In another sign of the shakeouts and consolidation in the luxury vacation ownership club market, Ultimate Resort (www.ultimateresort.com) and Private Escapes (www.privateescapes.com) are set to become one company. This is a merger of the second-largest and third-largest operators, so this development will lead to a Pepsi and Coke duopoly at the top of the scale in this industry.
According to the company press release, “The new combined club…will account for more than 25 percent of the total market share and boast a global resort real estate portfolio with a fair market value of $200 million.”
There’s a high amount of geographic overlap in these clubs, so in some ways this is bulking up more that providing more breadth. Even after the merger, there are only “nearly 50 destinations,” with the Latin America choices limited to a few spots in Mexico and Costa Rica. (Hint,–these clubs love Los Cabos.)
Depending on how much of a payment you can swing, you’re routed into one of three pecking orders. “The combined company will operate three distinct destination clubs targeting the $1 million, $2 million and $3 million average home value club categories.” There are now 1,200 combined club members, but no word on how many are in that highest category.
Expect a bit of membership campaigning and due diligence before the planned closing in mid-November. The final named of the merged destination club is to be determined.