Get the Skinny


Your meeting is over and you have a few hours to explore the city—one you’ve never visited before. Unfortunately, this situation (which seems to be a great opportunity) often turns instead into a nightmare as you fight tourists, get lost and ultimately waste all of your free time before you have to be at your host hotel again.

Here to help make sure this never happens again is Gail Leicht, owner of The Skinny On…, a series of thin travel guides that are “like having a best friend in town to show you around.” Available now in both San Francisco and Chicago, the books are soon to delve into Boston, Miami and Washington, D.C. “First of all, the Skinny Guide is the book I always wished was available when landing in a new city,” Leicht says. “I’m always frustrated by guidebooks that tell us everything, but without discriminating. I’ve lived in many cities myself, and I know that the city I want my visitors to see is often quite different than the city they’d otherwise get to see if they just follow the tourist route,” she says. “I finally decided to publish my answers.”

And thank goodness she did. A perfect fit for meeting planners and their constantly traveling attendees, the approximately 20-page books make it easy to see a destination the way its residents see it. “Business travelers often find themselves with a few extra hours or days to visit a city, and these Skinny Guides get right to the point,” she says. “They’re ideal for those spending time in a city while at a trade show or convention.”

The books have also proved to be an inventive, and useful, idea for trade-show giveaways, or for companies planning an event that is hosting numerous out-of-towners. Susan Levine, co-owner of Toru, a dog clothing company, recently purchased Leicht’s The Skinny On Chicago to give away as a promotional item at a trade show held this past October.

“Initially, I thought they’d be good just for marketing purposes, because they’re certainly not like the typical promotional item,” Levine says. “But my colleagues and I ended up really using the guide over and over again—the recommendations are reliable, and our out-of-town buyers at the show really appreciated how easy and simple it was to figure out what to do when being stretched for time.”     

It’s no secret that time is valuable, especially when planning (and attending) a meeting. So, whether you have just enough time to hit a local spot to grab some food, or if you can spend the afternoon catching the city’s best view, the Skinny Guide has it. (The San Francisco version even has a “Special for the Business Traveler” section!) So, for now, take advantage of what has been published already—but honestly, we can’t wait to read more.