November 10th, 2021

VIENNA (November 8, 2021) – Virtuoso®, the global network renowned for creating meaningful experiences in luxury travel, brought to Vienna key stakeholders from its travel agency members and preferred partners for the group’s 2021 Symposium, an event originally scheduled for March of 2020 in recognition of what would have been the 20th anniversary of the company’s rebranding to “Virtuoso.”  The high-level event attracted 329 of the industry’s most prestigious executives from 33 countries for networking, trendspotting, and meaningful dialogue around the challenges, opportunities, and future of luxury travel.

The event’s Opening Session struck just the right note as attendees gathered in Vienna’s beautiful Musikverein – Golden Hall, where in addition to multiple presentations on industry insights and trends, guests were also treated to performances from the Vienna Boys’ Choir as well as an improvisational piano piece from 16-year-old composer prodigy Alma Deutscher paying tribute to the spirit of Virtuoso. Presenters included Courtney Scharf, chief client officer of Trend Hunter, and Tiffany Misrahi, vice president of policy and research for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), both of whom sat down with Virtuoso Senior Vice President, Marketing Helen McCabe-Young for a conversation on trends and opportunities to impact the future of travel and tourism.

Virtuoso Senior Vice President, Network Products and Strategy David Kolner also presented insights that assessed the current state of the travel business. Showing the rebound continues, Kolner shared that for the third quarter of 2021, the network’s U.S. sales are 66 percent of what they were in 2019, and leisure hotel bookings have surpassed the same time period in 2019 at 103 percent. Longer stays also continue to trend. Comparing October-November-December of 2019 vs. 2021, lengths of stay increased respectively to 115 percent, 132 percent and 143 percent longer. January 2022 stays vs. 2020 are a whopping 163 percent longer, indicating we will continue to see this consumer behavior. City hotels are also on the rise, with bookings up 497 percent since January and 44 percent since June.

Virtuoso Chairman and CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, delivered the keynote address during the event, sharing with the audience how Vienna factors into Virtuoso’s history as the location he selected 21 years ago to reveal the rebrand of the company from API Travel Consultants to Virtuoso, a move that has helped elevate not only the network he serves but also the entire travel advisor profession. Noting that the last 18 months have brought unprecedented challenges, he spoke of Virtuoso’s commitment to scaling up strategically to become a truly global organization by strengthening the value to the network’s members and partners, and growing its share of target travelers during this historic opportunity to do so.

“Thinking globally pushes us to build flexible solutions that help us capture even greater market opportunities everywhere,” said Upchurch. “Never before have we had such a strong demand for travel, combined with a deeper appreciation for the value of a professional travel advisor.”

Upchurch also explained a concept he termed “adopting an ecosystem view,” explaining that Virtuoso has always focused on communities of businesses creating value together, so it should be no surprise that Virtuoso’s Communities program has proven extremely effective in growing skills and production through targeted activities. By focusing on specific travel specialties, Communities help advisors move up the pyramid of success, while growing preferred partner production and engaging travelers through their passion points.

Enhancing client engagement through digital innovation is also a key priority, as Upchurch shared it is designed to succeed in two ways: by enhancing its members’ engagement with their clients and vastly scaling Virtuoso’s ability to deliver new high-value travelers to the network. The launch of a more content rich has grown traffic and time spent on both the Virtuoso brand site, as well as on member and advisor private label sites. Virtuoso’s dreaming and planning platform, Wanderlist®, has had explosive growth since August, going from just over 3,000 to more than 10,000 Virtuoso advisors now actively using it. To date, Wanderlist has captured a pipeline of future travel worth $150 million and experiences from Virtuoso partners have been added to Wanderlists over 65,000 times.

In addition to the thought-provoking insights that came from the Opening Session, attendees also participated in one-to-one networking sessions as well as roundtable discussions that centered on three areas: consumer engagement, network engagement, and sustainability. It wasn’t all work, though, as Virtuoso also sprinkled in some time for participants to bond over shared experiences, including throwing a traditional Viennese Ball at the famed Spanish Riding School, private use of the historic Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien/Museum of Fine Arts for the opening night welcome reception, as well as “design your day” activities that gave everyone an opportunity to explore the city and surrounding area in a unique and personalized way.

The strong relationship between Virtuoso, the Austrian Tourist Office and the Vienna Tourist Board was a key factor in securing Virtuoso’s Symposium. Throughout the event, the spotlight stayed on the host city and its highly desirable luxury offerings, with additional support coming from the following Virtuoso partners:

  • Hotel Bristol, A Luxury Collection Hotel
  • Hotel Imperial, A Luxury Collection Hotel
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna
  • Park Hyatt Vienna
  • Palais Hansen Kempinski
  • Hotel Sacher Wien
  • Palais Coburg Residenz
  • Mondial Destination Management

For more information on Virtuoso and its future events, please visit

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About Virtuoso

Virtuoso® is the leading global travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,200 travel agency locations with more than 20,000 travel advisors across 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with more than 2,200 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. Normalized annual sales of (U.S.) $25–$30 billion make Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

Misty Belles                                                                             Lauren Wintemberg

Vice President, Global Public Relations                                   Account Director

Virtuoso                                                                                  Alice Marshall Public Relations

Phone: +1.202.553.8817                                                          Phone: +1.212.861.4031

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