Sports Travel and Tours of Hatfield, Mass., Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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Sports Travel and Tours of Hatfield, Mass., has entered its 20th year and will be celebrating throughout 2016, with various trip promotions around a “20” theme.

Sports Travel and Tours of Hatfield, Mass., has entered its 20th year and will be celebrating throughout 2016, with various trip promotions around a “20” theme.

President and Founder Jay Smith, a long-time expert in the travel industry, began the company in October 1996. “It’s pretty fascinating that we’ve been able to accomplish what we have,” said Smith. “It’s been a roller coaster ride here and there.”

The mission of Sports Travel and Tours is to offer hassle-free trip options to sports fans so they can attend games and events across the United States and Canada. Smith and his staff have successfully worked with tens of thousands of travelers while fulfilling dreams and “bucket lists” worldwide.

“The one thing we do is we deliver a great quality product to our travelers,” Smith said. “We fulfill dreams for others. Knowing that people travel with us, and the end result is they have the best time of their lives, is just great.”

Before launching Sports Travel and Tours, Smith co-owned a previous sports travel company, and when Smith left to found Sports Travel and Tours, 11 of the 13 employees came with him. Those original 11 staff team members went to Yankee Stadium on October 2, 1996, for a playoff game, officially launching the new business.

Staff posed for a photographer outside the stadium with a company banner. This photo was later sent out to clients as a postcard with the phrase, “Old Friends, New Team.”

Sports Travel and Tours offers organized trips to sporting events of all kinds and has been the official travel company of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum since 2007. “That was definitely a moment,” said Smith. “We took a picture, signed the agreement. I said, ‘We made it.’ It took literally 10 years to do that. That was an incredible feat.”

One core piece of the business that Smith said has helped it grow is the Sports Travel and Tours Stadium Hall of Fame program, through which customers can be inducted in the firm’s own Hall of Fame—recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—after they have visited 30 stadiums with the travel group.

This gives people an incentive to keep booking trips, with the eventual goal of getting into the Sports Travel and Tours Stadium Hall of Fame, which now has 88 members, and after the upcoming induction in 2017, there will be over 100 members.

“This is one of the most successful programs the company has,” Smith said. “People want to accomplish their goals, and what’s also great about our Hall of Fame is we have a core group of 25 or 30 people who stay in touch all year long and all live in different places. They made friends through our programs. We had 24 of them last year on one trip. Of the 24, there was only one new person. It’s staggering.”

Sports Travel and Tours has experienced many milestones in its 20 years.

A highlight early on was a trip to the Football Hall of Fame’s enshrinement, for which over 2,000 people committed. “It was great that we pulled it off,” Smith said.

This year, the organization added another accomplishment to its résumé, as it was named the official travel company for college football’s Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, the only bowl game that is played outside of the United States.

The Sports Travel and Tours staff team is currently developing anniversary themed “20” promotions, which will include things such as $220 to the first 20 customers who book a trip and discounts for travelers who are 20 years old. Another promotion will mean a free ride for anyone who signs 20 travelers up for a trip.

“This will all make the trips a little bit more exciting,” Smith said. “I can see people getting into it. It’ll be fun.”

For more information or to see the 2016 travel lineup, visit http://www.sportstravelandtours.com.

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Teresa Weybrew
Sports Travel and Tours
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