Virtuoso recently held its Chairman’s Event, which honours and celebrates the network’s highest-performing and most engaged travel agency members. Munich, Germany served as this year’s setting, where Virtuoso hosted 155 attendees from nine countries. Each had the opportunity to enjoy and explore one of the world’s most vibrant cities and a destination that seems to be on everyone’s it-list these days.
While the Chairman’s Event is a destination immersive experience, business was still a focus. Participants came together to discuss key topics including Virtuoso’s work in accelerating brand attraction for affluent travellers, helping advisors optimise their portfolio of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients, analysing recent trends in traveller demand and spend, and assisting agencies with the challenges of adding and retaining advisors in the current staffing environment. Attendees also heard directly from Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch and COO Brad Bourland on plans for 2023 and beyond.
“Fostering relationships of trust and admiration is what a shared travel experience does for our travellers, but also for our members,” said Upchurch.
“Our Chairman’s Event has strengthened that bond, lead to greater collaboration and grown in importance with the diversity of business models around the world. The way in which we’re received in the destination also creates a sense of pride in the collective reputation we have built and strive to enhance.”
Cultural immersion and strengthening relationships through shared experiences are hallmarks of Virtuoso’s Chairman’s Event, and Munich rolled out the red carpet. Attendees were able to design their own days with options that included BMW Welt and Museum tours, a “bretzel” pretzel-making class and wine-tasting, culinary and beer tours, and exploration of Munich’s hidden spots as well as better-known areas like Nymphenburg Palace and Park.
Guests were treated to an authentic Bavarian dinner, complete with traditional lederhosen and dirndl attire, hosted by the Munich Tourism Office. Both Mandarin Oriental Munich and Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski held beautiful dinners. And in true Virtuoso form, the event concluded with an elegant gala dinner party at The Charles Hotel hosted by Rocco Forte Hotels, with Charles and Lydia Forte attending in person to represent their family-run company.
“As a city on the rise, Munich surprised and delighted each of us and provided the perfect backdrop to recognise and celebrate our members for their contributions to this network,” said Jennifer Campbell, Senior Vice President, network products & events at Virtuoso.
Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso’s General Manager, Australia & New Zealand, added, “Ten of our best and brightest members qualified for this exclusive Chairman’s trip to Munich, and for those able to make it, the experience certainly delivered on every level. Networking with like-minded business owners from all over the world whilst experiencing Munich and its surrounds, just as our Virtuoso travellers might, reminded us why we do what we do. It was the perfect end to 2022 and a great way to energise for 2023.”
Sponsors and co-hosts included the destination tourism offices of Germany and Bavaria, host properties included Hotel Bayerischer Hof Munich; The Charles Hotel Munich, a Rocco Forte hotel; Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski; Mandarin Oriental Munich; Sofitel Munich Bayerpost and BEYOND by Geisel. Tours and experiences were
created by Virtuoso on-sites Culture Trip, Curated & Bespoke, Pure Germany, Unique Germany and Ingolstadt shopping village, part of the Bicester Collection, with ultra-luxury transfers provided by SIXT.
Lead image; from left are: Trevor Smethurst, Bicton Travel; Carole Smethurst, Bicton Travel; Mike Goodall, Mosman Travel; Sharyn Kitchener, Mosman Travel; Roland Howlett, Frontier Travel; Gary Reichenberg, Connections Group; Caryn Reichenberg, Connections Group; Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso Australia and New Zealand; Mandy Dwyer, Main Beach Travel and Mike Dwyer, Main Beach Travel.