Inspired Luxury, Inspired Experiences

Travel planning as it should be

Travel planning as it should be

When it comes to planning the perfect trip – the right destination for you, the best accommodation, a flawless itinerary – there is no greater asset than an expert travel adviser. And in the world of travel, one name stands above the rest in this respect, representing the pinnacle of travel planning: Virtuoso.

Virtuoso is a global network of the world’s best travel advisers. Membership is by invitation only and provides clients with access to the best offers as well as exclusive perks and upgrades, only available to Virtuoso advisers.

Travel Associates is one of a select few boutique travel agencies to boast not one but 15 stores that are part of the exclusive Virtuoso network. The agency’s Virtuoso advisers understand that when it comes to planning travel experiences that transcend the ordinary, it’s not what you know but who you know. These industry-leading professionals meet and connect with anywhere up to 400 general managers from the best hotels around the world each year in order to form personal connections that allow them to offer out-of-the-ordinary VIP treatment to their clients.

Jo Kennedy from Travel Associates receiving Virtuoso award

This could simply involve organising complimentary breakfasts, resort credits not available to most other guests or early check-ins and upgrades. But it also extends to VIP touches such as a personal greeting from the General Manager on arrival or a liveried butler holding a tray laden with flowers and a glass of Champagne as you step out of your private transfer. Any travel agent can book a hotel, but only a Virtuoso adviser can utilise their connections to create these exceptional experiences for clients – and, at the end of the day, it’s often these personal touches that are best remembered.

Commenting on the unparalleled service offered to Virtuoso clients, Greg Ashmore of Ashmore & James Travel Associates in Victoria said, “Our Virtuoso connections give us ‘inside access’ to genuine benefits, such as restaurant reservations, private bars or even a special experience with a local guide, that our clients just couldn’t arrange for themselves. These are the result of genuine relationships with a key personal contact at the hotel or operator and offer value that can’t be sourced online.”

Travel Associates’ Virtuoso advisers go out of their way to ensure that every element of your holiday is simply perfect. Jo Kennedy of Kennedy & Turner Travel Associates won the 2019 Virtuoso award for “Most Innovative Adviser”, as nominated by the network’s wholesalers, tourism boards and hoteliers.

Jo was recognised for the extraordinary lengths she goes to for her clients, such as on one occasion when she had a group of 60 travellers booked in for a 7-night castle stay in Scotland. Just three weeks prior to travel, they asked to change properties as they wanted more bathrooms and – within 24 hours – Jo had pulled together four scenarios for alternative additional accommodation. The winner was a private residence that Jo had noticed in the castle grounds when doing a Google aerial review of the area. By thinking outside the box and using her personal connections to get the residence transformed into accommodation suited to her clients, she solved the problem. This is what it means to have a Virtuoso adviser plan your holiday.

“My Virtuoso connections allow me to tailor make experiences to exactly what my clients want, right down to whether they prefer gin or sparkling water in their mini bar. This means I can arrange your holiday experience, your way and ensure you feel like a VIP from arrival to au revoir,” commented Becky Kent-Perchalla of Perchalla & Turner Travel Associates in South Australia.

This article was produced with content supplied by Travel Associates and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter here.