Today we get our buzz on with Harley Nakelsky, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Skyline International.
Skyline boasts a diverse portfolio of hotels, cottage resorts and condo developments, but today we’re focusing on their successful new cottage projects in Huntsville (Deerhurst Golf Cottages) and Barrie (Horseshoe Village).
Harley plays a big role in both projects and brings a decade of experience marketing new home developments across North America. Whether running a marketing campaign or managing a sales office, Harley knows how to get it done!
BuzzBuzzHome: How did you start your career in marketing?
Harley Nakelsky: I was actually consulting for an online system for a real estate marketing firm, so I was on the computer side of things at first. Stan Kates of the Kates Marketing Group asked me to work for him full time after we had worked together for about two years. He told me that I would never look back.
What’s interesting is during the first year that I was working there I was already working on a major Las Vegas real estate project. I saw this thing go from the initial ads through to a project sell out in 6 weeks. I really did never look back, this was my career.
BBH: How did you get started at Skyline?
HN: I’ve been with Skyline for 7 months now. What’s interesting is I heard a rumour that Skyline was buying Deerhurst Resort and I called up Gil Blutrich, the owner, and I told him that he needed my help and the rest is history.
BBH: We reported recently that Summit Lodges at Deerhurst sold out incredibly quickly — in only 2 days. Why do you think it was such a big success?
HN: Well, first of all, it’s such an amazing property. If anyone is going to make history selling out it’s going to be Deerhurst. We had all these insiders who were trying to buy in, people who just knew the property and its value.
We relied on mostly online advertising and we developed stuff on-site as well and really targeted people who used the product.
BBH: Can you give us the scoop on any projects that Skyline is working on right now?
HN: The next project we’re offering at Deerhurst is the Golf Cottages. It’s a neat project where we’re adding homes around the Highlands Golf Course at Deerhurst. People will get access to their own cottage, the golf course and everything at Deerhurst. They can use the water, restaurants, the facilities, the housekeeping, everything you would get with a resort, but they also get their own private cottage.
BBH: Shifting over to your Horseshoe Village project in Barrie now. There’s an extensive list of activities that you can partake in up there. What inspired you guys to integrate so many activities into this project?
HN: You’re talking about the Adventure Park! So Horseshoe in the winter is amazing because you have the closest ski hill to Toronto. It’s an amazing built-in amenity.
In the summer there are two great golf courses, but that was all that was there. It was mostly being used as a winter resort. When we purchased it in 2008, we wanted to get in there and create that Four Seasons, 52 week type of atmosphere, so we created the Adventure Park. We’ve got zip-lining and we actually just added a maze this year. We have the only OGO park in Canada. You get inside of an 11 foot ball and roll down a hill.
BBH: How many phases will there be at Horseshoe?
HN: We’re working on phase 1 of the master-planned community. Getting that first phase done is really exciting and from my point of view, being involved in that first phase is really exciting. But in the next five years there will be a massive village at Horseshoe and it’s going to be world class.
BBH: Horseshoe Village is located in Barrie, which is of course not too far from Toronto. What really makes Barrie an ideal location?
HN: Barrie has a mature infrastructure and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. There’s great hospitals, world-class dining, shopping, bars and some great schools. There’s also the waterfront and it has the closest ski hill to Toronto, so it’s very easy to get to.
BBH: What’s the Skylife program all about?
HN: It’s a really interesting program that was conceived two or three years ago. We designed a program that links our resorts and downtown Toronto hotels all together. It’s a membership club where people have access to unlimited skiiing and the adventure park at Horseshoe. They get unlimited golf at our four golf courses. They get free hotel room nights throughout the year and additional discounts on additional nights as well as discounts on food and beverages. It’s a city and country lifestyle club.
BBH: How do you spoil yourself on a day off?
HN: I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I like working a lot, but when I do get some time off I’m a bit of a foodie so I like going out to restaurants in Toronto and trying some of the new things out there.
I’m very active so I’m very involved in sports whether that can be playing a sport or just running around with my nieces and nephews. And the best case scenario is I’m off traveling the world.
BBH: What was your best and worst day job before you started your career in marketing?
HN: My worst would have to be when I was a juicer at Marche. Starting at 5 in the morning on Saturday and Sunday to make sure there was juice for everyone coming in.
My favourite was when I was running a computer consulting company before I got into real estate marketing. I ran the business for about 5 years, very successful and what was interesting was everything I did was online. So I had a lot of freedom and close to the end of the company, before I became a real estate marketer, I decided to do some work from Europe. I went over there for 3 months and worked during the day and traveled at night.
BBH: Are you a jazz guy or a rock n’ roll guy?
HN: Oh rock n’ roll everyday!
Thanks Harley for taking the time to buzz with us!