While watching an episode of Caribbean Life on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) hosted by our very own Cherita O’Dell recently, highlighting available property opportunities on Barbados, it struck me as one of the areas that really needs much greater attention to attract increased foreign exchange.
According to available data, over 96 million households in the USA have access to HGTV and in 2016 the network overtook CNN to become the third most-watched cable channel in the United States.
While our larger real estate agents appear to have found their place in the marketplace, both locally and internationally, there are dozens if not scores of smaller agencies, that appear to operate in isolation and seeming lack of collective direction.
Whether this is down to individual egos or the sheer inability or fear of working co-operatively as a group to maximize reach, awareness and share costs?
Recalling the very many promotional trips I personally took overseas, the primary concentration was never about our small hotel, but showcasing the destination. At the end of the day, it is the customer who makes the informed decision, based on preferred likes and budget.
What is to stop around ten of the more creative smaller real estate agents producing a weekly video, showcasing our vast range of possible second or retirement homes?
This could be aired via YouTube and any number of social media channels.
Of course the same video could display all the contact details of each partner agent, with websites to secure more information.
Despite current foreign exchange rates in some key markets, there still are comparative ‘bargains’ when you take into account certain locations within the United Kingdom and the added warm weather benefits that a tropical location could help to reduce a long British winter.
Add the possibility of reducing investment costs by offering home rental letting and it’s already beginning to make justifiable economic sense.
The British equivalent to HGTV in the United Kingdom could well be the very popular series produced by Channel 4 TV, A place in the Sun.
They go that extra mile by including a simple click on link to available properties for sale on Barbados and at last website viewing, listed over 800 possibilities.
Is there a way that our national marketing agency could build on these linkages?
Naturally every second home owner becomes a potential long stay visitor and almost certainly introduces family members who could conceivably return, year after year.
Not for a second, am I ignoring the vast choice of online real estate find portals like RightMove, On the Market, Prime Location and Zoopla, but if there is another dimension, could we be missing out on a lost opportunity?
Surely we have a duty to explore?
Also, is there any way our local banks can become more proactive in offering overseas clients, mortgage facilities? After all, surely any perceived risk by the lender is based on the value of the property and the ability to service debt payments?