5 Ways This Auctioneer Made The Most Of A 24-Hour Work Trip To D.C.
I’m an auctioneer. I travel all across the country performing benefit auctions for charities. Great auctioneers — I’m talking about the ones that bewitch you into bidding — incite palpable empathy for a cause. The more in tune I am with an audience, the more money raised for those in need.
Auctioneering fell onto my lap three years ago, when I was working at a dead-end job in Manhattan. I was underpaid and told by senior management to be grateful I had a job in such a competitive industry — except I was at the office twelve hours a day, surrounded by people who were equally miserable, and I never traveled. Life was passing me by, and I was powerless to leave because I was dependent on that biweekly paycheck.
My friend Lucas open my eyes to the fact that auctioneering was a career possibility, and within months, I was making more money in one gig as an auctioneer than I did an entire month at my old job. Now, I’m free to set my own work hours, and I travel constantly to places I've never been before.
When I travel, I’m often at a location for just one day. However, because of my previous life as an office worker, I really appreciate my newfound freedom and spontaneity. I want to make the most of my time at these destinations, which means I’ve become a pro at travel hacks. Recently, I was able to partner with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to make my "trip hacking" game even sharper.
The trip in question was a 24-hour one to Washington, D.C. for a big gala. I had a lot of work to do, but I also wanted to experience the area. Luckily, I stayed at The Madison Washington DC, a Hilton Hotel, the perfect hub for exploring this incredible city. Here’s my experience in D.C., as well as my travel hacks for a whirlwind, in-and-out, 24-hour work trip.
1. The First Thing You Do: Check-In To Your Hotel Before You Get There
The last thing I want is baggage when I’m playing tourist. It slows you down. Since I arrive at destinations first thing in the morning, I call my hotels to let them know I either need to drop off my bag with the concierge or check-in early, if they can accommodate. The former is never a problem, but an early check-in is pretty rare. My D.C. flight departed early (I had to leave my apartment at 4AM) and my ETA at the hotel would be 7:45AM.
I logged onto my Hilton Honors app, and checked-in with two taps of the finger. At the airport, I used the contact feature on the app to remind the hotel I was arriving early on the off-chance a room was available. The hotel replied instantly, assuring me that they were working hard to make sure I’d be set.
When I arrived, the front desk concierge greeted me with a majestic smile. “Your room is ready,” she exclaimed. I was in disbelief.
My room was exquisite, extremely spacious, and I had plenty of room and extra hangers to lay my suit out for the evening. To my surprise, I had plenty of water in my room with a note wishing me luck at my auction. I was feeling the love.
2. Your Hotel Needs To Be Fabulous And In The Center Of It All
This is nonnegotiable if you want to maximize your time at a location, and The Madison Washington DC, a Hilton Hotel perfectly embodies the culture of D.C. It was opened in 1963 and has hosted every U.S. president since. You can feel its importance the second you arrive. The hotel is mod and luxurious, and the lobby has an expansive feel to it. The décor is a direct homage to First Lady Dolley Madison and is a celebration of her indomitable spirt, complete with contemporary light fixtures, lush seating, and her portrait, which has been modernized to include her blowing bubblegum, hangs at the entrance. My inner history buff was fanboying out.
After a quick nap, I was recharged. I had exactly four hours until I had to get ready for work. I figured the best way to see the sights was to go out for a run. The hotel was at the center of all the iconic D.C. landmarks, and within in minutes, I could spot the White House.
My run was incredibly productive. Using the Explore function on the Hilton Honors app as my guide, I visited the National Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Constitution Garden, and the Smithsonian Castle. I was in awe of D.C.’s beauty.
When I got back to the hotel, I couldn’t believe how much I did in just one outing. I had seen so many essential spots. And because my hotel was smack in the middle of all of it, I found myself back in my room early with extra time to rehearse for my gig.
3. Be Realistic About Your Time
Ultimately, you’re on a work trip to do actual work, so you need to allocate appropriate time to do so. The last thing I want is to arrive at an auction ill-prepared and not knowing my lines. Too many people are counting on me to make the event successful.
In my room, I changed into the hotel’s bathrobe and turned the heat on in the shower, so I could inhale steam and expand my lungs. When I rehearse for an auction, I turn on TV shows to practice my auctioneering chant. This is a trick I learned from a contemporary at auction school. Each time the camera switches to a new person, I increase the bidding and only “sell” once the show goes to commercial. It’s a great way to practice the unpredictability of a live auction.
I also practiced my tongue twisters, counted up to thirty thousand, ironed my shirt, and memorized my script for the evening. I’m grateful I had plenty of water and everything I needed in my room at The Madison Washington DC, a Hilton Hotel — otherwise, I would’ve been extremely distracted.
4. Make The Most Of Your Down Time
I was confident I knew my script and was 110 percent ready for my gig. Time was limited so the second I was dressed, I wanted to cram in more of the D.C. scene. I was dying to try the hotel bar, Lady M, and ordered a custom martini, infused with local flavors, called the Chai Lady which had white rum (by local makers, Cotton & Reed), honey, vanilla, and chai tea. It was everything I wanted from an autumnal cocktail. I perused the farm-to-table menu, hankering for a taste of locally grown food, and ordered the baby back ribs with a cherry glazed BBQ. It was a divine way of enjoying myself as I took a final review of my notes.
Before leaving for my gig, I grabbed a water from The Market in the lobby, which offered a plethora of grab-and-go options. The last thing I wanted was to become dehydrated on my walk to my gig. It was a picturesque fall afternoon in D.C., and my walk was breathtaking. I stopped at the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to mediate quickly and grab a photo. I’d done so much in just twelve hours and wanted to make sure I was focused going into my event.
5. Plan to Go Out After Work!
My auction was a resounding success. We doubled our fundraising goal, and I was exhausted. I wanted to go back to my room and sleep, but I summoned the energy to go out and celebrate in D.C.’s newest neighborhood, The Wharf. I was in town for such a limited time and The Wharf was only a 12-minute ride from The Madison Washington DC, a Hilton Hotel. One of the hottest day trip destinations in the area, The Wharf is a stretch of chic shops and restaurants on the side of the Potomac. It's where you go to eat, soak up culture, and people watch in D.C. By the time I was back in my room, I felt as if I'd done good work and seen so much of the city.
They say never quit your day job. However, as I departed D.C. at 6 AM the next morning, I realized the best thing I ever did was quit my day job. The sun was rising over D.C., and I realized I would’ve missed such a breathtaking sight had I not taken a risk. For someone who travels for work as much as me, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has all the amenities and services that allow me to relish my work trips. I am beyond lucky to be able to travel on the job, and knowing I am also making a small difference in the world makes me feel eternally grateful for the work I do.
For more content on making the most out of your business trip, visit our "Doing The Most" hub.
This post is sponsored by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.