Virtuoso embraces fast-moving tech, social and economic shifts

CEO Upchurch presents key capabilities luxury network is focused on

Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch believes the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is an opportunity for travel advisors to strengthen trust with cautious consumers.

Speaking this week at the annual Virtuoso Symposium which is being hosted this year in Montréal, Québec, Upchurch told delegates that the industry is going through a transition, precipitated by the global pandemic

“Virtuoso’s transitions have always been driven by listening to you, our members and partners, and from what we’ve heard there’s no doubt the next big thing is coming,” he said.

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“This next stage not only drives what’s new in data, tech and travel, but better leverages what is core: the increased value of travel to a global culture that seeks to connect and the travel advisors who create exceptional experiences all around the world,” Upchurch said.

Citing a concept he refers to as “Human Connection Economics,” Upchurch noted that the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will only amplify authentic human connection as a differentiator. As consumers access AI platforms that increasingly sound human, it will make them doubt, and that doubt provides opportunities to strengthen relationships based on trust.

Upchurch then presented the four capabilities the Virtuoso network is focusing on:

Innovating with Data to Provide Unique Value

“Innovation is hard-wired into Virtuoso’s history,” said Upchurch. “Expanding our data capabilities allows us to deliver more targeted and real-time value. We also don’t believe there is a monolithic solution in travel technology, so we continue to evolve our Tech Ecosystem. As travel technology explodes with new players, we’re rolling out a Tech Partner program and launching a new Network Digital Experience focused on easier search capabilities and the delivery of actionable information through mobile access.

Reaching More High-Value Clients

Upchurch continued, “The ‘So Virtuoso’ campaign we launched earlier this year, the redesign of Virtuoso, The Magazine, and other marketing initiatives have enabled us to accelerate value and growth in support of our members, advisors and partners through the acquisition of high-value travellers.

“The goal isn’t just more business, but the right business – all while magnifying the value of a travel advisor similar to that of a financial advisor.

“We continue to grow Virtuoso’s brand impact by delivering new capabilities in targeting and converting prospects into preferred partner business by matching them with the right advisors. We’re also improving the tools we provide to personalise and scale.”

Matthew Upchurch, Chairman and CEO, Virtuoso at Virtuoso Symposium in Montreal

Communities as a Way of Doing Business

Each Virtuoso community, from Ultraluxe and Cruise to Adventure, Family & Celebration and Wellness, has the focus to capture market opportunity and benefit the entire network, a premise that has always allowed the Virtuoso network to prosper and create value. Furthering the vision of a scalable operating system that supports these communities, Virtuoso’s new Sustainability hub focuses on capturing this psychographic market opportunity. On April 22, Earth Day, the group rolled out “The Power of Travel” on, leveraging the wealth of inspirational content it consistently produces in support of sustainable tourism.

“This is our first roll-out of these consumer contextual shopping experiences and one element in our path to innovate consumer engagement,” Upchurch remarked.

Advisor Segmentation

Virtuoso continues to place emphasis on delivering the brand promise to consumers, whether matching new prospects with advisors or ensuring advisors live up to the brand in their communities.

“Our leadership in the industry extends to talent development by helping transform new advisors from novices to top-performing Icon status. To accomplish this goal, we are continuing to refine our advisor segmentation framework.”

Virtuoso will be rolling out more details on this process at a future date.

Upchurch concluded by saying, “This network’s transitions over the decades have given us the opportunity to build on something that’s hard to replicate. I want Virtuoso to be a great example of an organisation playing the ‘Infinite Game’.”

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