Bill Smith, a 44-year veteran of the cruise industry and a well-known figure in the travel agent community, will officially retire on July 1 after spending his last five years as vice president-cruise sales at Virtuoso, the luxury travel network. Virtuoso has promoted Beth Butzlaff to vice president-cruise sales to fill the vacancy left by Smith’s retirement.
Prior to his time with Virtuoso, Smith served as senior vice president of marketing and sales with Crystal Cruises, president of Silversea Cruises, and senior vice president marketing and sales at Princess Cruises, among other posts. He also held executive positions at Noble House Hotels & Resorts and Eastern Airlines.
At Virtuoso, Smith helped grow the cruise division, a key sector in the group’s product portfolio. He was instrumental in Virtuoso’s significant increase in cruise production and was most recently involved in the rebranding and expansion of Virtuoso Voyages, the group’s flagship cruise program.
“Of the 44 long years I’ve spent in the corporate world, these past five at Virtuoso have been the most fun, exciting, productive and rewarding,” Smith said. “I’ve been able to work with truly incredible people—Virtuoso members, Virtuoso staff and Virtuoso suppliers—creating memories and dreams that will stay with me forever.”
Butzlaff brings more than 20 years’ travel experience to her new role, with six of those years spent at Virtuoso. She most recently served as managing director of Virtuoso’s cruise program, where she spearheaded the network’s expansion of cruise product into global markets. Prior to joining Virtuoso, she served as vice president of sales at the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad, the largest shore excursion in North America.
“It is bittersweet saying goodbye to Bill, who I’m proud to say has been a friend and colleague for more than 25 years,” said Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch. “I feel so fortunate that the last five years of his career were spent with Virtuoso. He has left an amazing legacy with his mentorship of Beth and the growth of the cruise team. He’s been a great contributor to our cruise program, always balancing business with great humor.”