Friday, 1 August 2008

A New and Growing Vacation Ownership Option

(ARA) - The downturn in the real estate market has caused many people to forgo the purchase of a second home. But because they still want the opportunity to travel and spend time with friends and family, many are opting to become members of luxury travel destination clubs instead.

One reason for the switch -- most clubs provide a guaranteed refund of deposit, which may be more appealing than the liability of purchasing a second home in a potentially risky real estate market.

“With the current market, people are looking for alternatives to owning a vacation home. They still desire the quality time spent on vacations, but they want options,” says Steve Greer, founder of the LUSSO Collection, a boutique luxury travel destination club. “Destination club members get the opportunity to have luxury vacations around the world, without the hassle of second home ownership. Plus they have peace of mind because of the refund available on their deposit.”

Besides being concerned about the unstable real estate market, many people are finding that having a second home is simply too much work. Although you have the benefit of total control over design and decor in your own home, it often requires a lot of maintenance that can add up fast in time and money. If you live far away from your vacation home, that means hiring out the upkeep of the property. If you live close, you might spend half your time there tending to necessary household tasks.

Destination clubs are another option that consists of members who join a country club type of organization to utilize a portfolio of properties that the club owns. The clubs work well for people who enjoy the privacy, space and conveniences a home offers, but don’t want to worry about maintenance hassles or be limited to one destination. Additionally, certain destination clubs also provide vacation planning and on-site concierge services that you would normally find at a luxury hotel.

Decor and amenities are determined by the club, and although this freedom is forfeited, many view this as a positive. Some people prefer not to spend their own time on these items and find comfort in knowing the organization is consistently keeping the properties in superb shape.

Interest in destination clubs is evident in the recent growth of LUSSO, which has doubled in size since 2007 and recently reported its strongest quarter since its start in 2006. The concept for the LUSSO Collection came to Greer after traveling with his wife and first child. They found rented homes to be unsatisfactory and the prospect of buying a second home unappealing. The need for rented cars, car seats, toys, games and groceries made the travel experience less than pleasant.

With its unique boutique structure and a members-to-residence ratio of 5.5-to-1, LUSSO is a choice that makes sense for a lot of people. Members get unlimited use of private luxury homes that are fully equipped with all needed items including a Lincoln Navigator, golf clubs, a gourmet kitchen stocked with pre-arrival groceries and amenities for all travelers regardless of age. The membership deposit is 100 percent refundable upon resignation as well as annual dues.

With an economic structure that is similar to a country club, members pay a fully refundable deposit (currently $425,000) and annual dues for unlimited access to the club’s portfolio of residences and services. Properties are in locations such as Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Aspen, Colo.; Manhattan; Hawaii; the Bahamas and other choice destinations. For more information, visit, or call (866) GO LUSSO.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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