Inspirato's 150-person team at their 2013 holiday party.
Denver-based luxury travel club Inspirato with American Express announced this week its joining with another Denver-based travel startup Portico Club. Now all of Portico’s technologies, members and employees will be integrated into the Inspirato name, Inspirato’s President David Kallery said.
Inspirato’s LoDo office space, which houses 150 employees, will be home to about 35 of Portico’s team members in the new year. Additionally, Kallery said Inspirato will likely hire another 30 to join the combined team in 2014.
The real spike in numbers though will come from the combination of Portico Club’s and Inspirato’s portfolios and membership bases. Now, Inspirato will have over 7,000 members (about 2,000 originally from Portico Club) that can book about 500 different vacation options around the world.
The luxury travel club operates much like a traditional country club, Kallery said, collecting annual dues and upfront initiation fees, and then giving members exclusive access to multi-million dollar homes worldwide as well as experiential travel options - like an Antarctic cruise that is planned for 2015.
The combination of Portico’s and Inspirato’s portfolios doesn’t come as much of a surprise for anyone familiar with the two companies' closely intertwined histories: Inspirato’s founder and CEO Brent Handler also founded Exclusive Resorts, the company that launched Portico Club. Kallery himself played a key role in Portico’s 2012 launch before joining Inspirato.
After just a couple short years of competition, Handler began discussing ways to combine with Portico just about five months ago, Kallery said. Although the specific terms of this deal were not publically outlined, Kallery did disclose that Revolution Places, Portico’s and Exclusive Resort’s holding company, now is a minority shareholder in Inspirato and has a board seat.
“We were obviously competitors for a number of years,” Kallery said. “It was a good, healthy competition; it was a tough, competitive environment and we stayed close with them.”