AHI Travel is the premier operator of deluxe, personalized group travel programs in North America. Based in Chicago, Illinois, it was founded in 1962 by the Small family, who still own and run the company. The first travel company to develop tours exclusively for college and university alumni, AHI serves educated individual travelers and their families, as well as members of alumni associations, professional groups and museums.
Chris and James first contacted us in the winter of 2014. We were quickly impressed by their approach. They showed a sincere interest in our business, asked a great many meaningful questions and took the time to develop a deeper understanding of our business and our goals as company owners.
We formalized an agreement with Strategy Exchange on June 1 of 2014. This has proven to be a wise decision that has been invaluable in helping us to hone our strategy, increase efficiency, expand our vision and prepare the company for future management.
In the three years we have worked together, Chris and James have impacted our efforts in innumerable ways. We meet in person on a quarterly basis in addition to frequent SKYPE meetings. Essentially, we have gained experienced partners with a wealth of knowledge and contacts who provide valuable advice and serve as a strong sounding board for the management team. They have also provided a solid working framework that has guided us through an ongoing process of strategic and tactical review and analysis.
As a first step, Chris and James collected copious amounts of information about all aspects of the company, including financial, procedural, client, competitor and performance. They met with key managers and teams. They developed a picture of our culture and traditions. Ongoing discussions were had throughout.
We and the team now share a vision for the company that builds off of our strengths and have realized opportunities that were not previously on our radar. Chris and James have assisted in helping through the process of aligning our systems and procedures with our goals.
Another key benefit of our relationship has been the focus on Succession Planning. At their suggestion, we have created an Executive Committee of key team members from all aspects of our operation who meet on a monthly basis. This committee also serves as a training ground for future senior managers. We are supplementing these meetings with individual developmental plans for each manager to prepare them for higher level responsibilities down the road. Each step of the way, Chris and James have walked us through a unique process that they are expert at executing. They have challenged us and guided us. As a result, we are a more focused, facile, more efficient and more valuable entity.
Joseph W. Small, CEO, AHI International