Virtuoso travel advisors attending this week’s Owner Manager’s Forum in Sydney have been challenged to lead with influence during difficult times.
The luxury travel network’s Senior Vice President of Global Operations, Michael Londregan, called on Australian and New Zealand members to rethink the VIP acronym, from the traditional Very Important People to Very Influential People.
“The industry is going to be looking, and the market is looking for, not just people who are important but people who are influential.”
Londregan encouraged Forum delegates to consider how they can “power their influence to lead”.
“One of the great sayings in North America is of 1 in 10 people in North America tell the other 9 in 10, what to eat, what to think, what to drink, what to wear, where to go, because they’re very influential. And I actually think that in times of trouble and in times of chaos and in times of uncertainty and volatility, the 1 in 10 number improves significantly as people are looking for direction.”
“So the VIP I want you to understand is, and this goes for every single person in this room, you are VIPs, but it’s a different “I”. You’re very Influential people,” Londregan said.
“I want you to be in a position to lead. To lead the narrative of this industry. Never in the history of this industry have we needed leaders more.”
Londergan said the industry needed “leadership angels”, and that Virtuoso advisors can take the charge.
“I understand that we’ve got no clear timeline for when things are going to be recovered, or fully recovered, or back to normal, but between now and then I need you to be ambassadors of leadership to this industry.”
“People are looking to you,” he said. “You’re probably the 1 in 50 that are going to influence another 50 others, who are going to influence 10 others.”
“We need you to actually take that responsibility, being a VIP, being a very important person is a luxury. Being a very influential person is actually a responsibility,” Londregan said.
The 2-day Virtuoso Owner Manager’s Forum also provided professional development sessions covering an update on Virtuoso programs and initiatives, insights from one of Australia’s leading consumer futurists, access to valuable localised and bespoke consumer data and thought leadership to discuss the great domestic tourism comeback, including the successes and the lessons learned, from an influential panel of Trans-Tasman tourism senior executives.
A motivational keynote address was also delivered by seven-time world surfing champion, Laybe Beachley.
At a Virtuoso gala held on Monday night, Claudia Rossi Hudson from Mary Rossi Travel was recognised with the Southern Cross Spirit Award – only the second time the honour has been bestowed since its inception.
Claudia Rossi Hudson was recognised for her extraordinary service and contribution to Virtuoso over many years at both a regional and global level. The award was presented to her by the inaugural winner from 2019, and personal friend and colleague, Beverly Cohen from Wentworth Travel.