Interview

Jeff Sirota: Making travel dreams come true

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April 16, 2020

Where hospitality meets personality – J.MAK is a brand that emphasises the importance of relationships, social media, constant activity, and success.

They enable their clients to find their individual flair, relax, feel confident and stand out from the crowd.

Describe your business in 5 words

Hospitality. Personality. Responsive. Innovative. Fun!

 

Describe your typical working day

One of my favourite things about what I do is that I really don’t have a “typical” working day. When I’m home in NYC I catch up on work at home, take meetings with partners and clients, and work on new projects.

I travel frequently on sales missions, to attend tradeshows such as TFest or to visit with our J.MAK partners and properties. Every day is different and exciting!

Stone Water Cove, Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri

The luxury market is changing. How are you adapting how you work?

One of the many things I think J.MAK does well and that I am proud of, is how we’ve faced the challenge that many advisors have become home-based.

There are so many fantastic advisors that don’t work out of an office on a daily basis that we’ve had to get creative with how we sell: reaching advisors daily through social media, weekly with e-blasts, and regularly with lunches, coffees and dinners where we get to interact in person.

   

What trends do you see in luxury travel?

Stuffy is out, approachable is in. More and more people want to stay at a hotel where they feel at home: not one that feels like a museum.

Thoughtful, anticipatory service is a must, with engaging hotel staff who don’t feel overly coached or robotic.

Inn at Perry Cabin, St. Michaels, Maryland

What does luxury mean to you?

Luxury is experiencing something outside of your everyday norm: whether it be a high level of anticipatory service, food or drink you don’t usually enjoy, taking in a view you don’t have at home, or having someone make your bed.

To me, the ultimate luxury is being able to actually unwind and disconnect (however, that doesn’t happen all too often!).

 

What has working in the luxury market taught you?

How lucky I am to be doing so! While I would say that most of the people that I know in the business, as well as our clients, realise this, I have also learned that there will always be some people you can never make happy.

Sometimes coming to that realisation helps a lot in difficult situations. I always say, if you aren’t happy on vacation, what must you be like in everyday life?!

San Francisco Proper Hotel, California

What excites you about the travel industry?

Where do I begin?

When I worked as a travel advisor, my dad used to ask, “What dreams did you make come true today?”

I think that holds so true about what we do. We send people to experience other cultures, expand what they know, challenge what they think and in the luxury segment we are doing it in comfort and style.

 

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

As social as I may be, sometimes there is nothing better than a quiet moment alone to reflect.

Edgewood Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

What do you value most when you travel?

Comfort and efficiency. I recognise that I’ve become spoiled, but for the amount I travel there is nothing better than being able to skip long lines at the airport, enjoy the lounge before a flight and fly in style, arriving refreshed at a hotel that is cosy and that gives me a taste of my destination.

How do you make sustainable choices in your work and personal life?

While they are probably small, such as always recycling at home and reusing water bottles whenever I can, if everyone makes small choices it can amount to a big difference.

I love that some airlines now have carbon offset funds when you fly… it makes me feel a little less guilty about all that flying!

The Inn at Newport Ranch, Mendocino County, California

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