Jeff Gayduk

Jeff Gayduk

We just finished up our annual company meeting. Even after 14 years of doing this, it’s still rewarding to be able to get the whole team together at one place and time. After all, I usually only get to yell at them over the phone and email, and let’s face it, those triple- exclamation-point emails lose luster after a while.

We had the full sales & marketing team, plus representatives from editorial, production and reader services. When you have over 25 “cooks in the kitchen” as we do, at times there’s a Hatfields & McCoys relationship between company departments, and these meetings go a long way towards breaking down barriers.

Partnerships Crucial in the Tour Business

During one presentation, Associate Publisher Dave Bodle talked to the team about what it takes to put a tour together. Throughout his presentation he emphasized the value of trust and relationships in this business, stating “no tour operator is going to book a tour in this hotel if they don’t trust this property.” True indeed, as we’re often slammed by fly-by-night offers from suppliers who have holes in their schedule. Those who think rate sells need a lesson on partnerships.

When planning this meeting, I reached out to many of our good partners in the city to help us put together a memorable Chicago event. Starting in the afternoon and extending through the night, our excursion allowed us to step outside the meeting room for a day of camaraderie and fun. From the motorcoach charter to the Shoreline Architectural Tour on the Chicago River to the theater and dinner reservations, I knew our staff wouldn’t be disappointed because I trusted these partners to deliver a “beyond the brochure” experience. They didn’t disappoint!

In the magazine business we have two types of partnerships − those with our readers and those with our advertisers. It’s a delicate balance, as our job first and foremost is to tell the truth by presenting destinations and themes that help you plan better trips. At the same time, we want to make sure our advertisers are communicating their message so they are best able to reach you. After all, they are making an investment in the group market, and that investment means that Leisure Group Travel and both come to you free of charge. Understand that we balance these relationships so one side doesn’t dominate the other. This allows us to put out a publication that’s truly helpful to readers while making sure the advertiser’s message is being seen and heard.

Rewarding Good Partners

What destinations, attractions, hotels and suppliers go above and beyond the competition for your groups? Tell us in the 11th Annual Reader’s Choice Awards in Leisure Group Travel. You can cast your vote by returning this month’s Reader Service Card by mail, fax or email, or vote online at by clicking on the Reader’s Choice tab. Every vote counts!

Happy Traveling, Partner!

Jeff Gayduk