Purveyors of posh digs court Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Purveyors of posh digs court Aspen

Janet UrquhartAspen Times Staff Writer

The assemblage of wealthy jet-setters in Aspen for the holidays has not gone unnoticed by the luxury real estate market.Local newspapers and magazines are bulging with advertisements touting fabulous vacation homes, resort clubs and penthouse digs, not only in Aspen, but around the world.Its no coincidence that a glossy, fold-out brochure for One Beacon Court, a luxury condo development on Manhattans Upper East Side, was tucked within the pages of The Aspen Times last week, according to Gregg Praetorius, senior vice president of Pace Advertising in Manhattan, which is handling the account.Prospective buyers at One Beacon Court, where a 3,058-square-foot, three-bedroom condo will go for $6.1 million, are a mobile demographic, he said. Simply advertising the project in New York may not reach them.More and more, the clientele for those properties are jet-setting around, Praetorius said.Really, the marketing plan is to reach out to these customers where they work and play, he said. Obviously, the demographics of Aspen at this time of the year fit the profile of a buyer at One Beacon Court.Exclusive Resorts, a private club that manages plush multimillion-dollar residences for the exclusive use of its members, is also trying to capture the attention of Aspens holiday vacationers.Its glossy, cardboard newspaper insert offers an invitation to the most exclusive club on Earth, and features enticing photographs of luxuriously appointed residences in destinations such as Snowmass, Beaver Creek, San Francisco, Paris, and Los Cabos, Mexico; as well as quarters on a cruise ship.Its members have access to a 3,862-square-foot, ski-in, ski-out residence near the Two Creeks lift at Snowmass, according to the Exclusive Resorts Web site, which informs vacationers that Snowmass is nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Range.Aspen and Snowmass are actually both in the Elk Mountains; the Sangre de Cristos are in south-central Colorado.Properties featured by local real estate brokers are also receiving prominent mention in local publications. A full-page, color ad boasts vacation rental properties around the globe offered by Five Star Destinations and Houston & Gorog Co., a local firm. A castle in Scotland is among Five Stars vacation digs.The Ritz-Carlton Club at Aspen Highlands, selling fractional shares in its posh residences, slipped its glossy, four-page brochure into local newspaper pages, as well.The club advertises private membership in a residence of exquisite luxury at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a second home in Aspen. Buyers also have the opportunity to stay at other Ritz-Carlton Clubs in destinations such as the U.S. Virgin Islands and the new Ritz-Carlton Club & Spa in Jupiter, Fla.The Ritz-Carlton at Highlands spends 95 percent of its advertising dollars locally, reaching its target buyer when those individuals come to town, according to Dan Bruder, director of sales and marketing.The Ritz newspaper insert that has been frequently distributed in Aspen during peak seasons was used just once elsewhere in New York, according to Bruder. We think our money is more effectively spent here, he said.Sales this past week have picked up significantly, Bruder added.Despite the significant cost of producing a glitzy promotional brochure and having it placed in a newspaper, many of them are quickly discarded or left stacked inside newspaper boxes. Some wind up scattered on the sidewalk after they slip from the pages of newspapers plucked from the box.Nonetheless, if a brochure captures just one buyers attention and ultimately results in a sale, its more than worthwhile, according to Pace Advertisings Praetorius.Thats all it takes, he said. If somebodys buying a $6 or $10 million apartment here in New York, one buyer makes it an unqualified success.The Ritz-Carlton Club, however, is weighing the value of the exposure it gains through the eye-catching inserts, with their striking photographs, against the detrimental impact of seeing some of them litter the sidewalks, according to Bruder.While theyre effective, we understand they create some environmental concerns, he said.The jury is still out, he said, on whether the Ritz will continue to tuck the brochures inside newspapers or simply advertise on the pages of the publications themselves.[Janet Urquharts e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]