What is Virtuoso?
Virtuoso is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises more than 1,000 travel agency partners with 20,000 elite travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.
The hallmark of Virtuoso is fostering close relationships among member agencies, preferred travel suppliers and affluent travelers. More than 1,800 luxury travel providers, including hotels, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and government tourism boards, are part of the network.
Virtuoso member agencies generate $26.4 billion annually in travel sales, making the network the most powerful in the luxury travel segment.
Why should I use a Virtuoso travel advisor?
- Value: Through its immense combined buying power, Virtuoso negotiates added-value offers exclusively available to its clients. From room upgrades and complimentary meals and spa treatments to private tours and limousine transfers, these amenities are included at no additional cost.
- Knowledge: The experience and expertise of a Virtuoso travel advisor ensures that clients will have a superlative travel experience designed to meet their specific needs. They provide ideas you can’t find anywhere else as well as VIP access to special experiences that aren’t readily available.Virtuoso strongly supports travel agent accreditation, and provides hundreds of training opportunities to its advisors to develop knowledge of specific destinations, specialties and skills.
- Relationships: Virtuoso travel advisors have access to an exclusive network of more than 1,800 travel providers around the world. These connections mean that clients of Virtuoso travel advisors are treated as VIPs wherever they go, with special attention and personalized service. They will enjoy rare experiences courtesy of local experts in virtually any country they wish to visit.
- Time: Because travel advisors are experts in planning and booking vacations, they can create a wonderful itinerary for you in a more time-efficient way than you could on your own. That’s especially true for complex trips involving groups, multiple stops and several travel providers.
- Inspiration: Only Virtuoso clients can explore the world through our award-winning publications. New clients receive Virtuoso Traveler, which welcomes them to the world of Virtuoso. Seasoned travelers receive Virtuoso Life, with insightful articles that span the globe. Every year, Virtuoso Best of the Best serves as a directory of more than 1,300 of the world’s top hotels and resorts. Clients also receive themed travel catalogs and special offers that will spark their vacation dreams.
- Peace of Mind: Like a valued investment manager, Virtuoso travel advisors are entrusted with managing the most precious of assets – a client’s leisure time. Working with an expert who knows a client’s preferences and the best options for the desired vacation eliminates risk, and results in exceptional experiences. The advisor is the client’s ongoing partner in planning and booking these treasured travel experiences. Clients can rely on their Virtuoso travel advisor before, during and after every trip.
Why doesn’t Virtuoso sell travel online?
Virtuoso views leisure time as your most precious asset. Just as you’d go to a financial advisor for expert counsel on making the most of your money, Virtuoso recommends you partner with a travel advisor to make the most of your vacation time. Building this kind of relationship, where an advisor knows your preferences inside and out and can work with you to design your ideal vacation, isn’t possible over the internet.
Virtuoso looks at travel as an experience that enriches your life, not a commodity to be bought at the lowest price. The value an advisor brings to that travel experience can’t be replicated online. That includes customizing a trip to your tastes, offering exclusive complimentary value-added amenities, and advocating for you should any issues arise along the way.
What’s the difference between a travel agent and a travel advisor?
Travel agents are order-takers who perform transactions that their customers request. They book a hotel, flight or rental car, much like the sort of simple bookings people handle themselves online.
Professional travel advisors provide expert counsel to clients. They consider people’s leisure time their most precious resource and take a long-term view of planning for a lifetime of travel experiences. It’s just like people going to a financial advisor for help investing another precious resource – their money.
Virtuoso travel advisors have firsthand knowledge of destinations and extensive expertise in planning luxury vacations. They take their profession seriously and engage in ongoing professional development. They look at travel planning as a collaborative activity with clients, where they help tailor an experience to the clients’ wishes and interests. Virtuoso travel advisors are able to bring added value to their clients through the relationships they enjoy through the network. And, unlike do-it-yourself travelers, they are there for clients if something goes wrong during the trip.
Do people still use travel agencies?
Absolutely. In fact, travel agency business is growing, partly because people are becoming increasingly disenchanted with online travel sites. Virtuoso’s $26.4 billion in annual sales demonstrates that travel advisors are a valued player in the industry.
How can I find a travel advisor that will be a good fit for me?
First, decide which factors are important to you:
- Geographic proximity to your location
- Expertise in an interest of yours such as adventure travel, food and wine, or family vacations
- Experience with destinations of interest, including recent travels there
- A track record of satisfied clients
You can also ask your prospective advisor questions such as:
- When’s the last time they sent a client to your destination of interest?
- What are their connections and relationships with travel companies?
- What certifications and credentials do they have?
- How do they keep their knowledge and skills fresh?
- Can you reach them or a colleague 24/7 in case of emergency?
- Which services do they charge for and what are those fees?
What is luxury travel?
The definition of luxury travel is subjective and constantly evolving as people’s vacation tastes shift. It can be characterized by the following:
- Authentic experiences that enrich travelers’ lives, such as taking part in a cultural tradition with locals
- An itinerary tailored precisely to the needs and wants of the traveler
- VIP access to rare privileges, such as backstage access at a sold-out show
- Discovering an emerging or little-visited destination, including space
- Exceptional value for the price, which could include extras such as credits and airport transfers
- Products and services that provide a superior experience, including first-class or business-class air travel, five-star hotels, luxury cruises on upscale lines, and exclusive-use travel such as private jets, yachts and villas.
The Virtuoso Life Blog
What is this blog about?
The mission of The Virtuoso Life is to give a face and voice to the excitement of luxury travel and the value of working with a Virtuoso travel advisor. Our priority is to provide useful and interesting information to travelers, including:
- The latest luxury travel trends and how you can make the most of these
- Insider insights about everything from industry developments to unusual experiences and places
- A look at worldwide destinations, including tips for can’t-miss sights
- Ideas for planning your next trip
- Inspiration to book your future vacations and remind you of the enrichment travel brings to your life
Who writes the posts on the Virtuoso travel blog?
The posts on this blog are all written by Virtuoso staff members. At present, we do not accept submissions from other sources.
How can I get in touch with you?
Use this contact form to send us a comment, suggestion, observation or message about the blog itself. We welcome your feedback.
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