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Where Retirees Move

Where Retirees Move by Andrew Kramek

With all of the recent emphasis on marketing the village, it was particularly interesting, today,  to read an article on Yahoo Finance titled “Where Retirees Are Moving – 2019 Edition“. Using 2017 data the article lists numbers of retirees moving into, or out of, various cities. Three cities in Arizona top the list – Henderson, Mesa, and Tucson – as destinations for retirees. There is no mention of Arkansas, let alone Hot Springs Village, in the body of the article, which identifies the top States and Cities where retirees are moving in, or out.

Hot Springs Village – one of the best places to live in the entire US

However, the first comment in the “reactions” section of the article is from an individual identified only as “Tonto” and states:

One of the best places to live in the entire US is almost invisible to most retirees. Hot Springs Village in Arkansas. The Village is over 26000 acres and is the largest gated community in the US size wise. Houses are priced in all ranges, and there is common property throughout the Village to allow people some privacy. Plenty of golf courses for those who golf or want to learn. 9 lakes for fishing, over 30 miles of hiking paths through the woods, over 200 different clubs for people to join, and if there isn’t a club that you would like, you are welcomed to start one, with the Village support. 30 churches inside the Village or just outside the gates.

People from all 50 states live here, as well as 15 foreign countries. You can be as busy as you want, or be as laid back as you want. My wife is involved in several activities while I prefer a more laid back existence, and that makes us both happy as our needs are met. Lots of friendly people and a few old grouches. We’ve lived all over the US, and this is as close to heaven as you can get here on earth. Our population so far, on this 26000 plus acres, is 14000. So if you want peace and quiet, a bit of privacy, but close to plenty of activities … and a price range for homes from a couple hundred thousand up to a million or more, come visit and see for yourself. You won’t regret it…. – Tonto

Nice to see someone posting nice information about Hot Springs Village

Nice to see some positive information about the Village is getting out into the wider world. Unfortunately it does not seem to be coming from our (very expensive) Marketing Department, or, if it is, they prefer not to advertise the fact. Wouldn’t it be nice if our Marketing professionals had also responded to this article and included more information on the village. Like a link to our web site, where it is, how to get here, and the wonderful offers that they provide for prospective residents.

Discovery packages

Oh, wait a moment, they DON’T provide any wonderful offers for prospective residents do they? Apparently, the best they can come up with is a $349 “Discovery Package” with a choice of accommodation – either in a garden home at Mt Carmel or the Arlington Hotel. Neither of which are actually in the Village! What a great advertisement for someone wanting to buy a home here. Of course, if you don’t want to play golf, the price drops to $299 per couple. So for these visitors, we charge $50 for the round of golf, or to put it another way 150% of what a member pays for the same round of golf!

This year a new package added has been added – for the Diamante Country Club – which, for $449 includes accommodation in Diamante (there’s a novel idea, house the people in the place you are trying to sell), a round of golf and two meals for two at the Clubhouse as well as use of the club facilities.

Hot Springs Village needs to stand out

Don’t get me wrong here, these discovery packages are exactly in line with what all the other retirement communities (e.g. Del Webb, The Villages and Tellicoe Lake) are doing. So the best we can do, apparently, is to do exactly the same as everyone else. Therein lies the crux of the problem. Hot Springs Village doesn’t have the widespread name recognition that everyone else has, so just doing what everyone else is doing isn’t nearly enough. We need to make ourselves stand out from the crowd with our product offerings, rather than just merging into the background.

Features, Advantages and Benefits (FAB) approach

In my sales career, I was taught that to be successful your products have to have “Features”. These features have to offer the buyer “Advantages” over similar competitive products. However, you still won’t sell your product unless those advantages can be translated into “Benefits” to the purchaser. This is known as the F-A-B approach.

When I look at the HSV home page I see lots of features mentioned but very little in the way of advantages or benefits with perhaps the best example coming from the golf dept where we have the following (assuming you can be bothered to drill down through several layers of  web page to find it):

Business outings and special events

Golf outings offer businesses a unique opportunity to spend time together while building and developing business relationships. Let Hot Springs Village put together a customized package or outing to meet your goals. All details are executed by our golf staff, allowing you and your guests to concentrate on golf and the business at hand. Hot Springs Village also has a variety of meeting spaces to take care of business before or after your round.

Almost classic:

Feature: Golf outings offer business relationship building opportunities and we have lots of golf courses.

Advantages: We can arrange it all for you and we have formal meeting facilities for business too.

Benefit: You concentrate on building the business relationships and having fun.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a pretty isolated example as, digging through the (somewhat tortuous and confusing) “Explore the Village” web site doesn’t reveal many more good examples, most pages seem feature bland, generic, statements that repeat over and over again and are even incorrect on occasion:

Cortez Beach

Located off Sereno Lane, Cortez has a sand beach, pavilion, grills, restrooms and picnic tables. The shaded area provides an ideal spot for picnics or relaxing.

Apart from the picture that this description conjures up of a luxurious beach environment with smart buildings and facilities the last time I was there (last Tuesday) the beach was gravel, the shed housing the restrooms was locked up and there was no sand in sight. Maybe I just missed it!

Beach Cortez, Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Cortez Beach, Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Let’s hope for a mention next year

We can only hope that something positive can be done about our marketing so that in the next year’s review of Where Retirees are Moving, HSV gets at least an honorable mention.

Written by Andrew Kramek, April 27, 2019

Edited/Formatted by Cheryl Dowden

Photography by Joe Dowden

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