In a sign that the economy is starting to rebound, the largest destination club announced that sales of new memberships and membership upgrades totaled $66 million in 2010, an increase of more than 50 percent compared to 2009. The club told us that over 200 people joined and over 130 members upgraded their membership plans last year.

Casa Risco Real del Mar Mexico

Casa Risco, Real del Mar, Mexico

“Our 2010 sales demonstrate what our 3,300 members have long known: Exclusive Resorts is the best, most convenient way to enjoy luxury vacations with family and friends, in 50 destinations across all seven continents,” said Steve Case, Exclusive Resorts’ Chairman. “Our 2010 results also suggest a rebound for luxury travel as we move into 2011. People are willing to spend on the things that are most important to them, like memorable vacation experiences, and increasingly understand the value of a Club like Exclusive Resorts.”

In the middle of last year, the club had told me that it was seeing strong membership growth and has added that the fourth quarter of 2010 was the club’s strongest for new sales since mid-2008.

“What we offer is one-of-a-kind in the marketplace,” commented Exclusive Resorts Chief Executive Officer Jeff Potter. “Vacations are precious time, so we leave nothing to chance. We design, own, and maintain the vast majority of our residences. We equip and furnish them ourselves with high-end amenity packages custom-selected for our members’ tastes. We have honed our distinctive service approach over more than eight years. Our dedicated travel advisors and onsite concierges know our members’ preferences and the details that make each trip special. This deep expertise enables us to provide exactly what every luxury traveler is looking for on every vacation: complete peace of mind, with time that is all their own.”

Club members have now taken more than 120,000 vacations with Exclusive Resorts since its founding in 2002. Overall satisfaction with club travel has exceeded 90% every year, including a 95% rating in 2010. The members now have access to about 400 residences in 37 destinations, with 65 new residences opened in Lake Tahoe, CA; Sea Island, GA; Kapalua Bay, Maui; Miraval Arizona; Las Vegas, NV; and Steamboat Springs, CO in the last two years. The club also offers “Once in a Lifetime” tours for club members to places such as the Galapagos, Fiji, Bhutan and Patagonia.