It’s a case of full steam ahead for luxury travel network Virtuoso which will host its next regional Travel Week showcase in Queensland later this month.
Virtuoso Travel Week Queensland was originally scheduled for late-2020 but had to be abandoned due to state border closures.
“At the time that we postponed the event we had hundreds of advisors wanting to go and we had suppliers lined up ready to go after a very successful event in Sydney,” Virtuoso’s regional boss, Michael Londregan said.
To be held on 25 February 2021, Londregan said the rebooted Virtuoso Travel Week Queensland will, understandably, be heavily attended by advisors from Southern Queensland (around 80%), coupled with people from Adelaide, Perth and New Zealand.
Some 40 suppliers from “all over the luxury travel spectrum” will participate, including international cruise suppliers, domestic cruise suppliers, and a batch of new partners that have come into the Virtuoso network under a partnership with Tourism Australia, Londregan revealed to LATTE.
“A lot of these new domestic partners were heavily reliant on international visitors and now, understandably, want to develop a relationship with the advisors in our network who have high-net-worth clients and are willing to spend that sort of investment on a domestic holiday in Australia,” Londregan said.
Not to be confused with the annual convention-sized Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas which attracts around 6,000 participants, Londregan said the satellite shows garner a greater level of participation overall, with the smaller showcases held in multiple cities around the world.
“We bring 30-40 partners to a market, we visit four cities. We do it in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Canada, and this event in Queensland is one of those satellite events.”
Currently, Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas is still scheduled for its usual calendar slot in August (earmarked for 8-13 August 2021).
Virtuoso Symposium moved to October 2021
Also rescheduled from 2020 to 2021 is the Virtuoso Symposium.
Speaking exclusively with LATTE on the topic, Londregan confirmed the date of the Symposium has now been pushed back until Q4 2021.
“The whole European meeting environment is in a state of flux. There’s not enough certainty to know what is going to happen there. We’re all hoping that the vaccine starts to create some herd-immunity and capability to run larger events in different parts of the world,” he explained.
The next Virtuoso Symposium is now set for 27-31 October 2021.
“We’ve got a plan for things to happen until we find out they can’t.”
“We have been talking about when we think we can run various events almost on a daily basis. This has been on our agenda continually for the last year.
“We made a big commitment with Vienna, and we’re sticking to that,” Londregan added.
“One thing we’re 100% sure of is that, as good as we’ve all been at pivoting towards virtual events, there’s an incredible appetite for our industry to personally connect again.”
Meanwhile, it was confirmed this week that, Londregan, the previous Virtuoso Managing Director for Asia Pacific, had been promoted in-house to the rank of Senior Vice President, Global Operations.
He has been with the Virtuoso network since November 2013.
On his ascension, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch said: “We continue to lay the groundwork for our future. We are in this not just to survive, but to thrive – and to be even stronger than before when travel returns. This appointment is another move to strengthen our global focus and growth”.
Londregan will remain based in Sydney and will continue to head up Virtuoso’s Australia and New Zealand team locally.
Abroad, Virtuoso has also tapped Helen McCabe-Young for a leadership role. McCabe initially joined the company in mid-2020 in the position of Acting Senior Vice President of Marketing. She has now secured that role.
New Virtuoso recruits
In Australia, Virtuoso has also made two new appointments. Nicole Chalwell steps into the role of Account Director, Australia and New Zelaand, while Zoe Dean takes on the position of Marketing Manager.
Chalwell joins Virtuoso with a strong background in international account management roles in the Asia Pacific region, possessing extensive experience in the travel products sector. Dean moves across from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and is tasked with delivering a marketing and events portfolio to drive sales for Virtuoso’s luxury travel partners.
“Our member agencies are utilising the hiatus in international travel to prepare their businesses for recovery,” Londregan remarked.
“Members are engaging with Virtuoso to define their business models, coordinate their CRM assets and keep their advisors engaged in professional development. We believe Virtuoso will play a vital role as our member network leads the new way forward.
“We have experienced strong interest in membership and we anticipate continued member growth through the year. Nicole’s appointment strengthens our commitment to the members, our product partners and the Australian and New Zealand markets,” Londregan added.
More broadly, Virtuoso is also currently recruiting for a Marketing Manager, Asia (based in Shanghai) as well as a Vice President, Product Marketing (based in Seattle).