Travel Industry Leaders Announce Launch of Venturism

A New Approach to Incubating and Accelerating Business Ideas in the Travel Industry.

Bill Watson and Gary Leopold have announced the formation of Venturism LLC, a business development firm that will invest in nurturing and accelerating ideas focused on serving the travel and hospitality industries. Venturism offers a unique approach with its very seasoned team.

Watson and Leopold have extensive experience in leadership roles within the travel industry. Bill Watson, who serves as the group’s founder and managing partner is also a senior partner/co-founder of the Prism Partnership and had previously served as COO and EVP for Best Western Hotels and vice-chairman of THISCO/Pegasus Systems. Gary Leopold, who is the group’s co-founder, also serves as the president of ISM/CP, a Boston-based, travel-focused marketing firm that has worked with such clients as Emirates, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and American Express, and prior to that he was head of public relations for Sonesta International Hotels.

Venturism will use the talents of a select team of advisors who will work with the firm to review and support new business concepts. Advisors include Denise Coll, who was previously president of Starwood, North America; Mark Lomanno, who was the president of Smith Travel Research (STR); and Cynthia Valles, who was an EVP at American Express and had previously run its Leisure Travel Group.

Venturism became a reality because many people and companies were already approaching the founders and advisors seeking their support and counsel on a multitude of new business ideas and concepts. With the creation of Venturism, there is now a more formal and structured way for these industry leaders to work together and involve themselves with these opportunities.

“Our leadership team and advisors are people Gary and I have worked with before with great success and they’ll partner alongside us to identify, shape and invest in those ideas we believe can be successful in the marketplace,” explained Watson.

Based in Boston, Venturism will pursue opportunities that are national and global in scope. Among the companies already working with Venturism is HotelNeighborhood (, which is a digital platform connecting hotel guests with trusted local services.

“Opportunities exist to enhance all aspects of the customer journey,” said Watson. “With its legacy business models and systems, massive scale, global customer base and growing dependency on technology, we feel the travel category is fertile ground for innovation. “

For those businesses and entrepreneurs who are developing technologies, products, services and business models that can be successful if properly developed, managed and marketed, you can contact Venturism at or call 617.631.8919.