Robin Cocke of Clarksdale, Mississippi had one advantage on other Virtuoso clients: she's actually known her advisor, Kimberly Georgi
, for most of Ms. Georgi's life. (Their families are friends in Mississippi.) When Ms. Georgi became a travel advisor, a local party was thrown. Mrs. Cocke and Ms. Georgi connected at the party, and "she explained everything about how travel advisors work," says Ms. Cocke.
"Still," she admits, "I was skeptical. With the Internet, I just figured anything I wanted to do in terms of travel I could figure out to do myself."
Mrs. Cocke ended up wanting to surprise her husband with a weekend trip to Key West – where neither had ever been – around Christmas a few years ago. Pressed for time, she contacted Ms. Georgi and asked if she could help.
"Within a couple of questions, she knew exactly what I was looking for and what types of travelers we were," says Mrs. Cocke. "I didn't have to do anything."
The resulting trip was "so easy and so us" (in the words of Mrs. Cocke) and her first line of thinking upon return was, "I'm never traveling again without Kimberly."
Mrs. Cocke then turned to her advisor for a group trip to Ireland (another smash success) and recently finished the details for a trip to Hawaii later in 2015.
"My husband and I live in the Mississippi Delta," says Mrs. Cocke, "which can feel isolated sometimes. When you travel, it really gives you that chance to broaden your mind and understand the world from other perspectives. That's really important."
"The span in prices when you travel can be huge," she continues. "Working with an advisor, you get the most for your money; the Virtuoso network really helps with connections and the ability to get into certain places that you probably couldn't organize for yourself."