Skift Take

Hey, when opportunity knocks, answer the door if you think there is an ample addressable market. That's what Inspirato did as it develops a corporate rewards or incentive program and seeks to broaden its products into flights and adverture travel, as well.

There’s nothing like an unsolicited query from a global software company to spur a company, such as newly public Inspirato, to launch a new product line — and that’s what happened in 2021.

Inspirato, which reported its inaugural earnings as a public company last week, said its product development teams are developing a corporate rewards incentive program after a global software company, which Inspirato didn’t identify, cold-called the company in some form and asked about Inspirato providing a rewards travel program for its sales force in Inspirato’s luxury accommodations.

“In 2021, we received an unsolicited inquiry from a large global software company about providing reward travel for its sales force,” said Inspirato founder and CEO Brent Handler.

The software company ended up making a “multimillion dollar” payment to Inspirato, “fully paid upfront,” he said.

“Our early success in this area catalyzed our innovation and product development teams who are in our actively exploring how to capitalize on the large and growing corporate incentive travel market,” Handler said.

In other highlights from Inspirato’s fourth quarter and full-year 2021 earnings announcement, the luxury home subscription company beat its 2021 subscription forecast by around 500 subscribers, but it had to boost marketing spend 81 percent to get there.

When it closed out 2021, Inspirato had around 13,800 active subscribers, a 17.6 jump compared with the 2020 roster, and a mark that beat its forecast by around 500 subscribers.

But Inspirato leaned into sales and marketing to do so, with its 2021 sales and marketing costs rising 81 percent to nearly $27 million.

“So at the beginning of the year, one year ago, the environment in various parts of the country in the world was still challenged due to the effects of the pandemic and that eased that the year went on,” Inspirato Chief Financial Officer Web Neighbor said. “We frankly had a significant amount of inbound demand for those subscriptions and we ramped up fairly aggressively sales and marketing spend to meet that demand.”

That jump in marketing spend wasn’t unreasonable compared to increases in marketing spend by a variety of travel companies. For example, Sonder boosted its sales and marketing spend 82 percent in 2021, and Expedia Group’s climbed 67 percent as demand exceeded 2020 levels.

Still, Inspirato notched a net loss for full-year 2021 of $22 million, which the company said was on par with previous projections, compared with a net loss of a little more than half a million dollars in 2020. Revenue in 2021 rose 42 percent to $235 million.

Inspirato recorded a net loss of $9 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to a net loss of $5 million during the same period in 2020. Fourth quarter revenue rose 71 percent to $68 million.

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Tags: earnings, future of lodging, homes, hotels, inspirato, IPOs, loyalty, luxury, online travel newsletter, rewards, spacs, subscriptions

Photo credit: A luxury home in Aspen, Colorado that was offered by Inspirato. The company beat its forecast on subscriber growth in 2021. Inspirato

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