PHOTO: Virtuoso has introduced a powerful new booking tool. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Virtuoso announced the launch of its new hotel booking tool, which features several key differences from do-it-yourself sites, according to the luxury travel network.
The tool enables travelers to securely book upscale hotel stays online at any time of the day. Virtuoso said they will also receive access to its negotiated perks, valued up to $450 per stay.
The introduction of the hotel booking tool, which underwent a soft launch in February, coincides with the 25th-anniversary of Virtuoso’s Hotels & Resorts Program, which began in 1992 as a complement to cruise offerings and started with 25 properties.
Today, it features 1,205 hotels, resorts, lodges, spas, luxury camps, and villas in 100 countries.
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When visitors to virtuoso.com request a reservation at approximately 900 participating luxury hotels worldwide, the booking will be routed to a Virtuoso travel advisor.
If the traveler already works with a Virtuoso advisor, the booking will be sent to that advisor. If travelers do not have a Virtuoso advisor, the tool assigns the booking to a designated hotel specialist, providing the consumer with all the advantages that come from planning a trip through a professional consultant.
The advisor will service the booking, offering assistance for other aspects of the trip such as transfers, private guides and exclusive experiences, along with acting as a resource for travelers if anything goes wrong before, during or after their stay.
The hotel booking tool is Virtuoso’s latest innovation aimed at attracting more consumers to book with its travel advisors and driving more sales to its advisors and partners. The tool also provides Virtuoso advisors with an easy way to handle their own client bookings without having to turn to a GDS, which is increasingly important for new advisors, according to Virtuoso.
And with one-stop shopping for approximately 75 percent of the hotels in the Virtuoso portfolio, plus the ability to book 24/7, the tool will improve advisor productivity, it added.
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“Virtuoso’s new hotel booking tool is an advantage for travelers who have been suffering from DIY fatigue, and didn’t realize there was an alternative,” said Virtuoso Senior Vice President of Marketing Terrie Hansen.
“We’re offering them the convenience of online booking, but marrying it with the advantages of both our hotel program benefits as well as expert guidance,” Hansen added. “For many, this will be their first foray into working with a travel advisor and this hotel booking tool is a great example of how technology is actually helping bring travelers back to advisors.”
Travelers who book hotel stays at virtuoso.com will also receive a host of value-added benefits.
These include an upgrade to the next room category when available, breakfast for two, early check-in and late check-out (if available), high-speed internet access and an additional perk such as a candlelit dinner or spa treatment. Some properties also offer in-demand experiences, such as wine tastings, language classes, guided bike tours or hands-on cooking encounters with a local chef.