‘Shark Tank’ Star Robert Herjavec on His Top Travel Tips, Advice for Starting a Business, and What Business Travelers Really Want

Robert Herjavec / La Quinta
 La Quinta by Wyndham


For businessman Robert Herjavec, traveling is simply part of his life. As the successful CEO of the global cybersecurity company, the Herjavec Group, and one of the investors/hosts on ABC’s Shark Tank, Herjavec is on the road for at least 100 days out of the year. But just because Herjavec is on the road, it doesn’t mean he’s out of his element.

All that travel has allowed Herjavec to put together some great tips and plans for what he needs when he’s on the road, allowing him to keep things consistent even when he’s not at his home base. That’s one reason why Herjavec has partnered up with La Quinta by Wyndham.

“I’m a creature of habit, so when I travel I like to know what I’m going to get when I’m there,” Herjavec says. “It’s one of the things I like about La Quinta—it really does mean business. I can show up, I can check in fast, I can exercise whenever I want, I can get coffee 24/7. I like consistency, I like things to be the same way when I travel and you get that consistency here.”

Robert Herjavec / La Quinta
La Quinta by Wyndham

Herjavec worked with La Quinta by Wyndham on a new national survey on business travel and what people really are looking for when they’re traveling. The survey went over a wide range of different subjects and things people do when they’re on-the-go for business, including whether people unpack their suitcases when they stay (40-percent of business travelers unpack their suitcases), how many need coffee to fuel up (34-percent said coffee/tea was essential for preparing for work), whether clean underwear or Wi-Fi is more important (take a guess how that one went), and if people stock up on hotel breakfast for the day (79-percent stock up on food).

“The biggest thing that I found interesting—and it doesn’t surprise me—was that when they asked people, what would you rather have high-speed Wi-Fi or clean underwear?” Herjavec says. “And guess what? It was the Wi-Fi. You can always get more underwear—but how am I going to order it If I’m not online? 64-percent of people said Wi-Fi. That’s the world we live in and that’s so true for me. I have to be connected all the time. Overall, it was just fascinating to see what people really are thinking and looking for when they travel.”

Herjavec took some time to speak with us about his top travel tips, insights from the survey from La Quinta by Wyndham, why he loves working on Shark Tank, and advice for people starting their own business. (Check down at the bottom of the interview for more insights into the survey.)

Men’s Journal: What did you find interesting or surprising about the national survey? 

Robert Herjavec: Along with the Wi-Fi question, there’s a variety of other stats I found interesting too, including that 23-percent of the people felt that exercise was one of the best ways to prepare for a meeting the next day. That definitely speaks to me. The big one that really hit home and resonated with me—it’s not traveling that’s stressful for people when they were asked, it was that 54-percent of people said that it’s the packing and unpacking that’s the most stressful part, and I found that interesting.

What have you enjoyed about your relationship with La Quinta and working on this survey and everything you’re doing together?

Well, the first thing I enjoy the most is that La Quinta means business—and I’m all about business. Shark Tank is all about business. That’s one of the great things about Shark Tank is we make business kind of cool. It’s not this boring, stale thing. And here with La Quinta, one of the things we did is we came up with this survey, which I really love. We went to real people and got their perspective and the amazing thing is even in this day and age of digital and phones and online and the cloud, people still need to travel and nothing takes the place of a human. I mean, it’s part of a big brand in Wyndham and they’re all about business and I’m all about business. They’re about making sure people get what they need when they travel.

As someone who travels so much, what are some of your best tips for traveling?

The big thing is, first of all, I think of packing and preparing in terms of “Bottoms Up.” So I think from shoes, socks, pants, underwear, shirts…all the way up. You build things that way and make sure you have what you need. Second thing is, I think of everything in terms of a collection or an outfit. I have an outfit planned for the days I’m away. I also try to keep a vanity bag with all the essentials and always leave in my travel bag before I go, so you always know you’ll have it, and then another big thing is having a routine. The survey found that a lot of business travelers unpack their suitcases and put things away, and I found that interesting too. I like to put things away, because you don’t want things to crease or wrinkle up if you’ll need them.

Any items you always make sure to have while traveling?

I’m not product-centric per se, but I’m functional. So I really like to bring noise-canceling headphones, I always bring a spare power supply, a bag of peanuts, and running shoe, never go anywhere without some workout gear.

Robert Herjavec / La Quinta
La Quinta by Wyndham

What advice would you give to someone who is starting a business?

People are so infatuated by what they love to do and sometimes not with the operation of their business. You can want to start a hair salon or something like that because you love it, but you also need to run a business.  You’ve got to love the entire process of running a business. That’s the biggest mistake people make: They think that their love and passion for that one art form, whatever it might be, can carry them through it all. But at the end of the day, you still need basic business focus to succeed.

If you could go back and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Dream bigger. The reason I’m not more successful is that I didn’t dream bigger. When I was younger, I came here on a boat with my mum and dad and one suitcase when we escaped from a communist country. My reality was never going back to that. I never remember wanting to be wealthy, I just remember not wanting to be poor. But I’ve always thought too much about protecting the downside because that was my reality. But if I were to dream bigger, I think I could have gotten farther. But here’s the amazing thing: It’s never too late that. It drives me nuts when people in their 40s tell me, ‘Oh, I don’t have any more time.’ I mean, Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was in his 60s, so there is no time limit for success. I think today people are living longer and they’re more driven. They eat better. They exercise better. But yeah dream bigger is what I’d say.

What do you enjoy most about being on Shark Tank?

I love to do it because you really know what it’s like to be on the other side. Sometimes you show up and maybe you had a long day, and then somebody walks through that door and this is their life. This is their dream. This is their opportunity to make something. I love that and isn’t that what life is really about? Making the best out of our situation and craving something of value in order to take care of the ones that we love. That’s why people travel and that’s why people come on the show. I find that really inspiring. I get more inspired by people pitching to us then maybe they do. We all love a great story.

With your busy schedule, how do you find time to work out?

When we started filming Shark Tank. I was between 20-25 pounds heavier. What I’ve learned over the years is you’ve got to have consistency. It really is number one. I used to run five miles every day, beat the crap out of myself and feel miserable and sore and somehow I thought that was working out. It is better to walk every day than run five miles once every seven. Consistency is the key. If it’s important for you to get in a workout, schedule it and make it work on your time. In the last five years, I’ve started doing more weights, and the other thing that’s really worked for me is group exercise class.

What’s your favorite class to do?

I never used to go to a group class, but I’ve become addicted. It’s SoulCycle that’s my favorite. I did one this morning [laughs].

Is there some advice you’ve learned through your business career that you feel has helped you a lot along the way?

What I learned very early is that the only thing that’s fatal in life is death—meaning that failure is not fatal. It’s okay to fail and keep going. From an early age, nothing I ever did was supposed to work out: My family wasn’t supposed to be in this country; I wasn’t supposed to make any money. I’m the first person in our entire family that ever went to University. I wasn’t supposed to succeed. And because of that journey, I learned that failure is okay and never looked at it as fatal. So I would try, I’d get knocked down, and I’d keep going.

Robert Herjavec / La Quinta
La Quinta by Wyndham

What’s something every man should know about money?

Every man should know how to grow this money and every man should know basic accounting rules. You don’t have to be an accountant, but you should know how to speak money.

What a general mindset tip for people about traveling?

Plan. You have to have a plan if you’re going on a trip. You’ve got to think it through and maximize your time. You’ve already made the investment to be there, so maximize your time. Don’t eat by yourself. When I’m on the road, I like to have breakfast with a client or a vendor or an employee or somebody on my team. I’m going to maximize all of that time.

Here are a few more insights to the survey from La Quinta by Wyndham (stats courtesy of La Quinta): 

La Quinta’s survey tapped into business travelers’ mindsets, how they maximize their hotel stays, how they amp up for a big day and more:

Home away from home

  • The bare necessities: Sixty-four percent of business travelers think it would be harder to go without high-speed Wi-Fi than clean underwear on a business trip
  • A type A traveler: Forty percent of business travelers unpack their suitcases and put things in the closet or dresser
  • Rest assured: Forty-three percent of business travelers married or in a relationship prefer to sleep in a hotel bed they have all to themselves the night before a big meeting
  • But first, coffee: Thirty-four percent of business travelers say drinking coffee or tea is one of the most important ways to prepare for work while traveling
  • The hangover: More than 1/4 of male business travelers (28%) have been hungover during a meeting or presentation while on a business trip compared to 14% of female business travelers