PLAYERS, HONEYMOONERS AND LOVERS OF FARNIENTE

Virtuoso travel advisor Guido Graf – on current industry trends

Casinos are increasingly becoming destinations in themselves. We asked Virtuoso “travel designer”, Guido Graf to share some of his insights about how he sees this market progressing.

When it comes to high rollers, the Casino provides special packages which, for Las Vegas Casinos, typically includes a private jet flight from Europe, a top suite, entertainment, and VIP treatment. My role starts with recognising the type of gambler the person is and ensure he is booked in the best Casino for his needs and budget. After I make the initial contact with the Casino, the Casinos will organise a lot of complementary services for high rollers, from a private jet with special catering, to a limousine on arrival and a VIP suite in the Casino. There are few European high-rollers, however. Most people will book a trip to California and stop in Las Vegas so they can visit a casino and gamble. This is the same idea behind trips to the French Riviera with Monte Carlo, or Macao and Reno.

JUST LIKE STOCKBROKERS, WE HAVE TO GATHER DATA AND UPDATE OURSELVES ON A DAILY BASIS

What trends do you see regarding honeymoons, private islands and beach resorts?

In terms of trends, it is getting harder to say what is hip. But I do see a lot of niche interests developing. In general, I would say honeymooners still want the perfect island beach vacation (Maldives, Seychelles, or French Polynesia) to relax. However, we see more and more clients looking for a lifetime unique experience. This goes across all categories from cruises, expeditions, to cultural and even religious trips.

The trend when it comes to private islands is that more and more groups, such as company incentives, friends, multigenerational families, are looking to stay on a remote and private island. Since there are only a few private islands in the Mediterranean, these kinds of trips are mainly overseas. It’s interesting to note that people are not always looking for sandy beaches and turquoise waters, it could also be adventure on a private island in Canada or Patagonia.

Beach Resorts are always trendy. In the past few years, it has been amazing to see how many new luxury beach hotels have been opened and will open in the near future. This is good for the luxury market also, as many hotels are now forced to invest money in order not to lose their touch.

Could you tell us a bit more about your role as Virtuoso travel advisor? What is a typical day like for you?

Many people think that being a travel advisor is an easy-going job, but it can be quite challenging at times. Just like stockbrokers, we have to gather data and update ourselves on a daily basis to be able to provide the best service to our clients. Since we are an industry in which we deal with people’s most valuable time – their holidays – clients can often be demanding, as they want to have a perfect experience. As a Virtuoso Advisor, I would say the big difference is that we are communicating much more with the hotels in order to make sure the hotel experience for our clients is out of the ordinary.


Photo: Guido Graf, Virtuoso travel advisor