The Back Story from Owner Dave Matthews
I founded Prime Tours in 1996, and built the firm up with continuous growth serving private groups for 23 years. In October 2019, I sold most of the firm to two trusted colleagues who had worked at Prime for several years. You can check them out at GoPrimeTours.com.
The sale gave me the opportunity to start a fresh company focusing on several services. from specialized tours, writing, speaking, consulting, video production and other services in the travel industry, not to mention more time for personal explorations and volunteering. Due to our sales agreement with Prime Tours, we typically cannot serve tour groups in Ohio.
It has been an amazing journey, and rarely does a day go by when I don't think about how special it is to provide incredible experiences for so many guests.
People often ask how I got into this business. My background is journalism, public relations and marketing. I was minding my own business running my PR firm, PRime Communications, when I saw the need for a Rose Bowl tour for students to the 1997 Rose Bowl. So in late 1996 I started Prime Tours to do that one trip, which ended up having a number of seniors citizens on board. It was a hit (especially when the Buckeyes won) and I went back to my PR business. But people started asking if I could do a tour for this and that group, so I talked to some group leaders, and we started landing senior center tours. Within a year, I decided to change from PR to full-time tours. The support from our group leaders and guests was wonderful. My background in public relations helped me spread the word about what we do without spending a fortune on paid advertising and mailing brochures. From the start, our goal was to focus on private groups and create great travel experiences for their members, executives, parishioners or students.
But the Rose Bowl wasn't actually my first group tour. Well before that, I was an Army airborne officer in Italy in the 1980s and was asked to do a week-long ski trip in the Italian Alps for 150 paratroopers. Prime Tours became a recognized leader in sports travel, as well as group tours for schools, bands, senior centers, corporations and other groups.
Building on that success and Dave’s travel experience abroad, Prime Tours added European Tours, specializing in Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy and more.
Aside from custom tours, I have kept my fingers in freelance writing when time permits. I've written hundreds of travel articles for various publications, and in recent years have been assigned to write how-to articles for travel industry trade magazines. I also have background in video production, photography and marketing.
Call us today at 614-581-2126 or e-mail us at if you need assistance in planning your next trip, or if your travel organization would like to boost your marketing and get your story out to travelers.
"Thank you guys for everything you did for us on this trip. It really was the trip of a lifetime! You took such good care of us. I was looking at our pictures and still can’t believe we were there!" - K.M.
"It was an amazing experience and I am beyond grateful to have been part of it all!! Y’all know how to put on a great tour!! Wow!!" - L.R.
"We had the time of our lives, just an altogether magnificent experience. Your staff tended to everyone's little needs with endless patience and unfailing smiles. It was such a joy to be around you guys." - D.G.
“I can’t begin to thank you enough for doing all of this for me. This is one of the craziest things I’ve done in a long time, but we are thrilled for the opportunity. I am more thrilled that we acquired your services and expertise."
- High School Choir Director after a short-notice invitation to perform at the Lincoln Memorial