Owen Perry is a visionary hotelier and real estate executive with 28 years of development experience in Mexico. A founding partner in The Villa Group, Perry played an integral role in the emergence of Los Cabos from a quaint, sleepy fishing town into a major tourism hub of the Pacific Coast.
Perry manages an impressive portfolio of five-star properties, including 12 luxury high-end resorts and family-oriented properties that are known for spacious accommodations, upscale on-site amenities, exceptional beachfront settings, award-winning spas and restaurants, and signature customer service.
Since 2010, he has pioneered an award-winning resort community in the Islands of Loreto in Baja California Norte. Perry’s new oasis is in the middle of mountains, desert, and Sea of Cortez – the Villa del Palmar at The Islands of Loreto, featuring the picturesque Danzante Bay Golf Course and a master-planned community, Danzante Bay at The Islands of Loreto.
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Perry moved from Hawaii to Mexico in 1984, when he founded REMexico Real Estate Group. With his strong understanding of property law, Perry brought a new level of professionalism to real estate transactions in Mexico.
In 1985 Perry founded Las Vegas-based Resort Communications (now ResortCom International, LLC) and he also owns a variety of restaurants in Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, and Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Perry has a home in Los Cabos, as well in San Diego, where his wife and children reside.
THE PERRY STORY
Being involved in Cabo golf developments early in the 1980s, I was able to meet people in the industry, including course architects.
You see the guy who flies in on his G8, does a few handshakes, takes a photo and you never see him again. I didn’t want that. I wanted somebody who grew up successful not because of their golf game, but from building golf courses.
Being involved in Cabo golf developments early on, I was able to meet the people in the industry, including course architects. You see the guy who flies in on his G8, does a few handshakes, takes a photo and you never see him again. I didn’t want that.
I wanted somebody who grew up successful not because of their golf game, but from building golf courses. With that in mind, I hired Rees Jones – a real architect, not a golf celebrity. It turned out to be a great decision.
We have done 14 projects now and to be able to do a golf project is a pleasant surprise to me. This golf course has been most enjoyable project of my career. I think the experience as a golfer should be to enjoy the game. We have created something very unique at Danzante Bay that the whole golf world will enjoy.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the passion that drives you each day?
My first thought is on whatever my challenge is for the day, to find how I can be successful. I always feel like I have to work harder and put in more effort than anybody else. That mindset does not change.
You’ve been on the development side for quite some time – specifically with a keen interest in Mexico. Why Loreto?
When I found Danzante Bay it reminded me a lot of Hawaii, with the mountains that go all the way down to the ocean. They had these five pristine islands, very close to shore. You can walk out into the bay 50 feet and the water is only up to your waist. It’s all very natural and you can see all the nature that comes with it. I believed if we build something reasonably comfortable, people would enjoy coming here.
How is today’s marketplace different from the one that existed prior to The Great Recession in ’07-’09? What’s the challenge now?
The market better since then, but the main challenges is marketing through social media. That has put every type of promotion on different platforms. The frustrating part is that the platforms seem different every year, so you keep moving things around, finding what forms work the best.
Customer service / feedback is the mantra for those in the destination / tourism arena. Define the term and how you apply it to those coming to Danzante Bay?
Advance planning. We call with the client three months in advance to plan their trip so by the time they get here, everything is arranged. We don’t want them to waste a day or two making reservation for shows, or deciding on meals. When get to the resort, they are on vacation. Within half hour of arriving, they are laying by pool having a margarita. Then follow them through their experience here to make sure we have done our job well.
When you travel for your own enjoyment what’s your biggest pet peeve?
I dislike going the to the front desk of a resort with a request and they say, “Sorry, we can’t help you. We’re full.” In Seattle this year, I was paying $800 a night and the room service took three hours. I see this over and over again. Hotels that are full need to be staffed and organized. Being full is not an excuse to be bad. So we make sure we are geared up when we need extra staff.”
The U.S. State Department recently came out with an announcement alerting Americans when traveling to certain parts of Mexico including Los Cabos. What you say to those interested in considering Loreto but still on the fence in doing so?
People who know Mexico understand there is no real danger at all in Los Cabos. I have been here 35 years and have never seen a crime, or murder, or event like that. But we take the alert seriously. We have more than 300 more police in the Cabo market. We are being pro-active.
How much more development do you see happening in Loreto? Is there a capacity level in order to keep things from being too hectic or overrun?
Loreto has been established as a tourist area, so local people will have jobs. There is a comprehensive set of environmental regulations for Loreto, making it more difficult to build than in the regular areas of Mexico. We want Loreto to stay this way, because long-term it will be a big reason why people come to Loreto. It is a travel destination, but there are limitations.
Golf is going through serious issues regarding future growth – especially in America with Millennials, women and minorities. As someone who plays the game and has invested in it, what would you advise the major golf organizations to be doing to increase participation in the sport?
In past 20 years, developers built the hardest course you could ever build. It has turned a lot of people off. At a destination golf resort the course has to be enjoyable. Danzante Bay is not going to host a PGA TOUR event anytime soon. We had a lot of discussions about how to make it friendly, so golfers can have a good time.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
It’s about allowing golfers to walk the course. Walk nine, ride nine, whatever. Designate times golfers can walk the course. And we have to promote to Millennials how healthy the game is for you, socially and mentally, as well as the physical benefits.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
I saw a classified ad in the back of a magazine for a book titled, “Get Rich in Spite of Yourself.” The book was $5, written in 1945 by Louis M. Grafe. It said that money is an intangible, that you need to focus on providing a service. That really clicked with me. I forgot about trying to make money, but on being really good at what I did.