Alanna Clancy, Customer Success & Training Manager
As a first time Virtuoso Travel Week attendee, nothing could have prepared me for the incredible spectacle. From the first moments of the opening ceremonies on Sunday, it was clear this was no ordinary conference – this was a gathering that had to be seen to be believed.
Virtuoso Travel Week isn’t just a chance to form new relationships and rekindle old friendships – it’s an invaluable opportunity to dial into the pulse of the travel industry in the current moment.
There is no substitute for being in the presence of thousands (6515 to be exact) of travel industry professionals and partners if you want to know what really has the industry fired up (and not just because of the Nevada heat!).
Here are some of our takeaways from this year’s Virtuoso Travel Week.
1. The travel experience and the tech experience are personal.
In his opening address, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch emphasized the power of the personal connection in the travel industry, and it was evident throughout the week’s events.
Four minutes may not seem like a lot of time to connect with a total stranger, but advisors at the four- and ten-minute meeting sessions (known as “the tracks”) were engaged and willing to share their experiences, their needs, and some of their unique personal touches.
So many times I heard “I’ve been waiting to see you! I’m so glad you’re here”. In a hectic, sometimes overwhelming environment it was always a breath of fresh air. Advisors were ready to connect with their technology partners with the same intensity and attention they use for their clients. Our spot at the Brilliant Bar was almost as crowded as the lobby bar at times!
2. Attendees shared their Wanderlists and their wishlists with us
The theme of this year’s Virtuoso Travel Week was “What’s on your WanderlistTM?”, a nod to Virtuoso’s forthcoming financial and travel planning platform.
Advisors always had a list of exciting destinations at the ready, but they were also prepared with feedback and suggestions for how we could bring their Trip Publisher experience to the next level. Some were features we’re already developing or improving, such as Templates, Proposals, and Groups, and others gave us a lot to think about!
We loved the initiative and creativity we saw on the tracks and at the Brilliant Bar from our most engaged and enthusiastic users. Keep the suggestions coming!
Not only that, but keynote speaker Chip Conley stressed the value of “menterns” – experienced professionals who can both mentor and engage with new ideas – at the beginning of Travel Week and I found them everywhere. Advisors of all ages were open and motivated to learn about new tech, and were more than willing to give me a pointer or two, like suggesting walking meetings or drinking clear drinks instead of champagne all week (some of us have to learn the hard way!).
3. Advisors love Umapped, but travellers may love it even more!
While we’re always looking for feedback on how we can improve, it was sure great to hear how much our users loved Trip Publisher- especially our new look, which we shared with the Virtuoso community last week. We heard time and time again about the time savings, the connectivity with travelling clients, and the convenience of having all a trip’s important information in one place.
In fact, one story I heard repeatedly was that clients are telling their advisors “Are you done my Trip in Umapped? Send me my Trip in Umapped!”. They’re excited to engage with a visual, interactive itinerary and love that their advisor can provide one for them, some even hearing about it from friends and family whose advisors are already using it. And as most advisors can tell you, they’re not happy unless their clients are.
We were so pleased to hear that we are helping you impress your clients and grow your business.
Virtuoso Week felt like it passed in the blink of an eye, and I could go on for pages about all the fascinating things I learned this week, but my main takeaway? Users are tuned in and inspired by Umapped’s trip management products- and they inspire us to go even further.
My hundreds of meetings reaffirmed the value of what we’re building at Umapped, and the bar we need to set for 2020. Will we see you there?