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Inspirato hopes to retreat the missteps taken with rapid growth in portfolio with longer leases by lowering rates and using third-party distribution channels. The path to profitability is paved in moderate growth.

Thanks to excess supply and lower occupancy, luxury travel brand Inspirato will use online travel agencies including Airbnb and Vrbo to list its luxury rentals — but without the high-end frills.

In the past two years, the Denver-based company increased its total portfolio by 100 percent, adding 365 controlled accommodations, ending 2022 with a total of 733 controlled accommodations. The company’s operating expenses climbed to $152 million or 44 percent of revenue in 2022. 

And to recoup some of those costs, the company will use “proven third-party distribution channels,” like Airbnb and Vrbo to list its rentals. “Where we have excess supply, we can use proven third-party distribution channels like a Vrbo and Airbnb, strip out the Inspirato service, strip out in Inspirato planning, strip out Inspirato housekeeping, strip out the Inspirato amenities in the home,” CEO Brent Handler said in its fourth quarter 2022 earnings call on Thursday.

The company posted a consolidated net loss of $51 million and a revenue of $346 million for the fiscal year 2022 —surpassing its lowered guidance of $340 million with a full-year 2022. 

“By consciously slowing our pace of portfolio growth, we will reduce many of the costs associated without fitting and onboarding the large volume of homes we launched in 2022,” said Chief Financial Officer Webster Neighbor, who will take on a new role of chief strategy officer.

Inspirato revised its full-year 2023 revenue guidance downward, anticipating revenues between $350 and $370 million,  and full-year 2023 loss on an adjusted earnings basis of $10 million and $20 million. In 2023, Inspirato will focus on improving its cost structure and optimizing its portfolio rather than growing it.

Handler assured investors that the company’s growth will be moderated in 2023 and its path to profitability is paved in pruning its portfolio, removing renegotiating underperforming supply (renegotiating or terminating leases), driving up occupancy by monetizing excess supply through online travel agencies and slashing prices to fill up excess capacity.

“Essentially, what happened is we grew a little too fast. We paid the expense to bring in all of that inventory. And sometimes, in a business like ours, it takes a little time to get it right,” Handler said. “Sometimes you don’t have enough supply, sometimes you have a little excess supply. And what we’ve done here is managed to get that excess supply, and we have a great opportunity to monetize it over time and grow into it.”

To drive up occupancy, the company also plans to offer loyalty and and reward opportunities for our existing subscribers and is working on strategic partnerships, such as the one announced with Saks which would have its Saks Stylists, online and in-store, try to sell Inspirato luxury travel subscriptions to clients — including its core product Inspirato Pass and Club membership, which retails on the company’s website at $2,550 per month. 

Inspirato also tried to expand its extended stay and business travel offerings through a new product that would enable non-profits to buy travel packages for donors and others called Inspirato for Good.

It believes some of these new initiatives would lower customer acquisition costs, optimize its demand-supply problem and put it on the path of profitability. However, the missteps taken in terms of rapid portfolio growth with longer leases saw the company trimming its headcount by laying off 12 percent of its workforce in January this year. 

In early afternoon trading Thursday, Inspirato’s shares were trading at about $1.02, a more than 0.49 percent decrease from Wednesday’s closing price.

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Tags: airbnb, earnings, inspirato, online travel newsletter, vrbo

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