Few luxury travel agencies can boast the history and reputation of Valerie Wilson Travel. The New York City-based agency, founded in 1981 and led by matriarch Valerie Ann Wilson, has been built from a staff of three to over 375 advisors, associates and staff with an annual volume of business of $315 million in 2019. At Wilson’s sides for much of the agency’s history have been her daughters, Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg and Kimberly Wilson Wetty, both of whom became co-owners and co-presidents in 2006. But it’s much more than the numbers when it comes to Valerie Wilson Travel.
Back when Wilson launched the business, the “luxury travel” market didn’t exist in the way it does now: The Ritz-Carlton didn’t exist as a brand, Four Seasons only had two properties and Silversea and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, like many others, weren’t around yet. This means that the agency had a big hand in shaping the industry as we know it today. Of note, Sir Rocco Forte sought Wilson’s opinion when he launched RF Hotels and Virtuoso CEO Matthew D. Upchurch conferred with her when making the change from API Travel Consultants to the current Virtuoso name and logo.
“It’s so important to have integrity,” Wilson tells Luxury Travel Advisor….