Island cottages a case for target marketing

GANGES, B.C. — The challenge:  To effectively market  50 cottages on Salt Spring Island, getting to the right people in the most pertinent segments of the travelling public in a cost effective manner.

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GANGES,
B.C. — The challenge:  To effectively
market  50 cottages on Salt Spring Island, getting to the right people in the most pertinent segments of the travelling public in a cost effective manner.

The
marketing vision is to give people an impression of the place — a beautiful
piece of property on a lake — and get people in to explore.  “Salt Spring is a bit of a sleepy, rustic,
quiet place, limited by ferry access,” said Steve Bowers of Intuitive Hospitality, whose company provides the property management and central reservations systems for the project.  

“June was slow with 25 per cent occupancy; in July that rose to 68 per cent; and by August the Cottages were practically full. The property can break even at about 25 per cent occupancy.”

While it's quiet in the winter, the Island gets busier in the summer. It also has an abundance of culture, and is home to some of Canada's foremost artists, writers and musicians including artist Robert Bateman, rock legend Randy Bachman, broadcaster Arthur Black, authors Nick Bantock and Pearl Luke, and poets Brian Brett and Phyllis Webb.

According to the HelloBC website, “Artists and young neo-hippies, retired millionaires and restaurateurs, trades people and boot-clad farmers, writers and musicians all happily co-exist on what the Washington Post once called 'the coolest island in Canada'.”

Kris Crundwell
of Halifax-based KC Hospitality, was hired recently to provide targeted
marketing of the Cottages to multiple segments. 
Right now, he is working to get approval from the Canadian Forces
Appreciation Program to provide special promotional rates on their
password-protected website. 

“The beauty of the program is that is aligns with
many hotels listed on their website,” said Crundwell. The Canadian Forces community consists of over one million people, he added.

Crundwell
is also working with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), which
has travel portals aimed at people 55 or older for its 300,000 members. “This includes a younger [senior] demographic that would be interested in kayaking or winter hiking,” he said. 

Work with
inbound tourism operator Jonview, can help attract groups out of Europe and
China, along with FIT (Free Independent Travellers).  Jonview Canada provides a full range of travel products and services to the international tour operator community. For more than 30 years they have developed relationships that now include over 2,000 Canadian suppliers. They offer services in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and Mandarin. 

During a
second phase of the program, Crundwell plans to approach meeting planners such
as Helms Briscoe and Conference Direct, and also provincial groups.  For example, Crundwell could work with the BC
Tourism Portal to create a collaborative experience that is more than just a
cottage stay.

Phase three
will be the wholesalers. Crundwell is looking at HotelBeds and Tourico, who do the fulfillment for AirMiles.ca, offering net rates to members. 

Strata titled cottages and rental program

The
Cottages on Salt Spring are comprised of 50 strata titled cottages, 25 of which
are currently for sale.  Purchasers have the freedom to use their cottage
when they wish, and when not in use, utilize the resort's rental program to
generate income from their cottage.  Participation in the rental program is not mandatory, giving purchasers
the option to retain their cottage for their own exclusive use.  All
cottages come fully furnished, making this a truly turn-key purchase
experience.  

“The
Cottages are now selling and our first few purchasers are very happy,” said
Charlie Keay, developer for owner Platform Properties.  “The 2 & 2 bedroom + den cottages
range from 930 to 1,650 square feet, with prices starting from $349,900.”

Kyle Shury
is the principal of Platform Properties and he founded the company in 2010.
Kyle has over 20 years of experience in the real estate development industry.
Platform has numerous projects throughout BC in various stages of development,
and in a variety of disciplines, such as commercial, residential, mixed-use and
hospitality.

“While
there is additional acreage on the property that could potentially accommodate
additional cottages, we have no plans to proceed with more at this time,” said
Keay.