Luxury vacation club Inspirato is announcing big news today–the company has merged with competitor Portico Club, which was previously a part of Exclusive Resorts.
This deal is particularly interesting because Inspirato’s co-founders Brent and Brad Handler also co-founded Exclusive Resorts, which they sold to Steve Case, the CEO of Revolution and founder of AOL. The Handler brothers founded Inspirato in 2011, tackling the same industry of vacation home rentals with a slightly different business model.
As we’ve covered previously, Inspirato is one part luxury travel club, and another part peer-to-peer rental like Airbnb. The membership has a number of tiers, but the basic offering requires you to pay a $17,500 one-time fee to join, then $3,000 annually. From there, you can pick and choose a wide range of luxury rentals around the world. A recent deal with AmEx allows cardmembers to get $2,500 off the initiation fee, $400 off the annual dues.
We’re told Portico’s contributed assets, which includes a membership base of 2,500 people and lease interests in 80 luxury vacation homes, are part of the transaction. Exclusive Resorts (which launched Portico in 2012) and its owner Revolution Places have acquired a minority stake in Inspirato (as well as a seat on the Inspirato board.)
Inspirato’s portfolio and Portico members will be invited to join the newly combined “Inspirato with American Express” travel club without payment of initiation fees. The combined club, which will operate under the name “Inspirato with American Express” and be led by Inspirato CEO and founder Brent Handler, will offer members more than 500 luxury vacation choices in more than 100 destinations.
Inspirato has raised nearly $50 million in funding from DAG Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Access Venture Partners and Crunchfund.
The draw for Inspirato is Portico’s Club membership base, which is a targeted audience, as well as Portico’s lease agreements for luxury villas around the world. This gives Inspirato members access to more luxury homes and villas in more than 30 new destinations.
The integration of Portico and Inspirato is expected to be complete by the end of January 2014.
Disclosure: CrunchFund was founded by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington.