Editor’s note: This item is republished with permission from Global Edge Marketing Ltd. The original post can be viewed here.

Overseas property agents prepared for the worst as the travel chaos caused by a volcanic ash cloud over Europe ran its course.

Although the eruption hit agencies with exposure to the overseas rental market hardest, a number of companies have reported significant potential losses in sales business.

Robert Armstrong, sales and marketing director of Spanish Luxury Homes, said he may have lost over ($134,378 in U.S. dollars) in commission:

"We had four inspection trips booked over the weekend, one of which was for a ($1.07 million) property near Denia on the Costa Blanca. We were confident of seeing more than ($134,378) in commission. Having said that, two of the people have re-booked, but the properties may not be available (when they return). Flight prices have (tripled), so it’s concerning."

Neil Hollingsworth, owner of Rivermead Global Property — which works for developers in Turkey, Egypt and St. Lucia — hasn’t lost any business yet, but is nervous with five inspection trips booked over the next 11 days:

"We have two on the 23rd and three on the 30th. We heavily subsidize our inspection trips so we could be significantly out of pocket if we cannot get money back from the airlines. Commission-wise, we are looking at roughly ($38,450) in lost revenue if the sales fail to materialize."

When you want bad weather …

The enormous cloud of dust stretched from the Arctic Circle in the north to the French Mediterranean coast in the south, and from Spain into Russia. Lorraine Phillips, director of Cyprus agency Angus Homes, hoped for a change in the climatic conditions:

"I heard on the news … that it’s heading slowly West but when you need wind and rain, you don’t get it. It’s the last thing we need at the start of the holiday season. On top of the recession, this is a nightmare!" …CONTINUED

Buyers coming by car 

Michael Lampton, owner of up-market agency Lamptons International on the Cote d’Azure, was more positive:

"There have been no flights in and out of Nice in the last four days. The place feels noticeably empty but there has been little effect on our sales business as yet. Buyers from Germany and Italy are making the journey by car, but we have buyers from as far away as Singapore, so the longer it goes on for, the worse it will be."

Cash-flow problems

The immediate impact of the crisis was on the already stretched cash-flow positions of agents and developers. The long-term effect should be minimal with the restoration of normal service.

It could be worse …

When you are experiencing problems, it can be helpful to think about others in a worse position. Volcanic activity is thought to be one of the main causes behind the Earth’s most severe extinction event, which occurred 251 million years ago and is catchily named "The Great Dying."

It wiped out 96 percent of the world’s marine species and 70 percent of mammals. It could be worse. Let’s hope it’s a minor inconvenience and things return to normal this week.

Copyright © 2010 Global Edge Marketing Ltd.


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