Most builders don't have the luxury (or burden) of providing a 14-home model complex, but almost every builder faces the problem of getting prospective buyers to visit the sales center and walk the product. At the grand opening of Verano, a 6,500-unit, Tuscany-inspired master plan in Port St. Lucie, Fla., developer/builder Kolter Communities upped the ante on the age-old registration card by issuing a realistic-looking “passport” to every visitor who signed in. Those who had their passports stamped at all 14 of the project's models and returned the completed travelogue to the sales center were entered in a drawing for a big-screen television and the grand prize of a vacation package to Italy.

“We wanted to ensure that they got the complete feel for Verano,” says Vince Crawford, director of sales and marketing for the community. “The overall goal was to introduce the project to the community and create an awareness of it.”

A map to the fully merchandised models, complete with floor plans and front-elevation renderings, accompanied the passport and reinforced the “tour of Italy” theme and the master plan's overall “Discover the World of Verano” brand identity. A street festival within the vast model-home complex maintained a lively atmosphere during the three-hour event.

Encouraged by a saturation of newspaper ads, billboards, the developer's Web site, and 55,000 direct-mail invitations derived from a prospect list, more than 5,000 potential buyers showed up, the vast majority completing the tour and entering the giveaway. Through June, the project had logged 43 sales among primarily older active adults seeking second homes. Kolter Communities keyed the passport information into its database and has since followed up with e-mails, direct mail, and phone calls.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Grand opening; Project: Verano, Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Developer/Builder: Kolter Communities/Kolter Homes, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Cost: $180,000 (entire event, including advertising); Advertising agency: Green Advertising, Boca Raton, Fla.

TICKET TO RIDE: Using a “passport” and a map of the model complex, prospective  buyers at Verano's grand opening received a unique stamp at  each of the 14 homes, qualifying them for a giveaway while updating the community's  prospect list.
TICKET TO RIDE: Using a “passport” and a map of the model complex, prospective buyers at Verano's grand opening received a unique stamp at each of the 14 homes, qualifying them for a giveaway while updating the community's prospect list.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Port St. Lucie, FL, Orlando, FL.