Skift Take

U.S. Travel is having a shakeup in its senior leadership.

The U.S. Travel Association has eliminated the positions of six employees as it restructures the organization, according to an internal memo obtained by Skift and confirmed by the association.

Six individuals were laid off, according to the memo from CEO and President Geoff Freeman. Half held senior-level positions. One was a senior vice president for IPW, an international inbound travel trade show. Another was a senior vice president for ESTO, a forum for destination marketing professionals.

The layoffs came all at once, said one person who was laid off and asked that their name not be used. “People are just shocked and we don’t get it. It came as a surprise to me.”

“Change is never easy, but it’s necessary, we’re grateful to the team members who helped build the U.S. Travel of today,” said Greg Staley, senior vice president of communications for U.S. Travel.

The industry trade group is undergoing a restructuring to make the organization “more focused, collaborative, nimble and innovative,” said Freeman in his memo.

Freeman took over as CEO and President last September from Roger Dow, who led U.S. Travel for 17 years.

The restructuring includes shifting some responsibilities, eliminating and transitioning roles and adding more than 15 new positions, several of which will be senior positions.

Over the next several months, U.S. Travel will be adding “significant resources” to its public advocacy and industry engagement teams, according to the memo. Specific areas of investment include communications, research, membership and meetings and events.

“We’re excited about the U.S. Travel of the future and we embrace the challenge of making our association indispensable to the travel industry,” said Staley. “Looking forward, the travel industry can expect us to become an even better advocate, value provider and expert in each of the nuanced segments of our industry.” 

Below are highlights from the memo on its plans for engagement, advocacy and research:


Our existing events, particularly IPW and ESTO, are assets that provide tremendous industry value. We will continue to grow and strengthen these important programs.

The most significant changes are made to our industry engagement team, led by Ellen Davis. This team focuses on growing membership, developing peer communities, building noteworthy events and shaping the U.S. Travel brand. As such, it is responsible for delivering the revenue that enables strong advocacy and greater investment in membership benefits. This team will collaborate with members to deliver more tangible value, create new convening opportunities and support industry growth.


Led by our head of public affairs, Tori Barnes, our advocacy team focuses on government relations, political affairs (PAC, grassroots, etc.), communications and research. We’ll invest in the talent and additional resources needed to define our industry as essential and efficiently move travelers from Point A to Point B. 


Research and education are hallmarks of U.S. Travel. We’re doubling down in these areas, adding significant talent and expect to multiply value to members.


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Photo credit: U.S. Travel Association CEO and President Geoff Freeman at Skift Global Forum

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