What Can You Learn from a Private Residence Club?

By Lawrence Hefler Principal, Hefler International | May 19, 2010

What are the ingredients for a successful Private Residence Club? Many would suggest that it starts with location...a resort setting where there is a strong demand for luxury vacation homes or luxury hotel offerings. A location with mountains, rivers, golf courses, spectacular views, and multiple seasons is preferable. Resort areas with land scarcity and a difficult entitlement process are also particularly attractive.

Let's take a look at Jackson Hole, Wyoming - a remarkable place that includes all those ingredients and then some. Jackson Hole is a valley located in west-central Wyoming, and gets the name "hole" from early trappers or mountain men, who primarily entered the valley from the north and east and had to descend into the valley along relatively steep slopes, giving the sensation of entering a hole. These low-lying valleys surrounded by mountains contain rivers and streams that are good habitat for various fur-bearing animals.

The price of quality real estate in Jackson Hole has skyrocketed over the past decade due to the limited amount of developable land. The ever-growing demand to own a piece of paradise here created the need for alternative leisure real estate choices. In 2001 the first Private Residence Club in the area was sold as fractional ownership.

After the location, the next ingredient would be the experience. Jackson Hole was recently rated number 11 in the Top 25 Destinations in the USA by TripAdvisor.com. In their words, "The longest and steepest vertical slope in the United States attracts hordes of serious skiers and snowboarders to Jackson Hole each year. The resort includes the mountain and Teton Village - a lively community of shops, restaurants, hotels and condominiums.

While skiing is certainly a major winter pastime, Jackson's unique location, at the base of the majestic Grand Tetons and close to both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, offers natural splendor and outdoor adventure all year long. From hiking, biking and rafting to fly fishing and golfing, where to start is the hardest part."

With a private residence club as a base camp each year, the summer experiences are endless.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.