NEW YORK — Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso, says the new Wanderlist tool offers curated custom travel portfolios and much more: “If a bucket list is what people want to do before they die, a Wanderlist focuses them on how they want to live.”
Originally called Virtuoso Orchestrator, the new Wanderlist was formally introduced to agency owners and managers at the 2019 U.S. & Canada Forum in Austin last month.
After beta-testing the platform and process with select Virtuoso member agencies over the past year, Virtuoso is now accepting applications for Wanderlist participation from U.S. and Canadian advisors interested in adopting its unique business model.
Advisors will complete a training to be certified in the platform before using it with clients, who will pay a fee set by each agency to participate.
So what is Wanderlist? According to Virtuoso, it’s a groundbreaking consumer travel planning experience that combines technology with the human touch, encompassing a custom-designed platform and extensive advisor training.
Through the curation of custom travel portfolios, Virtuoso Wanderlist “is an industry game-changer that helps the network’s travel advisors strengthen their client relationships by mapping out future travels,” says the company.
Using Wanderlist advisors can manage their clients’ future travel proactively based on detailed input from clients themselves, instead of reactively planning one trip at a time, says the luxury retail network.
Building on the model of the financial advisor, Wanderlist offers a combination of professional expertise and the latest technology. It encourages the client to have greater input into their future journeys, while positioning the advisor as a travel planning superstar.
“We did some exploration into the notion of bucket lists and found that 75% of people’s lists are made up of two things: places they want to go and experiences they want to have,” says Upchurch. “So, we set off to build a system that allowed advisors to create a better framework for their clients’ travel wish lists.”
He says Wanderlist will enable advisors and their clients – both individually and with travel companions such as family and friends – to collaborate on organizing their wish lists and planning their dream trips.
The fun visual online process to create a personalized travel portfolio further enables advisors to become specialists in their clients, uncovering previously unknown aspirations and building a stronger human connection. It also allows clients “to live in a state of anticipation knowing their life will now wrap around their travel schedule instead of trying to fit their trips into their life”.
In Wanderlist’s first step, clients curate their travel interests in an immersive walk around the world, including destinations and trip styles, on their phone, tablet or computer.
Next, clients enter a unique customized Netflix-style portal, where through videos, music, stories and other information they can explore more than 160 places and over 1,500 experiences tailored to their specific interests.
Finally, the advisor will review results from the client and their travel companions, compare preferences and interests, and map out future possibilities and dates in a portfolio.
Wanderlist modernizes the workflow, too, says Upchurch, by notifying the advisor to start planning the next trip to avoid issues with availability for the best lodging, tours and cruises.
It will also apprise advisors of best travel dates by seasonality, value and personal schedules; and facilitate increased communication with clients, including quarterly check-ins to ensure goals are still aligned.
Agencies will benefit by being able to forecast their long-term business, capture incremental bookings for trips, lock in lifetime value and gain deeper insights into each client’s travel preferences, therefore optimizing their book of business.
The long-range approach facilitated by Wanderlist will save clients time and budget by organizing their future travels instead of booking one trip at a time when availability is lowest and prices are highest, often resulting in as much as a 25% rate premium, he adds.
“Leisure time is our most valuable, non-renewable asset because once it’s gone, you can’t make it back,” says Upchurch. “To help travelers increase their Return on Life, we created the industry’s first travel portfolio. Wanderlist, paired with the expertise of a Virtuoso advisor, will organize ideas into plans, and set plans into action, opening the world to clients and ultimately offering them peace of mind that their travel dreams will become a reality.”