Let’s face it—even though the sun is starting to shine around here and we’ve all prematurely busted out the tanks and sandals (don’t kid yourself—you know you did it too), we could all use a little vacation. But, you whine, hotels can be so expensive! Have no fear, Chicagoan Jeff Eckerling is here to help.
After graduating from Tulane University, the Wilmette-native had a three-year stint as a CPA for Ernst and Young before joining the original team of Orbitz.com back in 2000. After about 9 years, Jeff—along with two of his colleagues—left the travel mega-site to create BonVoyou, a members-only website that can save you up to 50 percent on stays at boutique and luxury hotels nationwide. Every day, a handful of hotels go on sale and the sales last only for a few days.
When you join Bonvoyou, you become a member of an exclusive network, meaning you have to be invited by another member (click here for an invitation from Oy! to join BonVoyou.com). Being a member is completely free, and they’ll give you a $25 credit the first time a new member that you referred books a hotel. Also, a portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to a charity—right now their current charitable partner is Bright Pink.
So whether you love to stay in swanky hotels, dream of being the Cubs’ general manager or just love a run through Lincoln Park, Jeff Eckerling is a Jew You Should Know:
2. If time and money were limitless, where would you travel?
Having worked in the travel business for 10 years, I've been fortunate to visit and see some amazing places in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Right now, I would love to go on an African safari and explore Patagonia in South America.
3. If a movie was made about your life, who would play you?
According to a flight attendant, it apparently would be John Turturro, as she actually thought that I was him. Of course, if John Turturro was not available, I would think a younger Harrison Ford would do.
4. If you could have a meal with any two people, living or dead, famous or not, who would they be?
I think I would pick Jacques Cousteau and Sir Ernest Shackleton. They have both traveled to the ends of the earth, and I would love to hear their stories first-hand.
5. What's your idea of the perfect day?
Well, clearly going to work and having a successful day followed by a run through Lincoln Park or a good workout at the gym—and seeing a Chicago Cubs victory!
6. What do you love about what you do?
I have the opportunity to bring a bit of luxury within everyone's reach while building a business from the ground up with a great team.
7. What job would you have had if not the one you have now?
General manager of the Chicago Cubs. After my failed attempt to purchase the Cubs, I realized that my place would be as an employee within the organization.
8. What's your favorite Jewish thing to do in Chicago?
Picking up a bagel and lox from NY City Bagels in Lincoln Park or going with a good friend and grabbing a table at Eleven City Diner. Oh, and holidays with my family.
Catch Jeff this Thursday night at the Elysian Hotel as part of a panel discussion presented by the Business Professionals Network of the Young Leadership Division and TIP’s High Tech Division of the Jewish United Fund, titled “Online Consumer Businesses To Get You Through the Recession.” The panel of speakers also includes Shawn Bercuson, VP of Business Development for Groupon.com and Tony Bombacino, marketing director for Restaurant.com. For more information, visit www.yldchicago.org/events .