Traveling the Virtuoso way

by Christopher Heard

There was a time not too long ago when taking a vacation trip was a big deal–people dressed in their Sunday best to take an flight on a plane. Now travel is commonplace and flying is as routine as jumping on your local commuter train.

The internet has made destination selection and hotel options a feverishly competitive and cluttered arena where there are many websites that climbing all over themselves to offer their services in connecting you with the cheapest hotel rooms they can find for you in your desired destination. There are even websites that will select the hotel for you and not even tell you exactly where it is until you are fully booked in… and then there is Virtuoso.

Virtuoso is a company dedicated to finding you the absolutely best place to stay when choosing a vacation or trip destination, not just in terms of the hotel but in terms of what else there is to do there and where the best location is for you to stay based on what it is you want to do there. This is achieved through the use of a network of real live advisors who have a myriad of connections and who have actually explored the various countries and the over one thousand hotels that are on the Virtuoso roster of preferred properties. The set up being as easy as connecting with a Virtuoso advisor and telling him or her where you want to go and what activities you might want to make part of your trip and the Virtuoso advisor takes over and sets the whole thing up, you don’t have to worry about a single further detail.

Virtuoso has been on an aggressive tour of the world lately to introduce their services and trip advisors to large travel markets all over the world–recently they rolled in to Toronto for an intimate little get together at the Shangri-La Hotel during which they described their services and some of the dazzling hotels (and cruise ship lines) that they represent over a wonderful lunch of wine and red snapper.

Virtuoso is not a cheapie hotel site, it is not a service that can be used by everyone from the seasoned traveler to the hostel hopper–this is a refined and highly professional service and the people that handle your vacation arrangements are seasoned and highly trained people who not only know everything to know about their hotels and destinations, they also love doing this stuff.

That said, this service is not limited to travelers who can throw it around like Kim and Kanye, this is, I would say, for the upper-middle range budget to the sky is the limit high end.

For example, of the hotels that Virtuoso represents in Canada you can choose from properties such as the Park Hyatt in Toronto to the Queen Elizabeth in Montreal to Shangri-la in Vancouver (and Toronto)–all fine hotels but not all are budget stomping in terms of their cost.

I spoke to Virtuoso Vice President David Kolner at the event and he explained the advantages of using their service.

“Sure, anyone can go to a hotel site and find something, but the hotels are just trying to fill rooms. There is nothing personal in the treatment or transaction. We are connected with each person as a person,” said Kolner.

“What our advisors have is a great deal of inside knowledge and personal relationships with the hotels they are representing, so through a Virtuoso advisor a traveler can be connected with all kind of perks and amenities that they could never get for themselves–this adds enormously to the value of your trip without adding to the cost.”

I asked Kolner what the difference was between Virtuoso and the average travel agent; “What we provide is a service that begins with the selection of your destination and the hotel that best fits your needs, or exceeds them, then we find ways of developing your trip into something unforgettable through our experience with the destination and our connections to local events and attractions, but where we differ from the average travel service is we are available throughout your vacation. If on day three of a two week trip you decide you want to do some you have heard about wherever you are, you contact your Virtuoso advisor and they will take over and see to it that you can do what you want to do,” said Kolner.

And for something completely different, check out and have a look at one of their latest clients–none other than Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic is developing crafts that can fly civilian travelers into sub-orbital space. Virtuoso has an Accredited Space Agent who has been personally selected and highly trained by Virgin Galactic to represent them. Now, how awesome is that? Not only can Virtuoso arrange for a perfect, memory filled vacation here on earth, but very soon you will be able to call them to arrange for your trip to space as well.

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