Real estate investing has long been a proven approach to helping individuals diversify their wealth, build intergenerational wealth, and gain financial independence – and this is especially true for two HBCU graduates: Carrington Carter and Calvin Butts, Jr.
The couple, who are the founders of premium rental company Getaway Society, are not only taking over the global $ 113 billion vacation rental market, but they’re also offering black entrepreneurs and investors the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.
And their partnership started pretty accidentally. What began with Carter’s vacation in the Poconos later led the college buddies to band together to turn their love of travel into a profitable business that they currently own properties in Poconos, Martha’s Vineyard, Gatlinburg, and Hilton Head as well manage. They have seen exponential growth in all of these markets since the COVID-19 pandemic, and business has only continued to grow there.
This is no surprise Black US vacationers spend an average of $ 109.4 billion on travel in 2019 – the last year that reflects normal travel expenses prior to COVID-19. Needless to say, there is a huge vacation rental market to be tapped, and 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 are also seeing a cultural shift, whether it’s triggered by social media or if it’s an age thing where people start to spend a lot of money on experiences versus material things. The vacation rental and travel industries are increasingly benefiting from this. “
After gathering their financial resources and knowledge, they broke ground for their first Getaway Society property in the Pocono Mountains in 2014 – and have been since then. “We’re growing in this area,” says Carter. “One of the things we like about the vacation rental market is the many different ways you can use these homes. Whether it’s a family trip, whether it’s a multi-generation 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 the preferred mode of travel for many people today. Given that people travel in larger groups and people looking for more privacy are looking for events and need more space. When you think about where we are in this current pandemic, the need for safety, cleanliness, privacy and less exposure to others is very important now. “
Carter and Butts Jr. didn’t stop at vacation rentals either. The couple are also co-owners of McKinley Carter Enterprises, a real estate investment and management company, and East Chop Capital, a private equity firm that helps people start and grow businesses and provide financial information for raising and earning money of money receives investors. “Calvin and I are really big at creating wealth – generational wealth,” says Carter. “One of the ways we have done this, and are advising others to do it, is real estate. Real estate is a hard commodity. Land is something that has traditionally continued to be valued. The vacation rental market, especially the segment we operate in – the luxury market – has a high cost of entry. This is where Calvin and I were able to scale through partnerships and working with our first homes and when we launched a real estate fund to invite more people to invest alongside us. We recommend working together to achieve more than you do as an individual. “
The world is now more accessible than ever, making this generation of black travelers very different from what we once knew. Butts Jr. attributes this in part to people who are “influencers” and share their experiences while traveling. “What you used to see on a high-end rap production video or in a certain place that you just read about or saw on the news – now you see people on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and they travel to those places as well Post pictures, ”he says. “It inspires people to do the same thing and capture the same moment in their own way or with their own friends. This is probably the main reason you see more of ‘us’ traveling or tackling our bucket list of places.”
Butts Jr. also recognizes that affordability is a huge factor in the increase in black travelers. “People are recognizing America and rediscovering it,” he says. “People now have an interest in places with a good story or in places of gathering of people that they want to network with. When you think of the vineyard and those August moments when you could be with the Obamas or other celebrities. You have dinner at the same restaurant with over your shoulder people who you’ve seen on TV or looked up to in many ways. “
While the Getaway Society is best known for its properties in Martha’s Vineyard, Poconos, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, the brand’s portfolio continues to grow with new destinations in Tennessee and Florida. “We expanded to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and also Orlando last month,” said Carter. “The reception in Gatlinburg was phenomenal. It is located in the Great Smoky Mountain region, the most visited national park in the country. And it’s a one-day drive within 77% of the US population. Orlando, we’re excited about that too. It’s obviously the home of Disney and Universal, and when COVID starts to improve and the outlook improves and these parks have more capacity again, there will be a pent-up demand to really get there. “
As for the future of the Getaway Society, Destin, Florida, as well as other regions such as the West Coast, Central America, and Africa are on the horizon.