Virtuoso Week: What Your Travel Agent Was Really up to in Vegas

Contributed By Kayla Douglas

With an average high of 102 degrees in August, most people aren’t flocking to Sin City at the height of summer. But, most people aren’t your Virtuoso Travel Advisor. Every year, “The Fashion Week of Travel” brings thousands of travel professionals together for a conference like no other in Las Vegas.

But what is it about, really? Our advisors say it best.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences

“Virtuoso Travel Week unites industry experts from all over the world as we discuss how to deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our clients. Throughout the week in Vegas, I spent every waking hour reconnecting with hotel owners, general managers, sales directors, and tour operators. The conference elevates networking to a whole new level.

The relationships I build with suppliers is what makes the difference in my clients’ travel experiences. They spoil my travelers with extra amenities, upgrades and exceptional service. I am so grateful to be part of this network and love that VTW brings us together every year.”

Kelly Smith, SmartFlyer Advisor: Chicago (IL)


Connections that Matter

“After an incredible week connecting with the best-of-the-best at Virtuoso Travel Week, I believe now more than ever that how you book your travel matters. Yes, travel agents still exist. And working with a well-connected advisor makes a huge difference in your travel experience!

If you stay at luxury hotels and aren’t working with an agent, you are doing it wrong.

Extra amenities, VIP service, having your booking prioritized for upgrades…the list goes on and on. Throughout the conference, I was told by so many hoteliers (many who have turned into friends over the years!) how much they love welcoming and spoiling my clients. If you stay at luxury hotels and aren’t working with an agent, you are doing it wrong.”

Katie Frederick Jacobson: SmartFlyer Advisor, Newport (CA)

Creating the Magic

“Virtuoso Travel Week is the place to create and sustain the ‘magic’ for our clients. As travel advisors, our personal relationships with our industry suppliers allow us to curate treasured memories for our clients. We have a direct line of contact to wherever our travelers are in the world to ensure they have the best trip imaginable, of course with VIP perks along the way.”

Deborah Director, SmartFlyer Advisor: Boca Raton (FL)


The Best of The Best

“Collectively, over six thousand Virtuoso travel advisors, brand CEOs, top hoteliers and ground operators take a full week out of their lives — away from their busy offices and families — to meet with agents face-to-face. They do it because they understand the fundamentals of how our relationships make a difference in our clients’ experience on the ground.

They understand the fundamentals of how our relationships make a difference in our clients’ experience on the ground.

As big as the world is, your itinerary, along with all the high-touch recommendations an advisor provides along the way, can and should be personalized. That’s what SmartFlyer does best; we weave together journeys with special touches that enhance your vacation. What could have been an ordinary moment becomes something unique and authentic to your destination.”

Phyllis Polaner Samowitz: SmartFlyer Advisor, Ft. Lauderdale / Miami (FL)

Did we mention the team bonding?

From Downward Dog to Late Night Dinners

With Smarties based all over the world, many refer to Virtuoso Travel Week as our annual “family reunion.” So beyond the countless meetings SmartFlyer advisors held with industry partners throughout the week, we didn’t miss the opportunity to mix and mingle as a team while in Vegas! The opportunity to catch up and talk travel together is a chance to exchange info that not only deepens our knowledge of the business, but also benefits our clients’ directly.

Before diving into a week of back-to-back appointments, industry lunches, vendor presentations, networking cocktail hours and team dinners (we know, tough life!), we gathered poolside to center ourselves with some meditation and yoga led by Canyon Ranch. Morning zen then transitioned into a afternoon of storytelling under the sun before the event’s opening ceremony. We’re so happy that our partners from Rosewood Hotels and IHG could be there with us for the fun.

with Canyon Ranch friends from Tucson, Lenox, and Las Vegas - Denise Bruzzone

It wouldn’t have been a true Virtuoso Travel Week without dozens of simultaneous dinners between our advisors and thought leaders in the industry. Some of our favorite night time spots in Vegas? Beauty & Essex, Carbone at Aria and Blue Ribbon to name a few.

and the icing on the cake…

SmartFlyer Wins Most Hospitable Agency

While there truly were too many memorable moments throughout the conference to mention, we’d be remiss not to share our appreciation for being named “Most Hospitable Agency” by our peers. Erina Pindar Chamberlain, our Managing Director, and Michael Holtz, our founder and CEO, accepted this exciting award on behalf of our team during our the final night in Vegas. In the hospitality business, there really is no greater honor than being recognized for the meticulous care we take of our clients. Without our attentive advisors, phenomenal partners and fabulous clients, none of it would be possible.

Gloria Gammo: Winner of Virtuoso’s Most Innovative Advisor

Our travel advisors also walked away with some new credentials. Gloria Gammo — an avid traveler turned luxury travel advisor — won Virtuoso’s Most Innovative Advisor (Asia/Pacific). Her travel company, GG Inspired, was founded on the notion that, “There is something to be said about amazing architecture, inspiring design, memorable customer service and a bed that you can melt into which, I believe, can make all the difference to your travel experience.”

Brent Wallace: Winner of Virutoso’s Most Admired Advisor

Brent Wallace, known by many as Australia’s number one luxury travel and lifestyle blogger from his work over at “Where’s Brent Been,’ won Virtuoso’s highly sought after category Most Admired Advisor Asia/Pacific. Often described by industry leaders as the most powerful travel agent in Australia, Brent’s twelve years of experience in crafting bespoke luxury travel experiences for Oz’s traveling elite make him a perfect recipient for this award.

Allison Law: Travel Agent Central‘s 30Under30 Recipient

NYC-based travel consultant Allison Law was named to Travel Agent Central’s 30Under30 List. Addie, as she is known by both friends and clients, is an adventure travel enthusiast with detailed knowledge of airline configurations and routings. Her recent travels through Uganda and Kenya only furthered her first-hand expertise. When asked about her most recent Africa itinerary, she said, “This trip gave me an opportunity to vet different and exciting add-ons that I can suggest to clients, such as gorilla trekking in the Bwindi National Forest or a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls.”

Collectively, the Smartie team was thrilled to be also nominated for “Top Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth” for the second consecutive year.

until next year!

We’re Already Counting Down the Days until VTW 2019

Smarties could barely contain their excitement after being named “Most Hospitable Agency.” And while getting this entire (growing!) team in one shot gets harder every year, we think that’s a good problem to have. To our valued travel partners, we’ll see you all in Vegas next year!

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Ready to take your next luxury vacation? Connect with a SmartFlyer agent who can help.

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