Skift Take

Everyone gets tired of luxury conference hotels—even really expensive ones. Exclusive properties offer the possibility of entertaining in a place you'd like to go if you weren't there on business.

Inspirato launched in 2011 as a membership-based global collection of luxury rental villas designed for upscale family vacations.

In 2013, the company created Inspirato for Business, aimed squarely at the high-end corporate retreat and incentive travel market.

Last week we released our new report, “The Future of Meetings in Hospitality,” which examines the evolution of the meetings industry, specifically through the lens of hospitality. This is the most definitive report on where the meetings and conference industry is going, especially as a result of all the technology changes. Get the report for a deep dive.

Presently there are over 230 housing options in 100+ destinations ranging from Vail to Vietnam. Each is categorized by theme including Beach, Mountain, Metro, Adventure and Lifestyle, and all of them have Wi-Fi and A/V capability.

The premise for Inspirato for Business was essentially to leverage the theme of “quality time” in the family-oriented business model, and apply that to relationship-building for senior executives and top producers.

“And what we found was something we call ‘Shifting strategy from the boardroom to the living room,'” says Christian Toraldo, senior VP at Inspirato. “What’s happening is executives are often able to form more lasting relationships, and think more openly and clearly, when they’re strategizing around a fireplace and sharing time together outside of the office in, on average, $3-5 million residences that we have in our portfolio.”

Inspirato also acts as its own global destination management company with concierge services and in-house corporate planning managers. Each company retreat is paired with a dedicated Destination Trip Planner based at Denver HQ, who organizes everything a planner might need, from ordering business supplies to hiring local chefs for cooking classes in the residence, chartering a ship or booking private ski lessons.

The Trip Planner works in concert with a Destination Concierge based onsite who oversees logistics and provides local insight.

“What the planners and senior level executives are telling us is how much they appreciate this sense of space in the residences and the sense of place,” says Toraldo. “It’s not just the location that you’re going to, but the actual place you’re physically staying that positively impacts the nature of the business meeting.”

Toraldo says exit polls show 82% responded that the physical residence had a positive impact on the success of the event. He adds that pricing is commensurate with traditional luxury lodging.

Popular destinations for board retreats and top level meetings include northern California wine country, Vail, Nantucket and Kiawah Island, SC. The most popular incentive travel destinations are Los Cabos, Punta Mita and Tuscany.

The services of the Destination Concierge tie in well with the demand from group planners for local insider access and experiences that individuals could not create on their own.

“Imagine you’re staying at a wonderful estate in Tuscany from the 13th century,” says Toraldo. “Our Destination Concierges know exactly where to get the freshest tomatoes, they know the best private chefs in Tuscany, they can organize private showings of David, they can set up the best tours in wine country or a Ferrari driving experience from Florence to Rome. Those things matter. And having that local expert who’s spent their whole life there provides experiences that can’t be duplicated.”

Our second trends report for March dives deep into how hospitality brands are remaking the modern meeting.

“The Future of Meetings in Hospitality” looks at how wildly popular events such as the annual TED Conference, South by Southwest in Austin, and Oracle’s OpenWorld in San Francisco are beginning to influence the traditional meetings industry.

Buy the Report

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Tags: american express, inspirato, meetings and events

Photo credit: A property in the Inspirato for Business collection. Inspirato

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