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25 Aug 2016

BY April Hutchinson


Celebs say agents are 'valued'

Agents can enrich clients’ lives and give them validation when they travel, delegates at Travel Week heard.

Upchurches celebs Stacy

Why the travel agent is the hottest new thing that never went away

Virtuoso member advisors and preferred partner suppliers heard from some well-known faces what they look for in an advisor and when they travel, with TV producer Elan Gale and Hollywood actress Molly Quinn - clients of Stacy Small, the founder of Elite Travel International - taking to the stage.

“The previously malign conversations on the concept of a travel agent have been replaced,” said Gale, producer of TV’s The Bachelor. “These days we are all trading tips on the best advisors. It’s not worth the time it takes to find out that you can’t do it yourself as well as they can. I wouldn’t expect someone else to be able to organise a TV show, so why do I think I can organise one of our trips? The true expertise is in finding the right expert.”

The couple also went on to prove one of Virtuoso founder Matthew Upchurch’s mantras - that his members “enrich lives through human connections”.

“As a consumer, working with Stacy has changed my world in a very real way,” Gale added from the stage. “I think people just need the experience and understanding of how much life changes when you have someone on your side in this way."

"When we book with Stacy, we’re more than just a 16-digit code on a reservation at the hotel. It gives you much more of a sense of home and it’s like having a friend already there. The hotel already knows you when you turn up. I really just want to say to advisors – you are valued,” he said.

Upchurch said their words supported the belief of his organisation, that “the travel agent is the hottest new thing that never went away”.


Pictured from left are: Virtuoso chief executive Matthew Upchurch; Stacy Small, founder of Elite Travel International; TV producer Elan Gale and partner Hollywood actress and TV star Molly Quinn; and Upchurch’s wife Jessica

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