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Fractional Summit USA: the show must go on

Date: 2011-09-13 16:30:59

Fractional Summit USA Miami skylineThe Fractional Life crew made a much anticipated return to Miami at the end of August for the second annual Fractional Summit USA. The days leading up to the event were rather fraught as we tracked the progress of Hurricane Irene with a sense of foreboding and more than a little deja vu (last year, Hurricane Earl was spinning violently off the Carolinas at the same time of year).

As the weather across the Eastern seaboard worsened, Piers, Tracey, our French intern Jeremie and I enjoyed a surprisingly smooth flight to a very hot and humid Miami, and were checked in to the InterContinental by late afternoon. After a quick freshen up, we headed for South Beach, and an evening stroll along the bustling strip, before a huge seafood feast at one of the dozens of restaurants fighting for your trade. Piers and I also renewed our acquaintance with Mr Samuel Adams of Boston, a relationship which started in San Francisco last year, and which I think will be a long and satisfying one.

5th St gym MiamiOn Sunday, as preparations at the hotel got into full swing, Piers and I made a quick pilgrimage to the famous 5th St Gym (left). Reopened last year, this is where legendary boxing trainer put the likes of Cassius Clay (as he then was), George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard through their paces. It is now popular with modern fighters from across the world, and we had a chat with one of the trainers who has worked with some top British boxers recently. In the evening we took Jeremie – who was seriously enamoured with Miami, to another haunt we discovered last year, the Tobacco Road bar. This is everything a visitor from England imagines a US bar to be – dark, lots of neon, a great selection of beers, with some great music memorabilia on the walls. Jeremie's enthusiasm was temporarily dented by one of Tobacco Road's Death Burger and its liberal application of jalapeños.

Monday morning and it was down to business. A meeting with Michael Gerrity of World Property Channel – one of our US media partners – provided us with a fascinating insight into the fast moving Miami real estate sector. Some last minute preparations in the afternoon, and then on to a dinner at the fabulous Zuma, the restaurant which made such an impression on us last year. The table was full of friends of Fractional Life, new and old, including Chris Allen (Citadel Trustees), Greg Spencer (Timbers Resorts), Kathy Hernandez (Kathy Hernandez and Associates), Jason Tremblay (Sell my Timeshare NOW), Alana Morris (Voca PR), Dan Bachrach and Bill Guthrie (Foley & Lardner) and Chris Payne (Ballard Spahr).

Tuesday saw the conference begin, and despite Irene's impact resulting in a staggering 10,000 US domestic flights cancelled in the previous two days, the fractional industry showed its mettle, with the vast majority of our delegates making it to Miami. More than 140 industry professionals from the US, Caribbean, South America and Europe assembled for a day and a half of highly informative presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities.

Following breakfast, Fractional Summit USA 2011 kicked off with the Fractional 101 session – a comprehensive introduction to fractional real estate from the ground up. The session was very well received by the developers in the audience who are new to, or thinking of entering the fractional space.

Fractional Summit USA owners panelHighlights of day one were a no-holds barred owners panel, where two very canny high-net worth buyers (left) shared the good the bad and the ugly of their fractional ownership experiences; and a case study looking at the Reefs Club in Bermuda, which sold 45 fractional shares in one month thanks to price cuts and a new marketing plan.

After the conference had finished for the day, the torrential rain which had come down for the previous 48 hours eased up in time for many of the delegates to don their Hawaiian shirts and join us on the Tikki Beach, a party boat which took us on a sunset cruise around the Miami harbour area.

Day two kicked off with two developer case studies looking at resorts in Florida and Mexico, and this was followed by a unique finance panel which debated the best ways to access developer and consumer financing.

The feedback from the event was great, with many delegates telling us how useful they found it. And they showed what a resilient sector we are working in, with delegates defying the recent economic traumas and metereological obstacles in their way to press ahead with new and existing projects.

We look forward to seeing many more of you in Miami next year.

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