Would you like a luxury travel subscription from Inspirato with those Amina Muaddi Rosie 95MM Metallic Leather Slingback Pumps from Saks Fifth Avenue?
That could conceivably be a sales pitches as Inspirato entered into a strategic marketing partnership with Saks, which would have its Saks Stylists, online and in-store, try to sell Inspirato luxury travel subscriptions to clients. Consumers can choose to get matched with a stylist at Saks for fashion recommendations.
The two luxury companies plans to engage in a variety of cross-promotional efforts once the partnership kicks in sometime between April and June. Saks Stylists would receive training on Inspirato’s variety of travel subscription offerings, such as the combined Inspirato Pass and Club membership, which the company’s website says costs $2,550 per month.
Among elements of the partnership, Inspirato members will receive a pitch to apply for a SaksFirst Card, and they may qualify for status tier upgrades in the Saks loyalty program based on how much they spend with Inspirato. In turn, Saks customers would get access to incentives to buy Inspirato travel subscriptions.
The Inspirato announcement said Saks is its “exclusive luxury retail partner.”
The companies did not detail the financial details of their marketing partnership.
Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano on Tuesday toured the Evirma, the first sailing vessel in The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Capuano said in an interview that yacht-style cruises on the 623-foot Evrima — which hosts fewer than 300 people at a time — represent an important pillar of growth for the world’s largest hotel operator by pulling the levers of loyalty and luxury.
More than 70 percent of the bookings since the first October sailing has come from members of Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program, and the company sees the yachts as a way to fill in the matrix of interest in its program members.
“Luxury is a big part of the appeal of the Bonvoy program and a big driver of engagement with Bonvoy,” Capuano said.
Fares on the Evrima start at a minimum of $5,000 per person for a week and can rise beyond $25,000 per person.
About 70 percent of Evirma passengers have never been on the cruise before. So the offering is a way to leverage the Ritz Carlton brand name for additional spending from an existing customer base.
“It is core to our strategy to continue to look for ways to connect ourselves with our loyal customers throughout their travel journeys, whether you and I were talking about Marriott Homes and Villas or the launch of a mid-scale like City Express or the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection — they are all touchpoints that allow us to meet the needs of our consumers without ever looking outside the ecosystem,” Capuano said.
Yacht-style itineraries enable a more leisurely pace with more overnights in port than the typical large luxury cruise offers, plus the ability to access and explore smaller ports, such as Saint-Tropez, Ibiza, and St. Barts.
But playing in the luxury space has its perils. The more complex the product and the more high-touch the service, the more room there is for cost overruns. Spanish media have reported on financial filings from a shipyard claiming that the Evirma was budgeted at $300 million but cost twice as much.
Capuano said that the last few years brought a laundry list of “unusual challenges to owner economics,” with a mix of problems affecting supply chains. However, he said his company has long experience in executing luxury products well.
Marriott is the first of its hotel and resort peer companies to test the waters on yacht-style cruising, but three other companies in recent months — Four Seasons, Aman, and Orient Express — announced plans to offer luxurious yacht-style cruise lines.
More broadly, luxury is a key segment in Capuano’s vision for company growth.
“I continue to drive focus within the organization on luxury,” Capuano said. “Luxury represents about 10 percent of our global room inventory but about 20 percent of revenues through related fees. So from a purely economic perspective, the luxury portfolio and footprint are critically important.”
Marriott runs nearly 500 luxury hotels and resorts, with plans to open about 35 more luxury hotels this year out of a pipeline of roughly 200 properties.
“You can continue to see us make investments movements of dedicated capital to ensure that we maintain our significant lead in the luxury tier,” Capuano said. “We have a singularly unique portfolio in that we have a really compelling blend of classic luxury brands like Ritz Carlton and Saint Regis and emerging lifestyle luxury brands like Edition and W Hotels.”
“A good friend of mine who ran Six Senses from its inception, up to when InterContinental Group bought it, and my friends at the Discovery Land Development Corporation, they have a big announcement in the spring. And we’re working with them to build state-of-the-art sustainable camps in Kenya, that will come over the next couple of years.”
According to reports, Bernhard Bohnenberger, former president of Six Senses and now CEO of Discover Collection, has worked with Norton on selecting three safari lodges and one beach resort.
Norton shared the news while speaking with Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, about which resorts were taking sustainability seriously.
He revealed that the camps in Kenya would fully electrified and features electric vehicles, while water would be sustainably sourced and only locals would be employed. Norton said he wanted the camps to act as a model for what can be done.
The “Fight Club” actor, who has spent many years as an environmental activist and social entrepreneur, also acts as ambassador to the Kenya Tourism Board.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated the Six Senses founder was involved. This updated version includes a report on Bohnenberger.
The Shanghai-based company has been informally fielding inquiries from potential buyers, people knowledgeable about the matter said. Fosun, which owns Club Med through its leisure arm Fosun Tourism Group, could value the resort chain at around $1.5 billion. Shares of Fosum Tourism Group have fallen 19 percent in Hong Kong trading this year, and it suffered a net loss of about $28 million in the first half of 2022.
However, it’s uncertain if Fosun will go forward with any transactions as a representative from the company said it has no intention of selling Club Med.
A Fosun-led consortium bought Club Med in 2015 for about $968 million. The Fosum Tourism Group has since expanded Club Med’s business, including opening three resorts in the first half of this year.
Jumeirah Group said Wednesday it hired Katerina Giannouka, a top executive for Radisson in Asia, as its new CEO. The announcement was made by Dubai Holding, a global investment firm owned by the ruler of Dubai for which Jumeirah is part of.
Giannouka, who will be taking over as the CEO in December, succeeds Jose Silva as the fifth CEO of Jumeirah. She joins Jumeirah from Radisson Hotel Group, where she serves as president of Asia Pacific. Prior to this, she led the Asia-Pacific and China development team of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.
“Given Katerina’s (Giannouka) impressive track record as a transformative business leader, as well as her luxury hospitality background and drive to create resilient teams and culture, I am confident that she will build on Jumeirah’s incredible success story and lead the business to new levels of sustainable and accelerated growth across the world,” Amit Kaushal, Group CEO of Dubai Holding said in a press statement.
Giannouka said she’s keen to unlock the potential of the Jumeirah brand and sustainably secure its position on the world stage as the “top luxury Emirati hospitality brand recognised and sought-after globally.”
Jumeirah Group, a global luxury hotel company, which operates a 6,500-key portfolio of 25 luxury properties across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, opened new resorts in Bali and Muscat earlier this year. The group will also be opening more properties in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the coming months.
Flight Centre Travel Group’s new invite-only agency member group has expanded.
Link Travel Group, which Flight Centre owns the majority of — alongside Goldman Group and Spencer Group of Companies — launched in May this year. The joint venture aims to combine forces of individual agencies to leverage buying power, while providing access to its own product and distribution capabilities “at a time when considerable change is taking place.”
In other words, staffing shortages persist, and airlines are gaining an upper hand in selling directly, meaning fewer kickbacks.
Since May, the new group has added Reho Travel, Platinum Travel Management, Entourage Travel Group, Mobilise Travel, Mosman Travel and Mary Rossi Travel.
However, this month it announced Eden Corporate Travel had joined, according to reports. Travel Beyond Group will join in 2023.
Inspirato, a Denver-based travel startup, said that it generated $36 million in subscription travel revenue in the second quarter — up by half year-over-year. The company’s full quarterly revenue was $84 million.
The company’s Netflix-like subscription service, Inspirato Pass, had 3,600 subscribers in the quarter. For about $2,500 a month, Inspirato’s Pass lets travelers stay at about luxury vacation homes and hotels it partners with for specified lengths of stay.
In a concerning sign, growth in the company’s longstanding club-based program — Inspirato Club, where people pay a fee for access to discounted travel — grew only 4 percent to 12,100, year-over-year.
In another eyebrow-raising statistic, losses increased instead of shrunk. The net loss for the second quarter of 2022 was $7.2 million compared to a net loss of $0.6 million in the second quarter of 2021. Management attributed the rising losses to “increased corporate operating expenses.”
The company said it forecast that its loss for the full year will be between $15 million and $25 million on an adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization basis. The company anticipates generating positive adjusted earnings for the full year 2023.
Inspirato, a subscription business primarily for stays at luxury vacation homes and hotels, debuted on Thursday a third subscription product.
The new Inspirato Select product lets subscribers pick 3 trips from a list of more than 500,000 for an annual fee of $24,000, plus a $2,000 enrollment fee. The cost includes nightly rates, taxes, and fees but not transportation, meals, or other aspects of a trip.
Tapping into the corporate incentives market, Inspirato’s new Select product can be used as a perk for employees or business partners.
Europe-based fashion magazine Elle has announced plans to open a boutique 25-room hotel in Paris, reported the Business of Fashion on Tuesday.
Parent company Lagardère Group plans to open 15 Elle-branded hotels in the next decade. Maison Elle, set to open in October, will include a library on fashion design and the decor will feature will aim to look like the magazine’s photospreads.
A seaside Elle Hotel is in the works in western Mexico with owner-developer Actur, Le Figaro reported.
Elle’s move follows a growing momentum of fashion houses investing in brand extensions and licensing deals with hotels, reported the Business of Fashion.
Bulgari opened its first hotel in Milan in 2004 and now operates seven across Europe, the United Arab Emirates, China and Bali. Its hotels have seen occupancy surpass pre-pandemic levels and revenue double since 2019, said Silvio Ursini, executive vice president of Bulgari Hotels and Resorts. In the coming three years, Bulgari will nearly double its footprint, opening five more hotels in Moscow, Rome, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Miami Beach.
In March, Armani, which has two hotels in Milan and Dubai, announced it is set to open a third location in Saudi Arabia in 2025. Earlier this month, LVMH, which owns over 50 luxury hotels through its Hôtels Cheval Blanc and Belmond Hotel Group brands, appointed a new hospitality executive, signalling its own focus in the space.
The new Maison ELLE boutique hotel opens in Paris this fall. (ELLE Hospitality)