Meet Your Team!
Featuring: Chad Hart, Founder.
As the founder of the largest provider of college spring break trips to South Padre Island, Texas, Chad stands not only as a pillar within the company but in his community as well. His values of humility, generosity, personal integrity and unwavering dedication to his staff and those whom he works with, are unparalleled. Thus, leading him to be a trailblazer in all aspects of his life, a force of nature in the industries he applies himself to and beyond all else, selflessly a father of two boys.
Name: Chad Hart
How long have you been with Inertia Tours?
I founded Inertia Tours in the spring of 2002. We successfully grew each year in travelers. In the fall of 2015, I approached a long time friend of mine in the student travel industry I trusted (Steve Smolinski) about merging into his larger company (Lifestylez College Ski) to scale up and grow even more and become the College Beach Spring Break division of Free Livin’ Entertainment Inc. (Lifestylez overall parent Company) I have been specifically marketing and selling college spring break travel since 1993. I worked for many now defunct spring break tour companies prior to starting Inertia Tours.
What college did you go to?
I attended Badgerland. ie U of Wisconsin and luckily someone there believed I was worthy of a Graduate Degree (MBA ie Master in Business Administration.
Did you travel while on spring break in college? If yes, where to?
Yes, I traveled to South Padre Island, Mazatlan & Cancun. After 1 year in Mazatlan I was hooked. A staff guy named Damon Owens approached me on the beach in Mazatlan for (then) College Tours and said hey man, you should REP Wisconsin for us and Staff down here next year. And… I did. I estimate I have met personally well over 25,000 students. Many to this day that have worked for me as a REP are still friends with me.
What is your favorite destination that Inertia Tours offers and why?
I’m biased. It’s South Padre island. It’s in my blood as a Texan now. Texas is where it’s at. The people of South Padre Island truly care about one another and that family atmosphere our vendors have created for me and our Company is why I am still here doing this. South Padre is tropical, safe, fun, and a beast…what I mean is, there is now no destination with more students at it and we dominate South Padre Island.
The relationships I’ve developed there are unbreakable and what I pride myself on.A handshake should be better than a signature, that’s how we work in Texas we keep our word and we go shoulder to shoulder with our friends through thick and thin. This parlays into the student spring break experience as the people of South Padre and locals have helped me every step of the way, I am so grateful to them….the students enjoy this too as we have such an unbelievable price and bundled package with everything included it’s really a joy to sell to them and meet them all onsite when they arrive.
Destinations like Cancun have amazing water and weather, but the whole “you must fly” thing troubles me as flying now is such a hassle riddled with problems. Your Dad’s SUV is way more reliable and you can drive to Texas. I’m very proud of my home state and being a local of South Padre Island and defending it is a matter of honor. Clearly, as I have rambled on and on!
What do you love about working with Inertia Tours?
I love that there is always something to do. A phone call to make, a sales person to foster their skills, an online marketing or social media technique I haven’t heard of, or a client that needs special hand holding. I never stop thinking and working and like to think I can do the work of 3 people. What I love more than anything is the people I have relationships with that make our trips happen – our condo and hotel
vendors, our club and restaurant owners, as well as the couple hundred friends I have on the Island itself helping us along. I love every aspect of this and will never stop bringing students in masses to South Padre Island.
Okay now let’s get personal…
What could you teach me to do in under 5 minutes?
Stop eating gluten and walk 20 minutes a day in the sun. Ok that took 10 seconds. I assume yo
u mean on spring break or what I do here? I think the key to selling is solving problems. If you puke information to people (I see this all the time) they won’t buy.
A student contacts us they have a problem – generally, they have 1 of 2 problems, either undecided friends OR limited budget. If you approach them as your friend or a friend’s friend, and tell them look I’m here to help you solve your XYZ problem, your ability to book them goes up exponentially. That’s the passion I have for selling. I love to sell, but selling is really solving problems, not some hard core pitch. People contact companies to buy but really they need solutions to their problems. We just happen to solve a great problem by offering super inclusive spring break trips under $500 per person that are truly rad in all ways.
What are you passionate about?
I have two little boys, they come first in my life in every way the of course my Mom and brother (that’s all the family I have) then this Company selling more trips than the year before. I never accept less people equate Inertia to huge parties on South Padre Island for a reason – we bring the most people.
When are you the happiest?
Watching a movie with my boys at night laying in bed laughing and talking with my two Sons. We also swim and paddleboard the San Marcos River with one of them on the front of my paddleboard and one on the back and everyone talks to us the 3 miles down and back. Otherwise it’s on South Padre Island as every where I go I know most people and they know me. That makes lunch more like 2 hours than 30 minutes but i mix business with pleasure. I never take a lunch really without a business meeting at the same time, same with dinner and half the time breakfast. Vendor meetings are awesome as honestly I’m just hanging out with my friends doing business on the side or so it feels.
What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?I can wet sand and buff a vehicle out which 99.99% of people on earth cannot do.
How do you recharge?
Working out and eating clean is a passion of mine as it keeps me sane and reduces stress. For me it’s not so much about ripping a six pack anymore as working out to live and not dying already. Seriously though, I don’t need a “recharge” i love what I do, This isn’t really work, I can work 12 to 14 hours a day 7 days a week at this not a problem. No one outworks me in Spring Break, period.
What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?
Travel has to be a passion as there are so many other more lucrative things one could do. If I wasn’t doing this job I’d be doing student travel hahaha I have no idea this is what I do, period.
If you were to start a company from scratch, what values would you build it on?
Make it easy. I think the big money being made on the internet is on people taking somewhat “old” concepts and making them incredibly easy. That makes the concept fresh and people can make a lot of money. I met the Founders of Snap Suits – these guys make buying a custom suit super easy – also super cheap. Their suits are $250 and amazing, I have two and get non stop compliments on them.
Most things we do in life now sort of suck due to being run around. The post office. Driving a car, due to traffic, in Austin took an amazing city and has nearly ruined it. Dealing with anything the Government has it’s fingers into sucks. Why? They make it complicated. Fill out this form, do this, do that. I think you can’t run your clients around, if that’s a value. I go the Doctor and fill out information over and over again.
Another value I’d say is social sharing. Is your Company cool and/or interesting enough that people want to engage with you socially online? It needs to be or you will bleed out advertising One last thing I see a lot of is people trying to do is reinvent the wheel. An old friend of mine told me hey, if you see someone making good money doing something, do what they do a little bit differently (perhaps better but that’s not imperative even) and you will make money too. It’s inevitable. Don’t try to 180 something successful as you will F it up, maybe 10 or 20 degree the idea and you’ve got a winner. Finally, employee buy in. Don’t rip off your customers, but certainly don’t rip off your employees. At the end of the day all a person has is their word and reputation. Protect it or you won’t last long.