TRENDING NICHES TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Virtuoso launches Community Globetrotting event – an industry-first held during 29th annual Virtuoso week in Las Vegas.

Nearly 1,200 advisors have had a unique opportunity to expand their knowledge of some of the most popular niches in travel at the inaugural Virtuoso Community Globetrotting, held in conjunction with luxury travel’s largest event, Virtuoso Travel Week.

The advisors spent the day at ARIA Resort & Casino on Saturday, August 12, exploring one or more of their interests: adventure travel, family travel, cruising and wellness travel.

Globetrotting Fairmont.jpgDuring the world’s fair-style expo, advisors discovered the latest developments from more than 135 Virtuoso preferred partners from around the globe, who gave eight-minute presentations to small groups of advisors at individual booths. Advisors spent two hours rotating through all 15 booths in a pavilion, then moved to two other pavilions of their choice for the rest of the event. Of the nine pavilions, three focused on adventure travel, three on wellness, two on cruise and one on family travel.

Globetrotting 2.jpgVirtuoso further developed these four communities, giving them more structure and offering an opportunity for participants to come together, after identifying trends in both product offerings and advisor sales. While some, such as cruising and adventure travel, have been core to Virtuoso for more than 20 years, others are more recently developed. Virtuoso defined its communities as a group of advisors and carefully selected partners united by enthusiasm for a specific type of travel, who share experiences, collaborate, learn about offerings, and become more engaged within that niche. Virtuoso supports each community year-round through marketing, training, events, and mentorship programs.

As Virtuoso continues to grow globally, we are focused on strengthening connections and increasing sales within the greater Virtuoso community

“As Virtuoso continues to grow globally, we are focused on strengthening connections and increasing sales within the greater Virtuoso community,” says Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “The foundation of communities is simple: to bring together people who want to build on their passions. This year, travel advisors and preferred partners who share a deep affinity for Adventure, Wellness, Cruise and Family travel are building relationships, growing expertise and sharpening strategies at our Community Globetrotting event. This milestone event is just the tip of the iceberg for Virtuoso Communities, offering a peek at our evolving future, driven by our culture of collaboration and exchange.”

Globetrotting 3Community Globetrotting introduced the newest Virtuoso community: Virtuoso Family Travel. Visitors to the Family Travel pavilion discovered destinations with a range of activities for children, teens, adults and grandparents, as well as shared experiences for the whole family. Virtuoso Family Travel joins three established communities: Virtuoso Voyages, a hosted benefits program for cruise specialists; Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel (VAST), with its focus on adventure, active exploration, and niche offerings; and Virtuoso Wellness Travel, emphasising experiences that nourish the mind, body, and soul through nutrition, healing, fitness, and education.

JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers – President of Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates LLC, explained that in terms of wellness and spa concepts, a whole range of new ideas are emerging: “One of the new ones is Chablé, near Merida in Mexico. It was a 300 year old hacienda, and they’ve re-done the inside in high-design style, and have built all pool villas… It’s out of this world, as they also have the largest Tequila collection! So it’s like you’re at a spa, but you can also taste pure, refined Tequila as well. Another amazing place is the Mukul resort in Nicaragua. They brought a healer here to the show. The resort is on the ocean, and they have golf and beach activities, but they also have an incredible spa, with a really great healer.”

Another aspect of Community Globetrotting was the Virtuoso Shopping Village, featuring eight partners from popular upscale retail venues in Europe and the US. Shopping accounts for $104.8 billion in travel spending in the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and ranks as one of the top three activities (along with sightseeing and fine dining) for international travellers.

While this was the first Virtuoso Community Globetrotting, the roots of the event are deep. It builds on Virtuoso’s successful Globetrotting event, introduced in 1999, that brought hundreds of active and specialty travel enthusiasts together on the Saturday before Virtuoso Travel Week.