Did you hear about Disney
What's a destination club? Glad you asked. Unlike time-share operators that build out resorts with hundreds of units, destination clubs purchase homes and condominiums -- often in the multimillion-dollar range -- and then offer them up for member vacations.
The destination club's allure rests in having a portfolio of several properties -- on beaches, golf courses, snow-blessed slopes, and metropolitan hotspots -- to give members the ultimate in pampered experiences.
Sure, time-share members can join exchange programs like IAC/InterActiveCorp's
Disney has never shied away from the premium travel market. Staying at its theme-park resorts will set you back more than staying at a nearby hotel. Setting sail on a Disney cruise is usually pricier than a similar itinerary on a Carnival
So isn't it just a matter of time before Disney comes out with Disney Escapes, catering to families smitten by the Disney brand, but looking for a more exclusive experience? Destination clubs cater to affluent families, typically providing homes with 4-6 bedrooms and private swimming pools. Sure, rich couples and solo corporate travelers join destination clubs, but they can be equally served by a hotel's penthouse suite or a Bora Bora hut on stilts. These clubs get their real bread and butter from families -- and extended families -- who want to travel together. Isn't that what Disney is all about?
Luckily for Disney, the market is still in its infancy. There are only about 5,000 destination-club members, according to industry watcher Helium Report, in a fragmented industry with roughly two dozen clubs. Consolidation is a given, and Disney can probably snap up a market leader and brush up on the market as it upsells its destination-club offerings to higher-end Disney Vacation Club members.
It's inevitable, really. Now it's just a question of whether Disney is bold enough to make the first step, or simply lets its hotel mogul rivals beat it to the rum punch.
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