Creating Tailored Experiences for GuestsWed, 05/08/2019 - 12:01
For many years, timeshares were considered the antithesis of luxury travel. However, the right business model and concept can turn around even the staunchest critic, says Guillermo Ordóñez, Regional Director Mexico and Latin America of Inspirato, a provider of luxury-branded vacation homes. “Inspirato’s founding partners were CEOs of one of the most successful timeshare models. However, when the traditional model became saturated, they decided to create a new luxury model targeting a specific audience.”
Inspirato’s model offers its members the opportunity to travel around the world and stay in luxury houses or hotels. “We have a unique portfolio of houses and residences that are not open to anyone other than our members. This allows us to offer high-quality standards at all our destinations and to customize our service to meet the needs of all our guests,” says Ordóñez. However, Inspirato’s exclusivity does not come cheap. Its three types of memberships are Key, Family and Executive, all with different initial prices and an annual maintenance fee of US$3,600. Membership provides access to Inspirato’s portfolio of more than 200 houses and residences in over 235 destinations worldwide. Should Inspirato not have a residence in a specific location, Ordóñez says the company has entered a series of agreements with hotel chains that comply with Inspirato’s profile. “We are a travel club for a very specific audience,” says Ordóñez.
Ordóñez adds that the Mexican market fits the profile of Inspirato’s members, especially since Mexico has become one of the main markets for luxury products. “Mexico is in the global Top 10 for travel and luxury accommodations. It is a strategic market for us.” Such is its strategic value that of the company’s total 16,000 memberships, 1,250 come from the Mexican market. Ordóñez says the Mexican market also has a higher retention rate than in the US.
Despite Inspirato being a global product, Ordóñez says that there are cultural differences in the way the product is accepted and commercialized. “Of our three membership levels, the most popular in Mexico is the Family membership.” Ordóñez says that in this regard, Mexican travelers resemble Brazilians, with a strong sense of family. Another important component Mexicans take into consideration is service. “Mexicans’ service level is among the Top 5 in the world. This makes Mexican travelers among the most demanding in terms of quality, service and details.”
According to Ordóñez, each house in the Inspirato network is valued at an average of US$3.3 million and each real-estate acquisition made by the company or its members is backed by its own team of real-estate agents and interior designers. As a result, it can ensure that each property meets Inspirato’s requirements. Every house comes with a butler service to attend the needs of visitors, which also includes procuring tickets for a show, hiring a professional chef or a nanny.
“Our Mexican members tend to ask for tickets for the US Open, the Super Bowl or The Masters events, while members from abroad coming to Mexico want archeological visits and gastronomy.” To comply with requests, Inspirato has a team in charge of forging alliances that allow its members access to all the relevant events that might take place in a city. “We employ a destination manager who generates a benchmark of member requests. For instance, we have tickets for the US Open, Wimbledon and Formula 1 races, which we offer to our members at competitive prices,” says Ordóñez.
Inspirato has a well-defined target for its memberships but Ordóñez says the company is not stuck on a single business model and is exploring new possibilities. “Our main target is people between 40 to 60 years old but we need to keep in mind the millennial factor. That is why we are thinking of a new type of membership for this market.” Ordoñez says that in addition to managing its own houses, Inspirato has a home-owner model through which members can include their own houses in the program.
When it comes to destinations, Ordóñez says the company purchases properties depending on market demand. “In Mexico, we have properties in nine different destinations, with Los Cabos holding the most properties.” Traveling Mexicans, however, prefer destinations outside the country. “The most popular destination for Mexicans is Vail, Colorado.”