Luxury travel network Virtuoso has shared positive signs for an industry rebound in 2021. To note: Since January, Virtuoso’s web traffic has reached levels that surpass 2019’s pre-pandemic high watermark. Perhaps the strongest indicator of travel’s rebound, Virtuoso says, comes from the sustained 50 percent increase in consumers seeking out travel advisors through the site’s Find a Travel Advisor catalog. This growth in advisor demand has maintained since January, as travel bookings for summer and beyond—along with the value of working with a travel professional—continue to gain momentum.
Virtuoso says it has been steadily preparing for travel’s return by doubling down on its marketing and PR efforts, transforming its website to better engage consumers and hosting virtual events that bring together travel advisors with the group’s preferred partners. “While 2020 focused on supporting the network through its most challenging times, 2021 is about setting the stage for recovery by capturing pent-up demand that’s more than a year in the making,” the network said in a press announcement
To further entice consumers to plan their travels through Virtuoso, the organization revamped its website to provide a content-forward, visually compelling experience. The Virtuoso.com draws in visitors through timely articles and helpful guides that provide inspiration. In fact, the total number of visitors to Virtuoso.com is up by 50 percent, with a 15 percent increase in visit duration. The average number of pages a visitor views each session is up 15 percent and page views have also increased by 45 percent, the network reports.
A key component of this engagement comes from the site’s new Best of the Best digital hotel experience. Showcasing the network’s more than 1,400 preferred properties, visitors will find details on the hotels, resorts, lodges, villas and private islands, complete with video, images, property attributes, tips for how to get the most out of a stay and the extras available to Virtuoso guests.
Beyond the research, Virtuoso last week hosted “Ready, Reset, Go”—a virtual event designed to help prepare advisors and partners for the rush of bookings likely heading their way. The online event brought together nearly 1,000 people from 47 countries for more than 13,000 one-to-one appointments. Based on its proprietary Virtuoso Reports data that combines daily sales from affiliated agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and select Latin American markets, there is already an identifiable uptick in all types of travel, but especially with hotels. Virtuoso said that its U.S. agencies saw sales increase 54 percent from February to March. In reviewing the data, Virtuoso also identified four key trends: Closer-in booking times; longer stays; a preference for outdoor and experiential activities; and a focus on domestic travel.
Lastly, new announcements are forthcoming for Virtuoso Wanderlist, the group’s travel planning and inspiration site, as well as other Virtuoso innovations in development.