What roles do you think about first when talking about touring? Perhaps a sound engineer, guitar tech, tour manager, or merchandise vendor? What you don’t necessarily think about is the collateral industries and roles in touring, the companies and agents who make sure the artists and crews sleep in quiet hotel rooms after a long show day, fly timely to remote locations, and travel safely from the airport to the next venue.
Nick Gold does all of this and more. He started in the family business and worked his way up to understanding the intricacies of the travel business, to now serving touring parties with their various travel needs.
I have always believed that you have to step into the shoes of your customer, to go out into the field to see and experience it yourself, to fully understand how the business works and to best serve your customers. This is exactly what Nick has done. He understands what the customer needs and wants because he has done it himself as a Tour Manager. Understanding both sides of the business makes Nick a true expert in his field.
This is Nick’s story.
Hi Nick! What do you do in the music industry?
I am the president and owner of Entertainment Travel, which was founded in 1985. We are a full service (travel) agency which specializes in handling all the travel needs of touring bands & crews globally; this includes, but is not limited to, commercial air, private air, hotels, car rentals, ground services, greeters and security.
How did you end up working as a Travel Agent and owning a travel agency?
I started in the travel business in 1972, in England, working for an agency that was owned by my family. I was hired, for a year, to run errands, deliver tickets, do some typing and other general office work.
As time went by, I started to learn some of the basics of being a travel agent, and eventually decided to work full time. I had to go to various airline travel classes to learn about fares and ticketing, which was required at the time (it is not today). The more I learned, the more I was asked to assist working with a couple of clients, and started to do some of the day to day work. Most of the clients, at that time, were corporate clients. The more I worked with these clients, the more I learned. I was able to get a great background in the travel industry, these skills still serve me well today.
I moved to the US, in 1982 to work in the LA office of my family’s agency, so I could start to learn the industry in the US. During my time in LA, the agency had clients in the music business and I started to assist working with some of them. My first full tour was Supertramp, back in the early 80’s, they went on to tour for many years and I continued to handle their travel needs.
After one year in LA, I moved to NY to assist in opening a new office for the company. I was handling the travel needs of touring bands and then added film production clients. In 1983, one of the film companies wanted someone to go to Europe with a group that was going to tour, so I had the pleasure of being the tour manager for Harry Belafonte. He was taking the cast to Europe, it was hard work but lots of fun.
In 1984, I left the company and decided to look for a new place to work, an agency where I could just look after touring bands. I found an agency that hired me as a commission agent (now called an Independent Contractor). I was again hired to be a tour manager on the New York City Fresh Fest and I was able to book all the hotels and tour for 5 days each week. When the tour was over I was able to continue to look after all of the artists’ travel that were on that festival tour and that introduced me to many more bands. They hired me to look after their travel, referred me to others and that continues today.
What is the best thing about your work and on the other hand, the biggest challenge?
The best thing about what I do is that each day brings something new and creative to work on.
The biggest challenge I have is working with some vendors who don’t always understand our client’s needs. I am always happy to go over what we need, sometimes multiple times, and when you get told “it’s all good“ and then it’s not, I have to wonder why.
How is the Coronavirus affecting you and your work?
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 our industry has ground to a complete stop. We will be one of the last industries to get back to work; whether it will be for people going on vacation, on honeymoon, for corporate travel or for any of our touring bands to be out there, safe, on the road, it will be some time before we are fully back to work.
While I see some states trying the “drive in show“ it will not work for the bigger acts. We will have to wait for the medical folks to advise it’s safe and then the state leaders to allow venues to open. Then we have to figure out what the new normal will look like, whether it be on a plane, tour bus, in the hotel or the venue.
We will come out this, but for some, it may be very difficult. I think a portion of the overall travel industry will not survive, however, by being proactive ET plans to not only survive, but thrive.
What’s your best survival tip for fellow people in the industry in this situation?
During this time, my staff and I have been getting caught up on paperwork (handling things that we don’t always have time to do on a regular workday), trying to get one step ahead; plus, we have been taking some online courses, participating in webinars and learning new things to use once we’re able to re-open. We are staying connected to our clients via email and social media. The main focus is to get into a daily routine and to stay forward focused.
Feel free to promote yourself and your services, how people can find you on social media, how they can help, etc.
Entertainment Travel is now 35 years old and primarily we look after our music clients who tour, plus the film & TV productions companies. We also have three other divisions, each specializing in a different market; Destinations Galore looks after all our vacation clients, Honeymoons Galore looks after couples (and guests) planning a destination wedding and/or honeymoon and Equality Travel which looks after all of our LGBTQ+ clients. Combined we have over 125 years of experience, we plan to be around for a long time. Clients can find us by visiting our websites or pages on Facebook. Now, more than ever, the value of a travel agent is paramount.
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In the picture: Tour Manager and Production Manager Henry Bordeaux
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