Virtuoso discussed the latest trends in luxury travel at its 2023 Symposium last week (May 17-21) in Montreal, which attracted attendees from 35 countries.
As shared in a release, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch said the travel industry is going through a transition, precipitated by the pandemic, and discussed the road ahead.
“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,” he said.
Citing a concept he referred to as “Human Connection Economics,” Upchurch said 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 presented four capabilities that Virtuoso 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 high-value clients
The ‘So Virtuoso’ campaign Virtuoso launched earlier this year, the redesign of Virtuoso, The Magazine, and other marketing initiatives have enabled the network to accelerate value and growth in support of its members, advisors and partners through the acquisition of high-value travelers, Upchurch said.
“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,” he said. “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 personalize and scale.”
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.
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 Virtuoso.com, 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 said.
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,” Upchurch said.
“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 organization playing the ‘Infinite Game.’”
Dubai was named as the next location for Virtuoso's symposium.
Taking place May 20-24, 2024, the event will bring together key executives from Virtuoso’s travel agency members as well as preferred partners to learn, network and explore one of the world’s premier destinations.