International luxury travel agency network Virtuoso kicked off its Virtuoso Travel Week (VTW) in Las Vegas and, while the event itself has been going 28 years strong, this year marks the 30th anniversary of luxury travel’s premier network.
VTW – an event akin to Fashion Week where travel buyers seek out the latest in luxury experiences by meeting with thousands of travel purveyors, all network partners – reached new heights this year.
With nine per cent growth in attendance, a record-breaking 5257 travel professionals from 98 countries congregated at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas, where they conducted a staggering number of one-to-one meetings – over 320,000 of them, totalling more than 1.5 million meeting minutes or the equivalent of 2.9 years.
The end goal for this global gathering: building relationships that lead to better traveller experiences.
A message from Matthew D. Upchurch
During the event’s Opening Ceremony, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch recalled his philosophy that led to the creation of Virtuoso: a firm belief that travel agencies and suppliers need each other to be successful and that Virtuoso’s function is to facilitate this success by creating tools and services that support each side.
Ultimately, though, Virtuoso’s role is about fostering human connections. “Thirty years ago I brought together Allied Travel and Percival Tours to create a vibrant, resilient global travel network focused not solely on transactions, but on catalysing rich human experiences,” said Upchurch.
Drawing upon the message shared by the event’s keynote speaker, ‘Grit to Great’ author and head of one of the leading advertising agencies in America, Linda Kaplan Thaler, Upchurch spoke about the scenario that is helping propel success for its travel agency members: the desire for authentic human connections in a world plagued with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).
Upchurch continued, “In an exponentially changing environment, we don’t offer a rulebook. We believe in principles, not protocols. And we have four guiding principles we believe will anchor our future: ensure success for our agency members, make it personal for both our partners and their clients, pioneer and innovate, and tell the advisor story again and again.
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