Buying or renting a place to live is a big decision for anyone – it doesn’t matter if they intend to live their long-term or short-term.
As one of the most hotly contested industries (there will always be people wanting to find somewhere new to live), it can be hard for real estate agencies to stand out from one another.
Whether you’re pursuing potential new home owners or renters, or you’re trying to encourage current clients (such as renters) to sign a new lease or agreement – the competition is fierce at almost all times.
In this article, I will be touching on two key areas regarding travel incentives and how they can help real estate agencies:
- RESPA and how it affects incentives and gifts
- How travel incentives help you stand out
RESPA and How it Affects Gifts and Incentives
When talking about real estate and gifts, it’s hard not to think of RESPA, an act in the US that can often leave many worried about the legality of offering a client (be they a prospective or current home owner or renter) any type of gift.
While it is true that RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) does have restrictions, it’s not so much about the type of gift as it is about the reason for the gift. Under RESPA, gifts cannot be given to a client or industry partner if its sole purpose is as a type of payment for referrals or kickbacks.
In other words, if you were to give an individual a travel incentive in exchange for them referring someone to you who is a sure-fire property sale, then you would likely be in violation of the rules set under RESPA.
However, if you simply give a customer a travel incentive as a thank you for them buying or renting through your real estate agency, that is not in violation. Nor is advertising a travel reward associated with a property purchase or rental.
In short, do not use incentives for sales referrals. In general, they can be given as gifts to buyers, can be used in promotions, can be utilized to help you sell a home, and more.
How Travel Incentives Help Your Real Estate Agency Stand Out
With the legality of RESPA out of the way, it’s time to discuss how travel incentives can be incredibly beneficial for real estate agencies.
At their core, travel incentives are experiential rewards and have a unique edge over more commonplace, non-experiential gifts such as cash or electronics along the lines of iPads or smartphones.
Since 1998, as we’ve offered travel incentive solutions to clients, their sales have increased by an average of 21.8% when utilizing incentive products. Key to this is the wide range of incentives that businesses can use, and this includes real estate agencies.
Anything from sports and concert tickets to week-long resort getaways can be offered to clients, and the inherent experiences are more eye-catching than run-of-the-mill discounts or smart devices.
One such client of ours, Morgan Properties, reported fantastic success when using travel incentives. Morgan Properties’ regional marketing manager, Jamal Lee, said of a lease renewal endeavor utilizing Vegas travel incentives (emphasis to the quote has been added by us):
“The basic idea was, ‘If you renew your lease within two weeks of receiving this note, you will receive a trip to Vegas.’ It went off like a hit: renewals came back quicker, residents loved that they actually got a trip, and we just received a lot of positive feedback about the incentive.”
It’s important to consider the power of what you’re offering, and while travel incentives may not always be the first thing businesses think of, their perceived value is a paramount aspect of their effectiveness.
For many customers, a Vegas getaway, 5-day cruise, one-week resort stay, or even tickets to their favorite concert of sports event can have a substantial perceived value. Everyone needs a break from time to time, and everyone wants to be able to celebrate and experience things that they love – that’s why travel incentives are often so effective in that department.
Be sure to check out the video below, which provides even more insight into the power of travel incentives in helping you secure property purchases and rentals.
About David Murton
Senior Blog Editor
PCR’s blog is where we share stories and insights about travel incentives, marketing solutions, client success stories, and the latest developments within our company. Prizes Contest Rewards (PCR) is the digital sales department of PCR.com. PCR is a three-time recipient of Carnival Cruise Lines' "Pinnacle Club" award for sales excellence and a member of Funjet Vacations "500 Club" of travel agencies.