Travel Agents

Virtuoso CEO goes out on a limb about partners and direct business

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

The chief executive of Virtuoso has called on its agents to demonstrate their value to partners as part of a direct-to-consumer strategy at the company’s annual symposium in Melbourne.

Matthew Upchurch began his talk by acknowledging that Virtuoso’s path wasn’t without tension, whether it was between the vision of an individual and the needs of the collective, between perceived cost and actual value, or between the power of scale and intimacy.

“There are great opportunities to leverage this tension. By facing it, not forcing it, tension is the birthplace of innovation and creativity,” he told attendees.

Upchurch went on to say that the single-largest overarching problem – or tension – in business is how not to be commoditised.

“We’re up against people in our partner organisations that think that the future is all about pay for performance, pay for clicks; people who think that AI and robots are the key to profitability,” he said.

“I literally would rather see partners have [a] greater amount of direct business in order to protect their brands and pricing integrity than deal with non-advisory so-called distribution that merely reprices the product.

“But, at the end of the day, I’m not concerned about it, because those who don’t will just be sourced as a commodity and added as an ingredient into value-added business models.”

Upchurch urged the room of mainly agents to demonstrate how they are part of a smart, direct-to-consumer strategy.

“When someone says, ‘I can’t believe you want to divert our direct sales by putting that line below our ‘book now’ button,’ pivot to tension,” he said.

“And remind them that by including us in their direct strategy and protecting the credibility of the brand, you’ve also given 20,000 advisors further invitation to celebrate the brand story.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Tourism

86 tigers die three years after rescue from notorious Thai tourist attraction

by Christian Fleetwood

Over half of the 147 tigers rescued from a well-known Thai tourist attraction have died, allegedly as a result of inbreeding.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air New Zealand backs down on ‘Kia Ora’ trademark attempt following uproar

by Ali Coulton

The airline has turned its gaff into a campaign to call for a government crackdown on trademarking Māori language… which it tried to do last week.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

REVEALED: The ‘chicest’ countries in the world

We admit we’re a bit confused as to what ‘chicness’ actually is, but all of the destinations on the list look very pretty.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: Destination NSW joins CLIA, Hurtigruten launches hybrid ship, Aussie cruise season kicks off + MORE!

Tired of your colleagues outsmarting you when it comes to the latest cruise brochures and deals? Get the upper hand right here.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Tourist boat crash sends passenger through floor, onto lap of another in toilet

If being involved in a boat crash on the Brisbane River wasn’t enough, one passenger had the misfortune of landing on someone who was using the loo at the time.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas, Virgin bosses accuse airports of financially squeezing consumers, airlines dry

by Christian Fleetwood

The spat between airlines and airports over whose to blame for the high-price of domestic tickets continues. Pull up a seat and read what Qantas and Virgin have to say about it.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Missing woman finds herself in Iceland after joining her own search party

A missing person story from 2012 is having a moment on Twitter and, as you can imagine, the responses are mixed.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Five reasons why you should apply for the Avis Travel Agent Scholarship

This list of reasons why has got Travel Weekly’s editor keen on applying for Avis’ scholarship, and he’s not even a travel agent.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek interview with TMS Talent’s Ed Hewitt

This week, TMS Talent’s NSW state manager told us his grand plan for fixing Brexit. Unfortunately, we forgot to turn on our voice recorder.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel review: Hoshinoya Tokyo

by Harriet Morris

Hoshinoya Tokyo is an ode to ancient Japan located in the heart of its most modern city. Here’s our verdict.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

All the winners from the 2019 AHA National Awards for Excellence

Australia’s very best of the hospitality sector have been crowned. Find out who can now claim bragging rights here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas boss tops list of Australia’s highest-paid CEOs

by Christian Fleetwood

Do you hate reading about industry CEOs with huge pay packets? Well, it might be best to skip this story.

Share

CommentComments