Dana Jacobsohn, senior vice president of residential development at Marriott International, oversees all aspects of the branded residential units of Marriott International, including Ritz- Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Edition, Bulgari, JW Marriott, Marriott, St. Regis, W, Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton, Autograph, Tribute, and Le Meridien.
These types of hotel residences have continued to be popular all over the world since the start of the pandemic, with known brands proving to be safer bets for people during uncertain times, Ms. Jacobsohn said. And with people using their vacation homes more than ever before, many buyers who already own these branded residences are spending more time in them than they ever planned to.
We talked to the Maryland-based Ms. Jacobsohn about what’s on buyers’ wishlists, the importance of high-quality service, and more.
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Mansion Global: Do you think branded residences will fare better than others sectors in this downturn?
Dana Jacobsohn: There’s been an unprecedented impact on hotels. But we are still seeing steady interest return even in that sector.
The biggest surprise to me is that branded residences are more resilient than other types of real estate. My team is as busy, if not busier, than ever. Customers, more than ever, see the benefit of our brand. We’re also seeing strong velocity of sales. People have the desire to have another residence, and they’re not spending as much time on the road.
And buyers have also gotten very comfortable with virtual tours. They know that the projects are going to be extraordinarily high quality. Especially with brands like the St. Regis and the Ritz- Carlton.
The buyers know that our brands are professionally managed, and that makes the buying decision easier and makes them more confident.
The vast majority are buying second, third or fourth homes, but people are spending a lot more time in these homes. Now many of our owners are staying for months at a time.
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MG: How do you make sure that the residences properly pay homage to that brand?
DJ: Whether we have a co-located branded residence or a standalone property that doesn’t have a hotel component, either type of residence is completely aligned with the hotel brand standard. It’s not as if we have different sets of rules. The training is the same, and it feels the same whether you’re in a St. Regis hotel or residence. What may happen in a residence is the team members may know you better and your family better, and can offer an even higher level of service.
MG: Are the services the same as a hotel?
DJ: If you’re in a co-located, of course you’re getting access to all facilities and amenities—the spa, pool, and you can order in-room dining and get housekeeping services.
But the business model that we’ve also grown is the standalone business, with no co-located hotel. That’s one of the fastest growing