My first reservation with Inspirito Pass!
[POST UPDATED ON DECEMBER 2, 2020]
Disclaimer: I signed up for Inspirato Pass on November 30, 2019 and am unabashedly excited about it and the opportunity it presents to Passholders! I’ve been able to travel extensively over the past 12 months, even with a significant COVID-19 pause. This blog reflects my opinions only. I am not an employee or contractor of Inspirato and receive no compensation for this blog and commit to write unbiased reviews based strictly on my experiences and research. This is a new product in the marketplace (Inspirato Pass launched in July 2019) that fascinates me enough that I wanted to write about it and share my thoughts and experiences. I know that very few other people will invest (or is that squander?) the amount of hours (suffice to say it’s way too many!) that I have poured into my due diligence of Inspirato Pass. That’s it. Yep, I’m strange like that. 🙂
Now…Hello All! This blog has been created for the following reasons:
- Review Inspirato Pass to help others determine whether or not it would be a good fit for them
- Share my personal experience with other subscribers and interested parties so that they can get a good idea of how Inspirato Pass can be utilized with maximum value optimization
- Periodically point out particularly interesting value opportunities available to Inspirato Pass members that may drive and increase subscription value
- Encourage Inspirato as a company to continually create and increase the value equation for Inspirato Pass holders
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brian. I’m a 47 year old married dad of two high school daughters. We live in Orange County, CA. I love to travel and tend to obsess over finding value in vacations we take as a family. I deeply value experiences and creating memories with family and friends. I love trying new things and am often an early adopter. As a family, we primarily love beach and mountain vacations, with limited focus on more urban trips (that will be changing somewhat in 2021, COVID restrictions permitting). Our favorite destinations are Maui, Deer Valley, and local spots like Newport Coast and Palm Desert.
Okay, on to Inspirato Pass. I first came across Inspirato from an Instagram ad on my feed in late 2019. I didn’t pay much attention to it for quite some time as I didn’t understand what it was all about. At some point, the mention of “luxury-vacation-subscription” peaked my interest. I decided to click and explore. I became fascinated fairly quickly. There were beautiful vacation homes and hotels in our favorite destinations that we travel to frequently. There were incredible Inspirato residences available across the globe and a number of top hotel offerings, including Rosewood, Ritz Carlton, One & Only, etc. For our travel habits, it hit all of our top destinations with properties at the absolute highest levels. I did notice extremely limited offerings in Asia/Australia/Africa, but frankly, those are destinations that we do not travel to in this season of our lives.
So, I got to the point where I realized without any doubt that the inventory offerings of Inspirato Pass were a perfect fit for us. We could vacation for a lifetime with the inventory that they currently have. BUT, would it make financial sense for us to invest in the program? So, a quick summary of how Inspirato Pass works.
- $2,500 per month, no other fees, taxes, etc. (Of course, any additional charges at your vacation home/hotel will be your responsibility)
- $2,500 Initiation fee
- Cancelable at any time with 30-day notice
- At the $2,500 per month level, you are permitted to hold one reservation at a time
- Reserve homes/hotels from the significant offerings on the Inspirato Pass website. Duration of stay varies from two nights to up to thirty plus nights
- You can share with your spouse/partner, but sharing with others is not permitted unless you upgrade your membership. Talk to Inspirato for detailed info and associated costs
- There are options for a $5,000 or $7,500 per month subscription for those travel fanatics who would like to have the ability to hold two or three reservations at a time, or basically live on a perpetual vacation
I began to explore the value equation for our family. If I decided to pay $2,500 per month, how much value could I achieve? Would it be a loser, i.e. would I save money by just booking myself? Would it be a net zero or break even, i.e. would I end up spending the same amount of money as if I booked myself? Or, would I be able to get significant additional value from being an Inspirato Pass member?
And explore I did! I spent hours and hours (I can obsess over things like this sometimes, just ask my wife) looking into a huge variety of vacation possibilities, playing with their filtering tools to look at tons of dates, destinations, lengths of stays, number of people…and on and on an on. For a while, I was fairly convinced that there wasn’t much value to be had as my analysis generally showed me coming in at break even, or maybe achieving a 10-20% discount factor. That type of discount would not be worth the limitations that come with available dates, destinations, etc. Now remember, I was a new Inspirato Pass holder so keep reading. My initial evaluation was primarily based on looking at available hotel reservations rather than vacation homes. Here’s my first recommendation: If you plan on using Inspirato Pass for hotel stays only, you may miss out on the best part, the fabulous Inspirato residence portfolio, and get a bit less value out of your membership. This is (presumably) based on the fact that Inspirato does not own/control this hotel room/suite inventory. They have negotiated rates established with partner hotels and of course will never create customer opportunities that lose them money. Therefore, there may be somewhat of a discount, but fairly limited. Their hotel room options are driven by a proprietary logarithm that controls the value that a member is able to achieve. it works something like this:
Since you can only have one reservation at a time, imagine that you have credit of around $2,500 per month that Inspirato will give you some value factor for, probably at least the $2,500, ideally always more.
– If you make a reservation about 30 days out, Inspirato will give you about a month’s worth of value, or approximately $2,500 of value. I found there is generally a small value add, but sometimes it was more reasonable to book entirely outside of Inspirato. I assume sometimes you can get a fairly significant discount, but I didn’t see that too often.
– If you make a reservation 4 months out, the same formula works and so on and so forth, Inspirato will give you approximately $10,000 value, at times with a discount. You’d have to check out what the exact same reservation would cost on the hotel’s website to compare apples to apples and see how good of a rate Inspirato is offering.
– I’m certain that Inspirato has the ability to “turn the control knob” on their algorithm to adjust value allowed per reservation. This is both a risk and a potential benefit for Pass holders. It would be almost impossible to know when tweaks are made by Inspirato to adjust value up or down. This is of course a risk, as instead of increasing the price of Pass, Inspirato could simply turn down the value knob for members. On the other hand, hopefully they will be compelled to retain members and work to provide as much value as possible, in turn creating long-term, very happy clients who will even promote and recommend Pass to friends and family. Now a year into our membership, I can say that Inspirato has only increased its offerings with amazing inventory additions in a variety of prime destinations.
That’s it for now as it relates to hotel reservations. Although it may not make sense to sign up for Inspirato Pass if you strictly do hotel stays, it can certainly be a nice added benefit to the overall subscription. I plan on utilizing a hotel reservation this coming spring. I’ll review that process as it approaches.
Moving on to vacation homes, this is what eventually got to me to pull the trigger and try this thing out. It was definitely a process of doing a deep dive into the value equation however, and not an easy decision for quite a while.
I realized fairly soon into my Inspirato Pass deep dive that it is very important to have a triggering trip that gives you immediate value for your subscription. The last thing you want to do is sign up and then think you can wait a month or two to make your first reservation. Each day that you are able to book a reservation but don’t leads to diminished value (due to Inspirato algorithm). So book right away, the same day you become a member even! That’s what I did. In doing so, you can obtain serious value and Inspirato Pass becomes very worth the investment! My second recommendation is this: Make sure you have a “triggering” trip ready to reserve when you subscribe that is at least 2 or 3 times the value of what your total investment will be at the time of your reservation (examples to follow). Also, this reservation should be the fewest future days out as possible. In getting your first trip under your belt quickly, you’ll be able to reserve your next trip right away and continue to maximize value capture. It’s a wonderful thing if your first trip can be within a month or two of your sign up date. This gets you way ahead on your committed dollars and you can rest easy knowing that you made a wise decision. It’s then on Inspirato (and your diligent planning) to ensure there is enough value going forward that will encourage you to become a long time member. I don’t believe it is possible (could be wrong) to find a hotel reservation that will provide a value multiple of 2 or 3x. The focus must be on vacation homes. (Please feel free to message me if this needs clarification or if you have any questions!)
Now, available vacation home reservations do show an estimated value. You can freely search and explore all available reservations before signing up for the Pass subscription. I checked a number of these against listed rates or comps and they proved out to be quite accurate. So, you should have a first reservation in mind that is valued at $5,000+ (checking in within around 30 days from sign up date) if you really want to come out of the gate ahead of your investment. I signed up with their Black Friday deal (offered in November 2019) which provided a free month of Pass subscription, so that was another way I was able to drive value. I, of course, recommend taking advantage of any future offers like that from Inspirato.
Here’s my experience so far as a case study.
- I signed up for Inspirato Pass on 11/30/19.
- I immediately made a reservation at a beautiful place in Deer Valley (a place we love and have been to many times over the years) for a four-night stay from January 4-8.
- The estimated trip value is $11,753.
- I will have spent $2,500 at the date which we begin to enjoy our stay valued at $11,753.
- I checked the property’s website and it does appear that the unit we will be in costs around $3,000/night.
- With my Black Friday deal, I won’t have a 2ndpayment until 1/30, at which point I should have another reservation firmly in place (stay tuned to see how that goes!)
- Required minimum commitment for Pass is six months, or $15,000. After just one month, I will have achieved 80% value of my minimum commitment. If I can keep this up, I will be a very long term member of Inspirato Pass! (Update: as of late 2020, there is no longer a six month commitment. This has been replaced with a $2,500 Initiation Fee and cancelable at any time, basically elimination all risk!)
Notes: (1) This is a trip I would not have taken had it not been for Pass. I recall that my Inspirato salesperson explained the similarities between Pass and Netflix. With Netflix, you end up enjoying shows that you otherwise would not have watched. With Inspirato Pass, you end up enjoying vacations you otherwise would not have taken. However, after you binge watch Netflix you feel guilty about the productive things you could have actually been doing instead of watching TV. After you take an Inspirato vacation, you regret nothing and have created beautiful memories that would not have otherwise been created! (2) My wife and oldest daughter did not have flexibility on their calendar to make this first trip. So, it was converted into a dad/daughter trip with some good friends. With Inspirato, maximizing value may often times mean getting creative and taking friends and families with you on incredible vacations! Inspirato will force you to take as many amazing vacations as you possibly can. What a great pressure to have!
Curious about how our first Inspirato Pass trip went in Deer Valley? It was beyond all expectations! Here’s the details.
Interested in joining me as an Inspirato Passholder? Reach out directly to my contact at Inspirato, here, and she can answer any and all questions you might have! You could be enjoying an incredible vacation yourself in just days!