Phocuswright founder Philip Wolf died on Tuesday, 16 March following a brief illness. He was 64.
Wolf, a champion of online travel since the late-1980s, launched Phocuswright, the internet travel research authority, in 1994.
After graduating from Duke University with a BA in Public Policy Studies and Vanderbilt University with an MBA, cutting his teeth as assistant to the CEO of a New York Stock Exchange retailer and working in the lamp manufacturing business, he entered the travel industry in 1989, as the head of a small agency inside Travelmation. Subsequently, as CEO, he made a name for himself in travel, tourism and hospitality.
After decades of analysing, scrutinising and opining on strategic change and market trends, he built a brand around his trademark catchphrase: "Strategically correct, not politically correct."
The company he masterminded is now the premier source for travel, tourism and hospitality intelligence. Nearly every industry pitch and presentation today contains a slide stamped: "Source: Phocuswright."
Architect of the Phocuswright Conference, Wolf has taken the stage one-on-one with many industry elite. His probing perseverance for the truth (and not letting go without real answers) continues to leave audiences buzzing.
After selling Phocuswright to Northstar Travel Group, parent of Travel Weekly Asia, in 2011, Wolf retired from an executive role and embarked on a journey as mentor and serial board director. He served as an independent board director for 25+ private and listed companies on four continents — including India's MakeMyTrip — and served as board director for Hopper, TrustYou, Blacklane, bd4Travel, SmarTours and Mobi Systems, as well as board advisor to DataArt, Hudson Crossing, dnata, ITB, RedDoorz, RateGain, Videc, Arival and Vertoe.
“Philip was more than our founder; he was Phocuswright’s guiding light,” said Phocuswright managing director Pete Comeau. “A legend and pioneer of online travel and travel tech, he touched so many in the industry. He gave freely of his knowledge and expertise, and we are all poorer with his loss.”
Northstar Travel Group chairman and CEO Tom Kemp said, “Philip was a true visionary in the travel industry and the cornerstone of the travel technology revolution as well as our founder and leader of Phocuswright.”
Added Bob Sullivan, president, Northstar Travel Group: “The industry has lost a genius today. Philip was an integral part of the Phocuswright and Northstar family. We are all heartbroken.”