Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Caribbean Fractionals Expanding To Botany Bay Resort!
St. Thomas, USVI is the location, and the former Preserve At Botany Bay is the spot!
Caribbean fractionals continue to be THE real estate choice of thousands of Caribbean buyers. Last week David Burden – founder and CEO of Timbers Resorts – announced that the ultra-luxury resort located on the western tip of St. Thomas will be managed by the international hospitality management group – Jumeirah Group, which is a member of Dubai Holding. This announcement was made at the signing ceremony with Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of Jumeirah (Remember my past article about the Virgin Islands fractional market?).
“We selected Jumeirah as the ideal hotel company to partner with at this unprecedented resort on the secluded western tip of St. Thomas,” remarked David Burden. “Based on their internationally renowned hotel experience in luxury service, they will be a perfect match for our discerning owners and resort guests.”
Jumeirah Botany Bay Resort is one of the true world-class luxury resorts which include mashed-potato sand beaches, private coves to explore, protected coral reefs and a nature conservancy, ultra-fine dining, a beach club as well as a Talise Wellness Spa.
Jumeirah Group will manage the five-star luxury hotel of 84 rooms, spread over nine tropical buildings in a very secluded setting on St. Thomas’ western shores. Scheduled to open in 2011, the 400-acre resort will also include 30 fractional residences, 30 whole-ownership villas and 20 grand estates. These full-service residences will be managed by Jumeirah Living, combining the luxury of a prestige hotel with all the privacy and comforts of your home away from home.
Jumeirah Group is also in the midst of ultra-luxury resort developments in Phuket, Shanghai, Argentina, Mallorca, London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Jordan, among others. “We are impressed by Timbers Resorts’ commitment to responsible development and the care with which they intend to develop this protected enclave,” said Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of the Jumeirah Group. “With its secluded location in a tropical environment, the Jumeirah Botany Bay Resort will be true to our ‘STAY DIFFERENT’ promise.”
Timbers Resorts is a world-class developer that we have enjoyed working with in serving our client’s needs. The Timbers Collection is a group of small, private, luxury resort properties in the world’s most sought-after ski, golf, beach and scenic countryside locations. They include One Steamboat Place in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Botany Bay Resort on St. Thomas in the USVI; Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Italy; The Rocks Luxury Residence Club in Scottsdale, Arizona; Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; The Timbers Club in Snowmass, Colorado; and there latest is The Orchard at The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley.
For further information regarding Botany Bay Resort, or any other of the Jumeirah and Timbers Collection, contact me today! We are standing ready to serve any of your luxury real estate needs around the world! I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global Luxury Real Estate network. Jim is an exceptional blogger, as you can see by visiting his blogs, East Bay Real Estate and Caribbean Islands Realty, and reading his great blog entries like the one above. He is the master of fractionals and other luxury homes in the Bay Area and the Caribbean, and he always has a lot of great opportunities to share. Hmm… Botany Bay. You know what that reminds me of? Call me crazy, but Botany Bay brings to mind Khan Noonien Singh, the famous villain in one of my favorite films of all time, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. As Khan would say: Ah, Jim Walberg… my old friend. Do you know the proverb that says vacations are a dish best served warm? It is very warm and pleasant… in the Caribbean! Feel free to nerd out in the Comments section if you know what I’m talking about.
By Las Villas de Mexico
Las Villas de Mexico, a newly announced collection of luxury resorts spread across Mexico’s top tourist locations, is sponsoring the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference, which will be hosted in Philadelphia on October 11-14, 2008 at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia.
Planners of Las Villas de Mexico are currently building 1,000 luxury properties in four locations: Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Subsequent phases are expected to include other Mexican destinations such as San Miguel de Allende. The first pre-construction purchase opportunities are scheduled to be offered in the first week of December 2008.
“We have created a whole-ownership concept that is altogether different from anything else on the marketplace,” said Brett Sawyer, director of international sales at Las Villas de Mexico. “By purchasing a Las Villas de Mexico home, owners become part of a greater community of multiple locations throughout Mexico, all of them dedicated to the very best luxury experience, from world-class golf and spas to stunning beaches.”
A twist on the traditional vacation home, Las Villas de Mexico allows buyers to stay at a number of homes in other popular locations while still maintaining ownership of their own property. Maintenance and security are also handled by the resort while the owners are away. Within five years, Las Villas de Mexico planners hope to complete construction on a total of 10,000 resort residences in other well-known vacation spots across the country.
“Every home we build is designed to be inspirational,” Sawyer said. “Perfectly wrapped in the history of each region, Las Villas de Mexico showcases an ideal blend of modern amenities. Behind every wall, inside every cabinet, we have filled every home with state-of-the-art convenience.”
Las Villas de Mexico will sponsor the Opening Night Reception at the Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference. More than 250 LuxuryRealEstate.com members from around the world are expected to attend the conference. Niurka, a highly sought-after keynote speaker, consultant and peak-performance coach, will speak at this event.
Hmmm… this blog post sounds kind of familiar. I figured I’d give credit to Las Villas de Mexico for this blog post since they sent it to me. I hope you enjoyed it!
By Robert Lockard
I am sorry to keep talking about sad things in my luxury real estate blog entries, but I just read an article in CNN entitled “Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt” and it once again brought up many familiar concerns to my mind on the topic of consumer debt. I wish that I could talk about happy topics. I would much prefer to discuss luxury properties or any other topic, including how getting adequate sleep can lead to more success, but, alas, I feel it much more pressing to focus on the problems upon us.
I am absolutely disgusted by the state of our financial markets. It seems to me that dishonesty is rampant and the very people who are responsible for this mess are asking for a great deal of money to supposedly solve the problem. But I care about people much more than institutions. And, based upon the testimony of the two honest women in the CNN article, who both have good consciences, I see little difference between the practices of certain banks and lenders and the practices of drug pushers. Many lenders trick people into taking more money than they need, they strive to get young people addicted and they keep people in a state of dependency for extended periods of time. All of that adds up to trouble.
Debt is a plague that, when handled unwisely, can lead to all sorts of problems that I think are even worse than the horrible effects of drug abuse. People can at least stop taking drugs and eventually go through a process of withdrawal and recovery. But with debt, even if a person stops going into more debt, they still have interest building up on the money they owe and they face all sorts of roadblocks on the way to recovery.
The very institutions that have pushed so many people to get addicted to debt are now suffering from a major withdrawal (pardon the banking pun) and seem on the verge of collapse… wait a minute – collapse? How is this possible? It starts with how good people are treated. We have not been treated fairly and now those who have been engaging in dishonest practices are reaping the bitter fruit. We have become a nation of debtors, instead of a nation of wealth.
Perhaps our financial market, as it currently stands, should not be saved. Perhaps we must soon create an entirely new and honest way of working with our money. Whatever we choose, we cannot keep doing what we have been doing.
I feel like I’ve been ending every blog entry with an apology for being so negative. I just don’t want to leave my readers with a sense of anger or hopelessness. I think that there is much to hope about. There are plenty of good people in this world and in our wonderful nation, the United States. I am confident we will make it through this sad time. I just want to make sure this never happens again.
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate's newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. The photo of the parrot biting a credit card is from www.flickr.com/photos/djkbird214/2695122732 and it is the copyright of dj-squared.
By Michael Marquette
From his blog: Should I Buy a Franchise or Go It Alone?
How much is a brand worth when deciding whether to join a franchise? Throughout Australia there are plenty of agencies willing to sell their letterhead and designs to almost anyone willing to pay the money to get it. Real estate names like LJ Hooker, Ray White, Richardson & Wrench, Laing+Simmons, First National, Hocking Stuart and now McGrath are all competing with many others to get the agent-come-entrepreneur’s buck.
To secure the franchise there are a number of requirements – an office in a prominent position is usually one of them. This, in itself, is cause for alarm in a world where the Internet is a part of life and online searches are an everyday thing. Most of us use Google some or most of the time as an Internet search engine, yet how many of us have been to the Google office? Where is their office?
The answer is probably not one person reading this blog has visited a Google office, yet the Google brand is massive worldwide and is a shining light indicating how business will be run, won and lost in years to come.
As you might be able to tell by now, I am not a fan of outdated business models with high fixed costs that hinder innovation. Real estate is becoming more and more an online industry where agents and brokers visit clients or meet at properties – not the real estate office of old. It’s estimated that spending on newspaper property advertising will decrease by around 18 percent this year and the trend is expected to continue.
Our world is changing quickly and it is essential to look forward to how the world might look in five years time before committing to a franchise that might not allow you to best keep pace with the changes necessary to be successful – one of them is to keep fixed costs low!
Michael Marquette is the co-Founder and Director of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, a member of Luxury Real Estate in East Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Founded on Australia Day 2007 by Marquette and Simon Turner, Marquette Turner is a property consultancy company covering the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. Marquette has a background in medicine and a large retail and wholesale business. Michael makes some excellent points about the current market. We definitely need to be flexible as luxury markets change. The photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/danielbroche/2258988806 and it is the copyright of danielbroche.
By Michael Marquette
From his blog: Luxury Homes Fail to Sell at Auction
It has always astonished me how many real estate agents advise everyone they meet to auction their home home. In Regional cities like Newcastle this happens all too often with the inevitable result of the property passing in, and in most cases not even receiving one bid from a potential buyer.
The process is horrendous for vendors who quite often have their hopes set high only to have them come crashing down on auction day. Potential purchasers use the fact that the property passed in to show that there is little if any interest in the home and accordingly offer much less for the property or just wait for the price to continue falling in the hope of snapping it up for a bargain price.
This is even truer when looking at luxury homes in sort after suburbs in Newcastle like The Hill, Bar Beach and Merewether. Twenty-seven homes were put to auction in the Hunter yesterday with only eight selling, for a clearance rate of just 30 percent. Even more interesting is that the highest price paid for a property sold at auction yesterday was just $452,000!
It is more important than ever to choose an agent with the experience, qualifications and knowledge of the luxury market when selling your home. The one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work when selling luxury properties and is even more important when selling property in Regional cities.
Michael Marquette is the co-Founder and Director of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes in East Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Founded on Australia Day 2007 by Marquette and Simon Turner, Marquette Turner is a property consultancy company covering the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. Marquette has a background in medicine and a large retail and wholesale business. Very interesting. An inexperienced real-estate agent might not know the best way to sell a home in the current market, so it’s important to choose wisely. Otherwise, buyers might not bother to pay attention to sellers’ efforts. The photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/rickmccharles/2269842297 and it is the copyright of Rick McCharles.
By Robert Lockard
There are so many fun one-liners I could use to sum up this story, it’s hard to pick just one. I’ll go ahead and try this one: Elvis has left the building, and now that building can be yours! Yeah, that’ll work.
Elvis Presley’s “Graceland West” estate in Palm Springs, Calif. is now for sale. Talk about a house with some history, this two-acre estate, nestled in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, is where Elvis (the king of Rock and Roll) lived for almost eight years, recorded eight songs in the living room in 1973 and spent his last birthday. He died on Aug. 16, 1977 at the age of 42.
The seller of the estate is being represented by Honey Brooks of Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate, a member of Luxury Real Estate in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you’d like more information about this historic luxury property, email Honey Brooks or call her at 415.345.2585. You can also read much more about this property in a news release by Karen Monroe on LuxuryRealEstate.com.
By the way, whenever I think of Elvis Presley, the first thing that comes into my mind is the scene from “Top Secret” (1984), one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, where Val Kilmer sings his hilarious rendition of Elvis’ famous song “Are you Lonesome Tonight?” Thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can watch Val Kilmer’s version and Elvis’ original below. Toward the end of his parody of the song, Val Kilmer sings so well that it’s hard to distinguish him from the king!
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate’s newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. I was really tempted to call this blog entry “Wake up with the King” Luckily, I refrained. You can share your blog entries on the Luxury Real Estate Blog by emailing them to me. The Elvis Presley portrait is from www.flickr.com/photos/bootbearwdc/2491351807 and it is the copyright of dbking.
By Brian Langhorst
I have heard many times over that print is dead, but this is false information! Whoever is saying this does not know the audience for luxury homes and their habits. Yes, people look to the Internet for information and, according to a National Association of REALTORS® survey, over 80% of home seekers are starting their search online for real estate.
The main question we should think about is how do they know where to look for real estate online? The answer is print!
I had a very interesting conversation yesterday with Victor Lund, co-Founder of the WAV Group. He said that the typical consumer segment of the luxury property market still looks through newspapers, magazines, and other print media for news and information. Customers need guidance and print provides this guidance to learn more about real-estate opportunities on the Internet. With a proper call to action this high-net-worth audience will be driven to your website through your print advertising campaign.
I look forward to your replies. Let me know how we can help you create targeted print ads to drive more traffic to your website.
Brian Langhorst is LuxuryRealEstate.com’s Membership Manager. He meets members’ unique needs through the dynamic services LuxuryRealEstate.com provides. Victor Lund was so kind and helpful when he came to the Luxury Real Estate headquarters here in Seattle. He had a lot to share about our Web site, which is the most-viewed luxury real estate site in the world, and many other topics like the one Brian just discussed. It’s always nice to meet nice geniuses and well-grounded visionaries. The photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/joebeone/2528716096 and it is the copyright of joebeone.
By Jean-Yves Piton
While luxury properties are part of the conspicuous consumption group, unlike several other goods, their proposed premium prices are not a function of the premium brands they are attached to. Instead, factors such as location, amenities, space, architecture and historical value justify their premium prices around the world.
So, what type of luxury homes would you acquire in major metropolitan cites worldwide for $1 million USD in 2008?
According to “What $1 Million Buys in Homes Worldwide” by Matt Woosley, Friday, January 11, 2008, provided by Forbes.com, in New York, you can expect a 647-square-foot Turtle Bay condo with 45-square-foot balcony, white oak floors, and 11-and-a-half-foot ceilings. In London, you can purchase a one-bedroom, one-bathroom flat in Primrose Gardens. In Hong Kong, you can acquire a three-bedroom, 825-square-foot apartment in a high-rise between the residential areas of Aberdeen and Pokfulam.
While $1 million USD grants an invitation to the millionaire's club, it clearly does not buy the most spacious and astonishing luxury property in most top metropolitan cities worldwide in 2008. Based on the figures discussed earlier, such properties might just work as a pied-a-terre during a business trip or a short vacation.
This also explains why more buyers are currently opting for luxury fractional ownership, the trend ahead. This being said, keep in mind that this rapidly increasing trend applies to everything luxury in 2008 (from designer handbags to the finest properties).
So, how do you market a luxury fractional property? Evidently, it is easy to assume the same way you would promote a luxurious property. Partly due to the traditional premium variables like location, amenities, space, architecture and historical value. Also, though a fractional ownership, you could insist on the long-term investment, just as for any other luxurious property.
Nevertheless, there is another element, which must not be omitted to successfully advertise a luxury fractional property. That is promoting the dream to potential buyers and investors. There must be a fine balance of both emotional and rational communications to connect potential buyers to the properties through careful advertising. Where the rational communication focuses on owning a luxurious property (one of a kind), promoting the dream (the emotional communication) helps foster a sense of emotional connection (a state of being and/or sense of being).
Jean-Yves Piton is the Global Services Membership Manager for LuxuryRealEstate.com. He assists Bente Madtsen, the Director of Global Services, in expanding the LuxuryRealEstate.com brand into even more countries around the world. Fractional ownership is a great tool for vacationers and other people looking for flexibility and great investment opportunities. I actually wrote an editorial on Private Residence Clubs, also known as fractionals, in the spring 2008 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine. Check it out! The photos of the front and back of the “$1 million” bill are the copyright of Simon Davison.
By Robert Lockard
Jim Walberg, the co-Owner/Broker of The Bay Area Team in San Francisco, told me something really cool a few days ago. He said, “Bloggers are the most open and sharing community I have found on the Internet. They want every blogger to win!” I have definitely found that to be true.
As a blogger, I often find myself learning a great deal about what is effective and what is not from other bloggers with more experience than me. I have received a lot of positive feedback and support in my blogging from Eric Kodner, a luxury homes Broker with Wayzata Lakes Realty and Madeline Island Realty. Eric is an awesome blogger, and he has more than 110,000 points on ActiveRain.
In addition, I just did a simple search on ActiveRain for “blog tip” and I found a whole bunch of great ideas for improving my own blog posts. I particularly like Ronnie Roach’s Blog Tip of the Week. He confirmed my suspicion that I should use a different term than “blog” to describe each post I write. Another great resource is the Daily Blog Tips Web site.
There are many other examples out there, but these show how helpful and open the blogging community is. Jim is right! He’s been blogging for two years and he currently has two blogs, one called Caribbean Islands Realty and another called East Bay Real Estate. He also contributes many of his blog posts to the Luxury Real Estate Blog, which I appreciate very much.
I appreciate all the people who take the time to let me know when they agree with what I write and those who share their disagreements, too. Feedback is very helpful, and bloggers are often happy to give it. In fact, I hope you feel free to let me know if you think I’m a little naïve on this topic or to share your own experiences with helping fellow bloggers or receiving help from them.
By the way, Jim shared this quote with me as I was writing a news release about his upcoming presentation at the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference on effective blog strategies and tactics and the positive effects that can come from blogging. This event will be in Philadelphia on October 11-14, 2008 and you're welcome to attend.
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate’s newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. You can share your blog entries on the Luxury Real Estate Blog by emailing them to me. Thank you very much! The photo of Rosie the Blogger is from www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2493066577 and it is the copyright of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.
By Jean-Yves Piton
The classic marketing mix, with its 4 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place), is evolving to meet current global business needs. It now includes 3 more Ps: Positioning, Packaging and People.
Keep in mind that Positioning should not be confused with Promotion. Although advertising efforts are inherently part of both Promotion and Positioning, the latter P mainly focuses on your competitive position within the marketplace and image amongst consumers.
Are you and your firm positioned as “the luxury real estate expert” in the marketplace? You must ask yourself this question to better compete in the global struggle for differentiated products, services and brands.
How are you and your firm’s products and services perceived by your prospects and clients? In essence, your positioning strategy should assist you with your brand recognition in the marketplace.
Your advertising efforts support your positioning strategy, which, in turn, builds your brand equity.
For instance, BMW has used the slogan “Ultimate Driving Machine” for over three decades now, positioning this tagline as the ultimate one in the automotive industry. BMW clearly advertises its passion and talent for top innovation and engineering, which positions its brand as one of the finest amongst luxury consumers.
In fact, Jack Pitney, Vice President of Marketing, BMW North America clearly articulated that: “BMW has carved out a unique niche in the industry by placing a premium on constant innovation and inspiration and this campaign will reveal the company behind The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
To that effect, while crafting your marketing plan you should carefully select your advertising initiatives to reach and appeal to your targeted audience. Your advertisements should unmistakably position you and your firm not just as “a luxury real estate expert” (one amongst many others), but as “the luxury real estate expert” (the best).
Jean-Yves Piton is the Global Services Membership Manager for LuxuryRealEstate.com. He assists Bente Madtsen, the Director of Global Services, in expanding the LuxuryRealEstate.com brand into even more countries around the world. What a great discussion. It’s definitely important to position yourself, through word and deed, as a standout performer. The photo of the blog apartment building is from www.flickr.com/photos/paytonc/925383449 and it is the copyright of Payton Chung.
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