Jeff Welch

specializes in speaking, commentary and building brands at the intersection of travel and outdoors.

One of the nation's leading experts on connecting brands with people who value travel, outdoors, and sense of place, Jeff challenges audiences to stop conforming to traditional industry models and be themselves.

In a world that is becoming increasingly homogenized, small and mid-size businesses can thrive if they emphasize their uniqueness and understand what today's consumer values. Approaching conference attendees with intelligence and a dry sense of humor, Jeff showcases the modern travelers' desires for authenticity, localism, shared humanity and how those three needs are creating seismic shifts in everything from where they travel to how they experience the outdoors, to what they buy and how you market to them.

A 20 year veteran of branding and advertising, Jeff is CEO of MercuryCSC an Effie-award winning marketing firm that has produced work for the Montana Office of Tourism, Vasque, The Wilderness Society, Orvis, Big Sky Resort, NOLS and many more. His triple bottom line approach to doing business placed MercuryCSC #9 in Outside Magazine's Best Places to Work, the fourth consecutive year Mercury has been recognized by the publication.

Entrepreneur, writer, speaker and leader, he is also a founding partner of two other companies specializing in tourism and outdoor recreation including his film production company, Distill Productions; and his newest venture, Wide Open West Adventures. Wide Open West specializes in bringing independent Chinese travelers to the Northern Rockies.

Jeff is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and can often be found on a stream in Montana, wading saltwater flats in Central America or at home with his wife and two daughters on their small farm in Montana’s Shields Valley.

A Few of Jeff's Presentation Topics:

Be Yourself to Attract Today's Traveler

This talk opens with a lighthearted history of travel and demonstrates through research that the present and future of travel is based in places retaining their cultural, historical and environmental authenticity. Jeff explores the market that is leading this trend—Geotravelers—and includes insights and research about what motivates them to visit certain places.

Don't Lead with Green

Sustainability in the travel business is extremely important, but it's usefulness as a marketing tool is questionable at best. This talk explores the differences and synergies between good marketing practices and good sustainability practices and showcases psychographic research to help sustainable destinations and businesses better market themselves to the modern traveler.

Branding the Experience or Experiencing the Brand. Which role is yours?

Destinations are made of a cacophony of organizations from private business to non-profits, from loose affiliations to highly bureaucratic structures. Often, these groups are not in harmony. In this talk, Jeff explores the differences between a brand and branding and the critical importance of each organization understanding their role within the destination. Sharing psychographic research into the modern traveler, Jeff helps organizations see themselves through the visitor's lens in order to maximize dollars, better coordinate efforts and ultimately boost visitation.

It is rare to find a leader of this caliber who is also so in tune with the challenges of the industry and seeks to provide feedback that will further American competitiveness in the tourism sector.

Max Baucus, U.S. Ambassador to China

Our attendees rated Jeff Welch highly following the 2012 Missouri Governor’s Conference on Tourism. His presentation on Geotourism was one of the best attended sessions. One survey respondent called it a great addition to the conference.

Lori Simms, Deputy Director of Marketing Missouri Division of Tourism

Always appreciate your comfortable, educational while entertaining, let’s-not-make-this-complicated presentation style.

Victor Bjornberg, Tourism Development and Education Program, Montana Office of Tourism

Previous Engagements

  • Tourism and Investment Seminar, Nanning, China
  • Montana Governor's Conference on Tourism, Helena, Montana
  • Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Missouri Governor's Conference on Tourism, Kansas City, Missouri
  • ITB, Berlin, Germany
  • Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference, Hilton Head, SC
  • Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • ABETA (Brazilian Eco and Adventure Travel Association), São Paulo, Brazil