NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. (VWT), one of the largest, family-managed full service travel consulting agencies specializing in high-touch services, commemorated its 35th anniversary this week. The occasion was marked with two VIP events in New York City that brought together over 500 luxury hoteliers, resort and cruise line operators, airlines and their teams from across the United States and around the world. The event featured two full-days of training and networking amongst prominent luxury travel representatives in the industry during an exclusive VWT Academy, and culminated with a black-tie evening gala at Cipriani 42nd Street®.
The VWT Academy brought together top industry talent, including keynote speaker, Nathan Lump, Editor-in-Chief of Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as a moderated CEO Panel on Travel Trends. Over 150 advisors from VWT's 16 offices came together for a unique training experience featuring 29 customized training classes at The St. Regis New York. The Academy also included an 80-minute tradeshow with suppliers and kicked-off with a pre-gala event hosted by American Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, Fairmont/Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Oceania Cruises, Preferred Hotels/Montage Hotels & Resorts, Seabourn, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. A Virtuoso® Brilliant Bar and Airline Lounge for checking e-mail and networking were also available throughout the day.
"We are marking our 35th anniversary by focusing our efforts on education and professional development," said VWT Co-President Kimberly Wilson Wetty, who moderated the press conference during the Academy. "The Academy was an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our most preferred partners and give them access to our advisors, as well as senior executives. Through this collaborative training approach, our hope was for our supplier partners and our advisors to collectively reach their GOALS (Grow, Optimize, Achieve, Learn, Succeed) in order to strengthen their working relationship."
During this two-day event, VWT also shared a travel market watch and trends discussion during The Power of Access® Breakfast and Panel. Kimberly Wilson Wetty moderated the panel and panelists included: Gary Murphy, Vice President of Sales & Co-Owner, AmaWaterways; Chuck Imhof, Vice President, New York Sales, Delta Air Lines; John Stauss, Regional Vice President and General Manager, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Randall Soy, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, North America Regent Seven Seas Cruises; and Matthew Upchurch, Chairman & CEO, Virtuoso. Additionally, Kimberly Wilson Wetty, along with VWT Founder, Chairman & CEO Valerie Ann Wilson, and Co-President Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, joined representatives from the panel for a post Q&A session.
The panel shared industry trends and forecasts, including:
- How the luxury traveler has evolved and guest experience preferences.
- Hotel and cruise development with new builds versus renovation.
- Technology as enabler and content as an influencer, but the need for the human touch.
- The Millennial Factor.
"For 35 years, VWT has been dedicated to creating value-added amenities and delivering unparalleled service for our clients and partners, and we pride ourselves on our continued efforts to plan unforgettable, luxury travel experiences," said Co-President Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg. "Our forward-thinking has enabled us to live up to that promise by implementing our own advances in the industry. Providing this unique training experience is setting the stage – and enhancing our success – for the future."
Further showcasing the company's commitment to its staff and network, VWT held a private ceremony to announce the recipients of the first-ever Peach Awards. Named for the company's iconic brand color, the awards recognized the exemplary efforts of 10 VWT employees and individuals within the industry. Additionally, one Peach Platinum Sponsor Award was granted to Delta Air Lines.
"Our future is rooted in the past and there was no better time than our 35th anniversary to showcase our appreciation for how far we've come," said VWT Founder, Chairman & CEO Valerie Ann Wilson. "So much has changed over the years, and we truly believe that what we do makes a difference. We care about our people and our supplier partners. That is why it was so important to us to launch The Peach Awards. We couldn't be more proud of the commitment and dedication of these individuals over the years. I feel so fortunate to have them all as part of the VWT family."
About Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. headquartered in New York, NY, was founded by Valerie Ann Wilson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in 1981, and managed along with her two daughters, Co-Presidents and Co-Owners Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg and Kimberly Wilson Wetty. It is an award-winning travel management company that has grown as an industry leader with 16 offices in the United States servicing business, leisure and meeting/incentive travelers. All VWT locations are proud members of Virtuoso® - the travel industry's leading luxury network. The agency has been consistently named on the annual Travel Weekly Power List as well as Travel + Leisure's A-List, and most recently as the 33rd largest in the United States.
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SOURCE Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.