What can you do in four minutes?

On your mark. Get set. Virtuoso! 

Being in Las Vegas for Virtuoso Travel Week was a rush. It was an experience. It was an honor. Virtuoso is a network of the world’s finest travel agencies and travel planners, and every year in August, the members and the suppliers converge in Las Vegas for the most intense trade show in the world: Virtuoso Travel Week.

As the event site rightly pointed out: “Specialists in the Art of Travel.” Virtuoso Travel Week definitely lived up to its name. And so much more.

The event, namely the agents, in my opinion is the best in the world; they take travel seriously. The care and concern they have for their clients is amazing and admirable. For anyone who thinks the travel agent is a career of the past, they have not met the incredible agents I had the pleasure of meeting with during this event. They are living proof that top-notch customer service is alive and well. 

Virtuoso Travel Week also is a good exercise for us as hoteliers. It makes us refocus, drill down to what’s most important and see what we can do in four minutes. Four minutes goes by in the blink of an eye. One of the reasons I like Twitter is you are forced to make your point in 140 characters or less — be sharp or be forgotten. Virtuoso appointments are the Twitter of travel appointments; 82 appointments in one day, and each just four minutes long. You have four minutes to prove to these agents why your hotel would create an incredible experience for their clients. Four minutes to make an impression or blend into the sea of namelessness. In four minutes you have to be sharp, or you’ll be ignored when it comes to future bookings. These agents are pros; if a hotel is not on its game and you’re not making an impression, they will see right through you.

As I said in a previous post, in the long term our industry must continually improve and evolve, and continue to be the leader in overall consumer satisfaction. If the showing at Virtuoso can be considered a representation of our industry as a whole, we’re improving and evolving at quite an impressive speed. Travel agents are alive and well, and the high-end Virtuoso agents re-energized me yet again with the passion and care they all have for their customers.