Tips for Performers on the Road
As most seasoned professionals in the entertainment business know, the travel associated with performing can quickly become tiresome and lonely; especially for those hoping not to empty their wallets while working in order to fill them, navigating a life on the road often requires a certain degree of wisdom and long-term relationship building. Having spent many years traveling around Ohio and the United States as a whole while building and maintaining my magic business, I have definitely picked up a few tips and tricks along the way for how to best save money and live happily away from home. Here are a few of my personal favorite tips and tricks for performers getting used living out of a suitcase!
Make friends in the hotel business
While it goes without saying that being friendly can get you a long way in this world, a well-traveled performer will recognize and appreciate the benefits of befriending the managers and owners of hotels that they frequent. If you find yourself performing in the same area again and again, why not begin to build relationships with and stay at the same hotels during your adventures? Utilizing booking discounts online is obviously another one of the best business travel hotel tips as it can save you money, but “knowing a guy” can often achieve the same results! Not only will staying at hotels with familiar faces give you a better chance of catching deals or discounts during your stay, but having buddies around when you are far from home is always a good way to avoid homesickness!
Download apps like Raise or Retail me Not
Considering how easy it is to download a free app on your phone, there really is no reason not to take advantage of the discounts and deals presented by these coupon and sale applications; being a traveling artist or performer can become expensive when factoring in lodging, food, equipment transportation, and a variety of other factors, so ensuring that your profit margin is as large as possible through smart spending is always a good business decision.
Travel with a partner
Although I obviously enjoy performing magic and throwing cards enough to make a career out of these activities, long journeys often become boring or lonely if undertaken without a companion. Throughout the past few decades, I have travelled with a multitude of partners including my wife, a professional juggler, a Cleveland Cavaliers scream team dancer, and a world record strongman, and family members who served as assistants during the trip. Whether it’s having another person singing songs or helping you prepare for your show, bringing along a friend is one of the best travel tips for long flights or car rides!
Exercising should be an important part of anyone’s lifestyle (especially in my physically-intensive industry), but I have also found that working out has helped me stay on schedule and alert when I’m spending a lot of my day on the road. Back in the days of DVD players, I would make sure to carry my Insanity DVD with me during my trips so that I could stay healthy while maximizing the use of my time. Even when running around or lifting weights is the last thing you want to do after posting up at a hotel in the evening, holding yourself to a workout regimen is one of the best long distance road trip tips as it is a prime way to stay on top of your game.
Always arrive early!
“Five minutes early is on time” is definitely one of the most overused sayings in the business world, but this is for a good reason – regardless of how good the reason might be for your untimely arrival, clients will often be just as unhappy as if you moseyed in late without any good excuse at all. Throughout my years touring the country I have only ever been late one time, and it was due to heavy snowfall that was slowing down the roads. With this said, I have had to drive through some brutal storms, blizzards, and even tornadoes without coming in a minute after the intended time! This has always been a point of pride for my team and I, and I firmly believe that our reliability is one of the main reasons clients decide to hire us repeatedly for events. One of the easiest travel tips and tricks is to be the dependable performer that every customer wants by showing up when you said you would!
Find the client and introduce yourself
Being confident upon arrival is one of the most important first time business travel tips regardless of the industry. The worst mistake any performer can make in the preparatory phases of their show is to come across as closed off or unkind to their clients; in an industry where the entirety of your work is judged by how positive a reaction you can get from audiences, being approachable and kind is of the utmost importance! Introduce yourself to your clients and help them feel secure that their event is going to be as good as it possibly can be. In addition, do your best not to be a burden on the hotel/wait staff when traveling – having these people on your side and avoiding complications when possible is the best way to ensure that everything is going to go smoothly.
Remember that your job is to entertain!
At the end of the day, as stated earlier, your one and only job is to make sure that your clients have an optimal experience with your company. This means making their lives as easy and free of unexpected obstacles as you can – ask them the few necessary questions towards the beginning of your planning and setup phases so that they may truly enjoy the actual performance instead of worrying about logistics. As complicated as preparing for a show might be, it is our job as entertainers to keep this back-end chaos hidden from our audiences so that they leave the show with positive feelings and memories regarding your time on stage. As such, one of the best ways to be good with customer service is traveling like a local who keeps things fun and knows their way around!
Treat every performance like your first performance
Especially on days when you have booked multiple performances and must put on shows back-to-back, it is easy to lose stamina and end up being sluggish by the time the final show comes around. As difficult as it may be, however, a good performer will work hard to ensure that they are giving each client 100% so that their act at the last performance is as great as that of the first performance (which can lead to consistently positive reviews, referrals, and repeat customers!). Traveling for work is can be very different than traveling for pleasure, but try to have fun with the process (or at least fake it until you make it). Even if you are coming around the final stretch of a 3+ show day, remember that every client deserves your best and that your hard work will eventually pay off!
After reading about the best ways to maximize your performance quality, spending habits, and travel experience, you should be more equipped to hit the road the next time a performance requires you to do so. For more performance tips or to check out some of my work as a magician and card-thrower, head over to my YouTube channel or give us a call today!