In 2013, Vince and Zelie Tan were early for a dinner reservation in Vancouver; they had recently been contemplating taking a cruise, and saw a cruise poster in the window of an office near the restaurant. They entered, but only one employee was there – Virtuoso advisor Carly Renshaw. They quickly realized the office was closed, and offered to come back. Carly insisted they stay, and the three began talking.
"We were so pleased with her helpfulness and enthusiasm that we continued working with her over the next few months," says Vince.
The couple settled on a cruise eventually, although it wasn't the one in that window initially; they ended up taking a Mediterranean cruise with Oceania on The Marina
in October 2013. That cruise involved two stays at Virtuoso hotels, namely Ca'Sagredo Hotel
in Venice and the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona.
That cruise originated in Venice, and from the first moment at the airport, the Tans started to understand Carly's value.
"My first experience in Venice many years ago was not at all a good one," explains Zelie. "However, the moment Carly's contact spotted us, a different picture of Venice was painted for us. This was further enhanced by the Virtuoso hotel we were booked in. It was a pleasant surprise to receive a little shopping bag made of brocade cloth similar to the materials of the furniture around the room. This was unexpected but most certainly appreciated."
The family was impressed, and booked another cruise – an Antarctic expedition with Lindblad Expeditions on the National Geographic Explorer
in December 2014. When those agendas were finalized, they found themselves with extra time on the front-end in Argentina; this resulted in a side trip to Iguazu Falls. Carly also connected the couple with a close friend (and former Vancouver resident) currently living in Buenos Aires as a tour guide.
"He showed us where to shop, dine, etc," says Zelie. "The fact that we had Vancouver in common made it a really memorable experience."
Since those trips, the Tans have worked on other itineraries with Carly.
"Prior to meeting her that evening, we had gotten used to the idea of planning our own trips independently and working directly with the airlines, hotels and other travel providers, dating from the days when we were communicating with these providers by fax and snail mail," says Vince. "It has become even easier these days, and so in some ways the need for a professional travel advisor has declined further. But even as we continue to do much of our own research and even some travel arrangements on line, we have found that a professional travel advisor plays a really important role – maybe more than we even expected."
If you'd be interested in working with a Virtuoso advisor on your next trip(s), click below to connect.