Yeah, I know. We’re not going any Place fast while we are all under lockdown from Covid-19, but that will pass. Then getting back to our favourite places will be top-of-mind. Here’s one of mine:
The beautiful English Lake District.
Place, or “location” should be top-of-mind for property developers too. Place is the first P of The 7 Ps of Property Marketing. Why? Because it’s the first thing that most people consider when they are buying property. But also, because it impacts positively or negatively on all the other Property Ps (People, Positioning, Product, Pricing, Promotions and Pace). So, how do you ensure you choose the right land on which to develop?
An old joke repurposed (my apologies in advance):
A property developer is passing through a little village. He stops a local and asks, “how do I get to Sold Out Fast from here?”. The local answers, “well, if I were going to Sold Out Fast, I wouldn’t start from here!”
Getting your location right is essential for Property Development success. Understanding the geographical appeal of your development site to your buyers is key. Understanding the history of the “Place” you are developing can inform good design. Location is literally “ground zero”. It is your starting point.
THE HISTORY OF “PLACE”
Let’s go back a bit. Our ancestors would choose a “Place” to live for its supply of water to drink, cook, wash or fish in, land to farm or hunt in, features that sheltered them from the weather or defended them against attack. Settlements were walking or riding distance apart. When the industrial revolution came, living near water was still important for power and for use in manufacturing processes.
Settlements also formed around land raw materials existed: tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, clay, oil etc. This helped feed manufacturing demand for engines, railways, cars, ships, buildings and so on. The advent of motorised vehicles and trains meant we could settle far-flung places with bigger distances between settlements. The industrial revolution did something else for us too. Before, if we wanted anything, we had to make it by hand – there was little time for leisure. The industrial revolution mechanised a lot of manufacturing and suddenly “leisure time” became a thing.
“When manufacturing was born, ‘leisure time’ became a thing.”
All a bit nerdy? Sorry, but I love a bit of history. Why is this still relevant today? Because many of these factors still influence where we live. Where we all choose to work, rest and play…
WHAT INFLUENCES WHERE YOU LIVE?
If you’re from the UK you may remember the old Mars Bar advert: “A Mars Bar a day helps you Work, Rest & Play”. Most people choose to live near where they or their families “Work”, and the main influence for this is the local Economic and Social Infrastructure which breaks down as follows:
- Economic Infra: energy, power, water, telecom, transportation, railways, roads, aviation, shipping, infotech, finance
- Social Infra: schools, shops and healthcare provisions
“Rest” and “Play” are also important for primary residential (where you live) and, in today’s busy world, amenities need to be located close by. Many are actually in your home (TV, wifi, garden, PlayStation!). Others are in your immediate surroundings (playing fields, gym, sports clubs, places of worship etc.) Because normally your social life happens within a 10 or 20-minute driving radius of your home or between home and work.
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT FOR WHERE YOU VACATION?
“Rest” and “Play” (not “Work”) become the main drivers for leisure residential, i.e. the hotel, vacation rental or second home you escape to. There, all of the amenities need to be right on your doorstep. People typically choose locations where they can relax, spoil themselves or let their hair down. So beautiful locations overlooking the ocean, countryside or mountains with wonderful climates and plenty of things to do are popular. If your vacation home location has most or all of the above elements it will be somewhere people want to get to – a “destination”. For example, when Walt Disney bought land in Florida it wasn’t the destination it has now become. That tag only came once Disney opened. It is now one of the biggest vacation home destinations in the world. The same applies to Las Vegas, which was a water stop in a desert until Bugsy Siegel invested heavily in The Flamingo in 1946, heralding a postwar boom that turned a desert into a gambling destination. Destination Marketing was born.
WHAT ELEMENTS ARE NEEDED FOR BOTH PRIMARY AND SECOND HOMES?
“Aspect” and “Access” are important for both primary and leisure residential. These are both massive subsets of “Place” (Location).
ASPECT is “the positioning of a building in a specified direction” i.e. how the building is orientated in relation to the sun or a view.
ACCESS, for primary residential, is about how easy it is to get from where you live to where you work, where the kids go to school, or wherever you need to get to in your everyday life. Good Access means distance to amenities and what connects where you live to them in the way of roads, buses, trains etc. For vacation homes, ACCESS is more about how easy and cheap it is to get to your holiday destination. Motorways, trains, flights and ferries can all factor in where you choose to vacation or buy a vacation home.The photo at the top of this blog gives a very pretty example of this. It was taken on a leisure development I was involved with a few years back called Pullwood Bay in the beautiful English Lake District – my spiritual home – the Lake District not Pullwood Bay. I wish! The photo is an example of a stunning ASPECT. It was Sir William Crossley who chose this spot to build in back in 1867. Sir William founded Crossley Brothers Ltd with his brother Frank. 23 years later in 1891 he had made his fortune and built Pullwood House as his 2nd home in the Lake District. The property is thought to have inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows & Amazons book in 1930.Sir William would take the train from Manchester to Bowness and then take a horse and carriage to Low Wood on the East bank of Lake Windermere. He would then load his luggage onto his steamboat and steam across the lake to his 2nd home. ACCESS has since improved with cars and motorways providing a quicker, if slightly less romantic, journey to this drive-to destination.
Nonetheless, you’ve got to hand it to Sir William – his choice of PLACE was totally inspired…
CHOOSING THE BEST PLACE FOR YOUR PROPERTY
Whether you are a residential or resort property developer, building a hotel, or buying your own home, choosing the right “Place” is critical to your success and happiness. That’s why “Place” is the first P in the 7 Ps of Property Marketing.
So, if you are a residential property developer, have you done your research?
Is the “Place” you have chosen to develop located in a Destination or a Dead End? If it’s a destination already, you are off to a great start? If it’s a dead end, what would make it a destination – or are you flogging a dead horse!?
So that’s the 1st of The 7 Ps of Property Marketing. If you enjoyed this blog and want to read more like it the 2nd Property Marketing P stands for People. Here’s How to Target The People In Your Market Effectively