A vacation club with a mission to get you to part with your money isn't novel. A newish player in the luxury travel world does exactly that, but adds a compelling give-back twist.
G2G Collection, short for Getaway 2 Give, calls itself the world's only philanthropic luxury destination club. The top of its website keeps a running total of all money raised for charity -- more than $1.2 million as of Wednesday -- since the for-profit company sold its first membership in November 2012.
"If you're going to consume what we provide -- great experiences in Costa Rica and Cabo and New York -- why not do it and make an impact? " co-founder Rob Vaka says. "Be part of something bigger."
In the new global cause economy, Vaka wants to court travelers who "speak with their wallets" and value G2G's giving approach to the club that combines stays in high-end, non-hotel sites with more meaningful experiences (more on that later).
Here's how it works: Members pay $7,500 to join G2G and donate $7,500 to their favorite charity. (If you don't have one, G2G will find one that suits your passions.) There are no annual fees.
So far the collection is small, with 30 places and growing, but it includes such places as the world-class Castiglion del Bosco resort in Tuscany, Italy, owned by fashion's Massimo Ferragamo. Members receive up to 60% off a G2G property's best market rates for nightly stays, and 5% of the tab goes to their selected charity.
Members also receive concierge services to plan their trip, from finding theater tickets to arranging real give-back opportunities wherever they are. So you can, for example, spend a night at a Chicago penthouse and the next day be making sandwiches for the homeless in Lincoln Park.
Right now, many members join by hearing about the company by word of mouth. And Vaka underscores the point that G2G is definitely out to sell.
"It would be a complete farce to think that's not what we do," he says. "We need to and we desire to ... bring new people on as members so we can generate more money for charities."