Colletts Travel of London was named as the Top Virtuoso Network Production member for the EMEA region at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas.
There are now 40 members across EMEA, representing around 750 agents, with 16 in the UK including most recently Selective Asia and Worldwide Escapes.
Colletts Travel managing director Roy Collett said: "We have been members of Virtuoso since they decided to venture into Europe. I have watched the organisation grow in the US over the years and always felt we were a natural fit for the organisation and of course we jumped at the opportunity of becoming an EMEA founding member."
He said that since joining, Colletts had "invested considerably in the Virtuoso brand and message", adding the Virtuoso livery to marketing websites, email blasts and its consumer magazine.
"Although the main message from us to our consumers is the ’added value’ message, Virtuoso is more than just a hotel programme," said Collett. "Virtuoso enables us to locate DMCs and other quality travel providers around the globe, giving us additional reach overseas and enabling us to maintain our commercial edge.
"We need to elevate Virtuoso’s brand to UK consumers, driving new potential enquiries to the Virtuoso.com site, and in-turn to our agency homepages within it," he added. "Virtuoso is an integral part of our long-term plans to continue to give added value and service above the norm, and we are delighted to be part of the Virtuoso family."
Tony Shepherd (pictured), Virtuoso’s business development consultant for the region, said “a couple” of UK prospects had also attended the event in Vegas to soak up the atmosphere before committing to full membership and that he was in talks with several more companies about joining.
A roadshow with suppliers for EMEA agency members will be coming up in London on November 9 and Paris on November 10.
“We want to make sure that we are developing the market here so it’s beneficial for the members and working on strategies that really help them,” Shepherd said.
He added that Virtuoso’s airline programme of preferential commission and fares would be available in the UK soon and that its similar cruise recognition programme was also being rolled out to UK agents, with Regent the first line to offer preferred amenities when Virtuoso member clients book.
Virtuoso also operates a lead generation initiative, with enquiries pushed out to members and Shepherd said this would be coming to the UK also.
“Members seem very excited about this particular element,” he said.
From the UK, the most popular destinations recorded by members were Italy, the US, Dubai, South Africa and the Maldives, with most in-demand emerging destinations logged as Montenegro, Colombia, Peru, Oman and Sri Lanka.
When Virtuoso surveyed all members about their clients’ key motivations for travelling, the most popular responses were: spending time with loved ones; relaxation; exploring new destinations; and seeking new cultural experiences.