Real estate investing has long been a proven approach to helping individuals diversify their assets, build generational wealth and achieve financial independence— and that’s especially the case when it comes to two HBCU grads: Carrington Carter and Calvin Butts, Jr.
The pair, who are the founders of the premium vacation rental company, Getaway Society, are not only taking over the $113 billion global vacation rental market, but also providing a pathway for Black entrepreneurs and investors to follow in their footsteps.
And their partnership started off rather serendipitously. What began with Carter vacationing in the Poconos, later led to the college friends joining forces to turn their love for traveling into a profitable business where they currently own and manage properties in the Poconos, Martha’s Vineyard, Gatlinburg, and Hilton Head. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, they have seen exponential growth in all of those markets, and there business has only continued to grow.
This comes as no surprise, with Black U.S. leisure travelers spending on average $109.4 billion on travel in 2019 – the most recent year reflecting normal travel spend prior to COVID-19. Needless to say, there’s a huge vacation rental market to be tapped into, and the Hampton University graduates are just beginning to scratch the surface. “We spend a lot of money on travel,” says Carter. “We spend a lot of money on experiences. You’re also starting to see a cultural shift, whether it’s brought on by social media, or whether it’s an age thing, where people are starting to spend a lot of money on experiences versus material things. The vacation rental industry and the travel industry are starting to benefit a lot from that.”
After putting their financial resources and knowledge together, they broke ground on their first Getaway Society property in the Pocono Mountains in 2014 — and it’s been up ever since. “We continue to grow in this space,” says Carter. “One of the things that we like about the vacation rental home market, is the many different types of ways that you can use these houses. Whether it’s a family trip, whether it’s a multigenerational family… fraternity trip, sorority trip, bachelor, bachelorette.”
Butts adds that their growing success also has a lot to do with the current social climate, “This is now the preferred way of travel for a lot of folks. Given the fact that folks are traveling in larger groups, and people looking for more privacy, and are looking to have events and need more space. If you think about where we are in this current pandemic — the need for safety, cleanliness, privacy and less exposure to others is now very important.”
Carter and Butts, Jr. haven’t stopped at vacation rentals either. The pair also co-own McKinley Carter Enterprises, a real estate investment and property management company, as well as East Chop Capital, a private equity firm that helps people create and grow businesses, as well as obtain financial education on how to raise money and find investors. “Calvin and