Asia Pacific leads Luxury Travel Brand Global Growth
Australia is leading the way in growth of luxury travel agency network Virtuoso, with a 47% increase in the number of advisor numbers in the region in the past year and a growth of 26% globally.
“Virtuoso is a strong brand with high recognition amongst high end clients for its quality, service and attention to detail and overall we have seen extraordinary growth in advisor numbers both globally and in the Asia Pacific region,” Virtuoso Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan said.
“The macro travel trend around the world is bespoke experiences and Virtuoso clients are seeking to build travel resume that is personal to them and beyond the everyday, and that is the reason Virtuoso travel advisors are a highly sought after – they hold significant expertise in both knowledge of destinations and key contacts within the international marketplace.”
Mr Londregan will be speaking at Travel DAZE in Sydney this week where he will challenge the notion that travel agents are facing extinction, replaced by a shift towards self service through Online Travel Agents (OTA’s).
“The market is polarising into transactions that require simple processing and travel that is best executed by professional travel advisors.
“The products and transactions that are simply commoditised will be forced into volume based business models – we see this as a legitimate domain for online booking engines – while consumers in search of personalised or more intricate travel will be attracted to service and expertise. This is the fertile ground in which the Virtuoso business operates.
“There will always be value in professional service from an experienced advisor who has personal connections, localised knowledge and access to premium experiences”
Mr Londregan said recent research into the American traveller by travel and hospitality marketing firm MMGY, found that in the past 12 months the number of people using an OTA to regularly book dropped from 36% to 13%.
“The thing about Virtuoso advisors is they offer personal service, they are true travel ‘professionals’ and, much like your financial advisor, they work with clients not only on the current holiday booking but look to develop a multi-year travel plan.
“This is particularly relevant in luxury travel clients who are looking for wow experiences that reflect their priorities and lifestyles and provide the maximum return on their most precious commodity – their time.
“Much of the marketplace is looking at customer service as a cost to the business model but Virtuoso and our members understand that customer service is our business model ” Mr Londregan said.