Chairman & CEO
Visionary, futurist and entrepreneur, Matthew Upchurch has parlayed his vision of a global travel industry network into Virtuoso, a multi-billion-dollar, by-invitation-only enterprise of exceptional travel advisors and travel providers, all working together to mutually prosper while delivering the world’s most satisfying travel experiences. Matthew serves as Virtuoso’s chief executive officer, overseeing the marketing, sales, technology and operational systems that have made Virtuoso one of the most respected and successful companies in the luxury travel arena.
While the rest of the world was predicting the downfall of the travel consultant with the onslaught of online booking engines, Matthew envisioned a back-to-the-future alternative that repositioned true travel specialists into their original role – knowledgeable advisors versus transaction processors. He saw the Internet as a resource to assist the personal touch. And he perceived the rising Baby Boomer generation as one that prefers to work with experts in the important facets of their lives, including their prized leisure travel.
Matthew’s entrepreneurial perspective grew out of an early love for travel, service and innovation. Two family businesses, Percival Tours and Upchuch Travel, enabled Matthew to wear the hats of supplier and travel advisor simultaneously, ultimately leading to his vision of Virtuoso: a virtual corporation of the most powerful upscale travel agencies supported by centralized marketing vehicles and exclusive agreements with the finest travel suppliers in the world.
The vision for Virtuoso was clear. However, the task of altering the common perception of travel advisors and the commoditization of the industry was, and still is, difficult. Armed with what his friends describe as an “unfailing ability to talk to anyone, anywhere about anything,” Matthew is revitalizing the retail travel industry. The momentum for the creation of Virtuoso was so strong that top agencies competing against each other in key markets found themselves joining forces as part of this new network.
Now, 27 years after launching Virtuoso, Matthew focuses on keeping the organization ahead of the pack and the trends. More than a decade ago, Matthew encouraged Virtuoso advisors to focus on areas of specialization, such as particular destinations or types of travel. Now Virtuoso’s specialists are among the most successful travel advisors in the industry and are frequently featured in national media outlets for their areas of expertise. Virtuoso continually implements new programs to empower Virtuoso travel specialists with an impressive arsenal of marketing tools, in-depth client data, and industry resources that are unrivaled – all necessary for a successful career in travel planning.
Inspired by other entrepreneurs who either create new industries or set new rules in stagnant ones, Matthew continues to lead Virtuoso in delivering exceptional and rare travel experiences. So stay tuned for new innovations that are sure to make the world a more rewarding and exciting place for travelers, travel advisors and travel providers alike.