Virtuoso networking events take a tour of Canada

Virtuoso hosted three networking and professional development events this month for its Canadian member agencies, advisors and preferred partners.

Virtuoso On Tour Canada kicked off in Montréal April 4 and April 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel Montréal, continued in Vancouver April 8 and April 9 at the DOUGLAS, an Autograph Collection Hotel, and wrapped at the Shangri-La Toronto April 11to April 12.

The series brought together a total of 209 advisors and 154 partners, resulting in approximately 13,200 one-to-one connections across the trio of gatherings.

Úna O’Leary, Virtuoso’s General Manager, Canada, said: “Virtuoso is delighted to host our On Tour events across Canada. The energy and enthusiasm within our network are palpable.”

O’Leary continued: “We learn from each other, share best practices and strengthen relationships, all aimed at enhancing the experience for the luxury Canadian traveller. When advisors invest in increasing their knowledge of luxury offerings, cultivating valuable relationships and honing their skills, the Canadian traveller reaps the benefits of working with these talented professionals.”

On Tour Canada featured one-to-one networking appointments, numerous professional development courses and thought-provoking discussions. The following are trends, insights and observations revealed during the series:

Top Ten Trending Destinations Western Canada (BC, AB, SK, MB)

  • Mexico
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Greece

Top Ten Trending Destinations Eastern Canada (ON, QC, NFLD, NB, NS, PEI)

  • Mexico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Jamaica
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • France
  • Australia
  • Portugal

It was all about cultivating relationships between Virtuoso advisors and preferred partners at the On Tour events.

Patricia Di Benedetto, Business Relationship Lead – National and Key Accounts Canada at Explora Journeys, emphasized the effectiveness of the events, observing: “Virtuoso advisors come to On Tours well-prepared with insightful questions about our product and a collaborative approach for growth.”

Andrea Mendelsohn, Canada Regional Sales Manager at Windstar Cruises, agreed, saying: “It’s an absolute pleasure to be invited to these strategic business opportunities to reconnect with supportive and prospective advisors. The calibre of the Virtuoso network is a cut above the rest. The opportunity to meet one-on-one is so valuable, allowing for deeper connections and meaningful discussions compared to the bustling atmosphere of a trade show setting.”

With a dedication to enhancing the traveller experience, advisors embody enthusiasm and passion, as highlighted by Steve Lassman, Vice President, Villas of Distinction, who said, “Virtuoso advisors share a common goal: to consistently deliver remarkable experiences by viewing the world through the eyes of their clients.”

Forging deep relationships with preferred partners is equally beneficial for advisors, elevating their expertise and knowledge base.

Francine Prudhomme, Luxury Travel Specialist at TTI Travel in Montréal, said: “Dedicating time to making valuable connections with partners all over the world is essential. Attending events such as On Tours and Virtuoso Travel Week is crucial for maintaining those special relationships which help build trips of a lifetime for clients.”

At each event, Virtuoso hosted an Advisor Peer Panel to share best practices and provide insights into running a successful travel advisor business.

Jane Patrick, an Adventure Travel Specialist from North South Travel & Tours in Vancouver, described the process and artistry of crafting personalized journeys: “Creating a trip resembles an artist at their easel, carefully composing each stroke to form a masterpiece. It involves listening to and understanding clients’ needs, and then curating an experience that brings their vision to life.”

Moreover, advisors cite effective and impactful marketing as an essential component in orchestrating trips of a lifetime.

Diane Bailey, Luxury Travel Specialist at Direct Travel in Georgetown, said: “Travellers have a deep appreciation for Virtuoso, The Magazine, finding it to be a trusted and valuable resource. They eagerly explore its contents before their travels, finding inspiration within its pages, and then connect with me to transform those inspirations into reality.”

According to Virtuoso’s 2024 Brand and Travel Trend Tracker, a proprietary study conducted by YouGov, Canadians’ preference for all-inclusive vacation packages decreased from 35% in 2022 to 26% in 2023.

Similarly, the desire to visit multiple destinations in one trip dropped from 28% in 2022 to 20% in 2023.

These indicators signal that Canadians are seeking more immersive experiences, opting to spend more time in a single location and deeply experience destinations.

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