We’ve spent some time over the years counseling to and conversing with real estate developers and hospitality operators about the concept of a “Portable Nest”. So what really is a portable nest and how can developers and operators leverage this notion in the new Shared Use Economy?
A Portable Nest is really a metaphor for the ease in which a family (school-aged children) or empty-nester couple can experience a second home lifestyle in multiple destinations without the drag of ownership or sacrificing on the core conveniences they expect and enjoy at home. Portability of experience emerged with the advent of the summer cottage or the Sunday houses in Texas. That demand for personal and family space, lifestyle conveniences and sense of easily repeatable experience fueled the early second home marketplace; the first use occasion for a vacation home emerged.
Before I proceed though, first, a quick linear evolution overview of shared-ownership/use for perspective will set the stage for Portable Nests. Of course the vacation home ownership model has morphed over the years in the forms of timeshare, fractional and residence clubs, but the essence of “ownership” of experience has not deviated from the notion of a deeded interest in the real estate. With the introduction of shared-ownership, the rising need for controlling use plans (how the varying owners would have equitable access to the real estate) became important as a way to ensure that the basic tenets of the second home experience were preserved. And when destination clubs were introduced a little more than 10 years ago, they immediately satisfied a growing appetite for what could be said at the time was an American craving for excess: excessive and extravagant lifestyles on leverage. Gone was the need to own a traditional second home because it became clumsy and difficult to maintain (read “more expensive”). Also gone with destination clubs is the deeded interest and underlying securitization of deposits as resort real estate values plummet.
So how does all of this history relate back to the Portable Nest? If we fail to learn anything from history then we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. In fact, Einstein once said, “ We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” How this relates to the Portable Nest is that real estate developers and hospitality operators need to think creatively/differently to bridge the gap between portability of experience and access/ownership structures. The same is true for the antiquated marketing programs and processes used to attract buyers.
Portable Nests are the future of vacation real estate, and the rise of a more flexible access plan combined with decreasing financial risk based upon a pay-as-you model will lead the way. Incentive to own the real estate will come later, but for now, smart consumers will realize that paying slightly more for flexible access without risk is the way to go. Developers and operators that think through the concept of Portable Nests and re-envision their offerings to match this new model will be better positioned to survive the short-term pain and reap the rewards of long-term gain.
To learn more about migrating your development to the new model, give us call. We’re portable too.