A consortium of leading travel agents (so good at what they do they prefer to be called “travel consultants”), Virtuoso is the most well-known organization of its kind in the luxury travel space. . Advisor membership is by invitation only, and after decades of growth and reputation building, the US-based association now includes more than 1,200 travel agencies and more than 20,000 travel advisors in more than 50 countries.
Four years ago, as a tool for customers, Virtuoso unveiled a software platform called Wanderlist to help travelers and families refine, map and plan their Bucket List aspirations. To do this, an advisor from a Virtuoso agency sends an online questionnaire to each member of a “travel circle”, i.e. a group that wishes to go on holiday together, such as family, friends or a club. Each participant answers questions about desired destinations and experiences, then analytics analyze the results and produce a suggested roadmap for future travel. All of these Wanderlist questionnaires also allow Virtuoso to track the most searched states for national holidays and countries for international travel in each season of the year, and observe trends among these. They have just announced the results of this summer’s trip.
Top 10 US Destinations for Summer 2022
8. South Carolina
9. New York
Hawaii, New York and Massachusetts are still popular summer destinations, but Virtuoso has observed some interesting new trends in this data. One of the most important is that traditional winter vacation ski destinations like Colorado and Montana are becoming hot summer playgrounds, while, contrary to this trend , the warm southeastern states, including South Carolina and Florida, extend their seasonal winter popularity into the warm, humid months. Either way, despite growing popularity, it’s still “off season” and you can beat the crowds and find some great deals.
Meanwhile, Alaska — which was virtually off limits last year — cracked the top 10 without even considering cruise season, which is how most travelers experience the state. This is part of the broader pandemic-induced trend of people acting faster on Bucket List travel, and Alaska is a good example of a place a lot of people want to go “one day,” and thanks to COVID, a day is now. Overall, according to Virtuosos, California leads the way in summer travel by “offering incredible diversity throughout the state, from expansive beaches to culturally rich cities,” not to mention the nation’s top wine regions.
Top 10 global destinations for summer 2022
1. United States
6. United Kingdom
Domestic travel has exploded during the pandemic, and interest in national parks and natural wonders remains very strong, as well as emerging tourist cities such as Nashville and Austin, and old favorites like San Francisco, New Orleans and especially Las Vegas, which is full of new openings. and attractions. But according to Virtuoso, as Americans continue to explore the splendours of the United States, it’s the return of summer vacations to Europe after a two-year hiatus that is clearly creating the most excitement among travelers. With seven of the top 10 destinations located in Europe, pent-up demand so far appears to be outweighing conflict-related concerns in Ukraine. Neighboring Canada, which was also off-limits to American travelers last summer, quickly made its way back to the top half of the list.
Among European countries, it’s no surprise that Italy is number one, as it’s typically the number one dream destination for Americans in all travel surveys, every year. But with old favorites such as Venice already overly touristy before the pandemic, and hot summer regions such as the Amalfi Coast are hugely popular with Virtuoso bookings this year and nearly sold out, I recommend going a step further. beaten paths. Every corner of Italy is worth visiting, but I am personally fascinated by the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage region of incredible natural beauty that is full of charming towns and great food. Even though its popularity has grown considerably, it remains a bit of a hidden gem. I wrote a winter travel story here at Forbes about the area, which is a world-class ski destination, but most of the information applies to the summer. I also recommend Puglia in the far south, a very different landscape with great weather, full of history, delicious food and the biggest olive oil producing region in Italy.
Switzerland is a small country but full of beautiful big cities and small mountain towns where it’s easy to get off the beaten track – I’m going there in June. Spain is a much bigger country, and if you avoid overly touristy places like Barcelona, there are tons of great options, with stellar hotels and amazing cuisine, plus plenty of gorgeous beaches. Mallorca, long popular with Britons, is one of Spain’s hottest destinations for American travellers, and United is launching the first nonstop service from the United States in June, from Newark. I’m going there next week to see what it’s all about.
But to really make the best choices about where to go in these destinations, ask an expert — like a travel consultant. I know a newlywed who wanted to go to Greece this summer, and Greece has been extremely popular, especially the more famous islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, which are small and crowded. So I referred my friend to a top advisor who recommended Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, full of diverse attractions, high-end accommodations and enough capacity to handle more tourism. The southern islands, close to Turkey, such as Rhodes, are also often forgotten.
I’ve written here at Forbes in the past about why you should use a travel agent/advisor even if you think you know a lot about travel and internet use. To learn more, watch this 3-part series I made. More recently, I wrote this article on “5 Reasons You Need a Travel Agent – More Than Ever”. The bottom line is that a good travel agent will almost certainly improve your travel experience. will almost certainly produce better results in the event of a problem (flight cancellation, illness, natural disaster, war); has a much better chance of making your dream trip possible at times like right now, when demand for travel is increasing and supply is limited, especially in the most popular locations; and in some cases will also save you money.
Because these agents have blue-chip clients and annual sales of $25-30 billion, Virtuoso is a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry and as such enjoys special benefits from its hotel, of its cruise line and other travel partners. For example, you can stay at a Four Seasons or St. Regis hotel simply by booking on your own, or you can have an advisor do it for the same price and get a contractually negotiated and guaranteed Virtuoso “pleasure package” . These are usually priced between two and three hundred dollars and usually include extras such as room upgrades, daily free breakfast, welcome gifts like chocolate, wine or champagne, and may even include free nights, private airport transfers, club floor upgrades and spa treatments. It’s basically a bonus you get just for using an advisor. Those in the travel industry want the best advisors to use them, so Virtuoso has that kind of privileged relationship with over 2,200 of the world’s top hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and has access to best local and personal ground guides worldwide.