Lead, Don’t Follow

John McMahon with Cheryl Williams


I am constantly asked if I get bored from traveling the world and experiencing the best in luxury hospitality. The answer is “yes.” I get bored when I see and experience the same hospitality that I could find anywhere. Why travel so far for that “experience?”

Luxury is being defined differently now as “Old School affluence” meets the jeans and T-shirt crowd. Luxury until a few years ago was not considered cool; it was pretentious and stuffy. So I take great pleasure in this “new” luxury, witnessing levels of hospitality that raise the bar and push the envelope on delivering unique services and experiences that can’t be found elsewhere.

This formula has been successful at Luxury Travel Advisor. We focus on innovation. We will never be a “me-too-brand.” We will never be a follower, no matter what the circumstances. This is a brand pledge we made when we launched this publication and created the label ADVISOR to define travel professionals who are focused on the luxury category. This is what defines our relationship with you, the reader. It keeps our love affair strong, as no content is old or repurposed from others.

As luxury travel advisors, you too should make this your mission. Never sell the ordinary, only the extraordinary. Walk away from the “me-too-traveler” mentality. Sell your clients customization and personalization. That’s where personal and financial satisfaction exists and makes boredom impossible. I thrive from engaging with these types of people, and it is the source of my motivation.

Cheryl Williams, director of North America leisure sales and distribution for Starwood and I spend most of our time talking about innovation and the future. Her success at Starwood was built on innovation. Cheryl encouraged me to launch the first appointment-based travel advisor event in the U.S. that is fully hosted by a media and events company. This is our Hawaii Travel Exchange that will be taking place in October. The success of this event has encouraged our team to continue to raise the bar with our Luxury Travel Expo, transforming into Luxury Travel Exchange International (LTX) in November.

I look forward to seeing you at one of our events with the rest of the leaders in the industry.

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