Villas on the beach

The Rise of Fractional Ownership—and How to Market to Its Potential Buyers

When many of today’s real estate buyers hear the term “fractional ownership,” they’re likely to immediately wonder: What is fractional ownership? For others who are more familiar with the practice, a different thought may come to mind: Is fractional ownership worth it?

Whichever of these consumers you may be, one thing is certain — this relatively recent development in the real estate arena is making waves. Here, we’ll take a deeper dive into fractional ownership, plus offer a few suggestions (based on The Brandon Agency’s experience in the growing real estate segment) on how to market to buyers who may be interested in it.

The basics of fractional ownership

Fractional ownership — a method of real estate investment that allows separate buyers to collectively own a high-value property, thereby mitigating ownership risks and responsibilities while, typically, gaining a set amount of personal access to the property — is not a brand-new concept. In fact, the practice was first established as a way for buyers to share ownership of ski resort properties in the U.S Rocky Mountains in the early 1990s. But fractional ownership has since spread far beyond the Rocky Mountain region, and its popularity is now seeing a steady rise throughout the nation.

Behind the boom of fractional ownership

Several key trends are driving the growth in popularity of fractional ownership. Among them, the health of the stock market is an obvious factor. Many retirees are seeing their investment portfolios — and their corresponding net worth — at all-time highs, driving an increased interest in fractional ownership of desirable vacation properties.

But many of the reasons behind fractional ownership’s rising popularity are more practical. Let’s face it: Full ownership of a second home requires full-time maintenance — on top of what’s already required for the owner’s primary residence. Fractional ownership removes that hassle.

Another disadvantage of second-home ownership involves the cost vs. usage factor. When you fully own a second home, you are obligated to 100% of the cost, no matter how much you actually use the home. As a result, many second homes go largely underused — while costing the owner full price.

Finally, fractional ownership offers owners unmatched flexibility. Because they decide their own preferred usage and share of ownership, fractional owners can match their ownership choices to their lifestyle.

Marketing fractional properties

Fortunately for veteran marketers, the tried-and-true approach to advertising is 100% applicable to selling fractional-ownership properties. We know that most high-level purchases involve two key decision-making steps. First, consumers initially inquire based on sheer emotion. This falls right in line with a long-held marketing axiom: Advertising that evokes an emotional response is the most powerful form of marketing communication. To do this requires elements of magic and science — a blend of beautiful creative and especially stunning photography combined with inspiring headlines is the first step in evoking this emotion.

The next step in the purchase decision is more cerebral. After the emotional connection is created, the decision moves to the logical stage. This is where the consumer begins weighing the associated facts. Stepping back a bit to the aforementioned advertising, the body copy in the ad is the first step in moving the prospect from the emotional stage to the factual stage.

But the advertising is only the first stage of fact-finding. After an ad catches their interest, intrigued consumers will then look to the property website and social media channels to gain more information. Peer reviews and outside ratings/rankings will also play a key role. And let’s not forget what might be the most important influence — the sales agent.

A case study: TBA’s work in action

The TBA marketing case study of Timbers Kiawah offers a great example of the above-discussed dynamic. Widely regarded as having one of the best beaches on the Eastern Seaboard, along with some of the finest golf courses in the world, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, represents the ultimate in seaside resort living. And for property buyers, the Timbers Kiawah fractional ownership development offers a front-row seat to all of it. Featuring 21 oceanfront residences boasting private access to 10 miles of pristine beach and seven world-class golf courses — including the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which has been chosen to host the 2021 PGA Championship — Timbers Kiawah has it all.

The TBA-created advertising campaign for Timbers Kiawah honed in on two key selling points. First, Kiawah Island is one of the most revered luxury resort destinations in the world. People want to visit Kiawah Island, and most who do fall in love with the island. But to actually own a piece of Kiawah Island? Sadly, this is out of reach for most of the population. That is the problem Timbers Kiawah solves. With fractional ownership, many typical property buyers can actually own a piece of Kiawah Island. The advertising campaign TBA created for Timbers Kiawah focused on this.

Timbers Kiawah website
Timbers Kiawah marketing image

3 steps to success

Based on a number of successful fractional ownership marketing campaigns, and having seen extremely impressive results from the above-detailed Timbers Kiawah marketing campaign — including an anticipated full sellout of the development’s units in 2021, based on 2020 sales performance in the wake of the campaign — The Brandon Agency recommends employing these three especially powerful tactics for marketing fractional ownership properties:

1. Deploy landing pages

One key element in successfully selling fractional ownership is to deploy customized landing pages. Ideally, as a marketer you want to seamlessly transition the prospective buyer from the advertising (especially via digital media) to a contact us form. This is critical in capturing prospects’ contact information and moving them down the purchase funnel. Further, having this information allows the marketer to take steps to move the prospect closer to a property tour while being able to further engage the prospect via the property’s owned marketing channels. This is very important, as the purchase cycle can last months or even years, and the marketer needs to conduct “drip marketing” campaigns over a long period of time to stay top of mind with the prospect and provide them with all the factual information needed to make a purchase decision.

2. Audit your digital marketing strategy

In order to send more qualified prospects to the above-mentioned customized landing pages, we suggest deploying a full-funnel approach to paid social advertising. First, after determining which is likely to be the best fit, establish a single social platform (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) as a key lead source. Next, utilize digital media tactics to intercept the target audience at the point of online research. And finally, establish a paid search program to ensure that the fractional ownership property being promoted ranks high on the most important search terms related to fractional ownership opportunities.

3. Ensure your creative evokes an emotional reaction

An age-old truth of advertising that will never change is that people inquire on emotion and buy on fact. Providing factual information is the easy part. But creating an emotional reaction is more difficult. You must play on people’s deepest instinctual emotions. Owning a home is one of the most important decisions people will ever make — so attaching the thought of ownership to a high-value, especially attractive fractional property stirs an even deeper emotion. Fractional ownership? Yes. Actually owning a piece of a highly desirable property? Even better!

When you partner with The Brandon Agency to maximize your fractional ownership sales, to ensure success, we combine a full-funnel digital media approach with inspiring creative that evokes an emotional connection with your target audience. The results? Even with the affluent consumer more difficult to reach than ever, we have demonstrated a proven ability to generate the most qualified leads that convert to tours and sales in a compressed time period.

What can we do for you? Contact us today so we can make sure that you capitalize on one of the hottest real estate markets in history.

Ed Lammon

Ed Lammon

Managing Editor of Agency Content

Ed Lammon is the Editorial Director of Blog and Long-Form Content for Brandon. A native of Enterprise, AL (home of the world’s only monument to an insect), Ed is a 1998 Journalism graduate of Auburn University (War Eagle!). When not working, he enjoys travel, hiking, telling dad jokes, and hanging out with friends and family (particularly around campfires, at concerts and at tailgates).

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