Author Archive

Brian Jewell

Boomers: Recycled Teenagers

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on October 19, 2016


“We’re not senior citizens — we’re recycled teenagers.” An experienced group travel planner shared this gem with me at an event where I spoke this spring, and I found it so interesting that I decided I had to share it with you. Much ink has been spilled profiling the psychological, behavioral and economic makeup of…



All too often in life, there’s a disappointing difference between what you see and what you get. Fast-food hamburgers look fresh, plump and delicious in TV commercials. But when I unwrap a burger after pulling out of a drive-through, I’m always disappointed to find a stale, shriveled, greasy mess. The lettuce is not crisp, and…



Nobody likes to hear complaints. But if you deal with them the right way, complaints can help you hone your skills as a travel planner and build better relationships with your customers. If you take enough people on enough trips, sooner or later something is going to go wrong. And when that happens, someone is…



When was the last time you did something that wowed your customers? Group tours and cruises offer a level of service unmatched anywhere else in the travel industry. But if you’re not delivering “wow” experiences to your travelers, you’re missing out on the opportunity to convert them from occasional customers to loyal followers. If you…


Brian Jewell

Counting Motorcoaches

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on February 16, 2016


“During our busy season, I drive past every hotel in town and count the motorcoaches in the parking lots every morning on my way to work. It’s the only way that we have any idea how many groups are coming.” During a research trip last year, I was discussing the issue of tracking group business…



I’ll admit it — I’ve fallen asleep on a tour bus before, in the middle of a guide’s presentation. And I’m willing to bet that you probably have, too. It’s not just something that has happened once or twice. Whenever I’m on a tour that includes long stretches of driving and guide commentaries, chances are good…



What does leadership mean to you? We use the term “leader” a lot around our office. Volunteer travel organizers are often referred to throughout the tourism industry as “group leaders.” And the word is even part of our company name and magazine title: The Group Travel Leader. But for all of the talk of group leaders…



It’s amazing how events that take place in your youth can carry on far into adulthood — or be totally forgotten by the time you’re 25. On the one hand, the teenage years seem made for frivolity, and most people’s adult lives rarely turn out the way they expected. Plenty of people dabble in high…


Brian Jewell

The Magic of Fall

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on October 07, 2015


Sometimes, you don’t know how special something is until you miss it. In the fall of 2000, I was beginning my sophomore year in college and kicked things off by spending a semester on a study-abroad program in Morelia, a gem of a colonial town in the mountains of central Mexico. I spent three months…


Brian Jewell

Team Luxury or Team Local

Posted by Brian Jewell in Travel Thoughts on September 02, 2015


Are you on Team Local or Team Luxury? There are two competing ideas in tourism that attempt to dictate the way Americans travel. In one corner, Team Local is all about immersion. They say that the greatest reward of travel is to see how the locals live and to join them in their lifestyle. In…