Travel Mart Focuses on the Positive

Managing Editor Janeen Christoff blogs from the Virtuoso Travel Mart

By: By Janeen Christoff

As far as industry events go, Virtuoso hits the nail on the head.

At this year’s Travel Mart, where one theme was defining the new role of the ‘travel advisor,’ there was a general feeling that the industry was headed in the right direction.

At a time when items of luxury are not a popular commodity, travel advisors are struggling to convince clients that travel offers something more than superfluity. One goal at the conference was to help advisors redefine travel as a necessity that provides a “return on life,” the slogan used in Virtuoso’s year-long consumer campaign.

Keynote speaker Larry Hochman expanded on this theme, addressing the current economic climate and discussing how travel advisors need to focus on forming quality relationships to remain competitive in the marketplace.

“We adopted a new tagline/slogan for Travel Mart this year: The Power of One to One. So we really focused on relationships and what the relationships fostered by the Virtuoso network mean to everyone,” said Kristi Jones, president, Virtuoso.

In addition to providing a return on life and the power of relationships that will move the industry forward, talk also centered on the tough times travel advisors have experienced over the past year. And Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso CEO, left members with a feeling of hope.

“After a volatile 2008 travel season, we are now seeing an upward trend for 2009 and beyond,” said Upchurch. “Our member agencies are reporting a positive outlook for the future of travel, which is bolstered exponentially by the invaluable one-to-one connections and business development opportunities at Travel Mart.”