Do I sound like the big bad wolf in Little Red Riding Hood? He used that phrasing to make a point to Ms. Riding Hood, and I want to get your attention too: I've been busy moving my business forward in several ways over the last few months, and now is a good time to bring them into the spotlight.
I'll start with the most recent occurrence - this past week was Virtuoso Travel Week (VTW). You remember Virtuoso, the luxury consortium of worldwide travel providers with whom I am affiliated. Every year there is HUGE gathering in Las Vegas of Virtuoso-preferred partners from around the world. We all come together for industry updates, professional development, one-on-one meetings, training opportunities, to make new connections and re-establish old ones. There is hugging, relationship building, champagne, product and destination education, noise and chatter, lunches, dinners, late nights, and more. Essentially, I get to shop from amongst the world's finest travel partners for the experiences I will provide my clients over the next year, and I build relationships with those companies to ensure the best for you. By the end of the week, travel advisors are exhilarated, exhausted and ready to broadcast travel goodness to the world.
VTW was virtual this year, yet it lacked none of the outstanding content for which it is known. World-renowned sales trainers, as well as mindset, business, and management gurus poured into us and we absorbed. We met individually with tour operators, hoteliers and the myriad of services that make up the travel industry globally; all are Virtuoso members of course, meeting the high standards of excellence that travelers have come to expect from the brand.
Why am I telling you this? I'll come back to that in a minute. First, I'll tell you briefly of the other innovations for Global Exotic Adventures over the past months of Covidness:
- the company's website has been refreshed. A couple of months have gone by since then, but if you haven't visited in a while please check out the updated look.
- the website's copy had a good going-over by a talented copywriter who focuses exclusively on the travel industry, so that it speaks directly to my ideal clients and their travel dreams;
- to better serve you (it's in the title, remember?), I participated in certification programs that languished last year while I was busy planning itineraries. Here are a few: the Hawaiian Islands Destination Expert certification; Royal Caribbean International's Bachelor, then Master of Adventure Program; G Adventures/National Geographic Journeys Specialist; and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) Verified Travel Advisor certification. Whew! A mouthful. I'm currently working on the Australia Tourism Board's Aussie Specialist program. Why? For YOU! Okay, for me too because well...travel-holic...but really for you.
There have been other classes, certs and activities that revolve around the legalities of the business, social media, client systems and the like: non-travel and not nearly as interesting, that hone my skills in creating the best experience for you. And I haven't even mentioned the invaluable mentorship and professional development I receive from the attentive and brilliant staff at my host company, Gifted Tavel Network, for which I am very grateful.
Back to the significance of all this. As my mentor, Vanessa McGovern wrote this week, "We can design our future. We can 'remember our future' and choose to live our life by design. Virtuoso Travel Week gave me renewed focus and reminded me to anchor myself in so I can move into the next stage of this disruption with more intention and clarity on what I can control and how to live my life with positive intention."
Wow. 'Remember the Future' is a catch phrase in Oceania cruise line's current marketing program; it is intended to draw us out of wallowing in the glorious memories of past travels (weren't they wonderful?), and focusing on the comeback, the opportunities presented by the disruption in travel, the innovations, the shifts, the bright future. I invite you to see it with me or at least continue to stay tuned to my emails as I share with you.
I love when my column writes itself; it did this week. There is much more to tell you but this isn't supposed to be a book so I'll close now with Vanessa's words, "Great innovations are on the way. Great changes for the good are about to flood all segments of our industry and we are all going to rise to the occasion. I am committed to remembering the future. The future is bright and if you can get yourself into a place where you really feel that emotion of complete positive expectation, you will see great shifts."
'til next week.