About the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs
The Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs was founded to bring together, support, encourage and guide the growing population of travel business owners who felt isolated and confused about how to build successful, thriving businesses in a changing environment.
We at GIFTE believe that the future of the travel advisor is bright and full of great opportunity. With the baby boomer population entering retirement over the next 15 years, luxury, leisure travel consumption will see incredible growth.
There has never been a better time to make great money selling travel and feel deep passion for your work. But for the travel advisor to succeed and excel beyond his or her wildest imagination, it will take a willingness to change how you do business and how you market.
Our mission, at GIFTE, is to guide, encourage and support you in your entrepreneurial journey. You don’t have to do it alone, so why should you? It doesn’t have to be hard work, so why not have some fun along the way?
Welcome to the community! Please come back often to see what new programs, products and solutions we are adding..
Meredith HillFounder, CEO
Meredith Hill has an authentic passion for helping entrepreneurs in the travel industry create the businesses and lives of their dreams; she’s made a significant impact on hundreds of entrepreneurs all over the U.S., Canada, and the world. Her story is similar to many entrepreneurs who struggle in today’s economy. In 2007, Meredith’s travel business was on the verge of closing. She thought about giving up – but didn’t, because she wanted to set a positive example for her family and her community that small business ownership is the backbone of the economy, and that it is possible to have success.
On her entrepreneurial journey, Meredith discovered that there was a major blind spot among travel professionals – travel professionals knew how to sell travel, but no one was showing them how to run their businesses. After she turned her own travel business around, a business that was very near and dear to her heart, Meredith took another big leap of faith. She channeled her deep-seated passion for revolutionizing the travel industry into founding the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) in 2011, a community where travel professionals can learn how to build successful travel businesses that change people’s lives. Since then, Meredith has become a thought leader in the travel industry, traveling across the nation – and globe – speaking to audiences about the importance of adopting an entrepreneurial mindset when selling travel. In 2014, she published her first book, “How to Monetize Your Passion for Travel: The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Travel Entrepreneurs,” which soon became a bestseller in several categories on Amazon. Meredith continues to use her gift to guide her clients to paths of success; GIFTE today serves 400+ members through travel business courses and coaching programs.
In 2013, Meredith founded Gifted Travel Network (GTN), a new breed of host agency. Building off of GIFTE’s principles, GTN supports its travel professionals by helping them build their own brands and by providing ongoing entrepreneurial education – or, as Meredith says, “entrepreneurial nutrition.”
In 2016, the American Society of Travel Agents named Meredith Hill Travel Entrepreneur of the Year for her work educating travel agents through GIFTE and GTN.
Vanessa McGovernEVP, Strategic Partnerships & Business Development
Vanessa began her career working on board cruise ships, and quickly became a record-breaker in her role as Art Auctioneer. She was then recruited by Park West Gallery to train new auctioneers, manage cruise line accounts and launch multiple high revenue yielding programs. In 2009, Vanessa purchased a Cruise Planners/American Express franchise and was recognized by Travel Agent Magazine as one of the Top 30 Under 30 Travel Professionals. She went on to oversee new agent training programs as Training and Business Development Manager at Cruise Planners, where she was a part of the Gold Magellan Award winning team in 2010. In 2011, she joined Special Needs Group and played a critical role in the creation and launch of the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program. In 2012, Vanessa joined the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) as VP of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships.
Jennifer CochraneEVP & COO
After nearly 20 years with the Federal Reserve, Jen left her high-level executive position for better quality of life and began her career as an entrepreneur in 2008. Her first entrepreneurial business venture was highly successful; when her business partner relocated in 2011, they sold the business at an 800% return on investment. The business continues to thrive under its current ownership. In 2012, GIFTE became one of Jennifer’s clients for whom she provided services on a freelance basis. In 2012, Jennifer gave up her other clients to work with exclusively with GIFTE. Due to her extensive business background, Jennifer is a coach for GIFTE’s Diamond Mastermind Program and Travel Business Consulting packages where she provides coaching in the areas of business management, finance, team building, operations/implementation, strategic planning and leadership.