Virtuoso Rebrands Annual Travel Mart as Virtuoso Travel Week
By James Shillinglaw
April 21, 2012 12:37 PM
Virtuoso, the luxury travel network, is rebranding its travel industry conference, which takes place in August in Las Vegas and is one of the most well-attended in the industry, as Virtuoso Travel Week. The announcement was made at Virtuoso's International Symposium, April 19-23, onboard Regent Seven Seas Mariner on a cruise from Rome to Monte Carlo.
Known as Virtuoso Travel Mart for the past 24 years, Virtuoso Travel Week is scheduled Aug. 12-17, 2012, at the Bellagio hotel as a major travel networking event. It will include four days of four-minute appointments between Virtuoso travel advisors and suppliers, a feature that has been a hallmark of the conference for many years. It also will have a two-day mini-conference designed to attract "newbies" interested in becoming travel advisors, something Virtuoso began in 2011. Internally, Virtuoso executives are urging their members to call the renamed event Virtuoso Week (not just “Travel Week”), since Virtuoso also backs a travel industry conference in Latin America known as Travel Week.
The new Virtual Travel Week name is in line with Virtuoso's Collaborative Commerce strategy, introduced in 2011, which focuses on bringing consumers directly into travel planning process. Rebranding the conference, Virtuoso executives said, is a natural evolution of the meeting, which has grown to nearly 4,000 attendees and creates millions of dollars in luxury travel sales every year.
"We started Travel Mart as a means of fostering relationships between our members and their frontline advisors, and our preferred suppliers," said Matthew Upchurch CTC, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. "We have members who effectively relocate their offices to Las Vegas every year for Travel Mart, and they inform their clients that they’re going on a buying trip. Our goal in 2012 is to have our advisors invite their clients virtually to Virtuoso Travel Week and fully integrate them into the ultimate travel community.”
For example, Virtuoso may set up special Skype lounges where its member advisors can interact with their customers during Virtuoso Travel Week. The conference also will serve to showcase major travel supplier news announcements for the media. Indeed, Virtuoso officials said they hope to turn Virtuoso Travel Week into a major event similar to Fashion Week in Las Vegas.