EVERY YEAR SINCE IT OPENED FOR SALES IN MAY 2004, THE development team at The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay in Millsboro, Del., has hosted an event for licensed real estate agents in the surrounding area to coincide with the unveiling of the project's latest milestone. So when its private Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the state's first, opened for play earlier this year, it only made sense to let the local agents try it out. “Outside sales agents play a huge role in this market,” says Melissa Firetti, vice president of sales and marketing for Peninsula at Longneck, the developer. “We like to keep them happy and informed.”
A total of 80 agents took the bait from a direct-mail postcard invitation to compete in a scramble of foursomes, which included a light breakfast, lunch on the course, and an awards reception afterwards. Hardsell talk of the project, however, was not on the agenda. “This day was for them to enjoy,” says Firetti, noting that most of the agents already had Peninsula sales literature and that the event was geared to generate word-of-mouth to potential buyers.
The developer did, however, sweeten the pot by announcing an upgrade to its existing ambassador program that enables agents to register their clients online, instead of in person, to receive Peninsula materials and updates. “It's easier for the agents and their clients, especially given that we have a ‘remote' location in their eyes,” says Firetti. The event, and the course, inspired some agents to write glowing thank-you notes and e-mails, some of which Firetti used in a print ad for the community. Meanwhile, The Peninsula has booked more than 400 contracts worth $200 million in two years, mostly among second-home buyers.
CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Golf event for outside real estate agents at The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay, Millsboro, Del.; Developer: Peninsula at Longneck LLC, Millsboro; Cost: $6,000; Agency: Quinn & Co., New York