The pandemic has made it difficult to safely hold in-person meetings, which the travel industry has thrived on in the past, but one hotel representative has found an innovative solution: Buy a custom Winnebago camper and drive it around the country, holding meetings for advisors at the properties he represents and sometimes even in advisors' driveways.
Jon Makhmaltchi, founder of J.MAK Hospitality, has found a number of ways to connect with travel advisors during the pandemic. He upped his social media usage and developed "J.MAsKs," face masks with his logo and catchphrases he uses, such as "Luvya!!!" and "Hooray!!!" Makhmaltchi sent the masks to advisors, who have in turn been posting selfies on social media, many documented on J.MAK's Instagram Stories.
But his latest effort, the Winnebago, is certainly his most ambitious.
J.MAK Hospitality receives a monthly retainer from the hotels he represents to put them in front of advisors; he describes himself as something of a "broker" between advisors and properties.
The idea of owning a recreational vehicle has always been attractive, Makhmaltchi said.
About 10 years ago, he represented Airstream 2 Go, which rents luxury Airstream trailers. Makhmaltchi took one to Virtuoso Week in Las Vegas, then journeyed on to Moab, Utah, with some travel advisors. It was "epic," he said, and "it left a mark on me."
In the midst of the pandemic, Makh-maltchi and his husband welcomed a daughter via a surrogate in Missouri. In considering how best to bring her home, Makhmaltchi revived his RV idea and tried to rent one. He was unable to get one in time, so they flew via private jet. But the RV idea stuck with him.
Check out the full article from Travel Weekly here.