Our Story

We are Wildebeest.

A strategic marketing agency for travel and tourism brands on the move. ​

Much like this nomadic animal, we help you successfully transition to new ground while fending off larger competitors. 

We’re loyal creatures and while we might not be the biggest agency out there, we punch above our weight to identify new sources of growth to benefit your bottom line.  

Before any journey – a 300-mile migration or launching a new brand – it’s good to know where you’re headed and how you’ll get there.

Jared and Tom, cabin
Wildebeest was born in a log cabin in SoHo - in the middle of a snowstorm.

Agency Leadership

Tom Buckley

Tom Buckley

Chief Commercial Officer & Co-founder

Tom has over 15 years’ experience in digital marketing, publishing and technology, working at both start-ups and corporations – including Whatsonwhen.com, Frommer’s, and Random House

Tom recently headed up global business development for content marketing agency Melt Content, servicing consumer travel brands Expedia, New York Times (Times Journeys) and Royal Caribbean, plus B2B clients such as Expedia Affiliate Network and Intent Media. 

Tom was a founding member of a digital agency Whatsonwhen.com that, under its new parent, was acquired by Google. Tom has also led sales and U.S. operations for AO, an enterprise software firm focused on merchandising solutions for multi-day tour operators and airline vacation businesses. Additionally, he advises VR Tours and activity experience platform 360 Stories

Tom, a native of the U.K., recently relocated back to Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two daughters, after a three year stint in Miami.

Jared Alster

Jared Alster

Chief Strategy Officer & Co-founder

Jared is a marketing executive with a 15+ year career working with Fortune 500’s and SMB’s in travel and tech. Jared started his career in New York with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, working on global brand campaigns for Yahoo! and Six Flags. 

Following his personal passion, Jared entered the travel industry as Director of Marketing at Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest adventure tour operator. After nearly five years at Intrepid, Jared moved on to co-found StrideTravel, a venture-backed, San Francisco-based metasearch site for multi-day tours, where he is now an advisor.

Upon returning to New York, Jared opened the east coast office for luxury travel pioneer Cox & Kings, where he was Vice President of Marketing. Before starting Wildebeest, Jared was VP Marketing at Rodo – a mobile-first car leasing platform backed by IAC. 

Jared resides on Long Island with his wife, two sons, and yellow lab.

Our Foundation

These are the founding principles and values that we hold ourselves accountable towards – ideals rooted in our prior experience. They form the base for our interactions with clients, partners, and staff. 

01

Relationships

Travel is big business, but a small industry. Everyone seems to know everyone else. The team at Wildebeest has worked hard to cultivate real relationships comprised of people that matter  – from tech to hospitality; airlines to tour operators – we know the people who make the travel business hum and apply these important human touchpoints to help clients succeed. 

02

Flexibility

We keep things nimble when it comes to our fee structure and aren’t afraid to get creative to get the job done. This means no bloated teams of agency staffers. Behind this flexibility is the Wildebeest Talent Network – a curated collection of top freelancers, from creatives, to technical marketers, to web developers. We strive to maintain competitive pricing while delivering optimal talent for every project.

03

Humility

Loretta Swit once said: “you only know what you know.” Or was it Confucius? Either way, this rings true to the team at Wildebeest and we approach every client; each relationship, with a heavy dose of humility. That’s not to say we don’t have an opinion – quite the opposite. But we know when to share and when to be silent, because no one knows a business better than the client. 

04

Results

Every agency talks about their results, but too many case studies feature vanity metrics. Impressions matter, but quality leads and bookings matter more. At Wildebeest, our success will ultimately be determined by bottom funnel results –  leads, bookings, revenue, bums in seats, and heads in beds. 

05

Scrappiness

We are no strangers to imperfect, startup environments – where time and money are not always available in excess, but where investors and executives demand results nonetheless. We bring this philosophy of ‘scrappiness’ to every client project, no matter the size and simply get the job done on time and on budget. 

06

Data

Perhaps one of the more overused words in the marketing vernacular, data plays a genuine role in our entire approach. Whether conducting customer interviews to help define a brand’s positioning or combing through keyword reports to determine content opportunities, Wildebeest always takes a data-driven approach approach to carefully analyze the landscape. 

office book shelf

Why Wildebeest?

Together, our leadership team possesses 30 years of travel industry expertise, running revenue-generating marketing programs for some of the industry’s top brands. We’ve scaled startups, launched new products, defined new categories, and everything in between.

We develop strategies and campaigns that stand the test of time – providing a foundation for your company to build on, with a focus on quality vs. quantity. We avoid tactics that produce ‘quick hit’ surges in traffic as we find the residual value fleeting and temporary.

We’ve been around the block (and the world). Our unique blend of agency and client-side travel experience means we can put ourselves in your shoes, cause we’ve been there. At the same time, we provide valuable outside perspective as your marketing partner.

We maintain a vast network of top freelance talent including SEO consultants, editors, technical writers, creative directors, influencers, and web developers. This means we can customize the best team for every project and client.

We take a data-informed approach to every project. We like to test and validate our strategies and ensure we hit KPI’s every step of the way. We apply the carpenter, or doctor, approach to marketing: “measure twice, cut once.”

We’re all about return on investment, and realize and respect that every marketing dollar is scrutinized these days. Our focus is always on value, not cost. While we might not be the cheapest shop in town, we stand behind our results.

Shouldn’t you partner with an agency team you enjoy working with? We take our work seriously but not ourselves, and are as comfortable in the boardroom as we are the barroom.

Ready to migrate your marketing to the next level?

Let's start a conversation.