For many of us, 2011 was a year best relegated to the history books. Tight credit, uncertain economic times, wars and political unrest have created an environment far from ideal for the sale of fractional ownership of vacation homes.
Yet, based on some recent events in my business life, I feel there is reason to be optimistic about the long-term future of fractional ownership, as we prepare to usher in the new year.
For the past six months or so, I’ve been in touch with a Russian businessman who had found me on LinkedIn and wanted to learn more about fractional ownership.
Through several follow-up emails and Skype calls, I learned that Russia has a shortage of primary homes—and an even greater shortage of vacation homes. Also, a growing number of affluent Russians want to be capitalists and emulate the luxury lifestyle that they believe many Americans enjoy.
I granted my contact permission to reprint some of my articles in both English and Russian on his upcoming website. The site will be devoted to informing and educating the public on fractional ownership. It is the first site to do this in Russia and is scheduled to go live in early 2012. Look for it at: www.fractionalrussia.com.
As I reflect on this story (and two I will relate to you shortly), I am struck by some observations that go far beyond any personal desire potentially to expand my business.
1. Our world is interconnected to a degree that would have been technologically impossible just a decade ago. Opportunities are now global. We need to think and act globally.
If we want to survive and thrive in business, social media must become an integral part of how we do business. If our usual fractional markets are not performing as we wish, we need to explore new opportunities in new countries and reach out to new people who have not yet experienced the extraordinary benefits that fractional vacation home ownership offers.
2. Social media need to be an intrinsic part of how we do business
We need to approach social media with an open mind. We should give of ourselves and our expertise with no expectation of a precise “return on investment.” Often, the people we attract have a profile that we could not have anticipated.
Rather than trying to capture a specific ‘target audience”, we need to publish valuable information and let interested people contact us. In this digital age, high quality response is more important than high numbers of respondents.
3. Our inter-connected global markets may offer hope for greater peace and understanding in the world.
In 1911, my father, at age twelve, and his family emigrated from Odessa to the United States to escape from Russian pogroms. He exemplified the “American Dream” by becoming a doctor.
I still recall from my New York elementary school days in the 1950s the “duck and cover” exercises we practiced. (An explanation for younger readers: Our teachers taught us that if the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack, we should seek shelter beneath our desks.)
And now, some of my fractional ownership articles will soon appear on a Russian website. What a remarkable transformation this is!
Our country has come quite far in its relationships with our once much-feared communist enemy. Of course, this relationship isn’t perfect today, and other nations present new threats to our peace and security.
Nevertheless, I believe that if we could reach out more on a business and personal basis to people abroad, perhaps we could successfully trade ideas and information, and goods and services, rather than bullets.
For the coming new year, I hope that we as Americans can use our blessings of wealth and entrepreneurship to spread the word about the extraordinary lifestyle benefits of fractional ownership to everyone wanting to learn more.
I wish you a peaceful and joyous new year—a year that fulfills your deepest dreams and your highest aspirations.
Have you met interesting people through social media? Please share your story with our site visitors.