Luxury Hotels


It could be said that success needs networking and that is what all 4,000-plus delegates at last week’s Virtuoso Travel Week VTW were doing – gollee, is it a week since we all left Vegas? Tempus fugit celerriter, as Girlahead’s father, world renowned Classicist used to say. There used to be time to see, and at least say hello to, most of those you really wanted to network with. Now you are reduced to quick waves or air kisses as you rush by. Ships that pass in the night.

Embark Beyond’s leader Jack Ezon was one such frustrated networking. A Virtuoso catch up was agreed on, on both sides, but no day or time was set. Fortunately there was a fleetin’ meetin’, just long enough for a photo, above. The same happened with Smart Traveler’s Michael Holtz, he of the silver-hedgehog haircut, but no meeting is too short for this networker, king of the selfies, to take and post photos that are always just right.

It must be tough for travel advisors new to the VTW scene. It should be that ‘the crowd’ wants to meet first-timers but honestly you need to know people to know whom to know. Know and thou shall be known. Everyone also knows Valerie. Wilson, that is, but who needs her family name? She runs Valerie Wilson Travel with her two daughters and as well as working the floors during the four days of speed-dating, buyers (agents) eyeing sellers (hotels and the like) every extracurricular time is taken up with parties.

Blessings to JOALI LIVING for offering outrageously-large straw hats and much-needed foot massages in a BELLAGIO poolside cabana. Thanks to Israel Tourism for making your party suite easy to find, and to Virtuoso Chairman/CEO Matthew Upchurch for providing escorts to your back-to-backs cocktails.

Hosted dinners can be a challenge as the invited have probably been taking up cocktail commitments en route (but KEMPINSKI’s party at Spago, which snared Valerie as evidence of her high regard for that company, was not too long and food and service was excellent).  Breakfasts? Top networking venue is Sardelle’s by Mario Carbone’s Major Food Group, but do reserve a table to avoid what can be a long wait.

And some of the best networking is over lunches, 11.30 to one, speedy speedy and Bellagio’s celeb restaurants do it like clockwork, no speeches allowed. It was Swiss precision at Julian Serrone’s Lago, hosted by ALPINA GRAND, DOLDER GRAND and PARK HOTEL VITZNAU, and it was Marrakesh-special at Taipei-favourite Din Tai Fing in ARIA. MANDARIN ORIENTAL MARRAKESH’s Michel Thoma put together a hilarious table for the head of A&K Morocco and the two biggies of ASMALLWORLD.  Ah, that is what networking is all about, and Girlahead has already said how impressed she is by the ASW programmes, and calibre of its people. And if you want to hear about ASW from the proverbial horse’s mouth, hear Jan Luescher here.