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Meet Collette’s 3rd-gen CEO, Jaclyn Leibl-Cote + new 2025 Explorations tours 

When Collette say they’re a family-run business, they mean it. Cue new President and CEO, Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, the company’s first female CEO and third-gen leader (and only Collette’s fourth CEO!). Meet Jaclyn, find out about her journey with Collette and discover what's new for 2025. 

When Collette say they’re a family-run business, they mean it. Cue new President and CEO, Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, the company’s first female CEO and third-gen leader (and only Collette’s fourth CEO!). Meet Jaclyn, find out about her journey with Collette and discover what’s new for 2025. 

For 106 years Collette have helped thousands of curious explorers see the world with their small-group journeys, river cruises, and more. They currently have 170 tours, five distinct travel styles and travel to all seven continents. And the core of what they do? The happiness of their travellers.  

Collette’s first female CEO 

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Jaclyn Leibl-Cote knows a thing or two about Collette. While not racking up 106 years with the travel-savvy tour company, she’s been with them for almost 20, working across the business.  

Starting out as a tour guide, Leibl-Cote had the honour of guiding clients to places like the USA and Canada. She’s also worked as a client care agent, product designer for the US, Australia, and New Zealand, strategist, and head of marketing. Most recently, Leibl-Cote was Collette’s chief customer experience officer.  

Succeeding her father, Dan Sullivan Jr, who moves to the company’s executive chairman role, Leibl-Cote has travel in her blood. He followed in the family footsteps of Dan Sullivan Sr, who took ownership of Collette in 1962 from founder Jack Collette. It’s been in the family ever since.

With a BA in Communication and an MBA to support, Leibl-Cote has shown she has the family flair for tour innovation and client-focused experiences. She’s regarded as a dynamic and value-led leader with a flair for customer-centric decision-making.  

Outside of leading the steer for Collette (and the occasional kangaroo cuddle), Leibl-Cote is passionate about the arts, an avid supporter of local and global non-profits, and chairperson for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Committee. 

Committed to Australia 

Jacklyn Leibl-Cote
Jaclyn Leibl-Cote holds Australia (and kangaroos, literally) close to her heart. ©Collette

While not Leibl-Cote’s first visit to Australia, it’s her first as President and CEO. She commented, “The Australian market is close to my family’s heart. We love this country and we’re committed to building the Collette brand and business here.”

Leibl-Cote continues, “We are driven by a mission to enhance lives by providing extraordinary travel experiences. We craft comprehensive guided trips that feel elevated and personal for each guest. We pride ourselves on our values, our integrity, and the relationships we have in the Australian market.”

Leibl-Cote’s trip is focused in growth within the Australian market and includes meetings with key partners and media. She will also be participating in CATO International Women’s lunch this Thursday and Force for Good on Friday.

Leibl-Cote is open to your feedback and suggestions, so please reach out to connect.

Small-group tours in huge demand

Jaclyn Leibl-Cote
Finland is proving popular with Collette in 2024, says new CEO Jaclyn Leibl-Cote

You probably don’t need us to tell you that small group tours are not just in favour but in demand: you experience it everyday with your clients. Collette backs that up, having seen sustained and accelerated growth in its smaller group exploration tours recently.

Leibl-Cote shared, “Travellers are choosing immersive experiences with a focus on secondary cities outside the main tourist hubs. They want a slower pace, more intimate experiences, plus more time in destination.

“There remains a strong social aspect to tours, with travellers meeting and connecting during their travels and, in many cases, becoming lifelong friends.”

In case you’re wondering, Leibl-Cote shared that Japan, South Africa, and Finland are proving to be the favourites this year so far. We’d be sooooo down for Collette’s Northern Lights of Finland tour (staying at the to-die-for Kakslauttanen Resort). You?

Industry-leading support

Alongside Collette’s personalised, thoughtfully curated small group tours, there’s been a great reception for the travel brand’s industry-leading cancellation waiver.

Their cancel-for-any-reason waiver means your clients will get a full refund (minus their deposit) up to 24 hours before the tour departs. It’s the post-pandemic peace of mind every traveller craves – and can now have!

Having a dedicated Australian call centre makes life easier for agents and Collette’s low call centre wait times leave you free to work on doing what you do best: charming your clients and making their travel dreams come true! Open in real-time from 8:30 am to 7 pm EST, get connected to their superstar reservations team for all your support needs.

Leibl-Cote is full of optimism for the future, “We’re 106 years old and have never felt younger,” she said. “We have a great culture and great talent, and we’re seeing fabulous growth in our numbers.”

New Explorations 2025 tours

Jaclyn Leibl-Cote
A new Namibia and South Africa tour is coming soon in 2025. ©Collette

Have you checked out Collette’s new 2024/25 Explorations brochure yet? With 41 incredible tours, each taking a maximum of 24 passengers, these small group journeys afford richer, deeper, more heart-felt connections to each destination.

Explorations tour inclusions go beyond the bog standard. Think a night in a Japanese monastery. Or zipping around Thailand in a tuk-tuk. Or shucking oysters like a pro with the pros in Maine.

These elements no doubt play a large part in why Explorations trips are Collette’s top-rated product. Traveller’s award ‘excellent’ 78% of the time!

Some of the most popular Explorations tours include:

With 75,000 guaranteed seats for 2024 and 25,000 guaranteed seats for 2025, you’re sure to find a date to suit every traveller.  

New for 2025

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Aerial view of Dubrovnik ©Collette

This year’s Explorations brochure has a range of new tours making their debut, ready for their 2025 inaugural season.

Can you guess what destinations are coming in 2024? Don’t peek!

If you guessed Namibia and South Africa, Greece, Portugal, the Balkans, and South America, you’d be right. Gold star.

The deets

Jaclyn Leibl-Cote
Collette 2024/25 Exploration brochure is available for download or in print.

View or grab your online copy of the new Explorations brochure, head here. You can also order a physical copy there or via Tifs.

To find out more about Collette, head to gocollette.com.au.

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