by Lloyd Sherman, October 13, 2019
What makes HSV special and different enough to draw our fair share of the reported 3,650,000 baby boomers retiring every year in the USA?
For those of us who live here, that’s a pretty easy question to answer, although it varies from one individual to another. However, when the property owners (according to reports from the POA) are the single largest marketers of the Village, I think that shows how the property owners feel about living here. My question is how do we set ourselves apart from the rest of the crowd? (More on this later.)
If we had a pro-active plan in place to capture even 1/10th of 1% (.001) of the retirement market alone, we would be challenged to assimilate 3,650 new residents every year. One day in the not too distant future, this market opportunity will disappear and another market opportunity will emerge. Until then, our marketing efforts need to be concentrated on those folks who are ready, willing and able to retire. Instead, we seem to be FOCUSED on a millennial market and by that, I don’t mean that we are including that age group in our marketing efforts. I’m saying we have a focus on it.
While we shouldn’t exclude any age groups from our marketing efforts, we need to fix the broken revenue model we currently experience. It is not going to get fixed with the current marketing efforts, nor will the revenue problem be resolved by raising fees to a point that discourages new property owners and runs off current property owners. And yet, here we are!
So, what do our current marketing efforts look like?
I don’t see much beyond the emphasis on Discovery Packages. We almost have to have a discovery package just to keep up with the 100’s if not 1,000’s of communities out there who are doing exactly the same thing we are doing.
Here are a few examples of what potential visitors will run into when researching where to visit.
- Golf Experiences – They advertise 44 golf resort packages starting at $121 PP up to custom packages.
- Golf & Packages & Deals – 89 golf packages starting at $149 for 3 days/2 nights.
- Golf Now – 14 packages starting at $95/night.
- Real Estate Scorecard – 37 packages starting at $149 for 3 days/2 nights.
- PCR – 118 packages in 19 states.
- Golf Course Home – 100 packages from $99/night or $297 for 3 days and 2 nights.
Were you aware there are 15,342 golf courses in the United States and 34,011 worldwide? It’s no wonder that we can get lost in the maze of Finding HSV.
Now both of these packages are in Florida, where it appears they have more Stay and Play packages than any other state This is what we are competing with and the packages are targeted especially for those seeking retirement destinations.
So currently our marketing efforts seem to be comprised of:
- Referrals from current residents – Likely to continue with little marketing effort.
- Discovery Packages – Typically have longer sell-cycle leads. Little immediate impact.
- New rooftops – Low objectives that cannot obtain results required to fix the broken revenue model.
So, what is the answer?
The reality is we do not possess adequate dedicated marketing resources within the POA, nor a comprehensive plan on how to fix the broken revenue model. We should soon be hearing what the sub-committee has to say on marketing and hope there will be some answers there. However, this is a sub-committee of the CMP Advisory Committee. In my humble opinion, it does not possess the influence required to assist the Board nor the management to place marketing in the leading role required to make the Village successful going forward.
I have been a proponent of a board-level Finance Committee and I am equally supportive of a board-level Marketing Committee. The Board should be developing the overall strategy and direction for the Village and these two critical committees should be comprised of seasoned, expert property owners. The Board and Staff should have liaisons to these committees but the activities and reporting should be directed back to the Board.
We have such rich resources in the Village in the form of Villagers who spent their entire careers in professional positions that afforded experience for problem-solving in many areas of the community. These experienced professionals can provide valuable input and direction to the Board and then to the Staff. We need to make better use of these professional resources. After all, we are all in this together and together we either succeed or fail.
The major objectives for 2020 should be the establishment of a Board-level-Finance Committee and a dedicated Marketing Committee!
by Lloyd Sherman, October 13, 2019
Note from Cheryl: It has come to my attention that not everyone is aware of this. All of the red words are hot links and can be clicked on for more information. Thanks for reading!