Expert air travel tips with Michael Issenberg

Michael Issenberg

Michael Issenberg

The chairman and CEO of AccorHotels Asia Pacific, Michael Issenberg, tells us his travel habits.

Where do you travel regularly for work?

"AccorHotels is a French company and I'm based in our regional headquarters in Singapore, so I fly across Asia and regularly to Paris. Sydney is my second home so I'm often there."

How often are you away?

"I'm pretty much in a different country seven weeks out of eight. Most recently I was overseeing our acquisition of the global Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel portfolio so my travelling was even more insane than usual, including many trips to Toronto."

Suitcase of choice?

"My Samsonite carry-on and briefcase go with me everywhere. I never check a bag for work - only when I travel with my family."

Pre-flight routine?

"It's important to get a good sleep the night before an overnight flight. And as much as I'd like to indulge, I always eat lightly because anything too heavy can make it harder to sleep. Wherever possible I get a good workout the morning of an overnight flight."

Onboard routine?

"I immediately start to adapt my sleep cycle to the destination. If it's evening where I'm headed, I'll try to go straight to sleep. Or I'll try to stay awake to get into the same time zone. Sadly, I have given up drinking alcohol on flights and I find this really helps. When you fly as often as I do, in-flight movies are often your saviour to pass the time."

Roll or fold?

"I'm a folder. When you have legs as long as mine, rolling would take a lot of time!"

Who do you fly with when you're working?

"Singapore Airlines. You just cannot beat the service. The consistency is extraordinary. I'm always looking for tips to adapt to our hotels."

How do hotels get it wrong for business travellers?

"I think hotels could do a better job of anticipating the needs of frequent travellers and realising these needs change from one trip to another. Truly personalised service can make a huge difference to someone constantly on the road. Hotels also need to have more sociable and locally inspired public spaces. Today's business travellers want to feel part of their destination."


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