I spent several hours at the weekend in the company of over two hundred owners – many of them our customers – of properties in the fantastic Horizon Sky luxury beach resort on the Turkish coast.
The owners had come together in London to debate a number of important matters concerning how their development will be run, following the establishment of an owners’ committee and a management plan of the facilities and services contained within the resort.
This was a rare and thoroughly engaging opportunity for all those present to get to meet other people with similar vested interests and achieve that most challenging thing; consensus on doing the right thing and commitment to the cost to achieve it.
Prolonged periods of debate with owners contributing their own perspectives from the floor were punctuated by resounding endorsement of prevailing opinions which allowed the debate to move on and the meeting to gather momentum. Typically this was achieved when one of the more pragmatic owners seized an opportunity to cut through the minutiae of the debate and knock as many proverbial heads together as necessary to make the obvious decision that was being reflected in individual comments. It was fantastic to see it all coming together.
A number of things struck me during the course of the day which gave me great optimism about this particular development and the good sense of its proud owners, and there were also some strong hints towards what really matter to our buyers, the things that we should be anticipating when we are finding and honing new opportunities for them in future.
It’s been said before but when conflict rises to the surface it creates a great opportunity to prove your win trust and respect, a moment of truth. And your most outspoken customers are probably also your biggest supporters if you handle them well enough. After all, if they didn’t care they wouldn’t take time out of their own busy schedules to come and give you their opinions. As one of the owners pointed out on Saturday; “I know I’ve had a lot to say, but I’m just passionate about what I believe in and want to get my views across – and I hope others will do the same”.
It’s a great testimony to the quality of this development that more than 200 people from all over the country were prepared to give up their own time on a weekend to participate in some important decisions that will influence the potential of their investment as well as their own enjoyment of their properties in the medium-long term. I can tell you from my experience that very few developments of this size that have been sold to overseas buyers over would garner such strong support for an owners’ meeting.
The developer, Signature Resorts, has to take a lot of the credit. They had created the impetus for the meeting in the first place by taking the brave decision (for a developer) to foster a community of owners who speak to each other and take an active role in the promotion of the resort, including decisions about facilities and services they want to enjoy. They also helped arrange the event itself, recommended and procured a venue, organised the agenda and circulated copies of the relevant documents to help the owners fully consider the decisions that needed to be made.
This was not just another sales pitch in disguise though, this was a meeting for owners, chaired by owners’ representatives. But Signature have embraced the single greatest cause of resentment between buyers and developers – poor communication – with their heart on their sleeve and made a genuine effort to show qualities that separate them from the field.
As they were eager to point out to their assembled owners; “yes we’ve had delays, we’ve encountered problems, but the good developers will still deliver, and the really good ones will do so without compromising their original vision.”
There’s a strong general message in this account of how the wider community of property developers, marketers and owners should be working together more effectively for mutual benefit, but I’ll save it for another article.. watch this space!