Condo Owner

Volume19 Issue3 2015

Condo Owner publishes information vital to the business and pleasure of resort condominium ownership. Topics covered relate to real estate market trends, community association matters, rental management issues, tax and insurance updates and more.

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V O L U M E 1 9 • I S S U E 3 condo owner www.condo-owner.com 21 special feature Meyer and Kaiser are two of the lodging part- ners who advertise on the festival website. Gonzalez also praised the Condo Rental section on the HOMF's website. "Now they've really gone to a strategy that educates as much as presenting offers. It's good particularly for peo- ple who aren't used to vacation rentals. They would usually come in looking for hotel rooms. We've seen a nice steady spike year over year with referrals from the Hangout Music Festival website to our website so it's definitely been one of the better referral resources we have." The festival is now a four-day event and this year drew 40,000 revelers to Gulf Shores, many arriving before the festival actually began. So what does it take to pull off a large, four- day event with many moving parts and keep it growing from year to year? "I think that probably the biggest factor at play is the long-termed view," said Shaul Zislin, founder and vice president of Hangout Music Festival LLC. "The biggest thing we have done right is that from day one we have approached this as a long-termed investment. I always tell my team—let's make all the decisions we can based on how it will look on the 10 th annual, not on the second annual, not on the third." ‰ Condo Conscious This year's Hangout Musical Festival marked the first year the event included a separate webpage of the event's web- site to lodging and included partnerships with Kaiser Realty By Wyndham Vaca- tion Rentals, Meyer Vacation Rentals, Spectrum Resorts and Brett/Robinson Vacations. The lodging page also included a "Condos 101" primer stating the benefits of renting a condo and con- siderations regarding condo location, type and other factors. "For first-time festival goers (the aver- age age is 27, 60 percent are women), this is their first introduction to staying in a condo," said O'Connell. "The music festival spends a lot of resources educat- ing fans to explain the ins and outs of booking a condo. It works. About 84 per- cent of our fans rent a condo or hotel." Despite the optimism regarding condo rentals, O'Connell doesn't shy away from a cautionary note. "Before the festival, occupancy on that weekend was 30 per- cent," he said. "Now, the festival has helped grow occupancy to above 90 per- cent. But, condo owners shouldn't take that for granted. If prices go up, occu- pancy will go down. There is a very important relationship between the festi- val and condo owners. Keeping condo and hotel prices within reach will ulti- mately determine if the festival stays in Gulf Shores in the long term. We have isolated circumstances of price gouging and everyone needs to be mindful of keeping rental fees reasonable. We've built a great thing together and created rental revenue that would not have ex- isted if not for the festival. We constantly work side by side with our vacation rental partners. One example of that is to ensure that there are shuttle stops near the majority of condos. By locating shut- tle stops near condo buildings, we are making it easier for fans to stay there." n

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