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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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a member of a destination club and recommends it to anyone with the disposable income to afford it. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy wonders where Donald's pants went.