airports and hotels, but when I’m on the road to see clients I try to stay a few extra days whenever I can. Part of my job is to be an expert on the destinations we represent, and that means that business trips also include eating in local restaurants, hiking, diving, ziplining, etc. That part of my job is AMAZING. We get back-stage access to the coolest part of a destination, and people who work in hospitality are some of the most fun on the planet.
How often do you get to travel for work?
My schedule is a little unpredictable; the last few months, I’ve been on the road as much as three weeks a month. Hoping to slow down just a little bit in 2011, although I’m heading to New Zealand in the fall and plan on spending a few weeks bumming around. Possibly in a Winnebago.
Did you choose your job at least in part because you love to travel? Would you make the same job choice again, knowing what you know now?
I can’t picture anything that I’d love doing more, but my job didn’t exist three years ago and I can’t take credit for choosing a career. I fell into my job because I love travel, love to write, and appreciate health insurance (shout out to my freelancing friends). And what I know now is pretty fluid; this type of job requires me to spend a lot of time and effort staying educated on trends and technology, so that I’m advising clients on the best strategies and staying ahead of the curve.
What are some of your favorite travel tips that you’ve picked up?
Do some homework before you go somewhere new. While I’m in full support of spontaneity, nothing is more annoying than arriving somewhere amazing and spending hours trying to figure out how to get from one place to another, running up a ginormous phone bill because you didn’t pay attention to the data plan, or winding up eating in crappy restaurants because you didn’t have a few options in mind.
I use my phone to take pics of important signage (where I parked, street my hotel is on, etc) – super handy to show a pic if you don’t speak the language. And I also take snaps of all of my receipts, since I lose them constantly and need them for expense reports (am an Evernote addict for storing all this info).
Also, ladies, always pack more underwear than you think you’ll need (buying them on the trip is usually an unpleasant, expensive shopping experience), and take at least one pair of shoes out of your bag before you leave home (no one needs three pairs of black shoes on a week’s trip. You know who you are).
What advice do you have for someone who’s interested in doing what you do?
My job is still ultimately about communicating, and writing skills are important. Really important. Practice, take classes, start your own blog, whatever it takes to have excellent spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Read a decent cross-section of travel outlet (print and online) so that you understand what type of content they are looking for, and what constitutes a trend. If you are interviewing with a PR agency, don’t ever say “I’d be great at PR because I’m a ‘people person’”. I will end the interview on the spot if a candidate uses that phrase. If you’re focusing on social media, have a solid online presence, but be very aware that working at an agency requires putting your personal ego aside. If you have spent an inordinate amount of time building your personal celebrity status on Twitter, you probably won’t be great at working behind the scenes.
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