By George Foster, Justin Randolph
2014 | Case No. E481 | Length 20 pgs.
The case profiles Brad Handler, co-founder of Inspirato, as he contemplates and ultimately founds the luxury and leisure membership-based ‘destination club,’ shortly after selling and leaving an analogous company that he previously also founded (Exclusive Resorts). The case begins with a biographical overview of Brad Handler and the genesis of and logic for Exclusive Resorts. It provides an overview of the luxury vacation property industry, as well as the timeshare, fractional ownership and destination club industry and then dives into the Exclusive Resorts business model and company growth. After Handler decides to leave Exclusive Resorts, the case delves into his considerations and next steps as he evaluates the opportunity for an improved business model to that of Exclusive Resorts. Given Handler’s unique understanding of the industry and a few of its inherent flaws (most notably capital intensity and seasonal demand), he recognizes the unique position he is in to improve upon the Exclusive Resorts model. In particular, the ‘destination club’ sector had previously been characterized by property acquisition and ownership—with significant capital requirements—as well as demand choppiness and supply constraints during weeks of high vacation interest. Handler considers the implications of entering into long-term leases and rental agreements with individuals and third-party vacation home owners, as well as the use of fluctuating “use rates” for each property in the ‘destination club’ portfolio in an attempt to both reduce the financial hurdles of entering a ‘destination club’ and to smooth internal demand. The case brings up a number of important considerations, including new venture formation, how and when an entrepreneur should think about a follow-up to a previous venture—especially one with similarities to a previous business and with customer overlap—business model design, and product launch.

Learning Objective

• To require students to consider the activities necessary to go from product concept to creation. • To urge students to reflect on the role of technology and innovation in a category and industry that has seen very little change. • To discuss the pros and cons of taking outside funding. • To illustrate that business model innovation can be an inherent part of the design and innovation process. • To demonstrate an example of a serial entrepreneur and, in particular, the nuances and considerations involved in a follow-up venture in a similar industry.
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