Updated: Sep 24
Welcome back to Philip James Travel!
Historically, in early August over the span of many years (and much to Susan’s chagrin) I have jetted off during the height of the back to school preparations and first days of class to attend two major travel-commerce events. I won't miss the first of these, which was the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention and trade show. With an attendance of about 6,000, it was a gross display of the giants of the business travel industry hawking their wares to corporate travel managers who consume billions of dollars’ worth of hotel stays, car rentals, airfares and meeting venues for their companies’ road-warrior travelers. I am now exclusively in the business of leisure travel and I frankly don’t miss the impersonality of the massive trade show and all its showroom floor banter. Sadly, though for GTBA, and the business travel industry in general, these very tough days have forced the cancellation of this year’s event. By all accounts, the corporate travel sector will lag well behind the recovery that the leisure travel segment will be the first to enjoy.
Converse to my lukewarm participation in GBTA’s events of the past, I am relieved that my other traditional August travel event has been transformed from a lively (Dance of sorts) engaging gathering (even though it's always held in Las Vegas) to a web-based series of 1:1 meetings and educational sessions. Because large conferences are currently verboten, Virtuoso Travel Week (VTW) is adjusting to the present reality by offering this conference virtually next week. VTW consists of professional development seminars, presentations by tourism boards, inspirational general sessions, and almost unfathomable networking opportunities. In fact, at last year’s VTW I had 200 four-minute randomly matched, rapid succession appointments with every imaginable kind of seller of leisure travel experiences and from every corner of the earth; and I also had 50 ten-minute slightly more targeted appointments. Added to the dance card of structured meetings were 5-days of networking breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and receptions. This encompassed a community of about 3000 of the world’s best travel advisors and travel suppliers and allowed countless meaningful connections to take place. It is these kinds of connections that give advisors the power to guide and inform our clientele to have more profound and more memorable experiences wherever in the world we help them go.
All of this is to say that next week, I will be online for about 9-hours each day with a dance card of face to face video conversations with over 100 preferred partners from across the globe to learn what’s new, and how the face of travel is evolving in this pandemic, and what the future holds when we emerge from it. Unlike the speed dating, as we lovingly call the 4-minute appointments of previous years’ in-person events, we now have the luxury of having 10-minutes to speak conversationally with hand-selected preferred partners. These meetings will be more interactive than were previously possible, allowing both the partner and me to dialog and understand our respective needs rather than just listening to an elevator pitch. In this effort, I kindly invite your questions and issues that are important to you, whether in general – or in very pointed terms -- with particular vendors. My appointments run the gamut from meetings with individual hotel properties to hotel brands to cruise lines (ocean, river, expeditions, and yachts), to tourism boards, destination management companies, tour operators, and safari outfitters. I welcome your questions and input! If you’re interested in knowing who I’m meeting, just tell me, and I’ll gladly share my dating list with you.
As a reminder, the Virtuoso network really is comprised of the finest people and brands and experiences in the travel industry. And I continue to encourage you to avail yourself of the resources that are open to you through my agency’s affiliation with Virtuoso.
Wanderlist- (an opportunity to dream about travel and plan for the future)
Virtuoso Preferred Hotel Booking Engine - (a self-booking tool that unlocks extra value to you that's only available through a Virtuoso travel advisor like me)
Thank you for allowing Philip James Travel to come into your inbox and for taking a few moments when you can to read and explore. Contact us with any questions or items of interest you might like to share. Stay safe, well, and kind, and keep dreaming of travel.
Destination Inspiration: Isle of Arran (Scotland) If you want to get a feel for all of Scotland by visiting just one of its small islands, Arran is it.