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

Travel Agents

Corporate travel helping keep Flight Centre alive, as company warns of huge FY20 loss

This story may spell bad news for Flight Centre, but believe us when we say it also features plenty of green shoots and silver linings.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Aussie travel telco to be dissolved, with assets already being sold off

In sad news, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed yet another local travel company.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Bali to reopen to international tourists in September

Indonesia’s famous holiday island is on track to reopen to international tourists next month. Not that Aussies are allowed to visit, mind you.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Langham appoints first-ever operations chief, SLH welcomes six more properties + MORE

Out of touch with the latest hotel happenings? Check in to this week’s Hotel Wrap and stay as long as you like.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise ship owner to sue after Beirut blast sinks vessel

The owner of a cruise ship which was sunk by the huge explosion at the port of Beirut last week has filed a lawsuit against “all those responsible”.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin Blue co-founder and former execs back bondholders’ bid for Virgin Australia

Yes, there’s been yet another juicy development in the race to own Virgin Australia. All is revealed here.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG posts $383m half-yearly loss, still manages to sign one new hotel deal per day

by Huntley Mitchell

InterContinental Hotels Group suffered a big loss in the first six months of 2020, but it wasn’t all bad news for the company.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Toot toot: Return date for The Ghan revealed

Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions is slowly getting back on track (get it? Train tracks?) after suspending services to comply with COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

CATO rolls out industry-standard T&Cs for land supply sector

If COVID-19 cancellations have taught the industry anything, its the importance of terms and conditions. And that you should wear a mask and carry hand sanitiser at all times, of course.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hydrogen power in aviation could significantly reduce emissions, show benefits by 2025

by Christian Fleetwood

Looking to impress colleagues with your aviation knowledge during the next Zoom catch-up? Reading this sciency story should do the trick.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Russia approves controversial COVID-19 vaccine

by Christian Fleetwood

It’s a monumental achievement – one that could mean international travel is closer than ever before, right? Well, we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Royal Caribbean posts $2.3 billion quarterly loss, but 2021 bookings “trending well”

by Huntley Mitchell

With its global cruise operations having been suspended since March, Royal Caribbean’s quarterly results come as no surprise.

Share

CommentComments