Stanley Plog, 80, widely known as a travel research specialist and consultant, died in Southern California on Wednesday after a short illness. He is survived by his widow, Georgia; two sons, Gregory and Steven, as well as grandchildren.
The Nebraska native founded a handful of companies over a long career, the best known of which was Plog Research, which he sold in 1996. When he left Plog Research in 2002, he continued as a consultant.
While at the helm of the company, he provided research and consulting services across all segments of the industry, including airlines, destinations, cruise lines, hotels and resorts, travel agency groups and tour operators.
He also assisted the media, and in the past, wrote regular columns for Travel Weekly. In recent years, his research and analysis served as the backbone of Travel Weekly's annual Travel Industry Survey.
In 2003, Travel Weekly editorialized, “It's no exaggeration to say that Plog gave shape to modern travel industry market research - for generations, he has identified key travel trends, often devising the very names to describe various travel behaviors.”
Plog was a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of Occidental College and received his doctorate in social sciences at Harvard University.
He launched his career at UCLA as academic director of the Social Psychiatry Training Program, then founded Urban Observatory, a multidisciplinary research center, a business he later sold.
He wrote seven books, four in the social sciences and three on travel. The travel books were “Leisure Travel: Making It a Growth Market Again” (1991), “Vacation Places Rated” (1995) and “Leisure Travel: A Marketing Handbook” (2004).
The destination rating techniques utilized for the second book provided the underpinning for his latest business enterprise, a Website called BestTripChoices.com, of which he was chairman.
Plog's first love was music, and in his youth, he played trombone with a number of big bands, among them Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians.
He is survived by his widow, Georgia, and two sons, Gregory and Steve, as well as grandchildren.
His funeral is set for 10 a.m. Feb. 26 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood, Calif.