It’s one of the most memorable, whirlwind weeks of the year – the best of the best in the travel industry convene in Las Vegas for valuable networking, career-building tips, fabulous parties, and the latest travel news at Virtuoso Travel Week – plus those famous hallway hellos in the Bellagio, running into old and new friends, and maybe taking a selfie to share (remember: it’s #virtuosotravel). Most importantly, it is about building our professional relationships and personal connections.
We asked several #virtuosotravel pros for their hard-earned advice on how to survive, and thrive, during this unforgettable week – which this year spans across three hotels and welcomes more than 5,200 attendees from 97 countries (and counting).
See you there August 11-17!
Albert Herrera, SVP, Global Product Partnerships, Virtuoso
Amy Cassell, Associate Editor, Virtuoso Life
- Be part of the party, but don’t be the party. Pace yourself and don’t stay up too late.
Anna Roost, Director of Sales, The Dolder Grand
- Just when you think you’ve survived Virtuoso Week, don’t forget about the taxi line at Bellagio. Give yourself at least ten more minutes than you think you need. Everybody’s on their way home, and the last thing you want to do post Club V is miss your flight. Bring a bottle of water with you for the wait.
Dan O’Brien, SVP, Systems and Services, Virtuoso
- Try Bellagio's organic cold-pressed juices available in all cafés for great nutrition.
- Get some afternoon sun at the swimming pool in between appointments and evening functions, while socializing with all of your friends who have the same great idea.
David Hansen, SVP, Events, Virtuoso
- Hydration, Purell, and Astragalus (an herb said to help protect your health and body) are three keys to staying healthy. Find at least 30 minutes a day to work out to stay happy.
David Kolner, SVP, Global Member Partnerships, Virtuoso
- Drink lots of water, including mixing in some club soda or water from time to time when drinking alcohol at functions.
Elaine Srnka, Editorial Director, Virtuoso
- No matter how much fun you’re having, put that glass of Champagne down at 11 p.m. and go to bed.
Ian Swain, President & Owner, Swain Destinations
- Create a wardrobe spreadsheet, dividing each day of your trip by day and evening, to help you plan what to wear and when – complete with shoes and accessories. It’ll make rushed wardrobe changes between appointments and cocktail hours, or getting dressed for a 6:30am breakfast after a late night that much easier.
- Try this trick when wearing high heels: Tape your third and fourth toe together to alleviate pressure on the ball of your foot. Soak your feet in Epsom salts and use a foot roller when you’re back in the room (like this one).
Joel Centano, Senior Editor, Virtuoso Traveler
- I arrive ready to go. I am prepared as soon as I land, as you never know who you will meet and where. I have all my lunch and dinner restaurants booked (and with who) to take the most advantage of the time you have to form and build that relationship.
- I don’t stay up late, so I am then ready for the next day. And I always have an extra phone charge device close by.
Justin Paul, Senior Editor, Virtuoso Life
- Use at least two morning alarm sources, plus a steady stream of caffeine, coconut water, and Emergen-C Vitamin C packets (1,000 mg). And, if anyone asks if you’ll have time for a drink, the answer, invariably, is “yes.”
Kathy Terrell, Director, Marketing Production, Virtuoso
- Two keycards, different pockets, always: Thank me when it’s midnight and your first one has demagnetized.
- Plan your walk for maximum carpet – less marble, less pain.
- A Jewel of a tip: No flights out before noon on Friday.
- Travel pros always carry-on – but this week it’s just an extra bag for shoes.
- Respect the wisdom of the water “spacer.”
Korena Sinnett, Associate Art Director, Virtuoso Life
- Leave your suitcase out and as you wear your outfits throughout the week, pack them. Then on Thursday, you’re not overwhelmed and can enjoy the Gala and Club V.
- If you need to ship anything back to your office, don’t wait until Thursday afternoon to go to the business center – the line gets very long.
Krista Betts, Austin-based Virtuoso advisor
- Pack silk dresses! Easy styling – and more room in your suitcase for shoes.
- Always have a mini but high-powered mobile battery pack in your bag to keep your smartphone charged!
Lila Fox, Louisiana-based Virtuoso advisor
- Shoes, shoes, shoes: VTW involves a great deal of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.
- Pace yourself – With so many events going on simultaneously, attend the ones that will benefit your personal growth and benefit your clients as well.
- Take notes: You’ll meet hundreds of new people in the travel industry ; jot key words on the back of business cards.
- Stay organized: Know the times and locations of your events/meetings.
- Rest: I aim for 8 hours of sleep. “Aim” is the operative word.
- Have fun: We have the best job on the planet, enriching our clients’ lives through travel!
Maita Barrenechea, Owner, Mai10, Argentina
- Pre-order your coffee for the week to ensure delivery time, instead of waiting in the morning when everyone else is ordering.
- Arrive to Las Vegas early a night early if you can. Get settled into your hotel, check in to the spa for a massage or facial, and then go out for a nice meal with a few friends. This always resets my mind from the day of travel and eases me into the long week ahead!
- Pack gym clothes with you when you leave your room each morning. With so little time between the end of meetings and the start of cocktail parties, this trick makes it efficient to swing by the gym for a quick 30 minutes on the treadmill, which does double duty – brings a glow back to my face, and reenergizes me for the night of cocktail parties and dinners ahead!
Marika Cain, Managing Editor, Virtuoso Life
- Carry a bottle of water always and take a sip every two or three appointments; otherwise you are bound to run out of voice by the second day of appointments.
- I try to book a room as close as possible to the elevator for fastest access. And as much as I love the Bellagio fountains, lately I tend to book a room in the Spa Tower for convenience and for a more pleasant atmosphere (you avoid crossing the casino on the way in and out of the hotel).
- I always take the time to visit the Gallery of Fine Art at the Bellagio; it’s a good break for the mind.
- For any first-timer going - to watch 'O' the Cirque du Soleil show housed inside the Bellagio itself is a must.
- I can never have enough of Bellagio’s dancing fountains - my favorite spot to watch them from are the terrace of Hyde's or Olives. The chocolate fountain at the Jean-Phillipe Patisserie is also a delightful scene. I also love Dale Chihuly’s 'Fiori di Como' glass sculpture that hangs from the ceiling in Bellagio’s lobby. Those colorful glass blossoms are amazing and the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are always a delight. The creativity and showcase of mesmerizing horticulture always blow my mind.
Matt Elliott, Director, Virtuoso.com
- Organized closet, organized mind – Give yourself an hour or two to properly unpack, iron, and settle in when you arrive. Your hotel room is your sanctuary and it's worth a little effort on the front end to make it user-friendly for the marathon week ahead. This pairs best with a room service Asian chicken salad.
Matthew Upchurch, CEO, Virtuoso
- Hydrate, get some sleep when you can, and cry in private (there’s no crying in luxury travel).
- Spend 10 minutes the night before or the morning of your busy day to review your schedule and understand where you are and where you will need to be. Think about how you’re going to get there and when you’ll need to leave. Account for foyer conversations with your good friends you haven’t run into since last year’s VTW, so you don’t miss an important appointment or session.
Melanie Fowler, Art Director, Virtuoso Life
- Pace yourself. I am past 50, so I fake drink until Thursday night!
Michelle Rashid, Director, Cultural & Organizational Development, Virtuoso
- Take one Party Smart pill before a long night out (available at natural food stores or on Amazon).
Mike McCown, SVP, Finance, Virtuoso
Misty Belles, Managing Director, Global Public Relations, Virtuoso
- Invest in good shoes – it’s a great excuse to splurge on Donald Pliner or Cole Haan – and always wear different ones.
- Go to the gym for stress relief and/or detox!
- Write everything down on a pad or in your phone – you will not remember, even if you think you will.
- Before you jump out of bed, take a few belly breaths and set an intention for how you want your day to go and how you want to feel at the end of it.
Muriel Wilson, Event Director, Virtuoso
- Have a humidifier sent to your room upon arrival. Your voice and skin will thank you for the added moisture every night, plus the white noise blocks out hallway revelry.
- Invest in a portable steamer (My Little Steamer on the HSN website rocks). It's so much faster and easier than ironing.
Sharon McGrath, Managing Director, Marketing & Communications, Virtuoso
- Have plenty of business cards. In this modern age of technology, people still ask for them.
- Networking tip: Great ideas come from casual conversations.
Silvia Zamora, Senior Operations Manager, Virtuoso
- Ladies – Stash flats or cute flip-flops in your bag. Covertly change when your dogs start barking.
- Gents – Please don’t wear flip-flops. That would be weird.
- All – Breath mints, hydrate, and go to the gym to see Virtuosos sans “hair & makeup.”
Steve Kawamura, Director, Strategic Planning and Organizational Development, Virtuoso
Terrie Hansen, SVP, Marketing, Virtuoso
- For those with gluten allergies, try the gluten-free bread at the group meal functions.
- Order Epsom salts and have them shipped directly to the hotel. I give my team two bags for the two-week stay in Las Vegas.
- If you don’t have one, buy a FitBit or activity tracker to monitor how many steps you’re walking each day. Some days, I have 23 miles!
- Must-haves for appointments - Lip balm, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, hot tea with lemon & honey, and a jacket, sweater or wrap. The hotel’s A/C can be dry and cold.
- The best advice I ever received was to purchase some packing cubes. I pack each outfit in a cube so that each day is laid out with accessories. It definitely helps with getting dressed quickly for each event.
- Plan your wardrobe in advance for each day and night. Snap a photo of the entire outfit on your cell. When you have 5 minutes to change for the next event, pull up the photo to make dressing a snap!
- To help alleviate tired feet, change shoes frequently throughout the day, which is why I bring 15+ pairs with me every year (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).