Calling All Travel Entrepreneurs - This is your chance to win $10,000!

2019 ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Sponsored by the Dan and Gloria Bohan Foundation

Nominations are now closed!

Good luck to our three finalists who will appear on stage at ASTA Global Convention 2019 Tuesday, August 27 at to participate in a live, “Shark Tank” style competition to see who will win the $10,000 case prize. Each participant will have three minutes to make a pitch to our panel of travel experts and industry veteran judges, as well as our Keynote speaker Randi Zuckerberg.

2019 Finalists Include:
  • BabyQuip, Inc., presented by Frances Maier (click here for video submission).
  •, presented by Yannis Moati (click here for video submission).
  • Kinship Vacations, presented by Ashley Metesh-McCoy (click here for video submission).

Past Winners Include
2018 - Patricia Hager, Senior Travel Buddy 
2017 - David Chait, Travefy
Nominations are now closed.


The Fine Print - 2019 ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Entry Deadline

Applications must be received by ASTA no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on June 30, 2019. Incomplete applications, or applications received after the stated deadline, will not receive consideration


All travel advisors, agency managers, suppliers, and others in the travel and hospitality industry are eligible to receive the Award.

Required Submission

Persons or organizations that wish to be considered for the Award must submit all of the following:

  • The completed online application setting forth the nominee’s name and/or company name and contact information;
  • A narrative statement, not to exceed 500 words, describing the nominee’s contribution to entrepreneurship in the industry and demonstrating how it relates to the benchmarks described above;
  • A URL linking to a webpage containing a video, of no more than five minutes in length, which describes and/or demonstrates the innovative product or service and its value when viewed in light of the benchmarks; and
  • Certification that, if selected as a finalist, the nominee will participate in the Entrepreneur of the Year session featuring a “Shark Tank”-style competition at the ASTA Global Convention  in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on August 27, 2019.

Selection of Finalists

A selection committee comprised of seasoned travel industry professionals jointly chosen by ASTA and the Foundation will review each complete submission that is received on or before the entry deadline. Applying the stated evaluation criteria, each committee member will then rank the submissions in order from highest to lowest.The persons or organizations submitting the entries receiving the highest, second highest, and third highest aggregate scores will be designated as finalists and invited to participate in the Entrepreneur of the Year session at ASTA Global Convention and compete for the prize. The non-finalist with the highest aggregate score will be designated as an alternate and will be invited to participate in the session in the event one of the finalists notifies us that he or she is unable to attend.

Evaluation Criteria

Nominees for the Award will be evaluated based on consideration of eight benchmarks demonstrating various aspects of the successful candidate’s innovative and entrepreneurial approach to the business and its future. The benchmarks, in no particular order, are as follows:

  1. Sustainability. How many years has the nominee been active in the travel industry? How many consumers or companies use the nominee’s innovative product or service?
  2. Evolution. How has the nominee or the nominee’s company adapted to change in the industry or market, and to changes in technology? Why was this important and how was it accomplished? What steps are taken to ensure that the product or service remains relevant?
  3. Experiential Travel. Does the nominee’s product or service have an experiential fit, focus or component connecting the experience to history, people or culture? Describe and explain its importance in today’s world and for the future of travel.
  4. Proven Impact. How has the product or service already had a demonstrable impact on travelers and the industry as a whole? Why will the innovation continue to impact travelers in the future?
  5. Curation. Does the nominee envision himself or herself as a travel curator, one who makes travel more meaningful for the traveler? If so, please tell us and explain why this is important to the nominee.
  6. Marketing. Describe how the nominee markets or merchandises its company and its products or services. How does the nominee differentiate itself from others in the industry? Has social media factored into the marketing focus?
  7. Growth. Has the innovation had a positive impact on the company’s sales, profitability, or market share? Has the product or service spawned imitators?
  8. Technology. Describe the technology behind the product or service. For example, does the solution include the use of mobile apps or similar recent innovations? How has product usability been a factor?

The Competition

The three finalists appearing at ASTA Global Convention will participate in a live, “Shark Tank”-style competition. After a brief introduction of the participants by the moderator, each finalist will be provided approximately five minutes to make his or her presentation. Following each presentation, our panel of esteemed judges, to include Keynote speaker Randi Zuckerberg, will question the finalist regarding the strengths, weaknesses, and other aspects of the innovation, product, or concept, and why his or her submission is worthy of being judged the year’s best representation of entrepreneurship in the industry. At the conclusion of the questioning, the judges each cast a vote for one of the finalists. In addition, each member of the audience will be entitled to cast one vote, which in the aggregate shall be considered the vote of a “super judge.” After tallying all the votes, the moderator will announce the winner, who will then be presented with the award.

About the Award

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was established by the Dan and Gloria Bohan Foundation to promote entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit in the travel and hospitality industry through recognition of innovators who have either established their own business or who have been responsible for significant entrepreneurial initiatives within an existing organization. Each year, the Foundation, in conjunction with ASTA, selects one person or organization that best exemplifies this spirit of entrepreneurship to receive the Award and a $10,000 cash prize.

Back to Top