Stefan Merkl, Founder
Stefan Merkl, Explore Marketing LLC founder, is a well-known and respected leader in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Throughout his 17-year career in this industry, Stefan has held a number of positions that have enabled him to build an extensive network of tourism industry partners and a 360-degree view of the travel trade from the perspectives of suppliers, media, buyers and destination marketers.
Prior to establishing Explore Marketing LLC, Stefan was the Senior International Tourism Sales Manager at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau where he was responsible for promoting Philadelphia across the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, including China, India, and Australia, with the goal of increasing visitation and tourism spending to Philadelphia. His efforts led to a strong growth of visitors from these regions to Philadelphia.
Before that, for nine years, Stefan led all business development, branding, communications, revenue management decisions, implementation of internal sales processes and operations for Red and White Fleet, making it one of San Francisco’s most popular tour companies.
Over the years, Stefan’s accomplishments were recognized by various industry leaders. In 2013, he and his team were recognized by the Receptive Services Association of America (now International Inbound Travel Association) with the “Chairman’s Award for providing outstanding support in working with receptive tour operators” in accommodating the needs of the international traveler and in 2014, Stefan was nominated for “The Top People in the U.S. Tour and Travel” in the Tour Operator’s Industry’s Choice Awards. Additionally, Stefan has also served as a supplier board member of the RSAA and held positions on U.S. Travel’s National Council of Attractions.
With a solid understanding of managing attractions and understanding the needs of international travel trade buyers, as well as domestic buyers from the leisure, student, and MICE sectors, Stefan excels at creating win-win situations for both buyers and suppliers. Together with the team at Explore Marketing, Stefan can support the growth of your business by coaching your sales and marketing team, reviewing operational processes and marketing messages, adjusting your services and products towards the needs of international clients, and connecting you to his vast network of international travel trade partners across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific region, such as fast-growing markets – China, South Korea and India. Email Stefan
Ann Tok, International Marketing & Communications
Ann Tok is a marketing and communications expert in the travel and tourism industry. With over 13 years of work experience in Asia, Australia, and the U.S., she brings with her an international perspective and cross-cultural experience.
Ann has worked with major Destination Marketing Organizations in the U.S. and brands to lead their global public relations efforts and grow their brand internationally.
She graduated with a degree in Public Relations from RMIT University, Australia where she was awarded the Pacific Strategies prize for being the top student in the program, and a Diploma in Advertising from LimKokWing Institute in Malaysia. Ann is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Bahasa Malaysia. Email Ann
With over 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, Sofia Williamsson will collaborate with Explore Marketing on setting up sales missions, supporting clients with account management, and more.
Prior to this, Sofia was the former President of North American Journeys where she led the production of top travel trade events and other marketing projects with the goal of promoting tourism to the USA. She leverages extensive industry knowledge with a vast international network, and a unique creative perspective.
Sofia graduated at the top of her class with a degree in International Business & Marketing from Florida International University in Miami. Email Sofia