Over the past six months, private vacation rentals have surged in popularity as travelers embrace exclusive escapes that offer plenty of social distancing. Now, the travel brand Inspirato is here to make finding the perfect spot even easier.
The company’s new Inspirato Pass is like subscribing to vacation: For $2,500 a month, you get unlimited access to a portfolio of villas and rooms at luxury hotels, plus, once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, invites to special private events like a weekend at the C Lazy U Ranch (a Travel + Leisure reader favorite) or a safari at some of the top camps in Botswana that typically sell out quickly. You can even bring guests along, up to the occupancy limit of a given vacation rental.
That’s it, that’s the deal: Pay $2,500 a month, and you get a never-ending supply of incredible stays.
“The structure is very straightforward,” says Inspirato founder and CEO Brent Handler. “If you're familiar with how Rent the Runway works, or the original Netflix subscription, it's the same.” Users can choose from 150,000 different trips, Handler says, and all are included in the rate. There are no extra fees — including resort fees — or surprise charges for Inspirato Pass holders, he adds.
The program is an evolution of something Inspirato first tried in 2019, when they debuted the idea of travel as a subscription. Before then, the company, which was founded in 2011, operated as a private club. Dues-paying members got access to travel advisors to help plan trips and a portfolio of private villas, hotels, and experiences like custom cruises or seats at in-demand sporting events, but paid for those things a la carte.
Now, more and more of Inspirato’s members are opting for the simplicity of the all-in, subscribe-and-go model — in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. “What we've learned is actually travel is an essential service for the affluent,” Handler says. “We shut down completely in March, April, and May. As soon as we came back online in late May, early June, we've seen historically high occupancy in our entire portfolio.”
Of course, there are a few limitations: There’s a $2,500 initiation fee to sign up for the program, so the first month will cost new users $5,000 all-in. You can only book one stay at a time — much like how old-school Netflix limited users to two DVDs at a time — to prevent travelers from booking up the entire calendar. Certain properties might be off-limits because another Inspirato Pass holder has booked them on a given date. And, importantly, guests are responsible for their own airfare.
Still, Handler says, “the simplicity of just being able to pick something, book it, not think about it, check in, have a five-star experience, and, the day you check out, book your next trip has really taken off.”
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