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City and finance


25 Aug 2016

BY April Hutchinson


People turning to ‘trusted agents in a Vuca world’

Living in a world filled with “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” (Vuca) is pushing people back towards trusted travel advisors, according to Virtuoso.

Matthew Upchurch

Living in a VUCA world means travellers need agents more than ever

Virtuoso’s chief executive Matthew Upchurch said that living in a “Vuca world” was highlighting how working with a travel advisor could aid more effective travel planning and provide a safety net in times of crisis.


However, he also highlighted that such ongoing volatility on the world’s financial, social and political stages did not seem to be negatively affecting travel.

“There has been a big rise in the number of global incidents since 2008 but travel has not declined. We may be living in a Vuca era but how many people truly want to stop travelling?” Upchurch asked. “What we think is that there has never been a more important time for agents to become a bigger part of the travel conversation with clients. The more you know the client, the more profound your relationship.”

It was highlighted that bookings across the network were still 5% up despite the numerous terrorism flashpoints worldwide and the upcoming US election, which would typically slow travel decision making.

Africa was the region showing the most significant growth, up 28% year-on-year, but more than likely due to pent-up demand post-Ebola.

Tom Marchant, founder of UK Virtuoso member Black Tomato, said: “Travel is so prone to a lot of volatile factors that influence people’s psyche. We just have to be responsive and sensitive and look around immediately at the options for them, if affected.”

Kimberly Wilson Wetty, co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel in the US, said: “This is the new norm and we are their travel advocate, so our responsibility is knowing where our customers are, staying on top of the news and trying to offer them peace of mind.”

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