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Inspirato with American Express combines with Portico

An Inspirato vacation home in Punta de Mita, Mexico.

An Inspirato residence in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

The 2013 holiday party at Inspirato's LoDo HQ.

LoDo-based travel club Inspirato with American Express has combined operations with Portico Club

The resulting travel club has 185 employees in Denver and 7,000 total members, says Inspirato President David Kallery. A technological integration will be completed in Jan. 2014.

Kallery says the merger has its roots at Exclusive Resorts, where he spent more than eight years until coming over to Inspirato in 2012. "The last thing I did there before I left was launch Portico," he says. "There's a lot of connections." The deal reunites Brent and Brad Handler, Co-Founders of both Inspirato and Exclusive Resorts, with Exclusive Resorts Chairman Steve Case.

The combined club has about 500 lodging properties, primarily vacation homes, in 100 destinations worldwide. "From a member's perspective, it offers a lot of choices," says Kallery, highlighting options in Sea Island, Georgia; Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica; and Kapalua, Maui.

Kallery anticipates hiring as many as 40 new employees in Denver in 2014. Most hires will be the tech team members and "Personal Vacation Advisors" who help members curate their travel experiences on a one-on-one basis.

The company's current "job one" is smoothly integrating the companies after the merger, says Kallery, highlighting a push into "members-only experiential travel" like wildlife safaris and Antarctic cruises and Inspirato for Business as other priorities in 2014.  "We see a good opportunity to extend what we've done on the consumer side to businesses," he says of the latter.

Denver has emerged as a hotbed for travel-tech startups, including Inspirato, NextGreatPlace and Evolve Vacation Rental Network. Many of the founders and executives are former Exclusive Resorts staffers.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Eric Peterson with tips and leads for future stories at eric@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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