Luxury Home Rentals Reimagined with Steve Zacks of 3RD HOME

Chief Marketing Officer

Steve has spent his career developing and marketing membership programs for high net worth individuals in the luxury travel space. He currently is partner and CMO for 3RD HOME where he leads strategy, marketing, and product development for the pioneering luxury vacation home exchange.

3RD HOME allows Members to exchange their homes for stays in other premier properties worldwide. How did 3RD HOME come to be?

Wade Shealy, 3RD HOME’s Founder and CEO, spent the first 28 years of his career in luxury resort real estate development. He found that the number one objection to buying a second home was “I love to go other great places too.” He knew that if he could create a way for second homeowners to leverage the investment they had already made to stay in other great places, he would really have something. The idea for 3RD HOME was born.

All homes and members must be approved. What are the qualifications to enroll?

The essential element for a home in the club is that the other members will want to go there. With that in mind, it must be a second home, in a desirable vacation area or major city, with luxurious furnishings and amenities. We accept condos to multi-bedroom homes. The variety of experiences is what makes us unique. The average value is $2.4 Million, but range from below one million to $5 Million and above.

St. Barts

Will you talk a bit about the system for earning Keys?

Each home is given a base Key value from 1 to 5 based on its market value, services and amenities and location. You are then able to go to your online deposit calendar and choose the weeks you want to deposit into the pool and make available to other members.  The more desirable the season that you make available, the more Keys you earn. You earn double the base Key amount for peak times, and triple for super peak times. The more weeks you deposit, the more Keys you can earn. You earn the Keys immediately as long as the weeks you deposit are more than 90 days in advance, it is not an off-season week, and you have a good booking history.

How has 3RD HOME changed the ‘timeshare’ industry?

People love their second homes and create great memories there. But they are expensive to maintain. They require 12 months of upkeep and yet most are empty half the time. People often feel compelled to visit even if they would rather be somewhere else.

With 3RD HOME your property can be put to use all the time. You can deposit in advance or last minute. And for a single week at a time. Our members feel great knowing that the person visiting their home is also a homeowner. To maintain a trusted environment, we solicit reviews on the host, home and guest on every stay, and require model behavior to remain in the club.

Before 3RD HOME there was no home exchange platform or concept suited specifically to the luxury market. Wade often says that one day every luxury second homeowner will be a member of our club or one that copies us.


Where is your favorite place you have stayed?

I have stayed at many great homes and resorts through 3RD HOME. It is hard to pick a favorite. Last winter I visited The Ritz-Carlton Club in St Thomas right after New Year’s with my wife and close friends. Beautiful rooms, private beachfront, great food, and renowned service. Any member who had earned Keys through their deposits could have booked that same trip for four 3rd home Keys and a fee of $495. The Ritz Carlton Destination Club is one of over 40 world class resorts, destination clubs and developments that endorse 3RD HOME to their property owning members as the preferred way to exchange their unused time.

What do you consider your greatest success?

It would be my 2 Kids. I learned from my own Dad to put them first.

What is one book you would recommend to everyone?

It is hard to recommend anything for everyone. I recently completed the book Tune In, about the birth of the Beatles right up until the moment that they were about to “make it.” I have travelled to Liverpool, love the Beatles and their music, and find it fascinating to learn how something so big, and so important, came to be.

What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?

I find it essential to have mapping capability with me at all times. Pick your favorite, but keep it handy.

Tell us a little about what you’re working on now/next.

We have two primary focuses right now at 3RD HOME. First is to continually enhance the value and service we provide to our members. Once they take just a single trip, they become an advocate. A big part of doing this is offering new travel options. Properties and weeks are our inventory. Toward that end, we recently announced a strategic alliance with The Quintess Collection, one of the world’s finest destination clubs, which has already provided hundreds of vacations to our member base. Second, is to spread the word about 3RD HOME. It is a unique concept. You don’t know it exists so you don’t think to look for it. People are excited to learn about it. Being able to communicate directly with FoundersCard Members and other successful individuals is part of that. And of course every time we welcome a new member, all the others in our club benefit.

3RD HOME has an exclusive offer for all FoundersCard Readers:  Join 3RD HOME and you will have your initiation fee waived and be brought in at the President’s Club Level for one year – a total savings of $3,000.
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