My below bio was not written by me, however. It was written by Gary Walther, the founding editor-in-chief of Departures and currently, The Hotel Detective. Given my thirst for hospitality, I couldn’t think of someone better to write it. And I’m quite humbled that he did.
It was a chance travel experience that lit up Adam Deflorian’s career runway.
He has always been a go-getter: By 11, he was running a business setting up and trouble-shooting corporate computer networks. But even back then he realized that selling his time didn’t feel like a calling.
The catalyst for AZDS, which Adam founded when he was 16, was a stay at the Waldorf Astoria with his grandparents. That was in the 90s when the hotel’s name meant ‘the best.’ Like the Ritz in Paris. Or the Plaza.
There was nothing in Adam’s background–modest; his mom was an elementary schoolteacher, and his dad was a small business owner-to predict that he would fall for luxury hotels. Perhaps it happened because at the Waldorf Adam stepped into another world. People rarely use the word ‘possibility’ when they speak of luxury hotels, but Adam thinks that the best ones do just that, suggest a you that never suspected was there.
At any rate, when Adam got home he began looking at other hotel websites and quickly saw that most were mediocre. He also started calling and writing hotels around the world asking for brochures and conference kits. He still has roughly 80 of them–now he thinks of them as archaeological remains.
The Waldorf visit yielded the niche for AZDS, using digital marketing and social media to boost luxury hotel brand awareness and of course sales. Adam incubated the agency through college at The University of Denver, and during his freshman summer he worked as a sales and marketing intern at the Westin Savannah Georgia. At the end, the GM offered him a job. Adam told him he wanted him to be his client.
Today AZDS is a multi-million-dollar practice that represents some of the world’s top-shelf luxury travel brands including Leading Hotels of the World, Montage Hotels & Resorts, the Edward Thomas Collection, and XOJET. Adam’s key tenet is
“become the brand’s consumer in order to learn how the brand can satisfy that consumer.”
Lots of people helped Adam along the way, chief among them Scott Gilbert, former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi LA, and Adam now spends a good amount of time returning the favor. He is a co-founder/mentor in the Accelerator & Mentor Program at Daniels College at the University of Denver. (He is also a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship/digital marketing.) Adam also founded the AZDS Propel Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity whose purpose is improve content creation, distribution, and digital marketing to arts education foundations across the United States.
Tweet at me if you want to reach out: @myTripst3r