Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #43

cleverdis

EVENTS

(...) IF YOU DON’T ASK WHAT WENT

WELL AND WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE

ETC., THEN THAT’S NOT A RELATIONSHIP,

THAT’S JUST A TRANSACTION.

Matthew Upchurch

CEO, Virtuoso

VIRTUOSOS OF LUXURY FLOCK

TO LAS VEGAS

The ultimate annual global travel community event sets key trends

for elite travellers

The elite of the luxury

travel industry will be

back in Las Vegas this

August for the exclusive

Virtuoso Travel Week,

from 10-16 August.

With 1,000 agency locations

in over 50 countries, the

number of Virtuoso advisors

has grown organically by over

126% over the past five or

six years, while the number

of high net worth clients has

grown 156%. Virtuoso clients

spend US$128,000 per annum

on travel, with, on average,

8.2 trips per year. Average

air ticket spend is US$5,650

per flight, and average daily

spend is US$1,735. Virtuoso

clients spend, on average,

three times more than an

average client on hotels and

tours, and four times more on

cruises.

SUSTAINABILITY AT HEART OF OFFERING

Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch constantly

underlines the importance of sustainability

among his ranks: “We feel that travel

advisors can play a role in elevating the

conversation around sustainability,” stated

Upchurch at last year’s meeting, adding,

“We have awarded sustainability prizes

for almost nine years now here at Virtuoso

Travel Week, for hotels and for individual

companies. Those of us who have been in

this business for a long time have literally

watched what some of these partners do

that is just beyond amazing. We have been

awarding that for a while. The outcome of

the whitepaper that was published already

last year was very simple: How can Virtuoso

make sustainability a greater factor – not

the only factor by any means… How can we

make it a greater factor in consumer choice?

It’s that simple.”

The single thing consumers tell Virtuoso,

according to Upchurch, that differentiates, in

their mind, a transactional travel agent from a

truly trusted advisor is the conversation after

the trip: “If you don’t have a conversation

with me after the trip; if you don’t ask what

went well and what would you change

etc., then that’s not a relationship, that’s

just a transaction’. That has been growing

organically. It’s been a dream of mine for

10 years, and over the past year and a half

we’ve invested a huge amount of our R&D.

We are working on a platform that takes

what has been happening organically and

marries fun technology (kind of think of

Netflix), with great purposeful discussions

with consumers, to help extract meaningful

conversations about what people want to do

in the future, and make it a much more fun,

seamless and scalable process.”

Of course, he was talking about the recently

announced Virtuoso platform, Orchestrator.

No doubt, we will hear a lot more about

the platform at this year’s event. Watch this

space

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