Broker happy hours and similar launch events for commercial and residential development projects are being replaced by virtual launches and drive-thru events in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A report in Real Deal says that developers at Codina Partners, USAA Real Estate, and Fairchild Partners came up with a novel way to promote their latest projects, organizing a caravan tour of a new industrial development they cooperated on. The event was attended by around 50 brokers, not one of whom stepped foot outside of their car. The idea was inspired by car parades at children’s birthday parties, the developers said.
Brokers were welcomed in their cars to the Beacon Logistics Park in the Miami area. They were handed a branded bag with a large bottle of hand sanitizer and disposable mask inside. Once inside the warehouse, car stops were guided with signs and posters. The drive-thru experience of the property gave Codina Partners and USAA an opportunity to show off the finished development to prospective brokers.
Of course, not every development is suitable for a drive-thru showcase. With that in mind, the new Monaco Yacht Club & Residences development in Miami Beach instead opted for a “global virtual sales gallery”. That entailed the developer creating an “e-blast video” for a virtual launch to market the luxury condo units. The video was recorded in several languages and sent to audiences in multiple countries.
The developer of that project, Optimum Asset Management USA, had first planned to host a live launch event to generate interest in the condos. But with the surge in coronavirus cases in Florida, it was forced to abandon those plans. Instead, it will host several more virtual events over the summer.
That’s not to say the idea of an open house is completely done and dusted. This year, hundreds of real estate professionals from all over the U.S. have used platforms such as Zoom to host open houses for both brokers and individual clients to show off their properties.
“The world has changed,” Louise Sunshine, a strategic adviser for Fort Partners, which is hosting virtual events for Four Seasons-branded developments in Florida, told The Real Deal. “Marketing and sales have gone digital.”