Joel Widzer (born August 25, 1961) is an American author of travel related literature, consultant, media figure, and travel strategist. He received his BS from Pepperdine University--Malibu (1986), his PhD from United States International University (renamed Alliant International University) (2001), also known as the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management He is currently the managing partner of JlwConsulting a division of JetReady LLC.
In 1999 he wrote The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel--The Art of Cultivating Preferred Customer Service.
Widzer pioneer writing about luxury travel at a discount. Previous to his work the conventional wisdom among travelers' was to get the lowest price travel without concern to experience. His efforts in seeking the value proposition of travel were precursors to what eventually evolved into a new body of travel discussing luxury at a discount. Most notable are his strategies for obtaining first class upgrades which has been profiled in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and the TV show Inside Edition among others. Joseph Micthelli wrote in his 2008 book The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company that Widzer put is best by saying that "We all work hard in whatever field of endeavor we have chosen, and so it is vital to reward ourselves whenever we have the opportunity. I have found luxury travel to be a well-deserved reward for hard work."
Widzer's travel writing gained national exposure in 2005 when he started writing for Tripso.com which led to his writing for MSNBC. While writing for Tripso.com Widzer was widely criticized in travel blogs as an apologist or shell for the airlines .
Within the same article he outlined six contrarian strategies: