Dan has over 45 years in the travel industry, and was a driving force in taking Collette from a regional tour operator to a global company and an industry leader. Dan manages the corporate team and provides the strategic vision for the company – and he still remains active in every aspect of the business, including tour guiding, product development, sales, and marketing.
Dan is a member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). He chairs the Collette Foundation board, Collette’s global nonprofit aimed at giving children in our global communities opportunities to thrive through hunger and education initiatives. He sits on the Charitable Foundation board for Bristol County Savings Bank; is the former Chairman for Tourism Cares; serves as Co-Chairman of the Pawtucket Foundation, an organization committed to the continued economic development of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Collette’s home city; and served on the Fairfield University Center for Faith and Public Life board since 2005. An engaged supporter of nonprofit causes including the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Hospice, Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Amos House, he was inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame for his contributions to the community, through philanthropic endeavors and significant contributions to the advancement of responsible tourism. He’s a graduate of Fairfield University with a degree in marketing as well as Harvard Business School’s Executive Owner/President Management program.
Dan loves Springsteen, traveling the world and relaxing at home with family, including his 8 grandchildren.
Travel Research Online (TRO): You’ve got 45 years in the travel industry. What originally drew you to this line of work?
DS: When my father purchased the Collette business, I became surrounded by travel. My father was also my biggest role model growing up, and I knew I wanted to keep Collette in the family – to make this position my dream job.
TRO: How long have you been with Collette, and what changes have you seen in the time you’ve been there?
DS: Coming up on 44 years now! When we first started, there were two employees in the office. Now, we have 600+ employees all over the world. We’ve also expanded out offerings to include all seven continents and become one of the leaders in the travel industry, stemming from our many partnerships across the world. I’ve watched our company change to become very digitally motivated. Our employees do almost everything on the computer and, when I was growing up with Collette, I could have never imagined how advanced we would become.
TRO: You seem to be a powerful force in contributing to the advancement of responsible tourism. When, and how, did this become important to you?
DS: Philanthropy is a large priority of mine. Through the Collette Foundation, we do as much as we can to improve the lives of those in need, especially in the areas of hunger and education. We have adapted our tours and are continuing to make changes to them as we realize what we can do better. We are a company that is focused on sustainability and we want to advocate for this as much as possible throughout our tour offerings.
We are working towards creating sustainable change in communities that need it most by offering give-back moments while on tour.
TRO: What would you say is Collette Tours’ driving force in the travel industry?
DS: Our history in the industry makes us different. As we celebrate our centennial, we can reflect on the evolution of travel and how we’ve adapted. Though, our employees are the primary driving force to our success. We have global offices that collaborate across time zones. With over 600 employees, the passion for travel and dedication to our company is something that is hard to come by at a global corporation. Without the Collette team and our strong culture, we would have nothing.
TRO: As a Bruce Springsteen fan, what do you think is his best album?
DS: Darkness on the Edge of Town – 1978.
TRO: How does Collette view their relationship with travel agents?
DS: First off, I will be stepping aside as President and Jaclyn Leibi-Cote will be assuming the role as a successor to the company CEO position. We also have exciting new tours on our Explorations line, which are more culturally immersive than ever before in places like Switzerland, Italy, and France. Our partnership with Wheel of Fortune will be continued, as it has been for the last 20 years! And, for our Centennial celebrations, we finished out the year with a 21-day Jitney Tour to celebrate the anniversary of our very first tour that was priced at $68.50.
For more information on Collette, please visit www.collette.com