Skift Take

Serving the emotional needs of clients, a key theme during this year's Virtuoso Travel Week, is another indicator of how the travel advisor's role continues to evolve beyond the booking of travel. Tech tools are a help in determining emotional needs, but not as much as human interaction.

Whether you are a home-based travel advisor or you work in a large office servicing high-profile accounts, the Travel Advisor Innovation Report will have you covered with the trends, news, and features you’ll need to stay on top of an ever-changing marketplace.

With no economic jitters in sight, a record-breaking number of luxury-focused travel advisors and suppliers gathered in Las Vegas last week for the 31st annual Virtuoso Travel Week. Calling its event the travel industry’s answer to Fashion Week, the Virtuoso consortium estimates that $420 million in travel sales are generated during the nearly 280,000 one-to-one meetings that take place during the week.

The use of technology, particularly Virtuoso’s new Wanderlist travel planning tool as a means to gain insight into the emotional psyche of clients, surfaced as a theme. At the same time, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch and Airbnb strategic advisor Chip Conley emphasized during the opening session that tech innovations complement but do not override the human element in business.

“Travel advisors have everything a machine does not — a machine will never be as good as your intellect,” Conley said. “Travel advisors have moved to a place where they are life experience guides. You guide people to have a better life.”

For more coverage of pertinent issues, click here.

Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

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High-Touch and High-Tech Find Common Ground With Travel Advisors: Virtuoso CEO: Virtuoso Travel Week drew record attendance to the annual event it likens to Fashion Week. While heavily touting the consortium’s new Wanderlist travel planning tool, it also emphasized the human touch.

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What This Tanzanian Preserve Can Teach Africa About True Conservation: Conservation is too soft a word to describe the measures being taken to address the crisis facing land and wildlife in Africa. But the Grumeti Fund is an example of best-in-class anti-poaching. This, coupled with large-scale systemic change, education, and community empowerment, is the one-two punch that can counter the imminent dangers facing wildlife and ecology in Africa.


What if Hong Kong Falls? The Worst-Case Scenario for Travel: As weeks of protests escalate in Hong Kong and Beijing weighs its options, it’s not hard to imagine Hong Kong’s successful tourism industry becoming a shell of its former self. Though the conventional wisdom from region insiders is that Hong Kong will prevail, the form that it will take is anyone’s guess.

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Cathay Pacific Falls in Line With China as Hong Kong Airport Protests Turn Violent: Cathay Pacific has followed Chinese regulator demands through the saga. Why? It’s a business decision.

United Airlines Now Tells Pilots No Drinking for 12 Hours Before Shift Starts: United’s change is a sensible move. People should feel more comfortable knowing United’s pilots must take their final drink 12 hours prior to reporting for duty, rather than eight. That said, some pilots may still make mistakes.


Sabre Dares U.S. Justice Department to Sue It Over Farelogix Deal: The travel technology giant said last Wednesday it would go ahead with its planned $360 million acquisition on August 21. If the U.S. federal attorneys aren’t happy about it, they can sue, Sabre said. No travel tech company has used, and threatened in public to use, its lawyers as much as Sabre in the past decade.

Business Travel

Amex GBT Signs Deal With Kanoo Travel in Middle East Push: American Express Global Business Travel continues to add support in competitive regions around the world. Is another major acquisition on the way?

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.


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Photo credit: The Glion Institute of Higher Education, which is part of Sommet Education in Montreux, Switzerland, has launched a master's program in luxury and guest experience. Sommet Education

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