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The First-Ever VIRTUOSO® Travel Tech Summit Brings Together Big Tech, Venture Capitalist and Start-ups

 As part of Virtuoso Travel Week, Virtuoso®, the leader in luxury and experiential travel, will host its first-ever Travel Tech Summit on August 14th at ARIA Resort & Casino from 10:00am to 1:00pm. Three distinct components will be featured at the summit: a Big Ideas Session on the technology strategies driving the industry forward; a VC Panel on the innovations and longer-term opportunities investors seek; and a Startup Showcase on the companies tackling obstacles in the industry. Virtuoso is putting technology at the center of its Big Idea conference, led by entrepreneur and investor Gilad Berenstein, with Virtuoso Senior Vice President, Digital & Consumer Products Travis McElfresh among the speakers.

“Innovating and pushing boundaries is something Virtuoso has always embraced,” “Our Incubator program helped launch some of the travel tech players that are core to our business today. This Travel Tech Summit is just our next step in furthering innovation and ensuring that travel technology benefits our agencies, advisors and the partners who work with us. We believe in fostering technology that enhances the value of human connection. As I’ve been saying for more than 20 years, automate the predictable so that you can humanize the exceptional.”

Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch


Summit phases will eventually narrow down to grassroots levels, beginning with a wide, macro perspective. In his keynote speech, Berenstein will address five key themes: the optimization of everything; financialization of travel; influencers and creators; aggregation; and emerging technologies related to the Metaverse and Web3. The Big Ideas speakers will elaborate on each of these themes within their respective categories. Next, a panel of venture capitalists will share their perspective as investors. Following the panel, the Startup Showcase will showcase five companies developing solutions that ease travel industry pain-points and demonstrating real-world application.

Speakers for each session follow.

Big Ideas Speakers:

  • Khalid Meniri – CEO and Founder, Selfbook 
  • Ethan Hawkes – Head of Strategic Partnerships, Hopper 
  • Karen Bolda – Senior Vice President of Partner Products, Expedia Group 
  • Travis McElfresh – Senior Vice President of Product, Virtuoso 

VC Panel :

  • Gaurav Tuli – Managing Director, F-Prime Capital Partners
  • Chris Hemmeter – Managing Director, Thayer Ventures 
  • Chantal Noble Haldorsen – Early Stage VC Lead, Certares 
  • Cara Whitehill – Founder and Managing Director, Unlock Advisors 

Startup Showcase :

  • Grace McBride – Founder and CEO, Lucia
  • Gary Kohn – Co-Founder, Luxury Travel Hackers
  • Alex Jara – CEO, Deal Engine
  • West Askew – Founder and CEO, Thatch
  • Irving Betesh – CEO and Co-Founder, Sion

About Virtuoso

Virtuoso® is the leading global travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,200 travel agency locations with 20,000 travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with more than 2,200 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. Normalized annual sales of (U.S.) $25-$30 billion make Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit http://www.virtuso.com



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