Laugh Your Way to Success

John McMahon with Karen Goldberg


In my travels around the world, it’s always a pleasure to meet people in the hospitality industry that are plain having fun. I constantly say, “If you enjoy what you are doing, you will never work a day in your life.”

Well, I can confidently say I haven’t worked a day in 20 years. Believe me, there have been some tough days and days I would rather be home with my family. I’m sure you have these days too. But overall the travel industry is about hospitality. How could it not be enjoyable?

When I run into a bitter travel advisor, I scratch my head and ask, “Why?” Now, I know you all know the person I am referring to. They are not having fun and dislike their jobs. My advice: stay away from the bitter travel professional. They might be full of knowledge but everything about them is wrong.

 One person who is the complete antithesis of the acerbic travel advisor is Roland Largay, subject of this month’s cover story—along with his equally droll nephew, Paul Largay. When Luxury Travel Advisor turned one, we had a party to celebrate and it was there I first met Roland. The funny part is, up to this day, I don’t know how he got an invite! It didn’t matter; Roland took over the party with his amazing sense of humor, his sleight of hand (he performs magic tricks almost as well as he sells travel) and, maybe above all else, his kindness. To this day Roland and I joke about that first meeting. (He still won’t tell me how he found out about our party.) Every event I go to now, I can’t help but run over to Roland first. Why? Because I enjoy his company and he makes me laugh. This carries over into his business and is a major reason for his success.

So, do yourself a favor: have a laugh and watch your client base grow, and, when you can, take time out to savor the best of what this industry is all about. I’m shown above with Karen Goldberg, director of marketing for the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in New York. Karen was nice enough to show Ruthanne Terrero (our editorial director) and me the hotel’s wonderful new refurbishment a few weeks ago. All of the rooms and suites have been redone and a truly luxurious spa has been added to its offerings. If you haven’t been to this classic Manhattan icon lately, you owe yourself a visit. If you go, ask to see one of the duplex Penthouse Suites; we’re pictured on the terrace of one, enjoying a cool refreshment on a lovely summer’s day.

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