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Fractional Life in San Francisco: farewell to the bay
Date: 2011-03-20 18:20:46
The Fractional Life team hit the road, or should that be the skies, again this week as Piers, sales manager John Hulme and I flew to San Francisco for the 2011 Ragatz Fractional Interest Conference.
We arrived on the Saturday before the conference, giving ourselves the chance to be tourists for a couple of days in this fascinating city, and we dived headlong into the American experience – local beers (particularly Anchor Steam and Fat Tire) in great bars like The Gold Dust Lounge and Lefty O'Doul's; huge breakfasts and burgers in Rockwell-style diners and an open top bus tour of the city through the drizzle and across the iconic Golden Gate bridge.
The city offered a mixture of sublime and ridiculous sights including (category one) Chinatown, the financial district, the grand mansions of Pacific Heights, and (category two) herds of tourists exploring on Segways. The weather for the tour wasn't great, but John (below), being a hardy soul, refused to sit in the covered part of the bus and consequently got a thorough soaking.
One of the great things about San Francisco is its compact nature. Hemmed in by mountains and the sea, the city measures just seven miles by seven, and if you are happy to come home with calves of granite from walking up and down (but mostly up) its famously steep streets, it's a great place to explore on foot. It's good to have the trams as back-up though.
On Sunday evening we had a drinks party in the bar of the grandiose Ritz-Carlton hotel to celebrate Piers's birthday. Some notable names form the shared ownership industry joined us, including Dave Shaklee of Fairmont Heritage Place and his wife Cindy, Bob McGrath of RCI, and lawyer/film-maker Letvia Arza-Goderich. The bonhomie and industry talk were somewhat overshadowed by the horrifying footage of events in Japan which was being screened around the bar on CNN, but a good time was had by all, and the English contingent manfully supped until around 11:30pm – the equivalent of 7:30am to our jet-lagged bodies.
Day one (Monday) of the conference consisted of the Fractional 101 sessions, providing a comprehensive introduction to the sector for potential new developers. Things certainly livened up in the evening when we went to dinner at Prospect, one of San Francisco's trendiest new restaurants with the Timbers Resorts crew, and Paul Nabor of FractionalExchange.com. The wine and conversation flowed, and some serious food was enjoyed. The post-prandial whiskies at The Fairmont were possibly a case of gilding the lilly, but it was great to hook up with Timbers, who virtually swept the board at the Fractional Life awards earlier this year. Piers risked an excess baggage fee to bring two of the awards to San Francisco and present them to Timbers' marketing manager Amy Anderson (below).
Conference day two started with Dick Ragatz's annual state of the industry report which contained few surprises as it revealed a fourth annual drop in sales volume, but the general mood at the event was generally upbeat. Dave Shaklee said that Fairmont's Ghiradelli Square PRC had sold three shares in one day earlier in the week, and many delegates I spoke to said they were expecting a better year in 2011. There was also a lot of enthusiasm for the forthcoming Fractional Summit USA in Miami, which will be the next time I venture across the pond, although Piers is back on a plane next week to attend the ARDA conference in Orlando.
After the conference finished, there was just time for John and me to squeeze in a final visit to Lefty O'Doul's for one of their amazing sandwiches, before heading off to the airport. All three of us have seriously fallen for San Francisco, so the announcement that the 2012 Ragatz conference will be in Scottsdale, Arizona, provoked mixed feelings. I'm confident there will be much more momentum and optimism in the industry then, and I hear good things about the town, but you can't beat California girls like the ones we spied in this pizza joint below. These leopardskin lovelies are Marian and Vivian Brown (no relation to Piers!). The 84 year-old identical twins are two of San Francisco's best known characters. They moved to the city from Mattewan, Michigan to find work as secretaries, but have been in demand as actresses too. Always immaculately attired in matching outfits, they can often be found eating out in the Union Square and Nob Hill districts.
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2 comments to Fractional Life in San Francisco: farewell to the bay
Piers Brown says:
John, great to see a suntanned face and your smile whilst all around has deserted the bus.....and you almost didn't bring your jacket with you!!
Date: 2011-03-21 14:15:24
John Hulme says:
What a fantastic experience, we met some wonderful people both personally and professionally and have managed to generate some momentum for our Summit USA.
By the way, George, you forgot to mention the naked cyclists!
Date: 2011-03-18 16:43:41
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