Before she watched a CBS report on Virtuoso Travel Week
(above), Fort Worth, Texas-based traveler Leslie Cirigliano had never heard of Virtuoso. She visited Virtuoso.com and still didn't completely understand what the company was about – "I thought it was just a large travel agency," she admits – but bookmarked the site because she and her husband wanted to travel more.
Months later, her husband's company sent them on an awards trip to Barcelona. There were activities planned each day, and when the couple took a guided tour of Sagrada Família, Leslie recalls, "It dawned on me how much better the experience was with someone to explain and point things out." She knew that Virtuoso advisors regularly secured such tours for their clients, and realized she would have missed most of the value of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece without one.
"That was my aha moment on the value of advisors," she says.
When they got home, she went back to Virtuoso.com and used the advisor catalog
to ultimately select Sigrid Braeckeveldt, based in Bedford, Texas.
"I chose her based on her bio, because she talked a lot about Japan and northern Europe and those were places my husband and I wanted to go," says Leslie, "and also because of her proximity to where we live. That probably doesn't make a huge difference, but we liked the idea of someone close by."
Sigrid received Leslie as a lead through Virtuoso, and they connected, starting with discussing travel dates, budgets, and preferences.
"Honestly, price was a real concern going in," says Leslie. "I knew Virtuoso was high-end, and I was worried Sigrid might come back to me and say the base level for a trip had to be $40,000 or something. She never did that, and I never felt cheap or like I was small potatoes in any way."
The couple ended up going to Rome, Florence, and Venice; the trip was only ten days, but they packed a good deal in, including biking the Appian Way, a tour of the Ferrari Museum, and lunch at a balsamic vinegar factory.
"She made all the arrangements and took care of everything," says Leslie. "It was truly a wonderful vacation."
Leslie and her husband view travel as a "constant learning experience," noting that you "discover art, history, food, other cultures, and even more about each other." The value of working with an advisor is being able to focus on those things and not the trip logistics – as well as receiving access to perks and amenities like those private tours. They now plan on using an advisor for all their travel.
If you'd be interested in working with a Virtuoso advisor on your next trip, connect below.