Leadership strategy and recruitment firm Rosenzweig & Company has worked with ExperienceFirst, one of the world’s top day tour and experience companies in the world, to place its new Chief Operating Officer, Geraint Hamer.
Geraint, based in the UK, was formerly Vice President of Tours, Packages & Wholesale of content and ecommerce brand Culture Trip, where he developed and launched the company’s first venture into packaged travel and transition from content to e-commerce. With extensive experience in travel and tourism across a range of traditional and high growth brands (including Flight Centre Travel Group) his expertise range across adventure travel, experiential travel & events leading divisions in excess of 200 staff and tours & experiences across 65 countries.
ExperienceFirst is one of the top tour operators in its category. Voted the “#1 Cultural Experience Globally” by Tripadvisor, it has leveraged digital transformation to become one of the largest walking and experience tour companies in the world, providing unforgettable visits to a range of destinations. ExperienceFirst is a fast-growing, tech driven business that is seeking to scale rapidly over the next several years on a worldwide basis.
Geraint brings a wealth of travel and tour expertise to ExperienceFirst with a dynamic background across traditional established and high growth fast moving travel & tech start-ups. He notes “It’s a very exciting time to be joining the team at ExperienceFirst and working with our experienced management teams to continue growth in our sector.. Consumers are actively looking for different and more authentic experiences and ways to travel, with the market primed for growth, driven by a combination of quality and digital transformation. ExperienceFirst, as a leader and one of the best reviewed operators in its category, couldn’t be better positioned for global growth.”
Rosenzweig was engaged for this search because of its extensive international experience working with digital entrepreneurs to bring in key executive leaders. According to Jay Rosenzweig, founder and CEO of Rosenzweig & Company, “COO searches for fast growth, entrepreneur driven scale-ups are among the most difficult in the business. The Chief Operating Officer role means very different things to different entrepreneurs, in different contexts. A key aspect of our role is digging deeply into the operations of the business and truly understanding the CEO’s perspective and operating philosophy. As importantly, we carefully work through the objectives he or she has for an incoming COO, and how those objectives map onto expertise, experience and cultural fit. Ultimately, the CEO – COO relationship is a unique and personal one. If that personal alignment is not there from the beginning, success will be very challenging.”
As COO, Geraint will plan, direct and manage operations and business growth, working in close collaboration with ExperienceFirst CEO Andrew Luan. Geraint will be responsible for driving business growth, strategically determining market and product developments with suitable marketing strategy to scale the business globally, whilst centralizing, streamlining and continuously improving the business.
Andrew observes “Rosenzweig came to us highly recommended, but we nevertheless did extensive due diligence prior to bringing them in, talking to a range of previous clients and partners. They guided us through an intensive process with global reach that led to the hiring of Geraint. Geraint is an ideal hire for us as COO who comes with a wealth of operating experience in the travel and tour business, a deep understanding of how companies in the sector succeed, and an entrepreneurial approach to scaling early stage businesses. He is a great fit for us in all respects with strong cultural alignment.”