One Key is a new destination club with a new twist on the destination club business model. The club has no initial membership fee and just a flat rate that varies depending on the number of days in your membership plan.
We recently talked to Jay Sapovits, the clubs founder, to find out more about this new entrant. Jay was one of the very early employees at Marquis Jet - the jet card program for NetJets - and is applying some of what he learned at Marquis to this new destination club.
Unlike the other destination clubs, One Key does not buy it's own homes but instead rents or leases them. This is the key reason why it does not require an initial membership deposit - which the other clubs use to buy their homes.The Club
Jay started the club in September 2006 and describes it as a hospitality and services company which is very much focused on creating enjoyable vacations for their members. Jay splits the vacation experience into 3 parts, Anticipation, Vacation, Reflection and said that people typically spend 20x as long on the anticipation including planning phases as they do on the actual vacation. He sees part of One Keys role as helping reduce all that up front planning so that members can enjoy their vacations.
With this in mind, the clubs property acquisitions team has been very active in looking for appropriate homes for the club. When we spoke, the clubs SVP of home acquisitions, Joel Schoen, had just been to Park City and Whistler and seen over 80 homes, looking for ones that are suitable. All homes are visited by the clubs staff prior to being accepted as part of the club.The Homes
The club has homes in 30 different beach, mountain, city, and leisure locations and the homes typically have values between $2.5m to $4m. In some cases One Key has partnerships with hotels that give access to luxury suites in certain cities. For instance in Las Vegas the club offers the 3,400 sq. ft. Four Seasons Presidential Suite that is on the top floors of the Mandalay Tower at the southern end of The Strip. This room is normally around $5,000 per night if you were to go directly to the hotel. Similarly in Boston, the club offers the Presidential Suite at the Boston Harbor Hotel, which would be around $4,000 per night if you were to book it directly through the hotel.
Other homes locations include Telluride, Vail, Stowe, Whistler (pictured above), Hilton Head, Scottsdale, Nantucket, La Quinta (pictured below) the Bahamas and St Barths.Value Added Services
One question that potential members of One Key have is "Why wouldn't I do this myself" and find my own vacation homes. Jay had several answers to this question. For starters he pointed out that One Key have ongoing relationships with the home owners which means they can get better rates and better services. In comparison if you're just looking to rent a house yourself, you would have to search through multiple properties to find the one that's right for you, and if it's a one off rental the owner or realtor has no long term commitment to you.
Jay mentioned that several of the homes that One Key has access to are not available on the open rental market. Their owners do not want the visibility and hassle of renting them to strangers but feel more comfortable having a longer term relationship with One Key and its members.
The One Key member services team provides all the usual assistance with pre trip planning and organizing during trip activities. This can include making restaurant reservations, booking tee times, spa treatments and theater tickets or hiring everything from babysitting services to private chefs to car services for members.
The club has two membership plans:
- 15 nights for $34,900
- 25 nights for $49,900
For 10 holiday/peak weeks a year nights are charged to a members account on a 2 for 1 basis, for instance if you want to stay at a home for 7 nights over Christmas, you will have 14 nights charged to your membership account.
When making reservations members can reserve as little as 30 days ahead for normal vacations but need to book 180 days in advance for the holiday/peak times. The minimum reservation varies from 1 night to 7 nights and for instance is usually 7 nights for periods such as Christmas, Easter, and New Year.
The 25 current members have already completed 20 vacations through the club.
One Key operates something like a fractional card for vacation homes. While it certainly competes with the other destination clubs it also overlaps with the luxurious villa rental companies such as:
- Villazzo which has luxurious villas in Spain, France, Mexico and the USA with rates from $2k to $20k per night.
- Abercrombie & Kent which offers villas in Europe.
- Luxury Retreats has a wide selection of homes in the USA, Caribbean and Europe.
We'll track One Keys progress as it continues to expand this year. If you want to compare One Key to the other destination clubs, start at our destination club comparison table.