Every year, when February is in sight, I put a checkmark on my agenda: the day may vary and the venue may change as well, but the annual Rendez-Vous is as predictable, exciting and enriching as can be… I am talking about the Luxury Portfolio International Summit and the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World Annual Meeting. Big deal. Bigger yet: it was in Las Vegas this year!
Think about it, it is undoubtedly the biggest show on earth in the real estate industry. For all the right people that is. Invitation only. Five hundred members among the very best companies worldwide. That’s about 3,500 offices and 120,000 agents. About 3,000 of them attended the event. They came from 23 different countries spread over all continents. Together, all these top pros put 1,100,000 real estate transactions on the books in 2014!
We had a good time under the desert sun this year. The Boston people probably a lot more than others, considering… Always nice to shake hands and schmooze with agents from the 50 States as well as European & Asian friends we only get to see once a year. That’s really when you understand that it’s a big real estate world out-there. Regardless who we are, where we work, what language we speak, we are all pretty much the same. Same mission, same motivations, same sense of accountability to the principals. Hence the theme of the event: “I am local, I am global.”
More importantly, this international event is a reminder that we all need one another to get our job done. No matter how big and successful we are as a company, as an office, as an agent, we must humbly admit that we cannot cover alone all the marketing needs of our sellers. We need a bridge to the high-end foreign buyers, whatever country they may come from. In today’s luxury market, they are driving the business. That bridge is the Luxury Portfolio international network. Without such partner, you just simply cannot connect successfully enough with most of the qualified demand.
As usual, the agenda for meetings/educational sessions/panel discussions/networking events, was pack-loaded. Too bad for those participants who had money to lose in a casino or those who were looking forward to a rejuvenating daily stroll along The Strip. Business comes first, and last. No complaints. After 3 full days, we got plenty of great material from a host of great speakers to think about, digest and put to good use.
In blogs to come, I will expand on several discussion themes. Among them, two which are dear to me, as they match my DNA: High-End Trends & Dynamics for one, and of course, the growing impact of foreign buyers on local real estate values in the US. Experts were at hand to talk about these topics. I especially enjoyed the presentation from Simon Henry, a smart techie and entrepreneur I had already met last July in Shanghai. Simon is the co-founder of Juwai.com, the leading site for the Chinese buyers looking to buy real estate outside of China.
Real estate is always the same, here and everywhere. The way to market it is not. At the high-end, it used to be an art; today it is a science. To do the sellers justice (instead of telling fairy tales) and work effectively with buyers coming from all horizons, Realtors need to be more than “citizens of the world.” They certainly need their own specialized luxury tools and services, but they also need the reach and the credibility of an international marketing network. They have it all, or they don’t. It’s not an either-or question. Buyers and sellers beware.