became the first real estate agent in the State of Arkansas, and the 45th agent
world-wide, to become certified as a Resort and Second Home Property Specialist by the
National Association of Realtors.
I use the
theme "Small Resort Millionaire" because it is very possible to build a net
worth of a million dollars (or more) owning a small resort. But even if you never obtain
that millionaire level, you can still live a rewarding, and profitable lifestyle as a
small resort owner. You'll enjoy a fun challenge and a very independent way of life.
I am a licensed Arkansas real estate principal broker in
Mountain Home, Arkansas. I have specialized in tourism property sales since 1995. My wife
Mary has been my assistant all those years.
I have been paid fees or commissions for bringing to market
and/or selling 57 area tourism businesses, which is about half of this area's 100 or so
I have a strong working knowledge of the tourism industry
because tourism is what I do, every day of my working life. Because I am a tourism
specialist I do not have time to work with other types of properties, such as homes, land,
or other commercial real estate. I work with small resort owners and tourism businesses on
a daily basis in several capacities. My knowledge of small resorts and Ozark tourism
success extends way beyond real estate.
My wife Mary and I own and produce The Ozark Mountains
Website, which is an online tourism publication with an average monthly readership of
70,000 persons, making it the area's most-visited tourism Web site. In addition to
producing OMW, Mary and I currently produce tourism advertising and Web sites for 80-plus
area resorts and tourism business, and we expose that advertising to our OMW readership.
Using Web site traffic reports and a metrics-based model, we clearly see what is working,
and what is not, in tourism promotions.
Based on publicly available figures, OMW creates more
exposure for this area's tourism industry than any other tourism information source.
Without our clear understanding of what the American Consumer wants in travel and
hospitality, OMW would not be where it is today. OMW first appeared on the World Wide Web
April 7, 1995. It has been responsible for many millions of dollars in tourism sales
for this area every year since. This statement is not meant as a brag, but rather to make
the point that Mary and I have a clue on what it takes to succeed in Ozark tourism!
Before we develop a tourism business Web site, Mary and I go
to the property and spend several hours with the owners. Our goal is establishing an
advertising strategy for them that will work well on the Web as well as in print should
they so choose. Because we have done this since 1995, we have learned a great deal about
what works and what does not in small Ozark resort operation. This knowledge came from
listening to well over 140 different resort and tourism business operators. It also comes
from our own extensive tourism and travel industry research.
In the process of bringing over 57 resorts to the market, I
have spent hundreds of hours discussing resort financial statements with sellers, buyers,
CPAs, lawyers, and commercial loan officers. I have seen first hand many times, in many
different situations, what makes a small resort successful, and what makes them fail. This
is the knowledge I share with you when you work with me as your small resort real estate
agent. While I will not discuss the names of the people or actual resorts involved, or any
other confidential information, I will discuss the outcome of any given strategy.
The reason I have worked with more owners than resort
properties is because several resorts have had more than one owner since they became OMW
customers. And I have worked with a few resorts which changed ownership three times, and
with several more which have changed ownership two times.Thus I have considerable first
hand experience in seeing how different management styles affect the same resort
operation. Without identifying individuals, I share this knowledge with you as we look at
It was the Blackburn family of Mountain Home who had this
area's first small resort operation, which opened in the mid 1940's. Due to material
shortages resulting from World War Two, the Blackburn family made their own bricks, cut
their own lumber, and built their resort by hand. Over the next 30 years they owned a
total of seven more resorts in this area. Blackburn and Company Real Estate (also the
area's first real estate agency), now closed due to the death of Charles Blackburn, sold
more resorts than any other agency in this area.
It was under the experienced and watchful eye of Charles
Blackburn that I first engaged in resort sales. I learned a great deal from Mr. Blackburn.
I also learned a great deal from the many wonderful people who are resort owners and OMW
customers. This area has some of the smartest and hardest working small resort owners in
America. They are some of the most successful that I have found anywhere. They all have
contributed greatly to my education over the years, for which I am very thankful.
I have seen many tourism businesses succeed, some go
bankrupt, some just break even, and a few become worth well over a million dollars. I have
seen top quality properties run into the ground, and I have seen old run down resorts
become million dollar winners. This is the level of knowledge you need from a real estate
agent in today's very competitive small resort market. Settle for nothing less if you want
Ozark tourism promotion is what I do, every working day,
because Ozark tourism is my passion. If you think that you too might also share this same
passion, give me a call today!
Contact Gary Cooley
The Small Resort Millionaire
As I mentioned above, I have watched small resorts that were
making good money suddenly go bankrupt. And I have seen old run down resorts restored,
brought back to life, and sell for over a million dollars in 5 years. I was called in as a
consultant on a small resort that had been very successful in years gone by, but under new
ownership had lost money, despite impressive amounts of capital infusion. The new owner
spent $10 million doing things "his way", but the place sunk into ruins and sold
for less than a million dollars after almost 10 years. Now under new ownership, it is once
again on the rise.
Why is it that some fail where others succeed? Is it
management? Is it advertising? Is it location? Or is it due to sudden turns in consumer
What is it that makes the successful so successful? Attitude?
Being hard working and frugal? Or do they just have the Golden Touch? Do they have some
special talent for making people feel good? Do they have a strong passion for the small
resort lifestyle? How did they buy right, build right, and make that million dollar net
Small resorts in America are a dying breed of lodging
business. There are now less than 1,700 small resorts left in America. In other words, if
you are a small resort owner, you are indeed a rare breed. Owning a small resort is not
like owning any other type of lodging facility. Ironically, even as the number of resorts
in America dwindle, the demand for the small resort vacation is growing, especially here
in the Ozarks. Shrinking supply and growing demand - that's a formula for success!
Now, more than ever, is the ideal time to become a small
Ozark resort owner!