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The latest report of the respected travel advisors network has shown 2023 strong results, leading to an optimistic outlook on the year ahead.


The latest report of the respected travel advisors network has shown 2023 strong results, leading to an optimistic outlook on the year ahead.

Category: Worldwide - Industry economy - Trends / Expert's advice Tourism
Article written by Sonia Taourghi on 2024-02-20

Matthew Upchurch Chairman CEO Virtuoso ILTM 2023

Matthew Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso during the ILTM 2023
Photo credit © Sonia Taourghi / Virtuoso

Matthew Upchurch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Virtuoso, is a happy man. Addressing the audience during the latest edition of the ILTM, he shared key findings of the 2024 Luxe Report released by the network every end of year.

Virtuoso, the by invitation-only global network, has grown significantly in the last 40 years, to become a 20,000 advisors strong network of agencies representing more than 54 countries. The report, now considered as a trusted insight in the luxury travel trends, shows a successful 2023 activity, with the network grossing more than $30 billion in annual sales, up 98% compared to 2019. According to Matthew Upchurch, the fundamentals that led to a peak in 2019, were left unchanged by the pandemic: the longevity revolution, the Millennials and Gen Z prioritising expenditures on experiences, and the rise of a wider population embracing luxury travel.

As he puts it, "nothing motivates human behaviour like having something taken away from you that you took for granted", which probably also explains the 36% raise in 2023 compared to 2022, and an increased ADR reaching almost $2,500. Despite geopolitical instability, the trend is on the up with booking for 2024 looking robust."

Interestingly, in a time where everything is readily available at our fingertips and the population is more digital savvy than ever, demand for Virtuoso services or concierge services are in high demand. That is where luxury sets itself apart and finds its simplest definition, states Matthew Upchurch: "of course, I can do it myself; I don't want to."

Nothing is more satisfying than investing in a service that adds value to the experience. Luxury hospitality is about that extra mile. In the holiday booking business, it's about investing in someone's time, diligence, intelligence, ability to provide context, to enlist a wider community and strong relationships. As Matthew Upchurch explained "it's not about booking. It's about what happens before the sale, during the sale and after the sale."

Don't get mistaken though. The relationship goes both ways and the travel veteran knows that it's not all about the clients' needs, but also about the advisors' grit. Of course, there's a difference between a transactional travel advisor and a trusted travel advisor, and that's the quality of the relationship, the stickiness of it. However, he reflected on the "intersection of the return on investment with the return on life" for any advisor, as mental fatigue would hurt the business and never bring a meaningful return. So a lot is about treating the advisor's time as a commodity in itself, to be traded wisely.

On the field, the report also shows that 46% of travellers are influenced by climate change in their decision, and need to understand the story behind the travel providers and destinations. Regardless though, Italy, France and Greece are the Top 3 destinations for the key English speaking travellers (US, Canada, Australia, UK), with Italy being the #1 for the whole group.

Most popular destinations Virtuoso 2024 Luxe Report

Most popular destinations according to Virtuoso 2024 Luxe Report
Photo credit © Sonia Taourghi / Virtuoso

Virtuoso 2023 Sales Results and Forecasts
Photo credit © Sonia Taourghi / Virtuoso

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About the author

A lover of human interactions, Sonia started her journalism career in various media outlets before moving to London and shifting to the digital industry. Listening to her calling, she's picking up her pen to share the passion and ambitions of luxury hospitality.

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