Real Estate Marketing Lessons: Selling A Costa Rican Resort

Posted by Roman Bodnarchuk on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 @ 14:03 PM


The Challenge

9 fl costa rica

Filled with sandy beaches and tropical dry forests, Costa Rica is the perfect getaway destination. It’s no wonder that N5R was so excited when we were asked to help sell one of the largest real estate projects in the history of the country. This gorgeous property was located in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but its marketing campaign was currently unsustainably expensive and sales were far too slow. If this real estate project was going to be a success we had to find the problems with their sales and marketing and fix them in a hurry.

The Marketing

The first issue we looked at was this development’s out of control marketing costs. We analyzed their campaign and the issue was clear. They simply weren’t targeting effectively. Their current marketing campaign spanned the entire United States. We needed to find out where this development’s customers were actually coming from so we could focus on more specific markets.

Finding Our Target

We put together a list of past buyers and broke it down by region to find that 20% of our buyers were coming from the state of California. The next largest group was in Florida with 11% of past buyers.

Next we looked at the flight paths. We knew that this was a resort destination and likely being purchased as a second home. With that in mind we looked for the most painless method of travel that our customers could use, direct flights. We checked out the flight paths and found that the largest numbers of direct flights to our resort destination were coming from Los Angeles and Miami.

We now knew that the bulk of our past customers and therefore the bulk of our future prospects were coming from California and Florida. As well, we knew the easiest ways to travel to our resort were through Miami and LA. These two cities had now become the focus of our marketing efforts, but another issue had arisen. Miami and LA are two very different markets, with two very different types of customers.

A Tale Of Two Targets

We had two very different cities with two very different types of potential buyers. Miami buyers, for example tend to be looking for a winter home to escape cold weather, while LA buyers might be more health conscious and hoping to escape the smog of their big city. This meant that a single traditional campaign using magazine ads or direct marketing pieces simply would not be effective. Instead we moved more aggressively into the digital world. We leveraged the power of search engine optimization to enhance our Google ranking and completely rebuild the resort’s website. We engaged in social media and took advantage of pay per click services. We created 50 different versions of online ads that linked to 50 different landing pages depending on the region the target was in. Using this strategy we were able to target our messaging to each prospective buyer based on what we knew they were looking for. On top of that, the use of digital marketing over more traditional techniques hugely cut costs and brought the resorts marketing back in line with their budget.

An Added Bonus

On top of our analysis driven targeting in America, we found a surprising new group of buyers a lot closer expected. We knew we were targeting wealthy Americans looking for a second home, but we didn’t realize that that target could be found right in Costa Rica. It wasn’t until we arrived there that we discovered a valuable market of Americans that had already relocated to San Jose, Costa Rica, but were still missing one thing—beaches. We began another round of marketing, targeting Americans living in San Jose that focused on the idea of owning a second property near the beach. The results were amazing. This group of American Ex Pats were easily marketed to and turned our to be the most successful target of our campaign.

The Sales

There were two major issues with the sales team for this Costa Rican development. The first was a technological issue. The Internet and phone systems in Costa Rica were extremely poor and were making things unnecessarily difficult on the Costa Rican sales team. The team’s staff had been taught to respond to leads within 5 minutes, but because of the problems with the phones and Internet connections, this was almost impossible.

The second issue was with staffing. The entire sales staff was made up of Costa Ricans, all of whom were lovely and pleasant people. Unfortunately, due to cultural differences, they were extremely uncomfortable directly asking American prospects to buy. This presented us with a problem, as training this sales staff to sell effectively to American buyers was almost impossible.

Instead we solved both issues by bringing in an American based call center that we staffed with a highly trained American sales staff. The call center had none of the Costa Rican technological issues and the American sales team was far more effective. Closing number immediately went way up.

The Lessons

Find Out Where Your Target Is

Marketing to too broad an audience will result in unnecessary spending for you marketing campaign. Take the time to find out exactly where your target it most likely to be and focus your marketing efforts on that area. Past buyers are a great indicator, but don’t forget to look at the flight plans. A second homebuyer is more likely to be located in areas that provide direct flights to your development on a regular basis. 

Different Targets Need Different Campaigns

You need your marketing campaign’s messaging to speak directly to your target, but not every target is alike. A single marketing campaign just won’t cut it if you want to relate properly to your potential buyers. Create multiple campaign messages with multiple landing pages and URLs and target each campaign to a different region. This will allow your campaign to resonate more with each of your targets.

See For Yourself

Trust in your research and analytics, but don’t get too bogged down by them. There is often information that can only be attained from an in-person visit to the development you’re trying to market. If we hadn’t visited this Costa Rican Project we never would have found one of the key markets that increase sales.

Pick Your Sales Staff Wisely

Your messaging and targeting could be working perfectly, but it won’t matter if your sales team can’t turn those leads into sales. Make sure you have an effective and well-trained staff that’s being paid an appropriate amount. Motivate them well and they’ll keep your closing rates high.

If you want to learn more about how to increase your real estate project’s sales, apply to our exclusive one-day Condo Mastery seminar. 

Watch the video below to hear about Condo Mastery directly from world-renowned condo and sales and marketing expert, Roman Bodnarchuk, and click APPLY NOW to learn if you qualify.



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Topics: n5r, Cosa Rica, Costa Rica Real Estate, Costa Rica Marketing


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