If you've ever questioned the value of a Web site to market and promote your project, the success of The Promenade Rio Vista project in San Diego should quell your suspicions. To promote a new image for apartment living as chic instead of shabby, the Web site (www.promenadeliving.com) plays off the project's proximity to San Diego's resortlike culture and vibrant urban life--and specifically extols the virtues of using the downtown trolley system to get residents to wherever they want to go. "We wanted to deliver on the promise of going day to night [with activities]," says Toni Alexander, president and creative director at InterCommunicationsInc, the agency in charge of the entire marketing communications package, including the Web site.
The result is a cornucopia of images on the Web site, from mural-like paintings to sepia-toned photos showing happy apartment dwellers enjoying myriad opportunities within a walk, bike ride, or trolley ride from The Promenade. Each page on the site also features a "day in the life" moment: At 7:00 a.m., for instance, it's time to catch the train; at 5:00 p.m. it's off to a Padres game at the nearby ballpark.
The project benefited from advertising the Web site on billboards, on site signage, and in all printed materials, in addition to listings on local and national online apartment search engines. "It allowed us to get hits from drive-bys, advertising, and after folks visited us," says Walter Eeds, president and CEO of Greystone Group/PLC, the builder.
And because of delays during approvals and construction, the Web site became the only way for prospective renters to learn about the project and view floor plans. "People had to use the Web because they couldn't tour the site," says Alexander, thus boosting the value of the $20,000 investment even more. "The prerental stage was driven by the Web site."
After opening for prerentals in April 2002, the project's first phase of 490 units (ranging up to $2,210 per month) was 90 percent leased within 18 months; a second phase of 480 units will be completed this spring.
Program: Community Web site; Cost: $20,000; Web site:www.promenadeliving.com; Builder/Developer: Greystone Group/PLC, Newport Beach, Calif.; Advertising agency: InterCommunicationsInc, Newport Beach
Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Diego, CA.