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Why a Family Run Business Matters

We’re often asked what sets us apart as corporate event and incentives architects. The short answer is our family reputation. Doing what is right is the driving force in our family and it’s the same in our company. It was just months after 9/11 when the world was in turmoil that my father Richard and I started American Guest in 2002.  Our goal was to build a company that we would always be proud of and one we would want to hire.

Here are some favorite questions we get asked:

Why did you call the business American Guest?

JW: We love the brand because it implies the American hospitality, ‘can do’ spirit, which was paramount to us. Prior to launching the firm, we spent years in service and hospitality, and we understood what true hospitality means.

RW: We strive for clients to feel like our guests. With the inbound client, we want to represent all of the Americas – the US, Canada, and Mexico. And for the outbound client, it is the American Guest, our clients, traveling overseas.

How do you work together?

JW: We have natural synergy and, of course, great trust. Richard is the creative visionary and storyteller. I translate the dream, manage the client relationships and directly oversee event execution. Even as a five-year-old, I knew I wanted to work with my father. It shows in my first-grade artwork on my office wall.

What are the advantages of having a family run business as event and incentives planners?

RW: We consider clients like family and deliver a level of passion and dedication that rivals any competition. The culture to perform, excite, and to please is ingrained in our DNA. For American Guest everything is personal.

What cities are your favorite hidden gems to host a corporate event?

RW: I’m a big fan of cities that retain much of their local character. Cities like Nashville and Austin, already at or near top tier requested destinations. Milwaukee is fantastic with its one-of-a-kind “winged” Milwaukee Art Museum and the Harley-Davidson Museum, all while offering great value. The Florida Keys, the cowboy/ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Healdsburg wine country in Northern California are unique and worth considering.

What is the secret to your success?

JW: Taking ownership, staying focused, and learning to listen to what the business is telling you. Being able to pivot is key to long-term success.

RW: Having a global approach to client service. Investing in an incredible multinational, multilingual team. We all share a tenacity to find a solution, create an opportunity where a ‘no’ is never final when filling a client’s needs.

      -- John Williams, President

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