A combination of careful planning, hard work, and a sprinkle of serendipity gave Chris and me the opportunity to attend the 2019 Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas just a couple short weeks after the official launch of WellInspiredTravels.com! As first-time guests, we were eager to attend the biggest luxury travel event of the year, so we had been mapping this trip for quite some time. Both of us have been thumbing through magazines, scouring the internet, talking to all of our industry connections about what was to come but truly nothing could have prepared us for the extensive programming and completely immersive experience. We’re so grateful for the knowledge we gained in such a short amount of time and the connections we made – all of which we will be able to share with our network.
As Travel Advisors with Protravel International, Chris and I are a part of the Virtuoso family of luxury travel experts. This invaluable connection opens doors (both literally and figuratively) all across the world to us and our clients. Virtuoso’s distinctive focus on the passion that drives both the traveler and travel advisors has further inspired our mission and motivation to serve our network at WellInspiredTravels.com with the best and most unique luxury travel experiences. In just one eventful week we’ve made lifelong connections, learned invaluable information about the industry we’ve committed to grow in, and enhanced our ability to provide insight on even more exclusive destinations across the world!
But, what happened in Vegas isn’t going to stay there – this time. We’ve rounded up some of our biggest takeaways from our first Virtuoso Travel Week and we can’t wait to share them with you!
1. Our wanderlust and wanderlist keeps growing.
Virtuoso Travel week welcomed approximately 6,200 luxury travel experts from over 100 countries to share in the passion for travel. That equates to around 700 of the world’s best destinations gathering to show luxury travel advisors everything their premiere locales have in store for trekkers worldwide.
Spanning across the Bellagio to Aria to Vdara – this iconic conference is more than just a ballroom and a few booths, in fact, they call this “Virtuoso City.” This incredibly orchestrated week of opportunity is jam-packed with opportunities to meet face to face with those who share your wanderlust.
This year, Virtuoso unveiled their Wanderlist programming that provides a framework for advisors to better assist clients and connects clients with passionate advisors ready to help make their travel dreams come true! This exclusive interactive “wishlist” works to organize and build all of the bucket list elements of a dream luxury vacation and streamlines the process for clients and travel advisors alike.
2. Virtuoso is a family business!
Imagine how thrilled Chris and I were to meet more couples acting as partners in their travel businesses? We had the absolute honor to meet with Virtuoso’s CEO Matthew Upchurch and his wife Jessica Hall Upchurch, Vice Chair and Sustainability Ambassador. All throughout the Virtuoso organization and Virtuoso Travel Week we encountered family members working together including husbands and wives, parents and grown children who’ve carved out a space for themselves in the ever-growing travel industry.
Beyond the literal bonds of family found throughout the organization, we felt that the warm and welcoming environment of Virtuoso Travel Week seemed like a family reunion. It’s not often and certainly it doesn’t span across every industry, where your colleagues are your champions and your biggest cheerleaders. Everyone we met was eager to share encouraging advice and ready to assist us with building our wellness and luxury travel network. We left Virtuoso Travel Week with literally hundreds of business cards, countless memories, and our inboxes already flooded with personal connections we sincerely look forward to fostering!
3. Wellness and sustainability travel go hand in hand.
Sitting down with Jessica Upchurch, Vice Chair and Sustainability Ambassador of Virtuoso, Chris and I had the opportunity to dive into the growing sustainability travel programming and offerings. Travelers and advisors alike feel even better about luxury experiences when they know that their carbon footprint and environmental impact is as efficient as possible. As wellness travel experts, we understand the importance of mindfulness while traveling; meeting Jessica and exchanging ideas and inspiration behind sustainable traveling with the industry leader was an absolute gift! The role we play in the environment as travel advisors and globe trekkers is significant, so we look forward to sharing even more environmentally conscious, sustainable options with travelers across the world.
4. Virtuoso lives and celebrates excellence.
Not only does Virtuoso strive to share the best destinations in the world and ensure that travelers’ expectations are far exceeded – they celebrate advisors and vendors who make a habit of doing so. Our last evening at Virtuoso Travel Week, Chris and I had the honor of attending the Virtuoso Gala Awards Dinner. Here we had the privilege of celebrating the best of the best. Some of the awards included The Most Engaged Tourism Board, Most Comprehensive Advisor Program, Lifestyle Partner of the Year, Most Engaged Services Partner, Hottest Destination of the Year, Best River Cruise Line… and so much more! Witnessing the camaraderie and sincere support shown throughout the room was nothing short of inspiring.
5. It’s possible to travel around the world in one day!
Where else in the world can you meet face to face with virtually every top wellness destination in the world in one day? Virtuoso Travel Week coordinates “Globetrotting” sessions in a series of tracks where you’re able to meet with properties and get a taste of their offerings to better share about them with your clients. Chris and I were fully immersed in wellness properties located in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, the United States, and worldwide cruises all housed under one expansive roof!
Each property has curated bits of their best luxurious experiences and works to share them with travel advisors in timed sessions. During these special sessions we tried meditation methods, learned about regional arts and healing methods, had our curiosity piqued about a variety of cultural influences, and made a face to face connection with representatives worldwide.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Our week was brimming with opportunity and it is quite literally impossible to experience it all – which is why we met advisors who’ve returned year after year since the 1990’s! Chris and I certainly plan to come back next year already and we’re eager to share everything we’ve learned about the best in luxury wellness travel with our network.
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