Friday,  July 1, 2022  12:56 am

Sales, strategy & travel trends: Virtuoso hosts workshop & networking events in TO

  • Buzz
  •   05-08-2022  10:53 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

Sales, strategy & travel trends: Virtuoso hosts workshop & networking events in TO
Form left: Úna O’Leary, general manager, Canada; James Allen, account manager, member relations, Canada; Anna Judek, marketing manager, Canada. (Supplied)
Pax Global Media

Virtuoso held two events for Canadian members, advisors and partners in Toronto from April 27-28, 2022.

Held at the newly-renovated Park Hyatt Toronto, welcoming 92 advisors and 61 partners, “On Tour Toronto” featured networking sessions and workshops that were “met with optimism and positivity,” according to a press release.

“There was a palpable buzz in the room that brimmed with opportunity for the future of travel for the region,” Virtuoso said.

Also held was the first-ever Canada Forum for 30 owner/managers and 15 partners. This took place on April 29.

Attendees said they felt optimistic, hopeful and excited for what’s to come in 2022, Virtuoso said, saying that it was “laser focused” on setting the stage for travel’s recovery by doing what it does best: “fostering genuine human connections needed to bolster both sales and spirits, while emphasizing the power of partnerships.”

Virtuoso held events for Canadian members, advisors and partners in Toronto last month. (Supplied)

Agency executives came together to examine trends, collaborate on agency hiring and development of talent, how help their business recovery and how to leverage relationships with preferred supplier partners.

The goal was to re-fresh and re-charge for the anticipated busy travelling season ahead.

Virtuoso’s On Tour and Canada Forum events played host to one-to-one networking appointments, numerous professional development courses, and thought-provoking keynotes.

Sessions included a deep dive on how to communicate and build relationships with different generations of travellers; Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.

From left (of Virtuoso): Brad Bourland, COO; Michael Londregan, SVP, global operations; Jennifer Campbell, SVP, network products and events; Úna O’Leary, GM, Canada. (Supplied)

Despite recent challenges, attendees indicated they see great potential for 2022.

Virtuoso attributed the health of future bookings as a reason to be bullish.

A Virtuoso February 2022 quick poll showed 71 per cent of travellers have booked travel already for 2022 and 86 per cent plan on travelling internationally.

Global strategy 

In an exclusive session for agency owners and managers at Canada Forum, Virtuoso’s Chief Operating Officer, Brad Bourland, Senior Vice-President, Global Operations, Michael Londregan and Senior Vice-President, Network Products & Events Jennifer Campbell sat down with newly-appointed Úna O’Leary, general manager, Canada to discuss the global strategy which centres around the mantra of “global consistency and regional relevancy.”

The commitment to grow the business in support of the Canadian traveller is a key focus for the region as we head into travel’s resurgence in Canada.

Bourland spoke about Canada’s outbound and domestic growth which saw a major boost as restrictions eased in March 2022.

These are incredibly positive global projections indicate that Canada may significantly outpace pre-pandemic numbers.

“Based on Tourism Economics 2022 data, globally we expect to see that international leisure travel will reach full recovery against 2019 sometime towards the end of 2023. In Canada, outbound travel is projected to recover to 2019 levels by mid 2024”.

Travel trends

The top five destinations for Canadians travelling in summer 2022 include the United States, Canada, Italy, France and United Kingdom, said O’Leary.

Other trends Virtuoso is seeing includes:

  • Globetrotters are going big and spending big.  trips. Virtuoso found that 76 per cent of advisors selling excursions have seen a recent increase in ultra-luxe travel.
  • Celebration travel – making up for the lost year (or two in Canada’s experience) of missed milestones has become a priority for those seeking to reconnect with loved ones. Multi-generational travel continues to drive family gatherings with Mexico and Caribbean islands holding the top spots for preferred destinations.
  • Conscious comeback – 82 per cent of travellers said the pandemic has made them want to travel more responsibly in the future and 78 per cent said it’s important to choose travel companies that have a strong sustainability policy.

From left: Michael Londregan, Úna O’Leary. (Supplied)

Londregan and Campbell spoke of the organization’s digital transformation aimed at attracting and engaging more consumers in support of its members and partners.

Newly-enhanced, the digital version of the Best of the Best hotel catalog, the online cruise experience, and tours space has led to increased traffic to and users driven to personalized agency and advisor private label sites has grown by almost 230 percent.

Virtuoso’s Canada Forum is among a lineup of global Forums that include Asia, held virtually on February 22; Europe, Middle East & Africa taking place March 29-30 in London; Latin America, Caribbean & Brazil occurring April 25-28 in Cartagena; and Australia & New Zealand in Adelaide on May 9-10.

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