Selling a dream caused a sales stampede for Estrella del Mar on the Mexican Riviera.

By R.E. Blake Evans

Selling second-home communities is never about price, or floor plans, or builder. It's always driven by location and lifestyle. At Estrella del Mar on the Mexican Riviera, the development team knew it would be competing with local resorts for attention.

"We had to have a Web site that was informative and balanced but not overly sales-oriented in tone. We are selling the location and the escape," says Kim Boutelier, marketing manager for the 800-acre Mazaltan community.

Estrella del Mar (Star of the Sea) is located on the West Coast of Mexico, where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet. Estrella is marketed to state-side retirees, empty-nesters, second-home buyers, as well as Mexican nationals.

Along with single-family homes and villas from 700 square feet and up, the community will also open a new 200-room hotel and spa for the 2001 2002 season. "As a second-home or resort community, you have to reflect the culture," Boutelier says. That is why the site features tropical images and colors and does not shout out sales information. "You have to sell a dream discretely, not with prices and details. That comes later, we service the buyers who inquire. We don't 'sell' them," he adds.

Campaign details

Program: Web site; Builder: Estrella del Mar LLC, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Project: Estrella del Mar, Mazaltan, Sinaloa, Mexico; Management: Sierra Pacific/Stone Island Development, Irvine, Calif.; Density: 1,300 units on 818 acres at build out; Size: 730 square feet to 3,000 square feet; Price: $117,000 to $500,000; Budget: n/a; Agency: The Roxburgh Agency, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Web site hits: 13,000 in the first six months; Sales: 6 per month