In a real-time marketing twist, luxury vacation rental company Inspirato has opened a series of "experience centers" in high-end malls around the United States.
The company (TLabs here) was most recently in the news for signing a significant partnership with American Express, which might explain the comfort with the in-person marketing aspect of physical stores.
The stores exist to introduce and entice mall shoppers to become members of the luxury vacation rental service. As the service is structured via memberships, this is an absolute essential component of the business model.
It's also important to showcase the various residences available to members, as the company has focused more on leasing the residences that are being rented over the long-term - a serious differentiation from other "luxury vacation rental" companies that are simply inventory intermediaries, or other "destination clubs" that must shoulder the burden of upfront ownership.
From the company:
We invite you to visit us at one of our stylish new Inspirato Experience Centers. If you are already a member, come by to learn more about our newest Signature Residences and begin planning your next Inspirato vacation. If you are considering membership, learn firsthand how the club can work for you and the way you like to travel.
And if you are simply seeking a better way to vacation, find out how we can help you live inspired moments that turn into lasting memories. Our on-site Personal Vacation Advisors are on hand to answer any questions you have, all within the comfort of recreations of the great rooms from our Costero Signature Residence in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Eagle's Nest Signature Residence in Vail, Colorado. You'll find locations and hours of operation for each experience center below.
Of course, time shares have been sold via physical locations and on-site promotions since the dawn of the industry.
What's new here is the Apple-esque approach to delivering a high-end luxury product in a mall setting. In many ways, it's ingenious: well-heeled people are already plying these malls purchasing aspirational items and creating an identity through consumerism.
Why not also remind them that their vacations can be equally high-end? And in the case of Inspirato's promotional stance, the membership model creates accessibility to the high-end luxury market at a more reasonable price than going it alone.
In addition, current members are welcomed to the Centers, offering more of a club-style experience for the brand overall. For members, this is a place to learn about new residences, enjoy in-person customer service and generally benefit from the "in the know" feeling that these sorts of exclusive membership organizations thrive on.
For travel marketers seeing the squeeze of in-person travel agents, this is a promising sign that travel still has a place in the real-time, in-person retail scene.
More on the Experience Centers here.