Inspirato: A New Luxury Vacation Club Designed By Brent Handler, Co-Founder of Exclusive Resorts (with Video)
Filed under: Luxury Travel & Hotels
This week marks the launch of Inspirato, the next intriguing idea of Exclusive Resorts co-founder Brent Handler. Inspirato combines the advantages of independent villa rental with the personalized services and amenities of private luxury vacation clubs. Inspirato membership provides access to a portfolio of multi-million dollar vacation homes that are controlled and operated through the company's long-term lease arrangements, along with personalized service and support. I interviewed Brent recently, and asked him questions about his new venture and adventure.
How did your entrepreneurial spirit and your Exclusive Resorts background inform your creating the new club, Inspirato?
I am the co-founder of Exclusive Resorts, and started the whole Exclusive Resorts Destination Club idea in my basement. This experience was a consequence of my being a serial entrepreneur. I always find more enjoyment in building something than maintaining and protecting something. This is why I left ER over a year ago. I still love Exclusive Resorts, but I wanted more challenges. This is the curse and blessing of having this type of entrepreneurial DNA. I am always thinking of what to do next, of different opportunities. So, I began thinking: I have always enjoyed vacation travel and remembered a statistic that really interested me and stayed with me: the villa/vacation rental industry was one that garnered $24B or so in recent years.
Why did you find that interesting?
It is interesting because that's a large dollar amount, and the villa rental experience is generally not curated for the user. We began due diligence, and discovered that those who rented villas did it through brokers, meaning the renters had no idea about the quality of the homes or their interiors. There were no travel planners at the beginning, or dedicated people to help the villa renters once they were there. So, to an entreprenuer's mind -- here was an opportunity! What we did was apply the benefits of the branded club experience to a completely different market segment, which was in this case the villa rental industry.
And this is how Inspirato was conceived?
In general, yes. Along with three other co-founders, my brother Brad who started Exclusive Resorts with me, Brian Corbett, a senior leader at Exclusive Resorts who managed the Once in a Lifetime program, and Martin Pucher, another entrepreneur from the tech world, we put together Inspirato as a way to make luxury vacation travel even easier. And I think we have succeeded. Our club is unique, in that it has no prepaid days, no upfront fees, no nightly minimum, no reservation rules, yet the members receive all the service benefits similar to destination clubs or branded clubs, like the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons. At Inspirato, there are Personal Vacation Advisors who learn each member's preferences and assists in vacation planning, residence selection and booking, and a Destination Concierge that offers local expertise and dedicated assistance before arrival and during the member's vacation. In collaboration with the member's Personal Vacation Advisor, Destination Concierges are experts at planning the ideal vacation that suits each member's personal preferences, from recommending and arranging activities for all ages; booking spa, golf and restaurant reservations; securing on-site transportation; and assisting with any needs during their stay.