Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending the Ragatz Fractional and Resort Real Estate Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Ragatz conference focuses on the Fractional and Resort Real Estate industries, verticals in which Blue Tent Marketing has been an important agency partner in for many years. The two-day conference was jam-packed with informative sessions and I came away with some great insights.
An Economic Turnaround?
One of my first take-aways from the conference was that this is an industry that has likely hit bottom and is back on the upswing, a very positive sign that our economy is recovering. With this sense of rebounding, the industry is starting to see new entrants into the marketplace. In 2011, there were 305 developments across the world in some phase of development and of those, 98 had sales.
New Business Models
Another good sign that a turn-around is at hand is that there are new emerging alternatives to the Traditional ownership model of the Fractional Real Estate Industry. Companies like Private Trade Winds, Inspirato, and Next Great Places are developing new business models to reach new demographics with a lower price point. In fact, at an initiation fee of only $15,000, Inspirato has 1,100 sales in their first year in business.
Reaching New Demographics
In fact, one prevailing theme throughout the conference was the need to reach out to new demographics. As baby boomers start to retire, many businesses are finding that their outlook and desires are much different than the previous generation, so too are the outlook and desires of Generation X. Boomers for one are looking for more authentic and intimate travel and recreational experiences. They also like to socialize, but generally like more organically grown activities and trips, rather then pre-packaged tours, activities, or classes.
Boomers Take to the Internet
This change in mindset between boomers and older generations is important to understand so companies can take advantage of this shift and better use new technologies to reach potential new customers. With over 50% of fractional sales being referred by either friends or family many in the industry looking to the Internet and social media. More are beginning to invest in developing and implanting a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy from website development, to email, to SEO & PPC, to mobile and social media to help increase brand awareness and drive new referrals. Supporting this move is a recent study by Cotton and Company that found over 66% of wealthy boomers are using Facebook and 72% of this same demographic use the Internet as their primary real estate research tool.
As an agency, Blue Tent has recently doubled-down on our efforts to encourage our clients in the resort, real estate, hospitality and travel industries to take a holistic view of their digital marketing strategy and not silo themselves into just one or two channels. It’s important to do so, because the companies that are truly “winning on the web” are those who find a lasting partner to help them develop and implement a comprehensive, consistent strategy that spans across all digital channels.
A special thanks the team at Timbers Resorts and to all of those I met at the conference – I look forward to working with you over the coming year.