This one simple* strategy sold over €32m in property, through Brexit & Trump8th May 2017
When we launched a collection of ski chalets in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, in the Three Valleys just over a year ago we knew they’d sell fast.
They had almost everything buyers look for in a ski property; ski-in ski-out location, competitive prices, a reliable developer, jaw-dropping views and all in a resort that many other Three Valleys resorts pretend to be in their postcards.
After helping the developer with sizing & pricing, what followed was a relatively simple and streamlined international marketing and communications strategy. The reservations came in thick and fast. We had a mix of clients; British, Northern European and a spattering of expats.
However, a few months later, a floppy-haired blonde and his tweed-wearing sidekick waddled into the fray. The B-word became a daily topic and hesitation swept across property markets in the UK and Europe, where it still remains for some.
A handful of buyers were immediately denied the opportunity, simply due to the wild swing of currency rates. Prices of €870,000 to around €2m, whilst cheap for a Three valleys ski-in ski-out chalet, were suddenly 20% more expensive in sterling. Cheap, but punchy at the same time.
"It was proven to be 20% below market value..."
However, we were still left with a large number of buyers who could afford to purchase, who understood the merits of the investment, one that was proven to be 20% below market value, but for them hesitation still remained.
Having successfully marketed and sold hundreds and hundreds of properties in the French Alps, a place that we all love, we knew that whilst the financials and investment are important, when buying a ski property it’s all about imagining you’re there.
The crisp smell of alpine air through a balcony window, planning the day out as you’re sat around the breakfast table. It’s all about being there. And with nothing to show back then but a few holes in the ground (what is now a fast-paced construction site), some CGI’s and floor plans we had a problem.
We had to put people in the properties, without them even existing yet.
What came next was the simple strategy*, that whilst easy on paper, was no easy feat in delivering. Working with our in-house interior designer Anna Wolf, our studio of graphic designers and CGI artists, our Destination Advisers and sales people around the world, we created 360 degree virtual tours for two different property types - a detached chalet and a semi-detached chalet - both of which put people in their future homes, right on the pistes in St Martin.
As a result, clients hesitating became sure and it also helped us engage with new clients too. To take a tour, see for yourself here.
Only one chalet now remains for sale, with six bedrooms at €1.96m, a snip for any ski-in ski-out chalet in the Three Valleys, let alone one in St Martin. More information on the project can be found here. It has a restaurant on site, which will be run by the chefs at St Martin's 3 star Michelin Restaurant 'La Bouitte'.
Of course, VR in real estate is nothing knew, but it can so often be done poorly, to the detriment of the product it’s supposed to be helping. Putting people inside a property digitally, is just the same as in real life, it has to be perfect, first time.