Ron Kurtz, President, American Affluence Research Center
The Home Trust: Ron, thank you for sitting with us today. What first compelled you to enter research and consulting?
Ron Kurtz: My background is the travel industry, and I have worked as a president or marketing executive in the airline, cruise, and hotel industries. I was attracted to the travel industry because travel is a great product that is important to the public in many ways. It is also a product that is continually evolving and changing and thus providing new opportunities and challenges for how it is marketed. It is a fun product to work with.
THT: What inspires a person who has traveled the world many times over?
RK: I am inspired by the drive to be innovative in both product attributes and in the marketing and delivery of the product. My philosophy has been that “creativity begins with the courage to challenge conventional wisdom”.
THT: No doubt you’ve been able to leverage that philosophy in all of your leadership positions. Do you find there is a commonality that runs through all great products?
RK: There are common threads that run through most great products. The threads are quality, value, and some sort of emotional connection with the consumer.
THT: You’ve led many organizations. How did you make them great organizations?
RK: A great organization is one where the leader has a clear vision of the strategies and goals of the organization, has achieved an understanding of the strategies and goals among the members of the organization, and has persuaded them that each is important to the implementation of that “plan” and that they should do everything they can to execute the “plan”.
THT: You’ve been a mentor for The Home Trust from its beginning, and you’ve worked with other collaboratives. Is there value in the best of the best home resources to work together?
RK: The Home Trust seems to be a great catalyst for collaboration that creates synergy for its members and gives each a variety of marketing opportunities that they could not afford on their own. More importantly, it’s seamless for discriminating clients to find the highest quality products for their home. The travel industry is characterized by collaborative groups including Virtuoso, Leading Hotels and Relais & Châteaux. So The Home Trust just makes sense for both home resources and affluent consumers.
THT: Ron, thank you for your insights and support.
Ron Kurtz is the founder of The American Affluence Research Center, which is a recognized authority on America’s most affluent consumers.
His prior experience included 20 years in executive positions in the airline, cruise, and hotel industries.
As the founding President of Sea Goddess Cruises, Ron defined the business strategies that led to its recognition as the industry’s finest cruise line. Ron was part of the initial development team and a strategic marketing consultant for 6 years to ResidenSea, operator of The World, which has condominium type apartments that sold for $2 million and up.
Ron earned his MBA degree at Harvard Business School and a BBA degree at the University of Texas. A frequent writer for trade publications and speaker at industry functions, he has specialized in and researched the affluent market since 1982.
Ron has been a featured speaker at conferences for the cruise, residential resort, fractional ownership, realtor, travel agent, investment, and luxury industries.