Well, my goodness, these have been some difficult weeks (I guess we’re now into counting the months, right?) and, by all appearances, we’ve still got a good number of weeks to go until most of us can be out and about again, although recent signs are indeed encouraging! We’re flooded with news about COVID-19 these days. So, the focus here does not need to be on the virus, its impact on travel, when we’ll be able to travel again, etc. This blog was created to review Inspirato Pass and I intend to continue to do that.
This time around I, of course, have no trip to review. I have no analysis of return on investment for Pass. I have no incredible stories of concierge service or incredible meals enjoyed at fine restaurants. Those things all seem like they happened back in another world from where we find ourselves today, and that’s okay.
Again, the purpose of this blog is to review Inspirato Pass and to help others decide if Pass is right for them. There will be a time again (soon I hope and pray!) where individuals and families will be trying to decide if they should jump in and become Passholders with Inspirato Pass. It might be helpful for them to know how Inspirato responded to its clientele during the worst travel/vacation crisis that the world has seen in any of our lifetimes.
So, what can I say to someone reading this in the coming weeks and months about the experience with Inspirato during the COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s always important to remember the past, to remember what things were like pre-pandemic. As it relates to Inspirato, it’s quite simple. They were providing incredible vacation experiences for their members and Passholders to enjoy with those they care most about. They were excelling at this. Inspirato Pass was growing like crazy. We were all enjoying amazing vacations. Just click here and pick a post to read about some of our experiences. Frankly, Inspirato was crushing it at every level! Clients were thrilled. They were growing their team. They were being awarded as a top work place. Life was good at Inspirato for all involved. Then, COVID-19.
It’s appropriate to acknowledge the reality of this most challenging time. All Inspirato Passholders and members received an email from Brent Handler, Inspirato CEO, on March 24, 2020. It was a model of transparent and authentic communication. Here are a few reasons why it was so impressive and appreciated:
- Clarity of Purpose: Mr. Handler states early on in the communication, “We are doing everything in our power to ensure Inspirato will be here for your vacations this year, next year, and well into the future.” That statement both reinforces the gravity of the current situation while, at the same time, communicates their commitment to get through to the other side. I fully trust that they are working with great diligence and conviction as they navigate their way through this storm for both their clients and their team members.
- Gravity of Situation: The gravity of the situation is acknowledged. There are bigger things at stake here than our businesses and personal interests. Mr. Handler makes that clear. “The impact is widespread and in many cases heartbreaking. Our thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected, and the heroic medical professionals on the front line. None of us will lose sight of the human cost”. Great job of maintaining perspective and keeping the first things first.
- Transparency: The tough news is delivered almost as if we are all family sharing together in the disappointment. The first piece of difficult news is that all Inspirato residences are shut down through May 15 (and I’m sure depending on the destination, some will be down longer than others as various locations have extended significant restrictions at least through May). This decision well understood and unavoidable considering the global situation. The second bit of news was much tougher, especially for those directly impacted, and we were invited into the living room as Mr. Handler shared the news. More than 100 people from Inspirato’s team were laid off. It is mentioned that they still have a 500 person workforce. So, they most likely laid off 17 or 18 percent of their staff. That’s a very difficult thing for any leader with integrity. In fact, he mentions that it was perhaps the hardest day of the executive team’s career. That shows empathy, honesty, and transparency in the face of a new reality that almost showed up from one day to the next. Facing difficult situations head-on and making tough but prudent decisions in a crisis shows true leadership. Having empathy and compassion in the midst of difficult leadership decisions shows integrity and depth of character. Well done Mr. Handler.
- Doing Right to the Customer: When faced with a severe crisis and considering the menu of alternatives of how to respond, one is usually forced to select from a menu of alternatives that all prove lacking in one way or another. They all involve “solutions” that not everyone will be happy with. Some clients will be upset. Some may even cancel their membership. But, many will respect and appreciate the effort being made to balance the parallel goals of preserving the sustainability of the company while at the same time honoring their clients and providing them the best possible option available for this unprecedented time. I won’t detail the actions here, (feel free to ask if curious) but as far as I’m concerned, the offering of a three month pause feature is generous and fair to Passholders. And we join Mr. Handler in our common hope that Inspirato will emerge stronger than ever once we grind our way through this most difficult season!
Things have changed. Life is different. We’re not sure when we’ll have a new normal and we don’t even know what that new normal will exactly look like yet. But, there will be a time when we start to travel again. There will be a time when we’re once again online and scrolling through Inspirato inventory availability and dreaming about our next vacation destinations with our loved ones (shoot, I’m actually already doing this and plan to break out of pause as soon as we can travel with some semblance of normalcy). We’ll be on the slopes again. We’ll be at the beach again. We’ll be taking in those tropical sunsets again with our favorite cocktail in hand. We’ll be watching our kids splash around in pools. We’ll be at our favorite restaurant enjoying our favorite dish. We’ll be letting the Inspirato concierge spoil us with care and service. That time will come. And when it does, I know that we will all bring a renewed perspective along with us. I know my gratitude for being on a family vacation will be off the charts! We’re all realizing, to an even much greater extent, what a profound blessing vacation time is with our loved ones.
In the meantime, we’ve got a pandemic to fight. So let’s all do our part to beat this thing. For the majority of us, that still simply means staying home a bit longer, which I know can be a challenge for us travel enthusiasts and lovers of adventure. However, our (those of us staying home) sacrifice fails to even compare with all those on the front lines risking so much to help us all get to the other side of this thing. So, thank you to the front liners! You all deserve Inspirato vacations when this thing is over! 🙂
In closing, thank you Inspirato for your integrity during this time of great difficulty. I frankly have seen some very poor leadership exhibited by other companies during this time. It’s not something to take for granted.
NOTE: I started to write this post a number of days ago. Since then, I’ve continued to be impressed with my dealings with Inspirato team members in figuring out the pause feature, working through cancelled reservations, etc. Also, I’ve signed up for a virtual family cooking class and a wine tasting experience with Inspirato for April 30! It’s so awesome that Inspirato is getting creative and figuring out ways to keep their members and Passholders connected and having fun experiences together, even if we need to enjoy them from our own homes at the moment. Bravo Inspirato! I look forward to sharing about these virtual experiences…stay tuned!
Happy Travels! (whenever that time may arrive)