Last week, Australia’s own Anthony Goldman was confirmed as the newly elected Chair of the Virtuoso Global Member Advisory Board at ahead of Virtuoso Travel Week 2022. His appointment reflects Virtuoso’s movement towards a ‘think local, act global’ strategy being driven by Virtuoso’s Senior Vice President of Global Operations, Michael Londregan. Goldman is the first non-US member to take the chair with the global luxury travel consortium.
Speaking of his appointment, Goldman told LATTE it was an honour to serve as Chair after five years on the Global Virtuoso Advisory Board, and with two years remaining.
“As the first non-US based chair, it signals that Virtuoso now has a truly global membership base. Internationally consistent and regionally relevant,” Goldman said.
“Virtuoso has invested in regional hubs across the globe, and with the help of the Advisory Board, continues to adapt various campaigns and programs for each region, making sure they are on point and relevant.”
“In this new post-pandemic travel environment, you’d be nuts not to use a travel advisor. After spending a week with the best supplier partners across the globe, Virtuoso advisors are so well connected. It makes a difference to the travel experience. We hear this all the time from our clients.”
Goldman said among his top priorities in the role as Chair will be to ensure all regions feel they have a voice within the Virtuoso structure and organisation.
“We want to attract the right agencies into Virtuoso and make sure everyone feels the value and difference it makes to their business.
“New members I spoke to during the week were blown away by the experience and the power of the network,” Goldman explained.
“We know that premium and luxury travel has rebounded with great strength in the last six months. There is no doubt that 2023 will be a big year, if not the biggest year of travel.
Goldman, who is the Joint Managing Director of Goldman Travel Group which includes Goldman Travel Sydney, Travelcall Melbourne and Sydney, The Cruise Centre by Travelcall and Smartflyer Australia, said it’s time airlines stepped up and bolstered flight options to and from Oceania.
“The greatest obstacle for Australian and New Zealand-based agencies is airline capacity. We need airlines to bring on more flights to 2019 levels so prices normalise and there is enough seats out of our region,” he said.
“It seems our airline suppliers are now lagging in their expression of partnership with agencies, which is a shame.”
“We need our airline supplies to turn back into partners. To see the absolute value of travel agencies and our advisors. The reduction of point-of-sale commissions at exactly the same time as travel rebounded hurt agencies,” Goldman lamented.
He added it would be interesting to see how airlines respond once there is more capacity in the market.
“Relationships win every time. Gone are the days of agency groups hitting suppliers over the head and expecting that to be a partnership. We need to work together with our hotel, cruise, airline and tour suppliers to move to greater success,” he told LATTE.
“Mutual respect and collaboration is the way forward – and it works for us,” he concluded.
Lead image – Virtuoso Global Member Advisory Board members in Las Vegas last week: From left, back row, are: Jaime Leon Hernandez, Latin Americas; Helena Andren, Europe; Tania Swasbrook, USA and Rob Clabbers, USA.
Bottom Row: Ange Wallace, USA; Julie Danziger, USA; Anthony Goldman, AU/NZ; Kemi Wells, Canada and Christina Buaas, USA. Absent from the board is Charlie Chan, Asia.