John Amaechi is a man who wears many hats. He is a psychologist, New York Times best-selling author and former NBA basketball player. He also has his own charity in Manchester, the Amaechi Basketball Centre, with over 2,000 young people per week in attendance, helping to harness the power of young people through this sporting centre for urban communities.
This year, John was recognised by the British government and the Queen with his appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Pretty impressive? We think so! John recently stayed at our Kingsley Hotel in London so we caught up with him and asked him about his travelling tips.
1) What is your favourite part about travelling for business?
I think it’s when you find a hotel that fits your needs and then get to know all the facilities, restaurants, gyms and such that make staying there feel as home-like as possible.
2) What’s the first thing you do when you get to your hotel?
I always get my computer out and set it up ready to check the raft of emails that come through even after a short train journey. When it’s set up, I don’t get stuck in immediately, I first put on the kettle, have a quick shower and make some tea before I get to work.
3) What is the one thing you cannot do without when you’re travelling?
I have to remain connected, so at least my iPad, and often my computer as well come with me on every trip!
4) What do you love most about your job?
As a psychologist, I have a brilliant job. I get to use words to try and improve individual and organisational performance, I have been a professional athlete and still do some TV work, but nothing quite compares to the feeling of saying just the right words at just the right time to help clients make the perfect, positive changes.
5) Room service or eating out?
I try to get out of the hotel at least every other evening, but I eat breakfast in the hotel every day, I am fortunate that I am such a regular that the chef insists I mix up what I eat for breakfast each time – I think he pays more attention to my health than I do!
6) What’s the most unexpected experience that has occurred to you on a business trip?
I once checked into a hotel suite in the US and immediately went into the bedroom to have a nap, only to wake up hearing another couple settling into my room, it was disconcerting to say the least!
7) Your number 1 advice for business travellers is…
You have got to get to know the staff at hotels you stay at regularly, there is no benefit to being aloof and every benefit to knowing the staff who serve you breakfast and coffee, take your bags and check you in. It’s a tiny bit of effort for, I think, massive benefits – it’s the difference between regularly staying in a hotel and having a hotel feel like a home away from home.