You could call it speed dating for the luxury travel industry. But Virtuoso Travel Week is so much more than that.
The event, taking place August 8 to 13 in Las Vegas, is the U.S.’s largest event for buying and selling travel. Over four days of intensive meetings, an estimated $450 million in luxury travel sales happens at Virtuoso Travel Week.
The Fashion Week of Travel
Every four minutes during those four days, travel advisors meet a new representative of a company such as a hotel or tour operator. It’s an event akin to Fashion Week, where travel buyers seek out the latest offerings in luxury experiences by meeting with thousands of travel purveyors. They forge a connection with each other and discuss the needs of their mutual clients.
At the end of Virtuoso Travel Week, this equals almost 1.5 million minutes of appointments – or 2.8 years of relationship building.
Virtuoso Travel Week on CNBC
More than 4,800 people from 90 countries are attending the 27th annual Virtuoso Travel Week. That’s a record for attendance and 9% higher than last year. The event’s success as an arbiter of luxury travel purchasing and trends was featured on CNBC.
“In luxury travel, it’s not just what you know but who you know,” Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch said live on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “All of these advisors are actually here making personal contacts to really get the insight to make relationships that really change the way in which people experience travel. So it’s that firsthand knowledge. It’s really understanding and having the contacts that make travel, particularly luxury travel, special.”
Generational Impact on Luxury Travel
The impact of the four generations actively buying travel – Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials – was a hot topic attendees discussed at the event. “One of the reasons that luxury travel is doing so well is that we’ve never actually seen in the history of travel four major generations traveling at the same time in such big numbers,” Upchurch told CNBC. “A lot of people said that the Millennials wouldn’t travel, wouldn’t use advisors like we did and actually we’re finding that the affluent Millennials are incredibly into travel and they’re using advisors and it’s also spawning a whole new generation of Millennial travel advisors which has been very, very exciting.”
Another trend that emerged at Virtuoso Travel Week: the importance of travel in educating children. “We’re already spending money on travel in our family vacations,” observed Upchurch. He commented that parents today are saying, “I want to have a strategy on how by the time my kids graduate from university we’ve turned them into global citizens because it’s great. It’s competitiveness and it makes them better people.”
Finding Your Own Virtuoso Travel Advisor
To find your own Virtuoso travel advisor who’s tapped into the latest trends thanks to attending Virtuoso Travel Week, click here.