All business minds in Mallorca are in a whirl this week. Our delegates to the World Travel Market in London are talking the talk of the delights of Mallorca. They are consolidating the ‘Brand’ they have been working on for months and in some cases, years. Sixty years ago when tourism grew, the brand was simple. Sandy beaches, sunshine and the emergence of the package tour. The world has learned a lot since then.
Stepping off the treadmill for Covid, gave time for Brand psychology and thinking. It gave time for serious investors to decide where the next emerging brands were. Decisions could then be made on the investment opportunities.
I read about these things, take part in meetings on behalf of our brand – ‘Sollerweb’ and have an opinion on this in relation to the Soller Valley. Branding is a very ugly name but it does what it says on the tin. It takes a concept, creates a brand, develops an interest, cultivates the taste, then launches it on the world. Far-fetched? I don’t think so. Think Marks and Spencer Food, Waitrose, Amazon, John Lewis. They are all examples of Brand creation which the customer leans towards, understands and respects.
Our tourism leaders of the past made good and bad decisions and these have led to Majorca suffering from a poor branding in certain parts of the island. This is being addressed and now the new world of Magaluf is out there beginning its new ‘Branding.’
Many of the ‘Humans of Mallorca’ in my Soller Valley world are attempting the brand conversation.
Tourism and Real Estate are the overall brands of our area. To watch what is happening in both sectors has been a revelation to me. Let’s take Business Centres and Nomad office space first. This is a huge growth area and a few incomers have organised themselves in this way. The real growth, any minute now, is coming from local Mallorcan business people. Once farmers, then hoteliers, now the future of internet and workspace rentals and hotels designed for that purpose. A new Brand to us which has been tried and tested already and now ready to roll out all over the island.
In the property world local people are very canny and acquisitive when it comes to housing stock. Recently they have been given a run for their money by a new brand concept. This works by a non-local company, buying a village house, converting the interior to an ultra-high end status, marketing it abroad, selling for a fortune. All credible, based on the ‘Brand’ of the company doing the work. New expensively built homes exist all over the island, this is nothing new. The new ‘Brand’ is working on the principle of making the Village House the most desirable residence in town.
As for Tourism in our world the ‘Brand’ is not at all settled. It is as if those making decisions are afraid to let go of any part of the market to settle on the final ‘Brand.’ The Soller Valley has a three month period where families are all important . The buckets and spades and babies on the beach are where many of the future visits to the area start. Then the sports orientated tourism world of walks, cycling and high intensity adventure holidays fill in another six months. The remaining three months of the year fill with those who are second home owners and want to use all the local facilities around.
Against this you have the Aga Khan philosophy of branding which is gaining ground in conversations about Mallorca. In 1964 the Aga Khan and other investors identified Sardinia as their island in the sun. They knew who they wanted to welcome there and so began their development, ethos and branding. Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV—the business magnate, philanthropist, and spiritual leader of the world’s million Ismaili Muslims created his own paradise island to share with similar people.
‘To preserve the beauty of Costa Smeralda and prevent overbuilding, the Aga Khan and his fellow investors established strict architectural and zoning standards. “We found the place so beautiful,” the Aga Khan said in a 1965 interview, “and we were so happy, that we decided we had to be very careful, because if not the place would simply become another ugly, over-crowded tourist centre.”
This is the conversation of 2021 in Mallorca which continues on the back of the magnificent yachts which spend their summers in Mallorca. The Celebs who want to have homes and yachts here as they want to see and be seen. They are joined by the mega rich who don’t want to be seen by anyone. They live in their own compounds with high walls and security at the door.
Humans of Mallorca who are decision makers today have 2022 decisions to make. We are all watching as they make them and wondering about our own Mallorcan place in the future world.
Branding – who needs it? We all do apparently…