Bill Owen started as a travel agent in 1972 working with tour groups from the beginning. An American Express 1991 Hall of Fame recipient, he has worked at or owned several travel agencies with a tour group emphasis.
In the 1970s Technology was yellow-lined pads for group computations graduating to Apple ][ and DOS spreadsheets. When the spreadsheets became unwieldy and prone to errors, he got into relational databases (like FileMaker Pro) to tie it all together: costs, itinerary, style sheet export for Desktop Publishing. When data is spread across multiple platforms, an error can be multiplied by 50 people. For example, to achieve a price point one might delete a dinner’s cost from the spreadsheet, while forgetting to remove it from the itinerary in Desktop Publishing. Result? Customers are expecting dinner on a given night and you no longer allowed for it. Paying for that could reduce a groups profit by $2,000-4,000.
Then when more customers adopted the web, he got into e-brochures and online booking with live inventory and secure credit card bookings.
His goal is to fill the gaps that you might have to help you do more tour groups profitably and free you to do what you do best.
My travel history
- 1972 Travel agent, Franklin Travel Agency, Inc., Decatur IL, general travel with strong tour group focus
- 1974 co-owner Franklin Travel Agency, Inc. eventually opening two more offices in Springfield and Champaign IL
- 1997 started Group Cataloguer automation software in Clipper and then Access. Initially for building export with style-sheets in Quark xPress for quarterly Travel Catalogs to 15,000 past travelers and prospects
- 2003 sold Franklin Travel Agency and worked for new owners, Rio Grande Travel Centers, Inc. for four years
- 2007 started Tour Group Pro LLC to focus on group travel and started development of enhanced Group Cataloguer with pricing and online booking features.
- 2011 sold Tour Group Pro and moved to Belize (then Uruguay in 2013) working with the new owners, Tour Group Planners LLC with continuing tour groups as an independent contractor
- 2017 added another customer contract, Stevie Jay Travel LLC working in tour group design with secure online booking features
- 2021 selling the 28-acre/11.62-hectare olive grove in Uruguay with home, casita, galpon and all equipment and moving back to the USA (1-minute drone video).