In 2006, Daniel Andrew, one of the Groups Today 2017 Top 10 Next Gens, founded Trademark Tours while a student at Harvard. In 2011, he founded City Wine Tours, bringing his knowledge of the touring industry to wine-lovers in Boston and New York. Today, his companies employ over 100 people.
What inspired your passion for travel?
As a child I had the good fortune to visit nearly all 50 states with my parents. We traveled in a Dodge Caravan hitched up to my grandfather's 1960 pop-up camper. We drove that rig across the country on multiple trips from our Connecticut home to Montana, up and down the California coast, and even down to Florida and Key West. My parents showed us that the best parts of travel were found off the beaten path and by seeking insiders and experts.
One of the most fascinating experiences we had was when a retired Toledo, Ohio, firefighter bumped into us picnicking at a highway rest stop. He invited us to tour his firefighting school. These experiences with my family primed me for a life of seeking and delivering unique travel experiences.
How did you become involved in the group travel industry?
As a senior at Harvard I had a simple idea: Convince 10 tourists a day to pay me $10 each to show them around Harvard Yard. I figured that would be enough money to have a little summer fun before pursuing a "more serious" career. Little did I know how much demand there would be for a high-quality "insider tour." Before long, I was fielding requests from tour operators from around the world. I was having so much fun that I never did pursue that "more serious" career. Eleven years later, and I'm still learning about the group travel industry every day.
What's your favorite part about your current position? The group travel industry?
As CEO, there's never a dull moment. I'm involved in all aspects of the business including marketing, sales, operations, finance, HR and government affairs. My favorite part of the job is working with, learning from and mentoring my team in each of these departments.
My favorite part of the group travel industry is the guests. I relish the opportunity to satisfy their desires for an insider experience at Harvard, MIT, Boston and New England.
What have you accomplished so far in your career? What's your most prized accomplishment?
A big turning point for our business was winning the Massachusetts Small Business of the Year Award for our work with Chinese Tour Operators. That award brought us a lot of credibility in the industry. My biggest accomplishment is our longevity. Most small businesses don't make it very long, but we've made it 11 years and the future is still bright!
How do you hope to make a difference in the group travel industry? What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to make a positive difference in the lives of our employees. Our hourly staff earns a living wage in Cambridge, and our tour guide position is the highest paid job a student can earn at Harvard. We were recently recognized by the City of Cambridge as an early adopter of the Massachusetts Pay Equity Law. We believe in providing full health coverage, 401(k) contributions and generous vacation options for our full-time team.
A happy staff makes for happy experiences and happy customers.
Edited by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.