Europe-PH News

Property Developers Should Focus On Foreign Retirees

May 23, 2012

Marc Daubenbuechel

Europe-PH News

When comparing the already existing retirement projects in the Philippines with other retirement communities worldwide, one difference can be seen: The marketing approach of the projects in the Philippines is mostly focused on real estate.

Developers in the country are not using tourism- marketing tools and the only option in nearly all their projects is buying a property. The developers try to sell their property as fast as possible, without any connection or partnership to tourism or retirement organizations.

A successful retirement village, however, shall provide and maintain an appropriate and attractive place for people with certain expectations for their new permanent home within a special developed surroundings and environment.

A separate hotel or condotel within a village can provide accommodation for visitors of the residents from abroad or those that would “test-live” the facility or chose the Philippines as their second home destination.

Long-term leases can be extremely helpful when marketing a village to senior citizens. For foreign retirees, buying a property means they will be permanently tied to a new country they are not yet very familiar with.

Giving them the option to have a long-term lease gives them the feeling of owning a property but, at the same, time retaining for them the option of moving back to their home country, if necessary.

A senior citizen’s residence needs to have special facilities catering to the needs and wants of those who live there, including amenities such as clubhouse, restaurant, grocery stores, swimming pools, activity center, sport facilities, and on-site medical facilities.

Furthermore, special services are needed for the convenience of the retirees, including a central car pool, laundry and household services, gardening, and maintenance assistance. These additional services will create additional revenues for the developers and operators.

The developer must also take special care in obtaining reliable professional advice and expert’s opinion in designing and planning the facilities and buildings within the retirement village because different cultures and target groups have different needs and wants.

“Sleeping villages” need to be avoided. The aim of a senior citizen is to develop a very lively and actively utilized place for individuals from different countries as their colorful new home for the whole year around.

Foreign retirees who leave their home country do not want to live in an empty village. For them, it is very important to be embraced by the new community. Those interested in moving to a senior-citizen residence are usually very particular about the community they will be living in.

Also important is the management of the residence.  It should be managed as a resort hotel and health-care facility because services are important to the elderly.

For some of them, it might already be difficult to find the right doctor or medicine. Management needs to be prepared for those cases.

Partnerships with local hospitals or a small clinic within the village that can provide initial assistance to a patient during an emergency is necessary. Assistance for visa, travel and other matters is very important, too.

We would like to invite those who would like to learn more about retirement villages and best practices worldwide to the 2nd Philippine Retirement & Healthcare Summit on June 26 at the Dusit Thani Manila. The event is organized by the Retirement & Healthcare Coalition in partnership with the Philippine Retirement Authority and in cooperation with the Philippine Healthcare Initiative and Century Properties.

Marc Daubenbuechel is the executive director of the Retirement and Healthcare Coalition. He is also a project manager at the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. For your comments, 
e-mail daubenbuechel@eccp.com.

 

Source: Business Mirror; Opinion; 24 May 2012

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