Phocuswright founder Philip Wolf dies at 64

Phocuswright founder Philip Wolf dies at 64



Pete Comeau

Managing Director

Phocuswright Inc.

Eugene Ko

Sr. Manager, Marketing and Communications

Phocuswright Inc.


NEW YORK, March 16, 2021 – Phocuswright founder Philip Wolf passed away today at the age of 64, following a brief illness.

Philip, a champion of online travel since the late-1980s, launched Phocuswright, the premier source for travel, tourism and hospitality intelligence, in 1994. Countless industry pitches and presentations today include a slide stamped: "Source: Phocuswright."


Architect of the Phocuswright Conference, Philip took the stage one-on-one with the travel industry’s elite. His probing perseverance for the truth (and not letting go without real answers) left audiences buzzing.

After decades of analyzing, scrutinizing and opining on strategic change and market trends, he built a brand around his trademark catchphrase: "Strategically correct, not politically correct."


Philip graduated from Duke University with a BA in Public Policy Studies and earned an MBA from Vanderbilt University. He began his career in the travel industry in 1989, and as CEO of Travelmation, he made a name for himself in travel, tourism and hospitality.

In 2011, Philip sold Phocuswright to Northstar Travel Group and retired from an executive role. He then embarked on a journey as mentor and serial board director for more than 25 companies on four continents.


“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 added, “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.”


Bob Sullivan, president, Northstar Travel Group said, “The industry has lost a genius today. Philip was an integral part of the Phocuswright and Northstar families. We are all heartbroken.”

The Phocuswright team sends its deepest condolences to Philip’s wife and co-founder of Phocuswright, Carol Hutzelman, their two children and the entire family.




Phocuswright is the travel industry research authority on how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect. Independent, rigorous and unbiased, Phocuswright fosters smart strategic planning, tactical decision-making and organizational effectiveness.


To complement its primary research in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia, Phocuswright produces several high-profile conferences in the United States and Europe and partners with conferences around the world. Industry leaders and company analysts bring this intelligence to life by debating issues, sharing ideas and defining the ever-evolving reality of travel commerce.

Phocuswright also operates PhocusWire, a media service that covers the world of digital travel 365 days a year with a range of news, analysis, commentary and opinion from across the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.


The company is headquartered in the United States with Europe and Asia Pacific operations and local analysts on five continents.

Phocuswright is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northstar Travel Group.




Northstar Travel Group is the leading B-to-B information and marketing solutions company serving all segments of the travel industry including leisure/retail, corporate/business travel, corporate and sports meetings, incentives, hospitality, and travel technology.


Northstar is the owner of leading brands serving these travel segments. The company produces more than 100 face-to-face events in 13 countries in retail travel, hospitality, corporate travel, travel technology, sports travel, and the meetings & incentive industry.  In addition, Northstar owns Phocuswright, the leading research, and event producer serving the travel technology industry. Northstar Travel Group owns the BHN Group, the leading producer of hotel investment conferences.


Northstar is also the majority shareholder in Inntopia, the leading SaaS e-commerce software business serving the mountain destination, golf, activities, and hospitality markets.


Based in Secaucus, NJ, the company has 14 offices in the U.S., UK, Singapore, and China. 

Northstar Travel Group is owned by funds managed by EagleTree Capital.