For the past month or so I've been aware of what became news today. I've been named "Business Traveler of the Year" by Business Travel USA Magazine. The honor, which I share with traveling Navy Wife, Heather Wilson, is just that. An honor. It's a "Red Badge of Courage" or in my case it really feels like winning the NHL's "Hart Trophy." So while I've been bestowed other awards like the Chevalier du Commanderie (Faugeres Conferie) which makes me a Knight (of wine) or being named USA Ambassador for the Grenache Association, this one carries the wounds of battle that a frequent business traveler only feels.
As someone who has originate and crafted awards programs in the past for like the Flyers' Cup Bobby Clarke Award and more, I know that not only finding the candidates is the first challenge. The real test comes in selecting the recipients.
But, I digress. If this were the Academy Awards there are people I have to thank. So here goes.
First is Adrianne Buchta, who works for me at Comunicano. She saw the award nomination request and suggested me. Actually she kicked me into doing this.
Second is Peter Koehler, the SVP for IHG and the GM of the San Francisco Intercontinental, where his staff, especially Gina, Earnest, Boris and Jadey go far past the norm in making a business traveler feel at home it is like my other home. Right up there is Shehani De Marseille, who as the former Guest Relations Director there who is now in Cleveland who still to this day looks after me wherever I go.
In London it's Holly Redmond the now Conrad St. James that was Intercontinental Westminster. There as the mistress of guest relations she makes sure I always get not only the same room, but the same treatment.
Down in Australia Joerg Boeckler the GM at the Sydney Intercontinental who had the guts to tell Angelina Jolie I would be sleeping underneath her (room that is) despite the star's hotel agreement, and in Melbourne Intercontinental's, it's Chief Concierge, and perhaps the World's Best at it, James Ridenour, who not only has his finger on the pulse of Melbourne, but who also has one heck of a blog too.
I also have to thank Guy Cooper, who until he retired his limo business was my Private Driver for the past few years and of course, my pal here in San Diego, Steve Pagano, the Hotel Manager at the San Diego Marriott. Getting to know Steve when he was GM at the Del Mar Marriott presented a whole other perspective and his advice years ago benefit me on the road more than he'll ever know.
Then there's my friend of almost 40 years, Larry "the Yaz" Yasner who in 1980 gave me tips on how to go to Europe. Yazzer... little did you know what you started.... and there's also pal Tom Carter, who may log more miles than me each year, and who really defines the title of "Road Warrior." Catching the business travel bug from you over ten years ago is one that never leaves us.....And, I'd be totally remiss if I didn't mention the real guru of business travel, Joe Brancatelli'. Just go read JoeSentMe, as his tips, and those of his colleagues have saved my bacon more than a few times and it's easily worth the annual subscription...yes the list could go on, because unlike the horrors many traveler experience, my connections and friendships I've made have benefited me in spades as I travel the globe in search of great wine, fine food and super business relationships.
So for all those I've come into contact with, who understand the "Business Traveler" I thank you. And for those whom I've gotten upset with, well, I'm just "the guest" after all.
Seriously, I'll have more on this in January at the Awards Show, but for now, just after Thanksgiving Weekend I say a big "thank you" to everyone who has helped, put up with me, and made my life on the road just a little bit better and a whole lot easier.