"The new way to say luxury..."
Founded in 2005 and launched officially in June of 2006, the LUSSO Collection, Italian for luxury, largely focused on a "boutique" offering, dedicated to continually providing superior service to its members. At launch, the club already included 14 homes and 30 members.
Targeting just 550 members and 100 luxury properties, LUSSO continually cited the pitfalls of big clubs and emphasized the fact that LUSSO members would not only be treated equally as the club only offered only one membership plan at the time, but would have access to everyone in the LUSSO family, all the way up to Founder and CEO, Stever Greer. Greer, a Bristish national, was the former COO and CFO of Rapala and spent over a decade with Price Waterhouse.
The club's vision was to grow organically and utilize a "smaller is better" mentality. Maintaining the industry's lowest member to property ratio at five-and-one-half members to one property since inception, the club's projected occupancy rate received a world-class rating of 98% in a 2007 survey of members. LUSSO's member first mindset allowed the club to grow to a power player in the destination club industry, primarily through membership referrals, accounting for nearly half of all new membership acquisitions. Members were entitled to unlimited travel, 100% refundable deposits if a member elected to leave the club, and procured partnerships with many ancilliary organizations to augment the LUSSO experience.
By early 2008, LUSSO had grown to well over 100 members and was widely considered to be one of the fastest growing destination clubs in the industry. The club launched a new 21 night offering in July of 2008 as an alternative to the unlimited membership plan the club had utilized since inception. "We are excited about offering LUSSO 21, which we developed based on feedback that we have received from people who want to experience The LUSSO Collection but who may not travel extensively. Our club continues to evolve based on how to best serve our ever-growing membership base and to meet our ever-present goal of providing truly luxurious getaways for individuals who love to travel," said Greer.
By the end of 2008, LUSSO Collection was filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers, leaving over 150 members without a club and little chance of recouping their membership deposits. Claiming between 200 and 1,000 creditors and estimated assets and liabilities of $50-$100 million, the club tried to secure financing from members but never was able to recover. By February of 2009, the club had ceased operations and converted their bankruptcy filing from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7.
Very similar to the situation that happened after High Country Club was forced into bankruptcy just months earlier, several leading clubs were quick to make aggressive plays at the collection of LUSSO members left without a club. Equity Estates, Quintess, and Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club all made unique offerings to club members while a group of former LUSSO members planted the seed of a "LUSSO 2" that would eventually be known as How Fun Resorts.
Litigation against Greer remains open and the final fate of the club has yet to be completely finalized.
To learn more about the LUSSO Collection, please visit the club's quick links found to the right or request a free copy of our Destination Club Guide.
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