Tanner & Haley
By July of 2003, Private Retreats had CEO and Founder Rob McGrath had already established themselves as one of the premiere clubs in the young destination club industry and looked to expand their reach by partnering with an established name in the luxury travel arena. Already with over 300 members, McGrath and Private Retreats announced a branding agreement with Abercrombie & Kent, one of the luxury travel sector's largest organizations since their launch in 1962. Under the new branding, the club was known as Abercrombie & Kent Destination Clubs.
Launched in 1998, Private Retreats created a new model in the luxury travel industry. Several years earlier, McGrath and two partners purchased the 29-unit Franz Klammer Lodge in Telluride, Colorado for $28 million. The group began selling tenth-share interests in each unit and managed to take in $29 million in the first year. After another similar venture in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, McGrath sold his interests and looked to evolve the shared ownership model, convinced that travelers wanted more travel options and increased availability. McGrath's vision took components of the country club market, fractional jet model, and shared ownership and the foundations of the destination club model were in place. Members were promised guaranteed reservations, low annual dues, full refundability of their membership deposit, and a fraction of the cost of second home ownership.
While the club was successful under the Private Retreats namesake, the Abercrombie & Kent branding and auxiliary travel benefits that members were afforded within A&K allowed the club to reach even higher heights. Unfortunately, many of the risks associated with being an early entrant began to catch up with the club.
Just months prior to the Abercrombie & Kent branding agreement, Steve Case became an investor and owner at Exclusive Resorts, helping them to establish a dominant market position while young clubs such as Private Escapes, Quintess, and Dream Catcher Retreats were beginning to make their own headway in the industry. Due to a "member focus" model that guaranteed reservations, the club also was forced to make numerous short-term leases to sustain availability. With sales slowing and costs building, the club missed multiple payments to Abercrombie & Kent and lost the licensing and the brand identity they had established over the years. The club quickly rebranded as Tanner & Haley Destination Clubs, naming the new venture after McGrath's two young children.
"We have reached a natural conclusion to this partnership with the sellout of our first two clubs," said McGrath, referring to Private Retreats and spinoff Distinctive Retreats. "The two clubs will continue to operate as they have in the past with no changes. Having just launched Legendary Retreats, a Tanner & Haley Destination Club, we are now focused on expanding the Tanner & Haley brand and its unique identity."
Tanner & Haley was never able to truly recover from their first mover flaws and by 2006, the club filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After the filing, Tanner & Haley's assets were actively persued by several clubs including Ultimate Resort and Ciel. In December of 2006, after a bidding war between the two clubs, a federal bankruptcy judge selected Ultimate Resort's $100 million bid. Approximately 650 of Tanner & Haley's 874 members elected to join Ultimate Resort via either a dues only membership or through an option to upgrade to full membership when the acquisition was completed in May of 2007.
In September of 2007, Ultimate Resort and Private Escapes announced a merger between their two clubs to form what would eventually be Ultimate Escapes with the collected Tanner & Haley members still a substantial contigent of the club's member base.
To learn more about Tanner & Haley Destination Club, please visit any of the club's quick links found to the right or request a free copy of our Destination Club Guide.
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