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Work-Life Blend Tips for Self-Employed Business Travelers

March 12th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Work-Life Blend Tips for Self-Employed Business Travelers”

Running your own business often doesn’t feel like work because you’re doing something you love. But you still need to take a break and recharge, including when you’re on the road — maybe even especially when you’re traveling. Because living your best life should include making the most of every work trip you take.

Whether you’re flying across the globe or driving to a city a few hours away, these ideas will help you blend leisure into every business trip.

1. Re-prioritize everyday tasks

Thanks to mobile devices, business owners are used to running their company from anywhere. But travel logistics and meetings can suck up a lot of time, shrinking your bandwidth for communications and other tasks.

But Christian Mairoll, founder and CEO of New Zealand-based cybersecurity company Emsisoft, has one rule that keeps his productivity high while traveling: He leaves non-urgent matters until he’s back home. Focusing on the top-priority business matters only leaves him more time for sightseeing and travel.

“While I may ignore non-urgent messages when traveling, I’m always available to handle important matters,” he says. “Most of the time, team members don’t even know I’m on the road.”

2. Seek out local spaces

Learning about local culture is one of the most rewarding aspects of travel. The best part? You don’t need to make elaborate plans to experience it.

Kelsey Riley Dixon, owner of Seattle-based marketing company, davis + dixon, loves working from a coffee shop that has a great atmosphere. Not only does this change of scenery boost her productivity, it also allows her to soak in the local environment.

And she finds other ways to do that throughout the day, whether it’s going for a run, taking a 20-minute walk to a destination instead of hailing a ride, or waking up 30 minutes early to have breakfast at a local café.

“I’m a very focused worker and can get completely caught up in my screen and forget where I’m at,” she says. “So I have to actively take miniature pauses and look for those miniature moments to soak in the atmosphere.”

3. Find ways to recharge

To get the most of business travel, figure out your own recipe for recharging your energy. For some, that may be giving yourself permission to grab a nap, while for others, it’s incorporating a bit of adventure like touring the local wineries.

While traveling, Mairoll adapts his schedule to maximize his availability during the hours he wants to be out and about. While he may have meetings during traditional work hours he doesn’t mind pushing the everyday work of running this business to later in the day so he can enjoy his “after work” hours during the day.

“The fact that I am able to schedule my work for any time of the day or night means I can mostly devote the daylight hours to sightseeing and exploring,” he says. Crowne Plaza® Worklife Rooms are perfect for night-owl entrepreneurs like Mairoll, who want all the amenities of a great workspace right in their hotel room.

4. Know your accommodations deal-breakers

Understand what you need in your physical space to stay productive — and what your deal-breakers are.

For Mairoll, a must-have amenity when booking accommodations is a good internet connection and a comfortable workstation. When Dixon stays at a hotel, she prefers a pool or fitness center.

“I’m also looking at the atmosphere and places that bring people together, like lobbies with happy hours and shared spaces,” she says.

Having an adaptable, engaging place to host meetings can be critical for many business travelers. At Plaza Workspaces, for example, self-employed business travelers can host professional meetings of any size. Plus, having a dedicated point of contact in a Crowne Plaza Meetings Director can take the logistics details off your plate so you can focus on the big picture.​

5. Hire good travel partners

If your company travels a lot for work in pairs or groups, consider this when making your hires. Finding the right fit for the position might mean finding someone who has compatible travel preferences to you.

At Dixon’s small company, team members organically become new friends, even though they work remotely. Recently, the entire team flew to California for a week-long retreat. They enjoyed leisure activities together, but they also got a lot of work done.

“For me personally, having a work-life blend means working with people I enjoy being around genuinely,” Dixon says. “I respect and admire our team members, and we do a lot of traveling together — and it’s genuinely a fun experience.”

With so much fun packed into your travel days — both from running your business and experiencing a new city — you’ll love the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage Program. After all, it takes a lot of energy to run your business and enjoy every minute for your life along the way. Crowne Plaza’s premium bedding and aromatherapy kits are just the thing to prepare you for every exciting day.

10 One-Hour Activities to Do on a Business Trip

March 11th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “10 One-Hour Activities to Do on a Business Trip”

The question, “Business or pleasure?” is due for a rewrite. There’s no reason every trip shouldn’t be about enjoying yourself in a new city, even if you’re planning to do some business while you’re there. Work-life blend is the new mindset for modern business travelers who want to live a good life every day, regardless of where their work takes them.

How do you do blend work and leisure on a business trip? It’s about cleverly planning local experiences around your work schedule. By the time you make it home, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished your business goals and your travel goals — and you’ll enjoy every trip more. Plus, studies have shown that leisure activity is a critical part of maintaining psychological and physical well-being.

Here are some of our favorite ways to grab a little leisure time when you have an hour between meetings in an exciting new city.

Seek out a local spa

Recharging your energy is key when you’re always on the move. Schedule a massage or other treatment at a spa. For a more immersive cultural experience, look for an establishment that is known to use traditional techniques or incorporates native plants in their products.

Indulge in a local food experience

Before you arrive, make a reservation for that Michelin-starred restaurant or hot new bistro that everyone’s talking about. Or if you’re feeling social, book a seat a private supper club where you’ll share a community table with other diners, while experiencing local cuisine from passionate, up-and-coming chefs. Planning this in advance will save you from any last-minute searching for the perfect dining spot.

Can’t make it out? When staying at Crowne Plaza®, you’ll have one-touch access to hotel team members who can bring you freshly-prepared meal options at any time, ready when you are — even during a meeting.

Discover an independent bookshop

Inhale the beloved scent of aging books. Let time stand still as you browse through an antique bookshop or used bookstore. A bookstore in another country always gives you the chance to discover local authors in translation, and a chat with the bookshop owner can bring great insight about the city’s culture and history.

Explore a botanical garden

Visit the city’s botanical gardens to relax and get up close with the local flora. Be sure to ask about any guided tours or special events, like lunchtime lectures or evening concerts. Spending some time around plants can decrease anxiety, increase attention span, and generally boost your mood.

If you’re not sure if the city you’re visiting has a botanical garden, check with your Crowne Plaza concierge, who can give you directions or recommendations for a similar experience.

Find your way to a local market

Browse the farmer’s markets and artisan fairs. You’re sure to find some splendid souvenirs, and also learn more about the city’s traditional arts and crafts. Take time to talk to the vendors and artists and hear their stories. Your local hotel staff can guide you to the best local market experiences that are easy to access and fit into your schedule.

Experience the city’s art offerings

Whether you visit for pleasure or go with an eye to buy, you won’t regret scheduling an appointment at a local art gallery, where you can discover some of the most exciting local artists. Or pop into a national art museum, where you can ask for a private tour of any special collections or exhibitions that pique your interest.

View the city via transit

If you find that your city has a reliable tram (or bus) service, hop aboard at the nearest stop, and see where it takes you. Try to grab a window seat to get the most out of this adventurous tour. Wherever you decide to disembark, you can always grab a taxi to take you back to your hotel.

Attend a workshop showcasing local skills

For a more hands-on way to spend your leisure time, attend a workshop by a local mixologist, aromatherapist, or perfumologist. You’ll gain some impressive skills, socialize with locals and come away with a wonderful souvenir for yourself or a loved one.

This can even be a fun team-building exercise with your colleagues during a work trip. If you’re utilizing Crowne Plaza meeting facilities, like the Plaza Workspace, reach out to your Crowne Plaza Meetings Director to learn about local options for your group.

Tour a timely festival

Before you arrive, check for any festivals that will be going on during your stay. From jazz to theater, from wine to literature, there’s bound to be an alluring event that you can drop into whenever you have some free time. The local convention and visitors bureau is a great resource for a city events calendar, and your Crowne Plaza concierge can help as well.

Get a new perspective via boat

If the city has a river or lake, book a private boat tour or board a sunset cruise. Enjoy a soothing ride (perhaps with a drink in hand) that offers you a completely different perspective of the cityscape compared to simply walking around. Your tour guide is sure to offer up some interesting anecdotes and answer any questions you may have about the area.

After all of that leisure and business packed into your adventure, you’ll be thankful for the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage Program so you can re-energize for a new day. Between a great night’s sleep, our fast and fresh meals, and our adaptive Plaza Workspace, there’s no better home base for your next business-plus-pleasure trip.

4 Work-Life Blend Tips for International Travelers

March 11th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “4 Work-Life Blend Tips for International Travelers”

International business travel is a golden opportunity for cultural enrichment, exploration, and just plain fun. When you globe-trot for business, take advantage of your good fortune during every moment of your trip. With adventure on your agenda — along with business — you can live life to the fullest from beginning to end.

These four tips for international travelers can help you blend work and life for a getaway that’s as fulfilling as it is productive.

1. Prep for communication and recreation

A smile and a simple “hello” in your host country’s native language sets the stage for warm welcomes, good business, and more. Laura Hodgkinson, certified travel counselor and global leadership professional, says taking time to get familiar with the language, business customs, and cultural opportunities can position you for an immersive visit to a new country.

For pre-trip prep and on-the-ground support, Hodgkinson recommends loading up on apps. A translator app provides language basics plus on-the-fly translation when you need it most, and a currency conversion app keeps business and leisure expenses in perspective. And with hotel apps, like the IHG app, you get helpful travel tools and extra support before, during, and after your trip.

With these tools in hand, you won’t be limited to the items on your business agenda. You’ll be able to push out of your comfort zone and visit neighborhood vendor markets, chat with locals, and engage in unique experiences.

2. Hit your destination early

When you arrive a few days before your planned business, jet lag can’t dampen your enthusiasm or activities. You can explore the local culture, get acclimated to the time zone and the weather, and be at your productive best when meeting time comes. Plus, you can seize early opportunities for added fun.

But before you book, Hodgkinson recommends chatting with your manager about your company’s travel policy. Creative collaboration could allow you an opportunity to expand your trip. If your travel policy allows for you to fly business class, for example, your company may agree to pick up the hotel tab for extra nights if you fly economy instead. “They may only pay for your hotel and your airfare, so you pay for all your meals and things, but that’s a perfect way to blend business and leisure,” she says.

Early arrival also lets you capitalize on professional opportunities that advance your business agenda and enhance international success. Hotel amenities like Crowne Plaza’s Plaza Workspace can help fuel productivity. The adaptive space is ideal for casual pre-meeting get-togethers with international associates, whether that’s over digital displays or dinner and drinks. You’ll find it suits focused solo work, too.

3. Maximize the impact of small tourist moments

Your leisure opportunities on business trips often come in short bursts between meetings. But with some planning, you can make the most of an hour or two here and there throughout your stay.

Hodgkinson recommends fitting in a city tour. For maximum impact, sit beside the guide.

“When they’re not telling you all the things about the city, you can get to know them and ask them some questions,” Hodgkinson says. “They may tell you about a great local restaurant or local place of music or local tours not in the big programs and brochures. Those can lead to once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

Then tap into hotel staff for tips on how to live like a local for a few hours or a few days. Concierges are great sources, but don’t stop there. “You’d be surprised if you talk to the waitress, who may tell about their favorite Italian place — even though you’re in Mexico,” Hodgkinson says. “You’ll get a local perspective you can’t get elsewhere.”

Focus on the things you love most. If that’s connecting with people, walk the local market and watch vendors and customers interact. If you’re a foodie, hit the street vendor carts. If you’re into sports, try local sporting events. Hodgkinson recommends finding the local last-minute ticket outlet. You may find yourself in the VIP section hearing the Philharmonic in Paris, as she did.

4. Stay rested, renewed, and ready

Staying on top of your sleep and fitness regimens can help you stay ready to seize adventures — and be at peak productivity for business, too. Hodgkinson recommends taking advantage of hotel fitness rooms to keep your body on track, and making time for sleep.

“When you’re in a different place, the sounds of the city may be very different from what you’re used to,” she says. Amenities in the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage Program help you get a better night’s sleep so you’re ready to face what each day and night holds. From aromatherapy kits and premium bedding to designated hotel “quiet zones” and guaranteed wake-up calls, you can unplug from the day, drift away, and awaken refreshed and ready to go.

When business takes you global, Hodgkinson says it’s worth remembering that despite different cultures and beliefs, people are people — whether you’re collaborating on business strategies or celebrating with an amazing meal. “I want business travelers to enjoy, so companies and employees succeed,” she says. So, go ahead. Live your globe-traveling life to the hilt.

5 Great Walks To Add Some Local Flavor To A Business Trip

March 10th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “5 Great Walks To Add Some Local Flavor To A Business Trip”

There’s no better way to spend your extra time between meetings on a business trip than by exploring your destination. Try experiencing the city the way locals do — at street level. By walking, hiking, or meandering through a new, exciting place, you can turn your business trip into a genuine getaway, one hour at a time.

If you just want to go where the road leads you, head-off any which way. But when you’ve only got an hour to work with, it can be helpful to maximize your time with a little direction. Here are five enriching walks you can find in nearly any city.

Connect with a Walking Tour

There’s a good chance that whatever urban niche you’re interested in, there’s a walking tour for it in your destination. History and architecture tours are fairly common, but some cities offer really unique, one-of-a-kind tours, such as the Hidden Secrets Tours in Melbourne that include foodie and café-focused itineraries. You can also find super-niche themes, like the perfectly sweet Chloe Chocolat tours of Parisian chocolatiers. Some unusual options around the world include a Breaking Bad tour in Albuquerque that pays homage to the hit television show and a Vampire Tour in New Orleans. Ask your Crowne Plaza® concierge to help connect you to unique walking tours in your destination.

Trek to a Local Market

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in a new city is to shop where the locals shop. Local street markets are ideal opportunities for this. Whether it’s a farmer’s market in the U.S., a seafood market in Spain, or a flower market in Amsterdam, you’ll get a chance to chat with local merchants and browse the goods residents enjoy. And don’t forget night-time options, especially in Asia. In Tapei, for example, the colorful Shinlin Night Market will dazzle all your senses. Exploring local neighborhoods will put you in lock-step with the people who live there and give you a true taste of their culture.

Whet Your Appetite on a Dining Route

Speaking of taste — if you’re a foodie, you can follow your appetite and discover a great walk while you do so. Identify a great place to eat near your hotel, chart out a safe, walkable route using a standard map app, and walk to your destination. In addition to consulting with the usual suspects, like your hotel’s concierge, Zagat has an app that will help you find whatever type of cuisine aligns with your taste buds. During a break from meetings in New Orleans, for example, a Zagat search will provide you with a menu of options, from Cajun classics to traditional Po-Boy sandwiches. Google Maps is a great option for this choose-your-own-adventure idea because you can use Street View to preview your route.

Take a Hike

You don’t need a forest or mountain to find yourself on a hiking excursion. Pack your hiking boots and water bottle on your next business trip and take an adventurous, urban hike through the city, parks, riverwalks, and more. To find the right hike for you based on difficulty, length, views, and hiker ratings, check out the AllTrails app. If you want to take a break during a meeting in Chicago, for instance, AllTrails will help you choose between 28 hiking, running, and walking trails. Every city will have its own unique parks, nature preserves, and trails to explore.

Explore Indoor Gardens or Markets

If the weather is not conducive to outdoor treks, you can always find interesting indoor destinations, such as indoor markets or botanical gardens. Depending on where you are in the world, this could range from an indoor market packed with souks selling everything from camel hair coats to a warm, sunny conservatory bursting with blooming plants. Try an app like AroundMe to surface possibilities near you. If you’re looking for some fun on a rainy day in Seattle, for instance, you can spend hours exploring the iconic Pike Place Market, which features everything from entertaining fishmongers and farm-fresh produce to antiques and bric-a-brac. For a botanical outing, try options like San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers or the Cloud Forest in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.

Walking will activate all of your senses and re-energize you so that when you settle back into your next meeting, you’ll be more attentive and productive. After a day filled with work and play, you’ll also be ready to enjoy our innovative Sleep Advantage program — featuring everything from luxurious bedding to aromatherapy.

For more ideas on how to balance work and play, check out our Plaza Workspace.

Go Local In Moscow

March 9th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Go Local In Moscow”

The 12 million residents of Russia’s culture-rich capital know there’s much more to Moscow than the Kremlin’s iconic domes, Red Square, and caviar. For a truly local experience in this historic city, check out these tips from Muscovite Maria Balashova, Head of Marketing at Crowne Plaza® Moscow – World Trade Centre. Her insider scoop can help modern business travelers blend world-class leisure into their visit to this fascinating destination.

Explore Moscow Nature by Foot or Bike

Located in Moscow’s Central District right along the Moskva River, Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre is surrounded by plenty of nature, including Park Krasnaya Presnya. A 17th-century manor once occupied the land, but now it’s an exceedingly popular green space. “It’s great for jogging, ice-skating, photos, and walking with pets,” Balashova says.

If bicycling is more your speed, one of Moscow’s best, most scenic bike routes runs right along the river embankment, adjacent to both the hotel and park. Those seeking a heartier workout can bike 16 kilometers from Gorky Park to Victory Park.

“The city is full of bike-sharing stations thanks to Velobike,” Balashova says. “It’s a convenient app with a search feature for station locations, route planning, and even assistance in case of breakage.”

Discover a World of Culture Underground

Beyond its functionality for getting around, Moscow’s extensive metro system is a destination in itself thanks to architecturally stunning, Instagram-worthy stations, which range in style, including dramatic Art Deco, classic USSR, and ultra-contemporary international.

Some of the most historically prominent are genuine tourist attractions, including the Circle Line’s Stalinist Empire-style Komsomolskaya and the Zamoskvoretskaya Line’s futurist-Soviet Mayakovskaya, where Stalin celebrated the Bolshevik Revolution in 1941 while Nazis bombed above. Suffice it to say, these are no ordinary metro stations.

“Mayakovskaya Station also hosted the Game of Thrones seventh season premiere,” Balashova adds. “And Moscow Metro organizes Night in Metro events with ballet performances, opera concerts, and film presentations.”

View Modern Moscow From Above

A 20-minute walk from Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre, Panorama360 is Europe’s highest observation deck. Located on the 89th floor of the Federation Tower skyscraper, it not only offers a 360-degree view of the evolving city from above, but adds high-tech touches like interactive augmented reality and an immersive projection show.

“It also has the highest-up ice cream factory in the world,” Balashova adds. “And its Restaurant 360 is a nice place for a glass of champagne or special dinner.”

Follow the Russian Dumpling Trail

Pelmeni, a bite-sized, minced-meat-filled, and extremely tasty dumpling, is a common sight in many Muscovites’ refrigerators, and a must-eat for anyone who wants a truly Russian experience.

Balashova recommends trying classic, unpretentious pelmeni at chain restaurant Varenichnaya №1. For an upscale version of the dumplings, try the swank SibirSibir — 10 minutes from Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre by car — they offer a decadent variety made with champagne and caviar. Or taste a delectably unorthodox take on pelmeni at hipster cafe Lepim I Varim, which serves them with seafood and vegetarian-friendly fillings.

Witness Architectural Rebirth

Some of Moscow’s historic buildings and structures have been re-purposed in exciting ways. Constructed in the late 18th century as a textile factory, the Trekhgornaya Manufactory now anchors a creative cluster of restaurants, shops, and a stylish bar and nightclub, Jagger.

“For a long time before the 19th century, this area was influenced more by merchants than aristocracy,” Balashova explains. “Therefore you won’t see a lot of classic mansions nearby, but rather dynamic architecture including some really peculiar buildings from the beginning of the 20th century.”

Enjoy a Glass of Heritage

In the Russian tongue, one doesn’t drink vodka: they “eat” it! “Therefore, vodka is closely connected to appetizers going with it,” says Balashova.

“If you prefer luxurious settings with a Kremlin view, choose Dr. Zhivago restaurant and advance book a special Vodka room, a chilly and transparent area designed for vodka tasting. If you prefer a more modern style, you can also find the analogous Ice Bar Onegin at Ruski restaurant on the 85th  floor of Oko Tower, plus Russian cuisine and breathtaking views.”

As for a straight-up vodka sampling with English assistance and plenty of information about Russian drinking culture, consider a guided tour. Balashova recommends Urban Adventures’ More Than Just Vodka Spirits.

With work-life blend amenities, like the Sleep Advantage program, Crowne Plaza is the ideal home-base for work and leisure in Moscow. Whether it’s a quick video check-in with the office, inside tips on where locals are flocking, or a night of sweet, rejuvenating sleep, staying at a Crowne Plaza hotel can help you stay connected, get immersed, and make the most of going local during your stay.

10 One-Hour Wellness Activities to Do on a Business Trip

March 9th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “10 One-Hour Wellness Activities to Do on a Business Trip”

Traveling for work not only gives you the chance to build relationships with clients and colleagues around the world, it also gives you the opportunity to explore new places. Make every business trip a leisure trip as well by using your meeting breaks to explore the city.

The best way to re-energize during those breaks? Indulge in a little wellness. These one-hour activities can help boost your mind and body with a local experience in an exciting new place.

Try an escape room

Gather your colleagues and take an adventure to an escape room. These popular attractions require creative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving. And you have just one hour to get out, so your team will definitely make it to the next meeting on time. They’re present in nearly every city and town and—if you find one operated by local business owners, like the Brooklyn Escape Room in New York — they offer a local experience as well.

Seek out an authentic local lunch experience

Discover the best eateries by asking your Crowne Plaza® concierge where to find an authentic local food experience. You can also consult Yelp to find out what locals say about the restaurants in your neighborhood. Look for places that specialize in local specialties or uses only locally-sourced ingredients to get an immersive cultural experience while you dine.

Find ways to go up, up, up

Take things up a notch by finding a great set of stairs to re-energize with a burst of adrenaline and get a new perspective during meeting breaks. One way to make it more interesting is by searching for a local skyscraper with plenty of windows, like Jacksonville, Florida’s Bank of America Tower or Moscow’s Panorama360 viewing deck in the Federation Tower.

Visit a local museum

Whether it’s history, art, or science, museums are a great outlet to keep your mind alert and flexible so you’re open to collaboration during your meetings. One easy way to find local museums is by joining a museum network program like the Association of Science – Technology Centers’ (ASTC) Travel Passport Program, which gives you access to more than 350 science centers and museums around the world.

Take a mindful walk

You may do a fair amount of walking while traveling, but doing it mindfully is different — and comes with psychological benefits. Mindful walking means thoughtfully taking in your experience, thinking about what you see, hear, smell, and feel as you do it.

That makes the scenery for your mindful walk important. A historic district, local park, or trail are great options, like the Boardwalk Trail in Austin, Texas and the Canal Walk in Richmond, Virginia. Wherever you are, breathe deeply and slowly, and take in the sights and sounds around you.

Invite colleagues to a social outing

During some breaks from work, you might need a moment of solitude or a moment away from your team. But you might be surprised by how refreshing it can be to put work down and have a little fun with your colleagues. You can get out for a meal or walk together. Or, if you’re utilizing a Plaza Workspace for your meeting, simply order a fresh, fast meal to your meetings spot with the touch of a button. Stash your laptops and enjoy some food as friends.

Drop into a local yoga class

Yoga is fairly easy to do anywhere, which makes it great for travel. You can practice in your hotel room — Crowne Plaza Worklife Rooms provide plenty of space for your downward dogs. But if you enjoy instructor-led classes or are interested in a local experience, consider joining a travel-friendly membership program like Classpass that includes both online classes you can stream and in-person classes in 2,500 cities worldwide.

Catch a nap

Whether you’re adjusting to a new time zone or need to catch up after a happy hour that ran late, a 20-30 minute nap can help you be more alert and productive for the rest of the day. To make quality sleep easier, enjoy Crowne Plaza’s Sleep Advantage Program, which supports great shut-eye with premium pillows, aromatherapy kits, and more.

Walk to a local juice or smoothie bar

Need an energy boost? Take a brisk walk to grab a healthy pick-me-up so you can return to your meetings ready to go. You’ll get a street view of the neighborhood around your hotel, and it’s a great way to discover local foods in your destination city.

Connect with friends or family

Between meetings, one of the best ways to give yourself a true mental break is by checking in with your family and friends. Crowne Plaza Worklife Rooms provide plenty of connectivity for an immersive video call that’ll give your spirit a mini vacation right back home. Your loved ones will appreciate knowing that you’re thinking about them, and you’ll appreciate the opportunity to hear what’s going on where they are.

Don’t miss out on the chance to strike an ideal blend of work and play, no matter where you happen to be working. When you take advantage of these types of opportunities while traveling for business, the lines between work and pleasure start to disappear, making every moment even better. Make the most of every adventure with curated work-life amenities available at Crowne Plaza.

Strategies for Working Parents to Enrich Their Work-Life Blend

March 9th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Strategies for Working Parents to Enrich Their Work-Life Blend”

Gone are the days when frequent business travel and parenting simply didn’t mix. Today, not only can you keep in touch with your kids on a work trip, but you can also be a legitimately present parent — and co-parent — even when you’re away from home.

Here are a few tips to help parents do both of their important jobs well while traveling for work.

Help your kids visualize your trip

When kids can visualize where you’re going, they can feel more connected to you while you’re gone. Before you leave, show your kids where you’re going on a map and where it is in relation to where you live.

Throughout your trip, take pictures and videos of your trip. During your stay, and when you get home, show them your photos and share interesting facts about your destination, as well as which sights and experiences made you think of them.

Prioritize daytime check-ins

Don’t rely on nighttime calls to connect. When you’re about to go to bed after a long day, you may feel tired and uninspired — and your kids and partner might, too. Besides, by that point, they could feel that you’ve already missed their whole day.

Instead, check-in during your typical touchpoints throughout the day — like a quick “good morning” over breakfast and a virtual hug after school. Use video chat so they can feel like you’re right there with them — even if there’s nothing big to see.

Bring family mementos along

Include your family by packing a photo or another special token that reminds you of them. During your trip, use it to show them that you’re thinking of them. Send pictures of their chosen memento throughout the day: next to your laptop and coffee mug, in front of a remarkable building, or next to your bed before you turn out the lights for a restful night.

Stay involved in school and other activities

Proactively let teachers and coaches know when you’ll be traveling and during which hours you’ll still be available for calls and emails. Reach out to them during your trip to show that you truly are available. That way, no concerns, issues, or praise ends up getting sidelined while you’re away.

If your child has a game or performance while you’re gone, video chat with them beforehand to help them practice or wish them luck. Then ask your partner or another parent to video chat with you during the event so you can catch it live.

Keep your family routines

Whether it’s a favorite show you watch together or a weekly pizza and trivia night, use video chat to join your family live. Is game night your thing? Research online board games you can play together at your regular time. The less disruption to your family’s schedule, the better.

In order to prepare for this, aim to schedule your meetings during business travel around your normal business hours. Worried about missing out on happy hour bonding? Consider parallel workday opportunities. If you’re utilizing an adaptable Plaza Workspace for a meeting, it’s easy to call a lunch break, order fresh food with a single touch, and connect with your colleagues without sacrificing family time.

Bring home meaningful gifts

One way to build excitement around your return home is coming back with gifts. Rather than relying on airport gift shops, use meeting breaks and evenings to look for local artisans, delicacies, and other unique items. With thoughtful gifts like these, your family will know that they were on your mind.

You can also start a collection for each family member that you can build over time from your business and personal travels. Anything is game: t-shirts, magnets, pins, thimbles, spoons, even interesting rocks!

When possible, bring them along

Take the whole gang during school breaks or consider inviting just one family member at a time for a special bonding opportunity. If it makes sense to stagger your travel, make the most of your time together by scheduling your family to join you at the end of your trip. This way, you can be fully present with them once they arrive with most of your work behind you.

When your work and family time overlap, help them make a plan for how to spend your time apart, so they don’t feel stuck while you’re in meetings. Crowne Plaza(R) WorkLife Rooms are ideal for this type of trip, as you’ll have plenty of space to get some work done while your family relaxes, and they’ll have a comfortable living space where they can enjoy themselves while you’re busy.

Divide up co-parenting responsibilities

Business travel can affect your relationship with your co-parent as well as your kids. No matter what your typical division of duties looks like, it likely changes while you’re away. Support your partner by making sure that change doesn’t require that all of your parenting responsibilities fall to them.

Keep whatever roles you can continue to perform while away — like scheduling appointments or booking summer camps — and take on new tasks to replace the ones you can’t do, like taking out the trash. Ask your partner what sort of extra support, both during and after your trip, they need. You might be able to freezer meals together ahead of your trip or order groceries from a delivery service to make your co-parent’s job as easy as possible while they’re flying solo.

When you’re able to be a present parent while traveling for business, everybody’s happier — your kids, your co-parent, and, of course, you. And if being away from your family still makes falling asleep a challenge, Crowne Plaza’s Sleep Advantage Program has you covered. With luxury bedding, guaranteed wakeup calls, and aromatherapy kits, you’ll arrive home refreshed and ready to jump right back into in-real-life parenting as if you’d never left.

Go Local in Beijing with Crowne Plaza

November 20th, 2019 Posted by New at Crowne Plaza, Uncategorized 0 comments on “Go Local in Beijing with Crowne Plaza”

With more than 3,000 years of history and several separate stints as China’s capital, Beijing is the embodiment of the phrase “more than meets the eye.” That makes it the perfect place for business travelers to weave surprise and delight into their trip, for a getaway that’s just as much leisure as it is productivity. Here’s how to explore the soul of Beijing, with expert input from local staff at Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido.

1. Start somewhere unexpected

Beijing boasts some of the most iconic attractions in Asia, from the Great Wall to Forbidden City, but it’s the spots you might otherwise overlook that will capture your imagination. Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido’s Rooms Division Manager Rock Huang recommends that guests take a short, 10-minute taxi ride to Lama Temple, whose physical majesty is matched only by its unique backstory.

“The temple houses a 70-foot-tall Maitreya Buddha image carved from a single Sandalwood tree,” he explains. “But although monks from Mongolia and Tibet have lived here for almost 300 years, it was originally built as a royal residence during the Qing Dynasty.” For more less famous but fascinating Beijing attractions, check in with your well-informed concierge, who will be full of insider ideas.

2. But don’t count out the classics—dining included

There are a few classic tourist activities that are essential for connecting with local Beijing life—like a glimpse into its past. Although currently home to a dizzying array of sleek skyscrapers and upmarket shopping malls, Beijing was historically a city of simple water houses. And while more tourists than ever have discovered the charm of the Hutongs, a tour of the Shichahai district around Houhai Lake is worthy outing. The tour provides a window into the way Beijingers have been living since before most of today’s visitors were born.

Likewise, while Beijing has gained fame in recent years as one of the most innovative food cities in China, classic dishes like jiǎo zi dumplings and Běi jīng kǎo yā (Peking duck) are world-renowned classics for a reason. Huang speaks highly of Quanjude Peking Roast Duck, which is just a few minutes from Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido by car.

3. Explore the art of modern Beijing

Temples and palaces are great, but they define Beijing’s artistic past. Modern Beijing has an array of contemporary art to discover as well. Guests at Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido can see an excellent example of this concept just steps from the hotel at 798 Art Zone, a multimedia arts space that was once a radio equipment factory.

“There are art galleries, craft studios, and even shops in this space today, which represents not only the cycle of re-birth that has come to define modern Beijing, but the fascinating picture (literally, in some cases) the current generation has painted of the city,” Huang explains.

4. Walk up for some perspective

Beijing may have a reputation for being fast-paced, but it also offers visitors an opportunity to rise above it all—literally. When you make the 15-minute walk from the north exit of the Forbidden City up to Jingshan Park, you won’t simply enjoy a priceless panorama of Beijing’s ever-growing skyline rising above historical Hutongs, you’ll also be in good, local company. Many older Chinese people walk up to Jingshan’s summit every day for exercise, and, luckily for English-speaking visitors, are often looking to practice their English skills, and to tell their truly fascinating stories.

5. Get away for a breath of fresh air

With a little more time at your disposal, you can discover an even more pastoral side of Beijing. If you have six to eight hours to spare, ride the Beijing Metro or get a taxi to the sprawling Summer Palace, a lush wonderland of pagodas, weeping willows, and expansive ponds and lakes where Empress Dowager Cixi escaped the heat of Beijing summers during the Qing dynasty. Closer to the city center, Beihai Park has been in existence for a thousand years—and has at least as many trees.

6. Let the season guide you

Beijing has four well-defined seasons, unlike many places in Asia—and each offers travelers a window into the authentic soul of the city. While every season holds special appeal, Huang details the glory of Beijing’s beautiful autumn season, which spans between mid-October to mid-November. If you have flexibility in your travel, this is the season he most recommends.

“The blue sky is clear and crisp, and contrasts beautifully with the scarlet leaves that blanket spots like the Fragrant Hills and Xiangshan, or Elephant Mountain,” he says. “This is the best time to see Chinese families out enjoying nature together, and to feel part of their happiness.”

7. Take a linguist adventure with Zhōngwén

Like most luxury hotels in Beijing, Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido provides guests with convenient cards that display the hotel’s name and address in Chinese, so you never have to worry about not being able to find your way back. However, Huang suggests being slightly more outgoing.

“We print pamphlets with simple Chinese phrases for our guests, and we encourage them to practice with locals,” he says. “You might not be perfect, but you’re sure to impress Beijing residents with your effort.”

Indeed, at the end of the day, the only way to appreciate Beijing from a local’s perspective is put to yourself out there like one—and speaking Chinese is the perfect way to do it.

Go local with Crowne Plaza

All that local Beijing adventure will likely lead to the need for some good rest. With work-life blend amenities, like the Sleep Advantage program, Crowne Plaza is the ideal home-base for work and leisure in this impressive city. Whether it’s a quick video call with your family, inside tips on where locals go out for the evening, or a night of sweet, rejuvenating sleep, staying at Crowne Plaza can help you stay connected, get immersed and make the most of going local during your stay.

Go Local in Auckland with Crowne Plaza

November 20th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Go Local in Auckland with Crowne Plaza”

Sail into a harbour of discovery in Auckland

It’s got all the hustle and bustle of an international city, yet when you know where to look, Auckland’s small-town charm and natural wonders are nearby.

Crowne Plaza Auckland‘s marketing and communications executive Andrea Gallier relocated here from Texas and has been exploring the city with the curiosity of a tourist and the inside knowledge of a resident ever since. That makes Gallier the perfect resource for travelers to Auckland, who may be coming with business on their agenda, but a plan to weave leisure into their stay in this picturesque city.

Scoot around town for a street-view tour

For those who want an up-close look at Auckland — and brought their sense of adventure — Gallier recommends hopping on an electric scooter. The popular rentable scooters send locals buzzing all around Auckland.

“The other day, my partner and I rented a couple and rode out to Mission Bay,” says Gallier. It’s a beautiful ride that hugs the Auckland harbor shoreline along a fairly flat promenade, and it takes less than an hour on wheels. There are also regular public bus services.

Find insider experiences with literature and art

There are few more local experiences than knowing just the right place to plop down with a book. Gallier heads to Auckland’s iconic Albert Park. But first, she’ll go to Unity Bookstore on High Street. “I love independent bookstores, and this one is really cozy and cute,” she says. “I’ll choose a book, get some coffee — Auckland’s crazy about its coffee, so you’re sure to find a good one—– and walk up that giant hill to Albert Park and hang out. I recommend going right to the middle, near the waterfall. It’s gorgeous on a sunny day.”

From that serene spot, you’re practically on the doorstep of the excellent Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki in Maori, which has regular free tours. For even more cultural enrichment, walk up the hill to the Domain and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Enjoy a local dance lesson

Looking for a unique way to immerse yourself in Auckland life? Gallier stumbled upon the opportunity to take drop-in dance lessons near Crowne Plaza, an experience she recommends to travelers.

“I discovered this really cool little dance studio on Queen Street, not far from the hotel,” she says. “You can just pop in for a casual lesson — they offer a little bit of everything from contemporary to jazz to hip-hop, beginner’s salsa — I think my favorite is the Lyrical Contemporary.”

Gallier also likes the mix of people of all ages and walks of life she finds Victory Performance Centre. “It’s a really great place to meet the locals,” she says.

Eat (and sunbathe) like a local

Aucklanders love to swim and enjoy the beach. And who wouldn’t want to spend time on the sand with direct views of Rangitoto, the volcanic island that emerged from the sea some 600 years ago? Gallier’s tip is to sate your sea-air appetite with a burger from BurgerFuel Mission Bay. The kumera (that’s sweet potato) fries and house-made aioli alone make it worth the trip.

Back in the city, Gallier says the ramen at Daikoku is slurp-worthy — there are a few dotted around Auckland, but she recommends the one on Victoria Street near the Crowne Plaza.

Planning a picnic or want to make your own meal for your hotel room? Gallier recommends the New Zealand supermarket Countdown. You’ll find a great selection of Kiwi wines, cheeses, famous green-lipped mussels, and other seafood delicacies.

View nature by ferry and foot

For another view of the sea, take the short but spectacular trip across the harbor on a Fullers ferry. The ride will take you to the delightful village of Devonport. Here, you’ll find an excellent grocery store perfect for stocking up for a picnic. Also, locals travel across town for beans from the coffee roaster, Chiaso, and you will find beautifully packaged handmade chocolates at Devonport Chocolates (great gifts if you’re on the hunt).

While exploring the village, you’ll also find walking trails exploring military, Maori, and local history. Find excellent birdwatching around North Head and if you pick your tide right (it needs to be close to high), wonderful swimming at Cheltenham beach.

Listen out for the amazingly tuneful call of the tui, a distinctive native bird beloved by New Zealanders — it even has a beer named after it. Speaking of songs and beer, you might want to head back to the hotel and order a craft beer at the Aria Restaurant and Bar.

Stay local with Crowne Plaza

When you’re done with those local adventures, you’re bound to be both energized for your business agenda and ready for a good night’s rest. With work-life blend amenities, like the Sleep Advantage program, Crowne Plaza is the ideal place to get everything you need from your Auckland stay. Whether it’s a quick video conference, inside tips from locals, or a night of sweet, rejuvenating sleep, staying at Crowne Plaza can help you stay connected, get immersed, and make the most of going local during your stay.

Go Local in Hong Kong with Crowne Plaza

November 20th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “Go Local in Hong Kong with Crowne Plaza”

One of the world’s most dynamic business and financial hubs, Hong Kong is also one of the most vibrant, buzzing tourist destinations, with almost 60 million visitors annually. Because there’s no reason business travel can’t be about leisure, too, a work trip is a perfect excuse to explore this fascinating city like a local.

Hongkongers love their city deeply, and when you seek out their favorite experiences there, you’ll understand why. Here’s how to “go local” when staying at the Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Causeway Bay and Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East.

Dig into the Unique Surroundings of Causeway Bay

Causeway Bay percolates with youthful energy and exciting shopping, especially for book lovers, according to Helen Yu, Director of Sales and Marketing for Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Causeway Bay.

“There are independent book stores, local chains, and the flagship of Taiwan’s Eslite book and lifestyle shop,” she says.

Causeway Bay is also the domain of villain hitters: elderly women who set up fortune-teller-like stalls to help banish evil forces and toxic people from guests’ lives. “It’s a folk sorcery,” Yu explains. “Villain hitters require human-shaped sheets of paper with some information about specific people, and beat them with shoes to curse one’s enemies.”

Also be sure to hit Tang Lung Street for some magic of the culinary variety. “Lined with award-winning restaurants, it’s becoming widely popular among locals,” Yu says. “I would recommend SUPPA, a nostalgia-themed Cantonese hotpot restaurant with 1980s decorations.”

See the Sea

Hong Kong is split into two sides, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, separated by the busy waters of Victoria Harbour. Between its nonstop trade, ferries, and the dramatic juxtaposition of skyscrapers against mountains and greenery on either side, you can’t miss a visit to or across the harbor.

“There are lots of attractions that locals love, but if there can only be one favorite, it’s definitely Victoria Harbour,” Yu says. “Tourists can go up to Victoria Peak and overlook the harbor from the mountain. Evening is the best time, not only for catching the sunset, but also to see the stunning and incredible night views of Hong Kong and skyscraper light show.”

Go Beyond Art Basel

March’s annual Art Basel sees international galleries, curators, collectors, critics, and artists transform Hong Kong into an art lover’s dream. Yet locals know that Hong Kong is packed with galleries beyond Basel—including branches of New York’s Gagosian and Lehmann Maupin—and exhibitions throughout the year by innovative local talents like Ip Wai Lung, Samson Young, and Wong Ping. “The H Queen’s is a new art and lifestyle building,” Yu says, “with world-class galleries including PACE, Peal Lam Galleries, and Whitestone Gallery.”

Take in Tai Kwun

One of the most celebrated new additions to Hong Kong’s culture scene is Tai Kwun Centre For Heritage And Arts, which opened in 2018. The 300,000-square-foot former Central Police Station complex is now home to excellent restaurants and bars, a world-class contemporary art museum, and permanent exhibits dedicated to the city’s and buildings’ history. “The exhibitions will allow you to get to know more about Hong Kong history,” Yu says.

Explore a Hong Kong Market

Hong Kong has a specialized street market for just about everything, from premium fruit (Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market) to consumer electronics (Apliu Street Electronics Market) and goldfish (Tung Choi Street Goldfish Market). Beloved Hong Kong movie actor Chow Yun Fat, who co-starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, buys fresh cooking ingredients almost daily at Kowloon City Wet Market (he’s selfie-friendly, too!).

Yu considers Kowloon’s Mongkok Flower Market one of the city’s most colorful spots. “There are over 90 florist shops in the street,” she says. “I recommend visiting in the early morning or evening, as the fresh flowers are delivered to the market at that time.”

A Hidden Biking and Hiking Paradise

Living a well-balanced lifestyle while traveling for business is easy in Hong Kong. The bike-friendly Yuen Long-to-Nam Sang Wai trail can be accessed via the Yuen Long MTR Station. “You may find some bike renting stores next to Yuen Long West Rail Station,” Yu says.

For hiking, the six-kilometer Wanchai-to-Aberdeen Reservoir hike takes just 90 minutes, while the nearly nine-kilometer Dragon’s Back trail can run two to three hours with break stops.

“For guests who can spare a half- or full-day, trails in Sai Kung and Lantau Island would be excellent choices to see another side of Hong Kong,” Yu adds. “Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak, from Mui Wo to Big Buddha, is 13kmn and quite a tough one, as it goes over the second and third highest hills in Hong Kong.”

Stay Local with Crowne Plaza

With work-life blend amenities, like the Sleep Advantage program, Crowne Plaza is the ideal home-base for work and leisure in Hong Kong. Whether it’s a quick video check-in with the office, inside tips on where locals are flocking, or a night of sweet, rejuvenating sleep, staying at Crowne Plaza can help you stay connected, get immersed and make the most of going local during your stay.