Get into the upper echelon to get the flexibility you want
Plan in advance. The flexibility of resort staff to book your vacation with as much or as little notice as possible is often based on your level of membership. Certain clients must book a minimum of 90 days in advance, for example, while the more coveted members can book much more spontaneously, but on a first come, first serve basis.
Share your membership, especially if you can't take full advantage of it yourself. Many destination resorts give you the option of extending your membership and the privileges that come with it to your immediate family. If you are not able to be there, look into whether your resort gives you the option of lending your membership to your children, siblings or parents for a nominal fee.
Some destination resorts offer their members an ownership stake in the clubs' properties. As part owner, expect to pay a one-time initiation fee of around $4-million, annual dues over $60,000 and hundreds of dollars in daily fees. When this is the agreement, if the member chooses to resign from the club, he or she will get their deposit back as well a sum for property appreciation. Keep in mind that as a stakeholder, not a direct owner, annual dues are not at all tax refundable, usually being over $35,000 per year. Buying into a destination resort should be strictly for vacation purposes and never as an investment for profit. Keep in mind that the annual fees for repair and cleaning services are not refundable.
Over the past 5 years, membership rates for destination resorts have generated hundreds of millions of dollars, with a projected rate in the billions for 2005. The appeal of exclusivity and luxury seems to be catching on in a big way, so take the opportunity and be the first of your friends to treat yourself to a cost-effective, hassle-free, private membership club before the trend becomes inevitable mainstream and everybody is doing it.
Sort through your options and do your research before selecting a destination resort. The delicate balance necessary to successfully combine upscale real estate with 5-star hospitality service is extremely competitive in such a growing industry. With 6-figure sums on the table, you reserve the right to be extremely picky and you should demand and expect to receive only the best. You should also look into fractional ownerships there are some outstanding places too for less cost.