From Barron's Penta:
Big Vacations, Big Families
Wealthy families are often too busy to kick back and relax. Adding to these already complicated schedules, kids and grandchildren are often spread throughout the country, sometimes even the globe. That’s why, family getaways are all the more special when the entire clan can get together, pack up and go. In February, Merrill Lynch formed a partnership with trip advisory service Virtuoso to help its wealthy families plan exactly that kind of multigenerational trip.
Here’s how it works. Merrill Lynch advisors refer a client to Virtuoso’s hotline or website, where they can log-in and peruse the company’s network of more than 9,000 travel agents. All travel agents have a profile that specifies where they live and recent trips they have planned for clients. The profiles tell families if a particular advisor has experience planning say private African safaris or Alpine ski excursions for large families. Clients then simply contact the travel agent and plan their dream vacations.
Jim Bendt, of Minneapolis-based Pique Travel Design is one Virtuoso travel agent who has planned trips for his 400-plus clients. He was recently approached by a patriarch and matriarch to plan their 50th wedding anniversary. Bendt sent the entire family, children and grandchildren, to a private estate on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. There the family enjoyed private horseback riding on Ohana Beach, and an intimate “halau hula” party. To tie in the wedding anniversary to the rest of the festivities, a local Hawaiian elder was brought in to teach the importance of “ohana,” or family....MORE