Posts Tagged ‘Gowalla’

Featured Traveler | Andy Ellwood: Business Traveler

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

This resident New Yorker spends much of his time traveling, sometimes for work, pleasure and even philanthropy. Meet Andy Ellwood. Since his teenage years, Andy knew traveling would be a huge part of his life. Learn how his most recent trip to Moscow and Dubai jumped to the top of his list and why New York City is the best place to party!

Name: Andy Ellwood

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a resident of NYC and a frequent visitor of JFK & LGA.  I find a strange comfort in being on a plane flying above the rest of the world and returning my emails while being served single serving snacks and 6 oz of liquid. My dad told me when I was 16 “I think you’ve got a life long travel bug in your system” and he was right. I have been chasing down experiences and opportunities to learn more about the world around me for as long as I can remember. A lot of my travel recently has been connected to my position as head of Business Development for Gowalla. As a young company, we are doing our best to be in the right place at the right time. As such I’ve flown over 125,000 miles in the past 12 months. So far this year I’ve been to 4 continents and 8 countries.

Favorite city you’ve been to:

My better half Annie and I went to Moscow and Dubai this Spring on a much needed vacation.  They were both amazing cities and a stark contrast between the storied history of Russia and the brand new shininess of the UAE.  But, probably my favorite city I’ve been to recently was Buenos Aires.  It was a quick stay on the front end of a longer trip into the Argentina jungle with TOMS Shoes to give out new shoes to kids in need, but the charms of Buenos Aires were numerous.  The European influence throughout the cities layout and architecture gave me a sense of familiarity and blended beautifully with the gorgeous Latin culture. That, and I had the best steak of my entire life at La Cabera Norte. I still dream about it.

Favorite restaurant:

Emilio Ballato’s in New York City. This small Italian restaurant is the best restaurant in NYC that hasn’t caught on or been overly exposed by the foodie press. Whether for date night, out of town family visiting, or just because I’m craving the spaghetti pomodoro, it is the kind of place that makes you feel like you’re in the living room of a wonderful family in the Italian country side. The owner sits at the front table most nights and greets the regulars with a handshake and Tony Soprano smile.

Best place to relax:

The Hamptons. From the first time that I “headed out East” to the other end of Long Island, I have been a tad bit obsessed with the amazing dichotomy found there. It is amazing to see the fabulous shops, restaurants, and people that could (and are) found on Madison Avenue blended in amongst the landscape of the small town country scenery.  It is the kind of place where you can sit down for a quick lunch at The Candy Kitchen and have Rudy Giuliani and his wife sit down next to you (which is actually what happened last time I was there:

Best place to have fun:

New York City. I love the city that I get to call home for countless reasons, but the ability to have fun around every corner is one of top ones. Whether it is grabbing a beer with some friends at The Half Pint (Thompson & 3rd), talking a stroll from the Met through Central Park to Columbus Circle, or trekking from Washington Square Park all the way down to my favorite place in the city at the middle point on the Brooklyn Bridge, there is something fun for everyone.

Best trip you’ve ever taken:

For me, who you are traveling with impacts the enjoyment of a trip almost more so than where you go. But, when you can combine traveling with your best friend and seeing some of the most incredible sights into one journey, it is a double win. This Spring’s trip to Moscow and Dubai with Annie was that kind of trip. We had the chance to explore both cities with locals and see the parts of the cities that aren’t in the guide books. From Red Square in Moscow to the top of the Burg Al Khalifa in Dubai, there were so many awesome memories.

What one piece of advice do you have for travelers?

GO. If you have the chance to see, experience, or try something new, do it. Look for advice from locals and make time for the things that aren’t in the guide books or on ‘Top 10′ lists. And most of all, roll with the punches and hang loose. Things will change and not go according to plan.  Be okay with that and bounce back immediately and find the joy in the journey.

Where else can we find you on the web?

Starwood Partners with Foursquare

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Starwood Preferred Guests who use Foursquare are now getting more than just badges. SPG’s latest partnership now awards Starpoints for members who link their account.

To avoid non-hotel guests from racking up points in their closest Starwood Hotel lobby, the program only awards 250 points when you have a confirmed reservation at the hotel.

We’ve seen a growing number of gtrot members linking their Foursquare accounts to gtrot to help track the places they’ve been. It will be interesting to see if more travelers sign up for Foursquare to get rewarded. This notion of earning travel awards in exchange for place check-ins is nothing new.

Travel rewards site TopGuest which rewards hotel guests ‘just for being there’ has supported multiple top check-in services and hotel loyalty programs since 2010.

So, would this make you sign-up for Foursquare if you haven’t before?

Starwood Preferred Guest | foursquare.