35 Years in the Student Travel Industry with Greg MooreGreg Moore
As of April 8, Greg Moore has devoted 35 years to the student travel industry, 10 of those with Music Travel Consultants. Congratulations from all of us at MTC!
On April 8, 1985, I started my 35 years in the student travel industry. I, along with John Sturm, departed as Great American Band Tours (GABT) Travel Directors, on a 24.5-hour motor coach ride with the Riley High School Band from South Bend, Indiana. We traveled to Central Florida. This was always one of our most brutal trips for escorts, driving three hours from Indy to Northern Indiana, experience the trip including 24 hours of travel each way, and then have to drive those same three hours back home at the end of the trip.
The Riley Band had planned, with the expertise of one Rick Campbell and his capable GABT operations team, visits to Wet ‘n Wild, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Jetty Park Beach, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot Center. Even back in 1985, a 4-night, 5-day Florida trip was somewhat epic.
For those of you not familiar with GABT, it was a music performance travel company; a forerunner in our travel industry niche that operated from 1978-1994 as a division of World Tours, Inc., which was owned by Ron Tade.
A lot has certainly changed in the 35 years since.
In 1985, GABT Tour Directors had just received an increase in daily pay from $15 to $25. All vendor confirmation calls were made from random payphones (can one really carry that much change?). Tour Directors hand-wrote checks on-site for balances due. Motor coaches didn’t have video screens, DVD players, power outlets and certainly not Wi-Fi. Walt Disney World® consisted of only two parks and Holiday Inns were frequented by student groups.
I’m not sure if the workload has gotten any easier or lighter in the 35 years since with all of the technology that’s been implemented, but I couldn’t fathom getting through this current global crisis without a cellphone and e-mail. “Working from home” in 1985 had a completely different connotation.
What I do know is the work ethic, attention to detail, service, and compassion for the client that was implemented back in the late 70s at GABT, is clearly in full effect at Music Travel Consultants. This makes sense considering the number of personnel that crossed over from GABT to MTC. Over the years, many wanted to find a way to, “do it even better than ever before.” And, it’s highly visible and relevant in what we’re dealing with at this very moment.
Back to 1985, after returning home from the Riley trip, I knew I was hooked on student performance travel.
We all have our stories of how we got into the biz. While attending Indiana University, my second high school band director, Jeff Pletcher, who had escorted in the past for GABT, recommended a close high school friend of my wife Kelly and mine, as a potential tour escort. That friend then recommended Kelly as a potential tour director who eventually recommended me to Rick Campbell. Rick took a gamble on me back in 1985 as a Tour Director and then, following graduation, Ron brought me on board in 1987 as a sales representative.
Within a year, I was running GABT and spent nine total years there before coming over to Music Travel Consultants. I started at the same time as Jef Furr, at the urging of John to expand my horizons where I stayed. The next nine years from 1994-2003. I worked with various other tour companies and amazing individuals throughout the country from 2003-2018. Somewhere during my first stint at MTC, we hired some long-haired, crazy, cool cat by the name of Mark Harting.
One of my favorite travel industry moments (besides the year that I served as President of SYTA) is in 1994, while at Great American Band Tours, I was honored by Disney as an official Travel Planner at their annual tour operator Symposium. This was rewarding for the simple fact by that time at GABT, I alone was essentially handling all of the sales, marketing, & operations, and even some of the finances.
I’m always asked…how can you visit somewhere like Walt Disney World® Resort, New York City, Washington DC, etc., so many times over and not be bored. I answer with two points… (1) I always look for something new in the destination as I have to keep pushing myself to be the expert and (2) to see an entirely different group interact uniquely each time with the location is always exciting. The fact that they may have never been there before and may never return in their lifetime makes it a special experience for me, as well. To know that I’ve been able to share a unique travel experience with those students is gratifying. And it never gets old.
Being under a stay at home order isn’t exactly how I thought I’d be celebrating my 35th Anniversary in the business. But, some nine companies and a multitude of travel and business experiences later, I know I am where I’m supposed to be: back at Music Travel Consultants.
In these 35 years, I’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles by plane, train, automobile, & motor coach to a profusion of domestic & international destinations. Thanks to clients and industry colleagues, I’ve been able to visit beautiful locales such as Ireland numerous times, stand atop the former World Trade Center South Tower, climb the ruins of Chichen Itza, zipline in the mountains of British Columbia, ascend the French Benedictine abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, experience games 1 & 7 of a World Series, participate in multiple Disney celebrations, march in the Macy’s, Rose, & Fiesta Bowl Parades, and so much more.
I’ve been through 9/11, actually managing MTC at the time, SARS, was SYTA President at the time, and more economic recessions than I can count, as well as numerous other challenges. Even though COVID-19 has the potential to blow them all out of the water when factoring in the loss of life and financial devastation, I still remain hopeful and confident that we’ll successfully emerge and continue to provide the valued service of breaking down barriers and exploring new territory, while we provide life-changing experiences to many more student groups. There is a certain resiliency with student travel, almost as if it were a rite of passage, and it always finds a way to survive and thrive.
I am beyond grateful for these 35 years of travel industry experiences and I’m happy to mark this momentous work/life occasion with all of you.
Here’s to the next 35! Well, maybe just another 10-15. I would like to retire someday!