With no economic jitters in sight, a record-breaking number of luxury-focused travel advisors and suppliers gathered in Las Vegas last week for the 31st annual Virtuoso Travel Week. Calling its event the travel industry's answer to Fashion Week, the Virtuoso consortium estimates that $420 million in travel sales are generated during the nearly 280,000 one-to-one meetings that take place during the week.
The use of technology, particularly Virtuoso's new Wanderlist travel planning tool as a means to gain insight into the emotional psyche of clients, surfaced as a theme. At the same time, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch and Airbnb strategic advisor Chip Conley emphasized during the opening session that tech innovations complement but do not override the human element in business.
"Travel advisors have everything a machine does not — a machine will never be as good as your intellect," Conley said. "Travel advisors have moved to a place where they are life experience guides. You guide people to have a better life."
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