Sell the Holiday Destination

John McMahon with Rory McIlroy



Naming each and every holiday would take an entire page; not to mention, it would be a complete snooze. But let’s start with my favorite: St. Patrick’s Day. I also enjoy Columbus Day, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year and the countless heritage parades that are held in many cities throughout the world. Obviously, I have missed a few, but here is the idea: holidays can help you sell a destination.

My friends at Ashford Castle and Dromoland Castle in Ireland come over every St. Patrick’s Day to promote their castles and take advantage of their country’s focus on the week-long—or should I say month-long—celebration.

Likewise, the Italian Tourist Board is all over New York City with events around Columbus Day. It’s a smart move: The focus is on their destination and celebration of their culture.

As a luxury travel advisor, you should be doing the same. That is, honing in on a destination, which has an upcoming holiday or festival. Hanukkah in Jerusalem, anyone? Your marketing efforts will go a long way as you ride the wave of a cultural celebration.

I recently played a few holes of golf with Rory McIlroy (I’m pictured with him here; he’s shouldering my clubs), the 21-year-old Irish phenom golfer, who is already considered one of the game’s greats (at press time, he was ranked seventh in the world golf rankings).

Rory also remembers his roots and is a great ambassador of Ireland and, as such, a tremendous asset for promoting golf tourism there (tough job, right? Ireland has some of the top courses in the world).

He is also an ambassador for Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, his sponsor during events. The hotel operator snatched him up before he hit it big and he has proved to be a great brand representative.

The two are a good match: Jumeirah is still a fledgling brand; Rory has youth and spirit—and an already large identity. Their successes are growing in lockstep.

To learn more about this brand, I encourage you to visit and become a Jumeirah Specialist. It will make you a better luxury travel advisor. Rory made me a better golfer. And, no, he didn’t caddy for me; I just thought it would be cool to tell people he did.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Teo's previous experience includes Waldorf Astoria, The St. Regis, EDITION, The Ritz-Carlton and InterContinental hotels in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.