Travel Secrets Revealed by Global Traveler - Eliot Wadopian
Musicians travel a lot, even before they have legions of fans. Hallway parties typically take precedence over a good night's sleep, especially if it is their first trip out in the world. Cheap hotel rates make their adventure a paradise, regardless of the accommodations.
A more professional, seasoned artist recognizes the value of a few hours of peaceful shut-eye, especially when taking a break from a long road trip. They just want to connect points A and B as quickly as possible and share their best performance when they arrive at scheduled events. They also appreciate and can recognize excellent guest service.
Grammy multi-award winning jazz musician Eliot Wadopian knows a thing or two about traveling the world and staying at numerous hotels. As a professional, working musician, Eliot sometimes has the benefit of outside sources booking his hotel reservations and covering travel expenses.
Recently, he was hired by the Chinese government to travel across their county and perform for nine weeks. They provided his lodging, which typically consisted of first class hotels. He was pleased with their cleanliness and said overall it was a great experience. Breakfast was always included. He enjoyed the international experience but also noted he wasn't sure how many noodles a westerner could consume – even for breakfast!
According to Eliot, just like in any other country, the accommodations are all over the place in China. He encourages travelers to be careful just as they would anywhere else. “If you have any concerns at all, you have to think about them because it's going to be what the citizens of that particular country typically puts up with,” says Eliot.
If you like a western type hotel with a western bed, etc. you pretty much have to stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel in Asia, suggests Eliot. Anything below 4 stars gets sketchy really quickly.
Safety, afford-ability, and location are important factors to Eliot Wadopian when he has to choose his own lodging. Even though he has won numerous awards and has traveled extensively on a global level, including across Europe for his performances, he still has to routinely make hotel reservations.
When Eliot tours with his local group, Free Planet Radio, he has experienced difficulty in finding the right balance between quality hotels and reasonable hotel rates. He has to pass the additional $200-$300 on to presenters of events, and they sometimes do not understand that.
Eliot says, “In my experience, if I try to save money, I get in kind of nasty situations. I play with the Charlotte, NC Symphony from time to time. I have stayed at several $55-$57 hotels near the airport - and you could tell they were rented by the hour. Hotel costs cut into my pay so much I had to do that. It's either drive four hours round trip for each Charlotte event or stay in a crappy hotel to save money, do my week and get out of there.”
Phone apps help Eliot make better hotel selections, especially if he is not familiar with an area when he travels. He likes using the website Yelp.com and reading reviews from previous hotel guests. Eliot says, “I find reviews that people leave to be really cool. It's also sort of interesting to see if it's just a sour grape review or if it's a legitimate – 'This place is nasty!' I have actually made accommodations based on reviews.”
We asked Eliot what he would like to see different at hotels, and he replied, “I really like when hotel staff is attentive and helpful. Often times, you can get folks that are either paid so little or they are so disenchanted with their job they are not very helpful. It sure makes a difference when you go in a hotel and meet someone who is welcoming and accommodating, who helps you find restaurants or attractions in their area if you have the time. That's cool! Hotel staff means a lot to me, particularly when I am dragging in at 11:30 pm or 1 in the morning. I know it's exhausting for them as well, but boy oh boy, some surly guy at 1:30 in the morning...”
Eliot Wadopian is a diabetic, but he still has to eat just like everyone else. He would like to see better quality selections overall when hotels provide a breakfast. After his experience with fantastic European spreads of breakfast, he says that is one area western hotels are definitely lacking.
In closing, we asked Eliot if hotel workers on average are doing a good job and seem to know what they are doing. He replied, “On average, I would say out of 10 times, 8 times - maybe 8.5 - of that would be they definitely know what they are doing and are very helpful. But - man I wish this was an airline discussion. I would really share some feedback! But it's the same thing with an airline or any other business. The person behind the counter means a lot to your customers. That's a direct contact to your customers. When that person is sort of disingenuous, I'm going to think twice about that accommodation when I'm going through there again.”
To learn more about Eliot Wadopian and his music, visit his website: www.eliotwadopian.com