Ed Dramberger’s goal was to travel the world. Fifteen years ago, he started the business Destination Dr., a global consulting firm serving the travel industry, that has let him do just that. During November he is working in Stockholm and London but is back home in Brownsville for Thanksgiving. The past few months have taken the Destination Dr. to Vietnam, Galveston, China, India, Denver and Jacksonville, Fla. In 10 years, he has filled the pages of three passports. Overall, he has been to 180 countries.
Dramberger, a Brownsville native, taught International Marketing at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Del Mar College. While getting his PhD in international marketing from Virginia Tech, he developed a model to increase visitor arrivals or occupancy by 25 percent. As the principal of Destination Dr., he gives presentations on the topic at forums like World Travel Mart and conducts seminars and trainings for hotels, resorts and destinations worldwide. Destination Dr. trains the suppliers (primarily hotels and resorts) to make the sales to buyers such as meeting planners for conventions and expos and for tour operators through understanding and applying four sales steps.
Speaking at tourism and hospitality conferences leads to more contracts to train employees, he said. “They come up after a presentation and say, ‘We love your presentation. We want you to train our people.’” A presentation in India in August resulted in a training contract in China in April.
Dramberger customizes each training before arriving at the destination. “I research the place, and I also request the bios of attendees before I arrive (to know their experience levels). That separates me as an educator and a business. I know what people want.”
This expert traveler recently relocated his base from New York City to Brownsville for family reasons, although he kept his New York phone number and recognizable 212 area code. “I can be anywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter. Frankly, I like the slow pace of the Valley. You have to be grounded.” The convenience of the Brownsville airport lets him get anywhere within 24 hours.
“Having your own business is scary,” Dramberger admitted. “If I’m not on the road, I’m not making money. But my reality is the tourism business. I accept not having a 9-to-5 job. I can sleep anywhere, anytime.”
Dramberger, who is bipolar, has said that travel works like an effective drug for him. “Meeting people energizes me.” BP magazine is running a feature story on him this fall. A few days after returning from Asia, still coping with jet lag, he is eager to get on the road again.
Many different pathways exist to get what you want, Dramberger said. Early on, he worked in bars, restaurants and hotels at widespread destinations. He continues to tap into various ways to feed his travel passion. He occasionally leads small educational tours. Last spring, he shepherded a group of professors through Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Cracow, staying in Airbnbs and shopping at local supermarkets. In April 2019, he is leading a spiritual pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes.
Earlier this year, his first book, “Destination Diaries: How to Travel for Life,” was published. The stories about his travel adventures range from the spiritual, hilarious and instructive to the outrageous and cautionary. The Miami Book Fair gave the book a five-star rating, Dramberger said.
The inveterate traveler also has plans for a television travel show with an unusual angle. Given his worldwide connections, he believes getting sponsorships will not be difficult.
Dramberger’s calendar shows he is already booked to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, India and Bangkok (where he once lived). And where does the professional traveler go on vacation? He’s looking forward to a Pacific cruise.