Saks Fifth Avenue stylists are becoming “brand ambassadors” for Inspirato Incorporated, the luxury travel subscription service.

Saks stylists will receive training on Inspirato’s luxury travel subscription offerings and, beginning in May, will introduce Inspirato to their clients and will be supported by Inspirato’s sales team, as well as multi-channel marketing and brand collaborations. Saks has about 2,900 sales associates in its stores.

“As the largest luxury e-commerce platform in the U.S., it’s our mission to establish lasting, meaningful relationships with our customers and that includes delivering an assortment of experiences tailored to their unique lifestyles,” Marc Metrick, chief executive officer of Saks, said in a statement. “We know our customers are excited about travel.”

Brent Handler, Inspirato’s cofounder and CEO, said in a statement: “Like Saks, we focus on building long-term relationships with our members to help them lead richer lives, handcrafting unparalleled travel experiences. And with our portfolio of managed and controlled accommodations now larger than ever, we are well-positioned to accelerate our growth by partnering with Saks. We believe there is amazing synergy between Inspirato and Saks.”

While Saks sales associates will be encouraging their clients to subscribe to Inspirato, Inspirato members will be encouraged to apply for the SaksFirst Card to receive Saks rewards. If approved, they can get onto the SaksFirst status level based on their annual Inspirato spend. SaksFirst members get such benefits as complimentary gift cards, Saks Beauty Rewards, invitations to special events and early access to sales.

The latest Saks Luxury Pulse, as first reported by WWD last week, indicated that the luxury consumer has caught the travel bug and is steering their spending on clothes and accessories toward those related to the journey. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed by said they already booked or are planning to book a trip. Of that group, 60 percent said their top spending priority to prepare for the trip is clothing, while 36 percent said their top priority is to spend on shoes for the trip. That’s useful information to be considered in marketing and communications on certain categories, products and brands.

The Saks Luxury Pulse is a quarterly online survey of luxury consumers’ attitudes toward shopping, spending and fashion trends. It’s conducted in-house by Saks. This latest survey is based on responses from 2,832 U.S.-based respondents over age 18 and was fielded between January 13 to 17. 

“Luxury apparel and accessories are going to continue to participate in the consumers’ lifestyle as they make that transition, sort of back into the experiential spend,” Metrick said when the survey came out.

“We have always sold luggage but you might see it more online versus a physical store. I could feature it on the homepage. I can feed you emails, just to you, because I know that if you’ve been looking now on our website for things that are off-season, such as bathing suits on, I might target you with luggage.” 

Metrick also explained that’s Live Saks interactive livestreaming reflects spending trends, such as by highlighting buyers to show how they pack to travel to Europe for fashion shows, or what they will wear to a wedding, or to some other special event, to give an insider’s take.

“Between our sales associates and their clients, there will be times when the clients are talking about going on a trip. That is the moment to introduce their stylists to the Inspirato offering and learn about it,” said Emily Essner, Saks’ chief marketing officer.

Essner explained that Saks will receive a fee from Inspirato based on the number of Inspirato subscriptions purchased by Saks customers. The Saks sales associates making the referrals will get a cut of that fee. The transaction will actually be handled by Inspirato.

She also said Saks and Inspirato will collaborate on events and activations to spotlight both brands. “There is a lot to play with,” said Essner.

In the travel arena, Saks has a “non-endemic” strategy to tie in with other companies, among them United Airlines and its international business class program called Polaris. Saks first partnered with Polaris in 2016 and provides Saks logo-ed bedding. Saks bedding is also available on United flights from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco flights in first and business class. In addition, Saks collaborates with Arizona’s tourism board.

Inspirato crafts luxury vacations to destinations around the world, manages and leases luxury homes and resort rooms, and provides concierge, housekeeping, reservations, itineraries, local experts, and other travel-related services. Subscriptions range from $650 to $2,500 a month, but cost much less if purchased on a yearly basis.

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