“It’s not rocket science” ? the authorities need to do much more to promote Marbella & the Costa del Sol as a leading destination for luxury buyers internationally. This is the clear message from Ugo Bagration, Head of Business Expansion at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Marbella (part of billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s global real estate brand).
The following is a transcript of this video interview here.
Alfredo Bloy-Dawson (ABD) – You have a specific view on the need to promote the destination as much, or if not more, than the product?
UB – Well, Alfredo if if you know me and the way in which I advocate for promoting Marbella as a destination, you will understand how important it is for us to, showcase all the attributes that my hometown, Marbella and the Costa del Sol as a whole have to offer, especially nowadays in such a competitive and fierce environment, when it comes to other global destinations, especially along the Mediterranean basin, we are seeing the south of France, south of Italy, or the Balearic Islands, all competing for that high-end traveller and real estate buyer. So it is very important that all the main stakeholders within the luxury real estate community work as a team with a common goal, which is to promote Marbella, and promote the Costa del Sol and this is the only way in which we will manage to continuously put out the Marbella brand to the international community.
ABD – So is this something that you see happening as an organised group effort, like through some sort of association, or is it each up to each individual stakeholder to do their part?
UB – Well, let’s start by, the authorities, and the government entities, which are, or should be in charge of promoting destinations in a given country. If you’re looking into the Spanish tourism authority for example, they have been very active for the past two decades when it comes to the Costa del Sol, it is not as active anymore. And it is very, very important that the authorities and the entities in charge of the marketing and branding of the destination, actually target those specific segments and demographics to attract more other destinations around the world, which are continuously investing in brand promotion. And this is something that really deserves the attention of the people involved here in Marbella and the Costa del Sol.
ABD – So do you think the Marbella city hall is doing enough to promote Marbella as a brand?
UB – I think the city hall would be at the bottom of the value chain, the decision-making hierarchy in terms of brand promotion or destination promotion. I think they try their best with the limited resources that they currently have. This should be done after the state level, the Spanish tourism authority. Alongside the ministry of investment. They should join their combined efforts to professionally promote those destinations, which are currently, contributing to the gross domestic product in a steady manner.
ABD – So in the meantime, you are also accepting that there is a responsibility of agents in the sector to do what they can to promote to their audiences, the destination, and not just the product. Have I understood that correctly?
UB – Well, Alfredo, it’s not rocket science. If you’re selling a destination and you’re selling lifestyle and everything that goes around a destination like Marbella, it would be silly not to. Therefore, it is truly surprising to see how this topic is not given the attention that it deserves. Yes, you do have agencies doing a tremendous job when it comes to promoting Marbella and the climate and the sports facilities and the gastronomy, of course, credit to them. But I think it’s, it’s being done with a very superficial and general approach and us at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Marbella, since day one, since we launched over just shy of 16 months ago, we have been working very hard to promote the destination. It’s not about the asset, you know, it’s about the destination, and then comes the asset.
My view: I think the authorities could start with something easy by making promo assets (videos/pics) available to agents and other members of the sector to promote Marbella to their audiences.