Making business travel easy and fun
Paul Ziff, president of Zenith North America, has a streamlined flight routine and takes advantage of his solo travel status - good seats at ballgames.
(Fortune Magazine) -- Ziff isn't quite sure the term "road warrior" describes him properly. "It connotes hardship," he says. "I don't look at it that way. If I was going to the same office every day, that would be difficult."
When he's not traveling from his home on New York's Long Island to Switzerland, where the LVMH-owned watch brand is based, Ziff is selling retailers like Tourneau on his company's timepieces. (Zenith, founded in 1865, has long been well known in the watch world for supplying flawless movements; in recent years the company has made a bigger push to promote its own brand in the U.S.)
We caught up with Ziff to talk about how he keeps his travel on track.
1. Days on the road - It's anywhere from 60 to 80. It depends on the year.
2. Favorite hotel - When I go to California, I stay at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons. I also stay at the Four Seasons in Miami. I like that they're business hotels, not party hotels.
3. Best eats - When I'm out with clients and they leave it up to me, my first preference is to go to a steak restaurant. If I'm in the L.A. area, Cut is wonderful. There's always a chance of seeing Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, or Denzel Washington. That adds to the L.A. experience.
4. Ticket technique - I'm a big sports fan, and one of the benefits of traveling is that I've gotten to go to a lot of baseball stadiums. When you're alone, it's a piece of cake to get tickets. I've walked up to Fenway Park 20 minutes before the game. They release the unsold players' seats, and I'm sitting eight rows behind home plate.
5. Top stadiums - When you go to Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, you're going back in history. And with the fans in Chicago and Boston, it's just a very festive atmosphere. It's really a community experience.
6. Packing approach - I like to pack the day I'm going because otherwise it makes me feel like I'm traveling two days.
7. Late-night flight - I make it a ritual to fly in the night before a meeting. I'd rather finish a day's work, hop on a plane, arrive late, but know I'm there.
8. Suitcase strategy - I put a big piece of yellow tape on each side of my Tumi black wheeled suitcase. Then I don't worry about it because everybody has got a black nylon bag.
9. Smooth flying - Small regional airports are the easiest. I'll use MacArthur, which is in Islip [N.Y.]. Southwest has a big hub there. If I'm going to Chicago or Fort Lauderdale, it's easy because it's small and doesn't get the traffic of J.F.K.
10. Flight requirement - What I like about JetBlue (JBLU) is that it has TV. I once scheduled a flight so I wouldn't miss a Mets game. I had to go to Vegas, and it was in the middle of the Mets playoffs. Sure enough, everybody was yelling and screaming watching the game.