Virtuoso may have as many as a dozen General Managers spread around the world as the luxury travel network continues its momentum to grow, Senior Vice President of Global Operations, Michael Londregan has revealed to LATTE.
Last month’s Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas provided the first opportunity for Virtuoso’s General Managers to come together face-to-face. As the world started its recovery from the pandemic last year, Virtuoso had already begun laying the foundations for expanding its reach into evolving luxury markets, building a network of regional offices headed up by a local GM reporting to Londregan.
Those executives include Fiona Dalton, Australia/New Zealand; Javier Arredondo, Latin America and Caribbean; Karen Joyce, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Irene Lee, Asia and Úna O’Leary, Canada.
The strategy was focused on a ‘think local, act global’ mentality, which has witnessed Virtuoso’s global membership swing from being US top-heavy just a few years ago to now see international agencies account for 40% of the network’s footprint.
In May, Londregan forecast those numbers would likely swell to around “seven or eight” in the future, achieved by subdividing some of the current regions such as EMEA, Asia and Latin America. Fast-forward three months, and now LATTE can exclusively reveal Londregan expects the number of Virtuoso General Managers to more than double, with additional personnel flagged for the next 12 months.
Londregan said not every market is the same, so each GM is aware that “the more specific and personalised you make the value proposition for a market, the better it works.” For instance, the EMEA market is multiple regions and each is vastly different from the other and would require its own regional version if there was scale to grow.
“We have absolute goals and recognise that’s really three territories. We just need to develop the business to such a degree that it can carry the infrastructure to be personalised separately.”
Londregan said the same of Latin America, with that part of the world potentially able to be split as Central America and South America. Brazil is large enough that it could be a standalone region. Similarly, with Asia, he suspects over time that could be divided into Southeast and Northeast regions.
“We’ll see EMEA split, we’ll definitely see Latin America split and we may end up having 12 General Managers on the stage at next year’s Opening Ceremony,” he predicted.
“But there’s no point being a General Manager if there’s not enough scale to hold events, warrant marketing, or lack volume to create a sales force to conduct training.”
“My new job is to work out the algorithm of when is ‘enough enough’, and then decide how we put in place a similar structure to what we have around the world.”
Asked by LATTE if this expanded GM structure would be 5-10 years away, Londregan said he believes it will be far more imminent.
“I think in the next year we’ll see the regions start to split.
“I think in 2023, we’ll see some regions that are really becoming a little bit impractical to blob together.
“At Virtuoso, the whole idea is we treat things as individually and personalised as we can,” Londregan said.