The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the largest disasters the United States has ever had to face. Wildlife, fishermen, and the boating industry have all been drastically affected by this devastating event, but how has the real estate market in the Gulf region weathered this occurrence?
Surprisingly well, according to a survey conducted by Beaches of South Walton. Though a small percentage of travelers to Florida and other Gulf of Mexico hotspots have changed their vacation plans after the spill, this study found that a mere 1 in 20 tourists are seeking alternate accommodations.
For property owners, this is a sigh of relief-for now. Though the spill is not a deal breaker for most, it is still a slippery slope for property owners. Marketing Gulf properties for either purchase or rental when an estimated 12,000-19,000 barrels are still pouring into the Gulf each day may become more difficult as the oil continues to spread. The real question for property owners on the Gulf is not only how to attract customers, but how to keep them returning, season after season.
Real estate author Christine Karpinski, has a few tips on how to maintain an honest and profitable relationship with your seasonal renters:
1. Talk up your properties, and keep information current. Updating listing photographs as often as possible and discuss beach conditions honestly. Emphasize attractions in the area and offer incentives for positive customer reviews once their trip has been completed.
2. Offer incentives such as free meals or gas cards.
3. Make cancellation and refund policies less rigid – if you have faith in your properties then the client will as well!
4. Though it may seem like the right thing to do, do not slash prices and devalue your property. Many realtors are offering a “clean beach guarantee”, make yours with terms that are both fair to you and your seasonal renters.
5. Loosen up and be prepared to accept last minute bookings, to make up for cancellations.
An overall change in approach is what will enable property owners in the Gulf region to thrive in the wake of this disaster. Climate change, natural and man-made disasters can all have a devastating effect on coastal properties. As property circumstances change, the marketing approaches of real estate owners need to evolve as well.