Inspirato had a plan, and now it also has a man to execute the plan: Eric Grosse. At the top of his agenda: improve member experience, cut costs, forge new partnerships.
Luxury hospitality brand Inspirato has appointed a new CEO: Eric Grosse, a current board member, will take over from Brent Handler, Inspirato’s founder and its CEO for the past 13 years, the company announced Monday.
Grosse comes from the travel and service industry — he has been the president of Expedia worldwide and was the co-founder and president of Hotwire.
Why the change? Said Handler: “The answer is shockingly simple, which is I think that Eric is a better CEO for Inspirato than I am at this stage. And as the largest shareholder, I look at this as the leadership team going to provide the best member experience for our members and provide the most clarity, the best culture for our employees and get the company back into a growth mode where it was for the vast majority of its history. And I just took a long look in the mirror and said, ‘I don’t think that’s really my skill, my greatest skill, I should say.’”
Handler will stay on the board of the company, which offers a luxury vacation home and hotel subscription service for affluent guests.
Grosse has a big job ahead and it will involve cutting costs and focusing on profits. Revenue growth in the second quarter was flat and the company lost $47 million.
“My number one focus is improving member experience, two, to strengthen our near-term financial performance and to get the Inspirato experience in front of more travelers,” Grosse said.
When it reported quarterly results in August, Inspirato had set some goals: to prune its large portfolio of underperforming assets and forge more partnerships, such as its existing deals with Saks Fifth Avenue and American Express.
At that time, it had also announced a $25 million investment from Capital One. Grosse said that the partnership would provide Inspirato access to reach more travelers, and to a membership-based travel perk to its cardholders.
For 2023, Inspirato anticipates total revenue between $320 million and $340 million and a full-year 2023 EBITDA loss between $30 million and $45 million.
“We’ve taken a lot of important steps for us to get to where we are right now. And, you know, the decisions that have been made, in many cases, have been really tough ones. I don’t want to, I don’t want to be flippant about it,” said Grosse. “But we feel like we took the steps we needed to along with the lease portfolio and the other pieces to make sure that the business, from a cost perspective, is where it needs to be.”