what is Virtuoso Travel Week | top five list

Strip View from Bellagio

Travel Week will probably be featured by at least one "morning show" next week. I'll be there but unlikely to be seen on the tube unless I "trail" Matthew Upchurch! But what is Travel Week? Here's my top five list of things to know about Virtuoso Travel Week to be held August 10-15 in Las Vegas.

1. Is Vegas hot in August? Bad news: the average high during Travel Week will be 102 degrees. Good news: we're talking Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Better news: the event is held indoors. Bad news: we meet in refrigerated ballrooms so cold that folks in the know wear heavy sweaters.

2. Bellagio hosts the event every year. Actually, there was an attempt a few years ago to move Travel Week next door to Aria, but the test "gala dinner" that Aria put on was a disaster — the only edible course was the salad, and when dessert isn't worth eating... that's bad). Bellagio does an incredible job of hosting such a large conference, and their convention staff has become like family.

3. Speed-dates. The heart of the meeting are 24 hours (or so) of 4-minute speed dates. Travel consultants sit at their tables (in the aforementioned refrigerated ballroom), and every four minutes the bell rings, and your next date comes by. Will she/he win your love? Will you sell their hotel? The best hotel reps know that it's all about building relationships. You can tell it's a first time sales rep when they think travel advisors actually remember how many square feet their spa contains. It's all about the power of one to one.

4. Cocktail parties and receptions. All of the major hotel chains hold cocktail parties and receptions, some as late as midnight. I don't go anymore. I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. to do my email and eat breakfast before speed dating begins at 8 a.m. Plus, the receptions can be so loud you can't hear anyone talk anyway. Or squeeze through the crowds to the sushi buffet.

5. How to get me to accept an invitation for drinks? Invite me to Jean Philippe. It's not a bar; it's the place with the chocolate fountain, and their chocolate gelato is to die for. I've got dates for after session on Wednesday and Thursday. Monday or Tuesday, anyone? Have your people call my people.

Virtuoso Travel Week (search here on Google)

copyright (c) 2013 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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