Mark your calendars!

December 3, 2020

The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey
4375 Admiralty Way
Marina Del Rey, California

For ticket information, contact Lisa Frobisher at [email protected]

Round one of voting is now closed. We will open round two of voting from Oct. 1-31. Check back and vote for your favorite suppliers!

Click here to see more photos from the 2019 WAVE Awards.


Every year, the editorial team at TravelAge West, headed by Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro, reviews hundreds of travel suppliers and products. Review methods include product analysis, on-site visits, a travel agent survey and online research. After careful consideration, a list of “Editor’s Pick” nominees, in a variety of categories are confirmed.

Click here to see a list of the 2020 Editor's Picks

Click here to see a list of 2019 Winners

WAVE Awards Voting

Nominees are then placed on an official WAVE ballot, which is printed in the April issues of TravelAge West, posted online and promoted in email communications to travel agents throughout the Western United States.



The Editors Picks and WAVE Award winners are celebrated at a star-studded gala held in Los Angeles. The black tie gala brings together honorees and travel agents, and recognizes the outstanding qualities and services of the industry’s leading travel suppliers.

Excellence in Leadership

TravelAge West’s Excellence in Leadership Award celebrates a long-standing icon of the travel industry, and recognizes their lifelong commitment to the betterment of the industry.


2019 Excellence in Leadership Award 


Matthew D. Upchurch 
CEO, Virtuoso

TravelAge West’s Excellence in Leadership Award honors individuals who, in the course of their career in travel, have consistently demonstrated leadership and insight, affected change or innovation and made extraordinary contributions to both organizations and the industry at large. For 2019, TravelAge West is honored to present this award to Matthew D. Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso.

A travel industry visionary with a lifetime of experience in numerous sectors of the field, Upchurch has been at the helm of Virtuoso (formerly Allied Percival International) since the organization’s founding in 1986. He’s the innovator behind the travel industry’s foremost retail luxury travel brand and its luxury event, Virtuoso Travel Week (formerly Travel Mart).

In 2004, Upchurch was named to the American Society of Travel Advisors Hall of Fame, and in 2010, to the Cruise Lines International Association Hall of Fame. He has also served as the chairman of The Travel Institute. 

Frequently sought after for his expertise on luxury travel, Upchurch speaks regularly on the topic at industry conferences around the world and with major media outlets. 

He attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and he holds a Certified Travel Counselor accreditation from The Travel Institute. 

“Virtuoso is a leader in innovation and has constantly raised the bar for the entire industry,” said Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of TravelAge West. “Matthew’s passion for travel and travel advisors has not only helped the organization grow and succeed; it has also made bucket-list experiences more attainable for all travelers.”

Upchurch joins previous Excellence in Leadership award winners who are also champions of the travel agent community.


Marketing Center

TravelAge West congratulates all its Editors Picks nominees and provides a variety of tools to help them promote their nomination.

Sample press releases and official WAVE Award logos are available to all nominees. Download your materials in our WAVE marketing center now.