Developers are wooing buyers with top-chef dinners, marathons, wellness events
We believe that consumers don’t buy homes, they buy into a dream of the kind of life they want,” says Lodha Group chief marketing officer, Viral Oza.
So, last year, the company organised a workshop on Swiss watches at Lodha Altamount. “The workshop was held in association with Bovet Watches, a luxury brand, making it a rare and exclusive experience,” Oza says. “It doesn’t just connect two brands but it also makes luxury consumer view Lodha differently. It gives potential buyers a sneak peek into what this life would be like.”
Elsewhere, builders are hosting exclusive dinners, tying up with marathons and sponsoring health and wellness events as they seek to reach out to consumers in new ways, build communities through their brands, and cement existing relationships.
Isprava, developers of luxury holiday homes in Goa and the Nilgiris, started a Guest Chef Series in Mumbai last year. In November, they had the New York restaurateur Akhtar Nawab host a Mexican dinner for investors, stakeholders, existing and potential home buyers at Byculla’s experimental venue, Magazine Street Kitchen.
“Since we operate in holiday home cities, it’s important to us that we maintain a relationship with our buyers. As they often don’t see their homes every day, we also help them with the upkeep and rental. We want to offer all our customers a way to bond and interact with us even after their purchases,” says Isprava vicepresident Rohit Taparia. They’re also planning an Owner’s Club – an exclusive community of Isprava’s network that Taparia believes will set a tone for their brand.
Rohan Lamba, a former investment banker and an entrepreneur who moved to Mumbai from Singapore a couple of years ago, owns an Isprava holiday home in Goa and attends their events from time to time. “The events are always fun and informal and make me feel like I’m part of a community,” he says. “It means a lot to me because I’ve already bought the house, so the events show me that the company actively wants me to be a part of their network.”
Parinee Group, meanwhile, has been collaborating with the Juhu marathon since 2011. MD Vipul Shah says it helps brand the group as one associated with a healthy lifestyle.
He adds that since running has helped him get fitter, he is keen to promote it as best he can. “It’s not just about reaching out to the new customer. It’s also about creating awareness, which in turn helps with brand recall,” he says. “The current generation wants work-life balance and is fitness-obsessed. So it makes sense for us to associate with marathons.”
Dosti Realty similarly partnered with the Pinkathon in Thane, a run to raise awareness about breast cancer, in 2017.
Last year, they also offered one of their projects, West County in Thane, as the venue for an intense obstacle course race. “It helps us showcase the ideals we subscribe to and project the brand to a larger audience,” says Deepak Goradia, vice-chairman and managing director of Dosti Realty. “When we collaborate with events that promote a healthy lifestyle, we know we’re catering to the right group.”
Mudassir Zaidi, national director- residential, Knight Frank India, a real-estate consultancy, says, “It’s a function of the current state of market which is going through a slowdown. As developers have to bear the weight of the market, with not enough pitches resulting in sales, such initiatives are taken.”
However, he adds, “A lot of these activities will continue to happen, till the market starts to come back. Then these may come down.”