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Virtuoso - new hotels and non-renewals for 2013

Virtuoso - new hotels and non-renewals for 2013

Old Oct 17, 12, 12:12 pm
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Virtuoso - new hotels and non-renewals for 2013

NEW VIRTUOSO HOTELS FOR 2013

Africa & Middle East
Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi
Raffles Dubai - Dubai

Asia & Pacific
Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu

Canada & United States
The Sebastian - Vail
Ritz-Carlton Montreal
The Roosevelt New Orleans

Europe
Cheval Blanc Courchevel, France
Les Pres d'Eugenie, Eugenie-les-Bains, France
Hotel Negresco, Nice
Hotel Fouquet's Barriere, Paris

Mexico, Central & South America
Insolito Boutique Hotel - Armacao de Buzios, Brazil

Bermuda & Caribbean
The Jalousie Plantation, Saint Lucia


VIRTUOSO HOTELS THAT DID NOT RENEW FOR 2013

Africa & Middle East
Lupita Island Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania
Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl, South Africa

Asia & Pacific
The Hongta Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel (formerly St. Regis Shanghai)
Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi (but still FSPP)
Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart, Australia

Central & South America
Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Kiaroa Eco Luxury Resort, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Las Casitas del Colca, Arequipa, Peru

Canada & United States
The Fairmont Royal York, Toronto, Ont., Canada
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Florida Keys, FL
21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY
Gansevoort Meatpacking, New York, NY
Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, NY
The Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia, PA
Keswick Hall at Monticello, Keswick, VA
Snake River Lodge & Spa, Teton Village, Wyoming

Europe
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, England
Schlossle Hotel Tallinn, Tallinn, Estonia
Hotel & Spa de la Bretesche, Missilac (Loire Valley)
Chateaux de Noirieux, Briollet (Loire Valley) France
George Blanc Parc & Spa, Vonnas (Rhone-Alpes)
Ritz, Paris, Paris, France - lengthy hotel closure/renovation
King George Palace, Athens, Greece - hotel in receivership, subject to closure
Hotel de Hirschgasse, Heidelberg, Germany
Hotel Helvetia & Bristol, Florence, Italy
Palazzo Terranova, Umbria, Italy
Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & SPA, Cascais, Portugal
The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa, Aberdeen, Scotland
Casa Fuster, Barcelona, Spain
AC Santo Mauro, Madrid, Spain
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Old Oct 17, 12, 2:58 pm
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Thanks for posting this info!^

I find it pretty interesting that there are far more hotels leaving than joining the Virtuoso consortium. Has Virtuoso increased the membership fees or is this just coincidence?

Last edited by Jasper2009; Oct 17, 12 at 3:42 pm
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Old Oct 17, 12, 3:20 pm
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Thanks for the update!
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Old Oct 17, 12, 3:59 pm
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Thanks for posting. I'm very pleased to see the Jalousie in St Lucia included - one of my favourite hotels so to get Virtuoso benefits will be great.
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Old Oct 17, 12, 5:36 pm
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I had heard that the Rittenhouse was having to reapply due to new ownership. Hopefully they'll be back soon.
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Old Oct 17, 12, 8:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Thanks for posting this info!^

I find it pretty interesting that there are far more hotels leaving than joining the Virtuoso consortium. Has Virtuoso increased the membership fees or is this just coincidence?
Some of the hotels chose not to renew because they weren't getting enough Virtuoso bookings to make the investment worthwhile. Others were not invited back because of product issues or non-responsiveness to service gaps (in other words, Virtuoso doing quality control).
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Old Oct 18, 12, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
Some of the hotels chose not to renew because they weren't getting enough Virtuoso bookings to make the investment worthwhile. Others were not invited back because of product issues or non-responsiveness to service gaps (in other words, Virtuoso doing quality control).
Thank you for this enlightening post, but I still need some heads up regarding "Virtuoso".

That a group of travel agents makes some kind of quality control at the places where they send guests is a very good thing. That they charge a levy (beside the commission) is understandeable, but certainly not in the interest of the guests who if giving their business to "Virtuoso" might be deprived of nice places not accepting this business practice (but still can be excellent).

From several hoteliers I never heard a good thing regarding "Virtuoso". Typically they appear to charge exorbitant commissions up to 30 % and claiming that their clients are "affluent" create often problems at the property where they send them. The typical "Virtuoso" guest seems to behave in quite a self entitled way being "above others" and expecting better service than his/her fellow guests (for whatever reason). These are thoughts from hoteliers which I simply refer, but which made me have a bad image of "Virtuoso".

Please correct me!

Airlines did away with intermediaries charging commissions, when will the hoteliers follow? On the other hand a good travel agent is precious in a unfamiliar country with an even more unfamiliar language.

Last edited by behuman; Oct 19, 12 at 12:48 am
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Old Oct 19, 12, 12:24 am
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Originally Posted by behuman View Post
Thank you for this enlightening post, but I still need some heads up regarding "Virtuoso".

That a group of travel agents makes some kind of quality control at the places where they send guests is a very good thing. That they charge a levy (beside the commission) is understandeable, but certainly not in the interest of the guests who if giving their business to "Virtuoso" might be deprived of nice places not accepting this business practice (but still can be excellent).

From several hoteliers I never heard a good thing regarding "Virtuoso". Typically they appear to charge exorbitant commissions up to 30 % and claiming that their clients are "affluent" create often problems at the property where they send them. The typical "Virtuoso" guest seems to behave in quite a self entitled way being "above others" and expecting better service than his/her felow guests (for whatever reason). These are thoughts from hoteliers which I simply refer, but which made me have a bad image of "Virtuooso".

Please correct me!

Airlines did away with intermediaries charging commissions, when will the hoteliers follow? On the other hand a good travel agent is precious in a unfamiliar country with an even more unfamiliar language.
Hmm.. I have heard hotels say more than one nice thing about Virtuoso. As for the DYKWIA guests- my suspicion is that this would come down to the person- not their booking network.

Given the large amount of work Virtuoso puts into explaining their hotels to customers etc- it seems quite understandable there would be some investments required. Obviously if the program did not work there would not be participants.
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Old Oct 19, 12, 12:51 am
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I also have heard hoteliers speak of willing to give up a first born child (not really) in order to become a Virtuoso property.
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Old Oct 19, 12, 2:35 am
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Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
I also have heard hoteliers speak of willing to give up a first born child (not really) in order to become a Virtuoso property.
Good one , but looking at the "Virtuoso" properties, a big percentage are uninspiring big chains where the hoteliers are rather just investors. "Virtuoso" seems to have a contract with Hyatt - not really my idea of individual luxury, even if preceeded by "Park".

My hoteliers complaining were all of smaller properties and I think it is "Virtuoso" which raises the expectations and promises "freebies" and makes handling for the service provider difficult.
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Old Oct 19, 12, 2:45 am
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what were talking about, regardless of amount, is referral spend

spend >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
two percent of travelers drive 30 percent of Starwoods profits
(https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/star...l#post25770775)

Originally Posted by nba1017 View Post
member of an unnamed royal family was traveling to the hotel and required two full floors. My preferred suite was on one of those floors. The GM was very careful to always give me a choice and insisted that he would honor my reservation
Originally Posted by damaxer91 View Post
we had the only suite in the hotel not occupied by this "VIP"
Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
Stayed at the Ritz in Madrid at the same time that the King of Morocco...took over 2 or 3 full floors of the hotel.
Originally Posted by El Cochinito View Post
King of Jordan...took over the top two floors
Originally Posted by Ericka View Post
Four Seasons Georges V because the owner (Saudi Prince?) had an entire floor occupied by his family and they were not able (???) to check out as originally planned
included because if it was alwaleed, he only owns 25% (edit - scratch that, owns 94% although plans to drop to 75%)

Originally Posted by NYBanker View Post
when staying at [RC SIN] in 2000, in a "club level suite," the entire club floor ended up being reserved by a "middle eastern dignitary" (never figured out who), and they made an ad-hoc club room on a mid- to lower-floor.
Originally Posted by Non-NonRev View Post
IIRC, when Tom Cruise and party arrived in Berlin to film 'Valkyrie', they took over one entire floor of the Regent Hotel, displacing some previously-booked guests.
Originally Posted by Shangri-La View Post
explain to [restaurants] that the Russian clients I’m trying to book for are going to drop 60,000 euros for dinner
Originally Posted by robyng View Post
we have only had something like that happen to us once in recent years - at a 3* Michelin restaurant/hotel in Germany. In that case - we were comp'd very mightily. Better to comp us than offend the VIP best I could figure out. Still left a bad taste in my mouth.

Whatever the reason - there's no excuse for it. We once stayed at the Greenbriar in West Virginia - and I had a tennis lesson arranged. Was called up and told it was canceled - because General Alexander Haig (who was at the time a big deal) needed the courts adjacent to his empty. I called up to complain - and General Haig was told he was out of line. Either I could play next to him - or he could choose not to play. I played - he didn't. That's how a luxury property works IMO.
Originally Posted by Wonderboynyc View Post
The Saudi royal family routinely books whole floors at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC for example. When they book, other guests are relocated.
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Once I was almost rebooked to a different hotel so that Hilary Clinton's entourage could take the entire top floor.
Originally Posted by The_Daddy View Post
In FS Cairo the prince of Bahrein arrived, he took over the whole floor and I was kindly asked to move...they offered a lovely suite
Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
I was once displaced by the Sultan of Brunei at the Westin Excelsior in Rome. I was well compensated for the inconvenience.
Originally Posted by Yachtman View Post
I used to work for the Saudis and and this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to booking out hotels and it is possible he will never actually set foot in the Maldives...I've even worked for someone who booked out several suites in the Cala Di Volpe hotel, just in case the boss needed the toilet whilst out and about...Yes, it gets more ludicrous.
10 rooms ~$30K+ per night >

Originally Posted by floridagal23 View Post
North was full with a ME family group.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...otel-bill.html
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
$7.4mm / 6,642 room nts = €893
but bill wouldnt be room only
wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204449804577068222867809742 >
Originally Posted by WSJ
Waldorf Towers ... more than 150 rooms for several months
politico.com/story/2015/09/four-seasons-king-salman-visit-red-carpet-213324 >

Originally Posted by Politico
Guests who had booked to stay at the Four Seasons [washington] during the royal visit [sept 3 4 5, 2015] have apparently been moved to other luxury hotels

Thursday morning, the Washington “power breakfast” crowd didn’t seem to mind being displaced from their regular dining spot at the hotel’s lower-level Seasons restaurant to the main floor’s Bourbon Steak, a move made to accommodate the king.
UK media also covered a maldives trip involving a buyout of 3 properties

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
elitetraveler.com/business/testimonials.html >
elitetraveler.com/business/testimonials/corinthia_testimonial.pdf $200K hotel booking
elitetraveler.com/business/testimonials/mbt.pdf $500K trip
elitetraveler.com/business/research.html

on topic of (guest/client) spend, aman vs FS revenue >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
this should be right, i remember source articles >
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
2000 - revenue $61MM ebit $30MM (ebit per room = $75K, vs $4K for FS)
1999 - revenue $50MM edit $15MM [ebit per room = $41K, vs $5.5K for FS]
source i remember for 1999 >
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
forbes.com/global/2000/0320/0306046a_print.html
In 1999 the Amanresorts' estimated sales totaled $50 million. Operating profits totaled $15 million despite an occupancy rate of only 50% last year (the five Amanresorts in troubled Indonesia dragged the chain down from its usual 65% occupancy). That works out to $41,000 annual operating profit per room (there were 365 rooms in 1999

Four Seasons...11,088 rooms...annual operating profit per room was $5,500 in 1999
clients, incl gifts (and fischer tidbits) >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
the vice president of a luxury hotel group called me up because he couldn’t get a VIP into one of their own hotels on a holiday. He told me, and I called the hotel and I got his VIP in. When he asked the hotel how his VIP got in they said, “we always take care of Mr. Fischer.”
globalblackbook.com/?p=3361

contacted every single person we knew...friend of a friend, who knew a lawyer that represented a Formula One racing team, and was a friend of Ferran...clients...returned the next day with gifts for all the Chefs, and so began our relationship with El Bulli, where from that day forward we could always get a table
globalblackbook.com/?p=10227

friend who knew a Sous Chef at a restaurant in Chicago who had a friend who worked in the kitchen at The French Laundry...introduced us to the right people...Manager...delighted with the quality of our guests and please keep them coming
globalblackbook.com/a-perfect-dinner/

French Laundry goes way back to the days when we couldn't get a reservation. After we convinced the lady on the phone that we had clients they wanted in their restaurant, and they did us proud by spending a fortune on wine, our lives became much easier
Originally Posted by ABG View Post
I have received gifts from clients ranging from...$2500.00 cappuccino machine as a wedding gift
Originally Posted by MDatJeffersonHotel
King Faisal from Saudi Arabia used to give out gold Rolexes instead of cash for tips, and once just left the keys to his Mercedes for his favorite doorman
and >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
On the phone to a reservations agent, Mr. Fischer is not above dropping the names of his famous clients, implying that if a hotel can accommodate client X, then a Calvin Klein or a Diane Sawyer might be steered there in the near future. One former client, however, gave a different explanation for Mr. Fischer's success: he overpays enormously for hotel rooms, and tips the staff of hot restaurants and hotels extravagantly, passing the costs back to his too-rich-to-complain clients.

''When you walk into a hotel and they know he sent you, they treat you very well -- it's like when a sugar daddy walks in and spreads the money around,'' said the former client, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he ceased using Mr. Fischer several years ago because he thought he was being gouged. ''He charges off the charts for everything,'' the former client said.

Responding to the claim that he gets results by lavishly greasing palms, Mr. Fischer said: ''Absolutely not. We send them clients and they like who we send. I show them my list; it's a 'Who's Who' list. We're sending the kind of people who are not going to complain and will pay for anything. The hotels want our clients.''
We had a call from one of our clients who said you’ve got to get me a room for my number one client, I don’t care what it costs. I said give me his name. He said Sandy Weill. I said ‘Sandy Weill? He’s the President of American Express. He can’t get a room?’ We got him the room.
departures.com/articles/is-st-barths-over
[GM] Christian even experimented by playing music during breakfast, and a few minutes later, he recalls, “the owner called me from New York telling me to turn it off. I guess one of the guests had complained straight away about ruining the atmosphere.”
Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
Just to update: I was able to book into the Library Suite thanks to an amazing Virtuouso agent who really helped me out -- can't wait!!
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...t-country.html

LHW fees >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
55% of LHW's income comes from membership fees, adjusted according to the number of hotel bedrooms, with the remaining 45% accounted for by the 10% fee charged on all transactions

transaction fee should be abolished and replaced by each hotel signing up three regular guests per room to the Leaders loyalty programme.

currently been trialled at 50 hotels worldwide, with a view to introducing it across the entire portfolio of hotels in 2013.



revenue for the company grew from $546m (350m) in 2010 to $613m (392m) in 2011.
~$450 per room sure seems better than 10% for the hotel
aman fees >

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
amanpulo is owned by public company
nothing earth shattering in stuff i just read
but - aman contract >
5% gross operating profit for management
3% hotel revenues for marketing
$1K/mo for license
(4% gross revenue for cash reserve)
FS fees etc (from 2004 annual report) >
The fees received by Four Seasons are broadly based, typically consisting of:
• base fees, generally a percentage of the hotel’s total revenues: approximately 3%
• incentive fees, generally calculated on the hotel’s adjusted gross operating profits:
approximately 5%
• fees for services such as:
– design and pre-opening consultation
–management of facilities such as residentialproperties or golf courses
–licensing of the Four Seasons brand name
Four Seasons management contracts are exceptionally long term:
• new management contracts average 60 to 80 years
• the remaining term of existing contracts (assuming renewals) averages 52years
• the average term for the remaining properties expected to open in 2005 or early 2006
is 53 years
• non-disturbance clauses with hotel owners and lenders are intended to ensure the
continuity of our contracts upon the sale, refinancing or foreclosure of a property
i had a couple comments on R&C docs here >
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...l#post18459362

behuman, R&C has scandals >
Originally Posted by vincentb89 View Post
http://www.france24.com/en/20120911-...relais-chateau

After the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc scandal last year, another example of the always righteous behaviour of my fellow citizens ...
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/8940405/Relais-and-Chateaux-hotel-club-rocked-by-corruption-scandal.html
former R&C president investigated for embezzling money and stays
6 years after he left position, only coming out because of Villepin's involvement?
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
This is a little like the French Palaces fiasco, which was, allegedly, rigged.
and michelin and >
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
so oetker replaced Jean-Claude Irondelle as manager of hotel du cap eden roc because they accused him of embezzling. (and started accepting credit cards for the same reason.) is this only coming out now? it took 5 years to get an indictment..
some more of above >
newsweek.com/resort-ones-own-90343
Hotel Quisisana...50-room reservation...$830,000...when the party ended, the 100-plus guests boarded the yachts... "They just used the rooms to get dressed and change," says hotel director

Amanpuri...rents out all 30 pavilions and 40 private villas for $100,000 a day to certain discreet parties.

Rome's Cavalieri Hotel, an American couple recently booked 48 of the 370 rooms for a toga party.

blocked all 25 rooms onboard a Bora Bora cruise

reserved the Hotel Rosa Alpina, a 50-room...for 18 friends...helicopter rides to Venice...two-star Michelin chef on call for picnic lunches. One of the first bookings for The Regent Bordeaux...family planning a sightseeing trip who rented the entire top floor so the children and nanny could spread out.

Park Hotel Weggis launched a "Rent-a-Resort" three-day package starting at $111,000 for all 43 guest rooms, general manager Peter Kampfer expected it to be used mainly for corporate retreats. "But we are seeing that 40 percent of the bookings are from individuals

London's Draycott Hotel...40th birthday, reserving 20 of the 35 rooms.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jan 22, 19 at 12:20 pm
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Old Oct 22, 12, 2:54 am
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Wink Virtuoso ma non troppo

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post

i agree id like to see virtuoso agents comment on this >

They are quite silent seems it - perhaps things are going less smooth than we think.

I digged into their website these last days and came to the following conclusions:

- Virtuoso focuses only on The Americas and Australia/New Zealand as customer base - these are the options on their website for customers.

- Their property choice in general is good, but not very inspired - one can get any reputable guide LHW, R&C, Lodges of Australia/New Zealand to get the same.

- They have a very disturbing connection with Hyatt (I don't care if "Park" or not). For me this is NOT luxury.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 3:33 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by behuman View Post
They are quite silent seems it - perhaps things are going less smooth than we think.

I digged into their website these last days and came to the following conclusions:

- Virtuoso focuses only on The Americas and Australia/New Zealand as customer base - these are the options on their website for customers.

- Their property choice in general is good, but not very inspired - one can get any reputable guide LHW, R&C, Lodges of Australia/New Zealand to get the same.

- They have a very disturbing connection with Hyatt (I don't care if "Park" or not). For me this is NOT luxury.
A few comments (but not too many)
1. There are a good number of European customers with Virtuoso- including some of us in North Italy
2. I find that working with a Virtuoso advisor- they will also find very interesting choices for you that are not in the property choices and have a lot of knowledge about the properties
3. I don't find anything disturbing about Hyatt (Park or otherwise)- not all are luxury however in a number of markets they have beautiful properties including Milano. If I don't want to stay at a corporate hotel I simply specify that and it always works out. Some cities are easier than others to accomplish this in BTW. By the same token as their relationship with Hyatt I suppose you could say that Virtuoso has a "disturbing" relationship with Aman.
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Old Oct 22, 12, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by TRAVELSIG View Post
A few comments (but not too many)
1. There are a good number of European customers with Virtuoso- including some of us in North Italy
2. I find that working with a Virtuoso advisor- they will also find very interesting choices for you that are not in the property choices and have a lot of knowledge about the properties
3. I don't find anything disturbing about Hyatt (Park or otherwise)- not all are luxury however in a number of markets they have beautiful properties including Milano. If I don't want to stay at a corporate hotel I simply specify that and it always works out. Some cities are easier than others to accomplish this in BTW. By the same token as their relationship with Hyatt I suppose you could say that Virtuoso has a "disturbing" relationship with Aman.
Thank you for these comments based on your personal experience TRAVELSIG which is of course more reliable than a simple study of a website.

Now we only have to solve the commission problem , but I doubt we will.

And I persist in suspecting there is something more involved with Hyatt. Unlike Aman, Hyatt does not exactly represent (with exceptions as you state) what Virtuoso pretends to be .
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Old Oct 22, 12, 9:36 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by behuman View Post

Now we only have to solve the commission problem , but I doubt we ).
yeah, people earning a living from selling a product..... Pretty sinister stuff.
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