What do you do again? You’re a travel agent, right? Well yes, but really what I do is connect people with experiences and places that they might have never considered.
This past month, 6,000+ converged in Las Vegas to take part in the largest luxury travel conference in the world: Virtuoso Travel Week.
Over the week, Alicia was part of break-out sessions targeting up-and-coming destinations, new travel challenges, and industry trends. Simon Sinek delivered the keynote on opening night, challenging attendees to figure out “why?” This was not a challenge for Alicia – she figured out her “why” years ago – to provide exceptional customer service.
At Unleashed, we strive to take the stress out of planning your next adventure, while providing insight, direction, and value found through human connection. And, these connections are elevated at Travel Week.
Here’s a sneak peek from Alicia into what Virtuoso Travel Week is like and why we truly are advisors, not agents.
4:30am: If you know me at all, you might guess that my day starts with exercise. This is especially true during marathon season, too; I head out to The Strip for a sunrise run in Sin City.
6:00am: I prepare for the day by reviewing my agenda (and getting caffeinated!).
6:30am: First full meeting of the day. Vendors and suppliers we work with often invite us for a breakfast meeting. Today, it’s the Japan National Tourism Organization. With so much interest in Japan and its easy connectivity from Chicago, this was one I didn’t want to miss.
8:00am: Travel “speed dating” commences. 4 hours of 4-minute appointments. Sound scary? This is actually the single best way to meet as many managers, owners, etc., as possible. Here, I learn about new properties, innovative itineraries, and transformative experiences that we can offer to our clients. These short but powerful interactions ensure that when our clients visit a property recommended by Unleashed, they will be “VIP’d” and treated exceptionally well. It’s the human connection at work! Google can’t provide this level of service or attention.
12:30pm: Lunch. No time relaxing by the beautiful pool for me. I’m off to lunch to join the Janine Cifelli Group for a “lunch and learn.” There, I find myself next to Damien Bastiat, the general manager at Ballyfin Demesne in Ireland. And, I immediately know which clients will fit his property.
2:30pm: Back to the tables – and not the poker variety! My table mate, veteran “oracle” travel advisor and mentor, Debbie Trevino, and I host 10-minute matched appointments this time. This means that either we or the supplier requested the meeting. These “long” appointments allow us to ask more in-depth questions and help partners prepare for our clients’ arrivals.
Afternoon complete; but, the day isn’t over yet!
7:00pm: Dinner. Tonight, I’m invited to an intimate dinner with Mike Smith, representing Lizard Island, an inimitable oasis on the Great Barrier Reef. Unleashed approved!
9:30pm: Party Circuit. Ah what fun! With 4-5 vendor-hosted events to attend, I have to strategize. This is where I get to thank our partners for the hard work they do to execute the perfect experiences for our clients.
1am: Bed time. 7 miles and more appointments await early tomorrow morning. The cycle repeats!
Is it a lot in a week? Yes. But, there’s no other way I’d be able to personally connect with so many of the people we work with to bring our clients exceptional travel experiences. Speaking from experience, those personal connections really do make a difference!