Andy Abramson, the CEO of Comunicano Inc, has spent up to 288 days a year traveling for business over the last decade. He knows that the concept of work-life balance is complicated.
Whether in his Del Mar, California office, in Boston, Seattle, or abroad in Europe, he strives instead for a work-life blend as a more realistic and worthwhile goal.
Abramson’s frequent trips have earned him the title of InterContinental® Royal Ambassador as well as the coveted Business Traveler of the Year award from Business Traveler Magazine, not so much for where he travels, but for how — with an aim to live a full life, wherever business travel takes him.
Here’s how does it.
Developing Relationships With Hotel Staff
Personal relationships are a part of a fulfilling life, so Abramson doesn’t leave all of his at home. A regular guest of IHG® Hotels & Resorts brands like Crowne Plaza®, Abramson has developed meaningful friendships with the people who make his business travel run so smoothly.
“I realized that the people who look after you at IHG properties demonstrate a level of care that is just not found elsewhere across the board. Now, many hundreds of nights later, I can say that the staff are not just people I know, in many cases they are friends,” he says.
In his numerous visits to Crowne Plaza Lyon in France, for example, Abramson says that even though his stays were spread over a few years, much of the staff remained the same, something he calls “a big plus” for him.
“It gives you the feeling of seeing friends who know you, and the welcome each time proves that,” he says. “They really look after the repeat guests there with upgrades and just a friendly approach to your being there. I’ve had them manage my dining reservations and they’ve secured tables in all of the best places in Lyon for me.”
He also makes sure to let hotel staff know about important or special events coming up during his stay. One time this led to an unforgettable evening, arranged by Audrey Berr, Chief Concierge Clefs d’Or at an IHG hotel in Marseille. When outside circumstances led to a canceled restaurant reservation at one of Marseille’s best restaurants on Abramson’s birthday, her quick thinking saved the evening.
“Within minutes in the lobby, in front of her desk, Audrey set up a table complete with silverware and linens, as pizzas arrived, piping hot. What made it so special was that every staff member said ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, and it was due to the care and attention that they take with their guests, that made that happen,” he says.
Removing the anonymity that often accompanies a hotel stay means that Abramson feels right at home as soon as he checks in.
Again, for Abramson the staff make all the difference just like at the Crowne Plaza in Auckland, New Zealand. “I was thrilled with my choice. The staff are super professional and work on the guests time, not their own schedule. They also have really comfortable beds, super silent rooms and really good laundry service. I couldn’t have been happier!” he says.
Abramson believes it’s important to enjoy the good things in life when traveling, just like he does at home.
For him, that means searching out local wineries and bringing home a bottle or two for a souvenir. Whether he is visiting one of his favorite vineyards like Chene Bleu in the Rhone Valley, Domaine D’Aupilhac in the Languedoc, or Schubert in Martinborough, New Zealand, he makes a point of getting recommendations and advice from the concierge and other members of the hotel staff.
“By building rapport with the concierge staff in Marseille, I’ve dined my way around the city over multiple visits, found amazing wines, and established other local friendships with the winemakers at MicroCosmos, which is the smallest urban winery in the world,” he says.
Of course, Abramson is a busy man — and traveling on business for a reason. But that doesn’t stop him from exploring his destinations. He simply prepares ahead to work as he adventures, and adventure as he works.
“I’ll research a town, city, or area, make notes in Google Keep or Evernote and wander with my iPhone, and iPad,” he says. “I know if something work-related comes up, I can handle it with those two devices while sitting in a cafe, wine bar, or hotel room. This helps me to avoid the stress of being away in the 24/7 world we live in.”
Working in comfort
Naturally, there are times during his travels when work requires more than simply checking in on a mobile device. This is made easy — and downright comfortable — at Crowne Plaza’s new adaptive Plaza Workspace. This business-traveler-focused initiative not only provides a place for great work to happen, but provides guests with choices of how they’d like to work.
The modern, bright Plaza Workspace can be adapted for solo travelers or can become co-working and meetings rooms for larger teams. You can also expect to find a range of other amenities to support business from free Wi-Fi to on-site support, as well as fitness centers to wind down after a day of meetings.
“IHG and their family of brands have made the ability to blend work and play much easier for me,” Abramson says.
Wherever he goes next, one thing is for sure, he will likely make a new friend along the way.