Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of terms frequently used by THG and its associates in the real estate development and investment sector.

This is a starter list which will continue to expand. Intrawest, in particular, had countless proprietary words and terms that became part of the company’s unique business vernacular and that have since found their way into the global development culture.

1000-to-1 Rule

For every $1,000 you have invested in a hotel room, you need to get $1 average rate – using 60% as a break even. For example: $100,000 invested per room is required to get an average rate of a $100 a night; $500,000 a key and you're required to get $500 a night. Using The Montage and Four Seasons hotels in Napa at $2 million dollars a room, they have to get well over $2,000 a night and they're doing it.

Analogue / Case Study

Analogue – a Paul Smith-ism and often called Case Study – a person or thing seen as comparable to another. It may be a project or element of a place.

For example, this place has the pedestrian spaces we envision, this type of retail has the animation we desire in this place, this connection through the village center to the ocean (or lake, river, mountain) we see in our project.

Part of this stems from my experience – there are little if any new ‘ideas’, so seeing examples that worked and, even better, examples that did not work well are great teachers.


Success of a place and space is often what you experience in the first 30 feet of a building.

I experienced this early in my career. We had renovated three historic office buildings in downtown Seattle. Two were full and one was not. The one everyone talked about was the least full, but it had active ground floor with shops, food and beverage, and other uses for the building and neighborhood. It was clear the public judged the building successes by the first floor – the first 30 feet – because that’s what they experienced. Ever since, we have strived to open a building with the first floor occupied!


Travel that combines both business and leisure. This has been common at the executive level for a long time, but it is now happening at all levels of many organizations, in part, because of the lifestyle priorities and local engagement interests of younger workers. People on a trip will creatively mix business and leisure on each day or some of the days or add extra days to their business trip.

Bleisure trips are often due to a business trip being a particularly interesting destination; but in Covid times, of course, and maybe forever, people can choose leisure destinations to conduct business (by zoom, email and smartphone) from anywhere.

Business Plan

A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It contains background information about the organization attempting to reach those goals. It also identifies market opportunities – vacuums that exist in those markets – and how your company, its competencies and its brand are uniquely suited to fill those gaps. When the existing business is considering a major change or when planning a new venture, a 3 to 5-year business plan is required, since investors will look for their annual return in that timeframe. My experience is that while the primary audience for a business plan exists outside the company, the real beneficiaries of a business are internal to the company and those who have participated in its preparation, who understand it and who enthusiastically support it.

Cold Verus Warm Beds

Describes the difference between condo-hotel units and other forms of individual resort residences (cottages, chalets, etc.) that are occupied exclusively by their owners. Cold beds refer to lodging that is seldom used by its owner. Warm beds are residences that are placed into a rental pool and therefore have the highest level of year-round occupancy. Warm beds generate revenue for the shops, restaurants and attractions that make up a resort destination.

It is difficult to operationally and financially sustain a resort that has a high percentage of cold beds.

Condo Hotel

Intrawest pioneered this resort concept and made it the centerpiece of its real estate strategy. One, two and three-bedroom units were sold to individual buyers and then placed in a rental pool of resort residences that behaved like a vacation hotel.


Over the years I have worked with some really smart people who know a lot more than me. In developing complex places and projects, I grew to appreciate this belief: “I am confident to know what I don’t know.” Kemper Freeman, Chairman and CEO of the Kemper Development Company, a third-generation, family-owned Bellevue, WA company, says it this way: “I know what I know, I know what I don’t know, I know who does know … I am at peace.” Confident people are comfortable with themselves and don’t have to feel they need all the answers, because they accept that no one does.


Connectors are typically multi-talented, knowledgeable and highly social people with a wide circle of trusted friends, associates and contacts. Connectors genuinely enjoy those relationships and are willing to connect or “link” people together in an unselfish way that is to everyone’s benefit. Connectors often have many interests – the arts, politics, sports, environmentalism, technology, etc. – that allow them to become the intermediary between different social, organizational and corporate worlds. Connectors are one of the business archetypes identified by Malcolm Gladwell in his best-seller “The Tipping Point.”

Curated Retail

Purposefully organized, planned uses and users, designed and executed spaces, which satisfies the market and consumer needs, a great customer experience.

That the goal of curated spaces is to create a destination attraction that encourages shoppers to come more often, stay longer and spend more money.

Department stores acted as anchor tenants. Today, food & beverage, art, and public space design/landscape play important roles and smaller anchors are often Apple, Microsoft, Amazon stores or Tesla sales centers.

Dwell Time

The amount of time a customer spends in a store shopping. The view is: the longer the dwell time, the higher the customer spend.

Early Adaptors

As Malcom Gladwell alluded to, these are folks who want to be there first before it’s the ‘place to be’. What follows is they are joined by their friends, and then the country club group comes (or as Homer William says you are ‘gentrified’).


A process that engages a company in collectively authoring a shared ‘future story’ of an enterprise or project. It is a powerful imagineering and strategic planning technique. Envisioning involves both the company’s leaders (the insiders) and outsiders – thought leaders who can help you look at your world though fresh eyes, who can stimulate and expand your thinking, and who can help you bring your story (your vision) into sharper focus. Read more about Envisioning

First We Sell It, Then We Build It

The mantra for an approach to development pioneered by Vancouver-based Intrawest. It was one of the company’s pillars of real estate success. It required discipline, belief in the product and a toolbox full of marketing and sales techniques and technologies. It helped manage risk. The view was if you can’t pre-sell projects then there was something inherently wrong with either the product or the current market conditions. Intrawest’s pre-sale reservations were enough to cover the cost of construction.


The measurement of the number of people entering a shop or shopping mall, often called traffic.

You want active footfall – a place that you want to come once, then return, tell you friends, and they come; a place to hang around because it’s a great place to be.

Fractional Real Estate

Also an Intrawest invention, the term describes a number of different types of resort real estate ownership. Each is a variation of Timeshare where each person owns 1/52 of a specific unit down to a much more expensive and exclusive ¼ (quarter share ownership) where each owner has the right to the unit every fourth week.

Little Wake

I’m channeling Stimson Bullitt who loved that Harbor Properties’ President and CEO accomplished things with little fanfare which he called ‘no wake’. He appreciated this because the attention was on the outcome – in our case, the vision + Marina Steps, rather than an individual.

Mixed Use

The benefit of Mixed Use is that uses complement and build upon the other, and often share facilities (and costs) like parking, open space, athletic work-out space, transit, ride sharing, etc.

Mixture of Uses: A mix of uses within a master planned development area.

An example: Arbor Place, a mix-of-uses complex in Seattle’s Belltown district. A 26-story residential tower with adjacent 6-story office; ground level retail that connected both buildings; second level shared pool/work-out facility; below-ground shared residential, office, and guest parking.

Vertically Integrated Mixed Use:A project that includes multiple uses in a building.

An example: Harbor Steps, a mixed-use project in downtown Seattle. A series of 4 high-rise residential towers connected via park, sky bridges and ground floor. Alley/ground floor uses include day care, sundry grocery store, meeting conference center, bed and breakfast, office, F & B, athletic facilities (pool, work-out spaces, and basketball court), decks, landscaped outdoor and barbecue areas, and below-ground shared residential, office, hospitality, guest parking.

New Business Development

This is the process of creating sustainable long-term value for the company by strategically drawing on existing relationships with customers, associates and trusted suppliers, a network of personal and corporate contacts, memberships in industry organizations, and the halo of your company’s brand. At its heart, business development is all about figuring out how the interactions of those forces combine to create opportunities for growth. Long-term value in its simplest form is cash, money, profit – the lifeblood of any business – but value can also be market access, brand equity, intellectual property, or anything else a company possesses that propels its growth.

A basic tenet in new business development is The Principle of Reciprocity. This principle defines our need and tendency to want to give something back when something is received. This need is strongest when the gift is given without expectation of return. But even at the lowly (but important) level of “thank you” (in response to a referral, introduction, or piece of business insight) is followed by another reciprocal gesture “you’re welcome’. Malcom Gladwell’s, The Tipping Point, introduced The Law of the Few and a vocabulary about connectors (defined more completely in this glossary), social networks and hubs, weak tie, mavens, persuaders, Stickiness Factor and Power of Context. Inherit in these is The Principal of Reciprocity and its role in business development, and in particular by those who reciprocate.

Every step we take – no matter how small – to understand the needs of our current and prospective customers will increase


While there has been a lot written on this I like:

William Whyte (urbanist, sociologist, organizational analyst, journalist) felt great places brought people and uses together, he referred to as ‘triangulation.’

Larry Halperin (designer of Portland, Oregon’s Four Court and Lovejoy Fountains; Seattle’s Freeway Park; and Yosemite Valley’s pedestrian pathway to Yosemite Falls) designed connected spaces that gave people as many options to go this way or that, to pause, to start over, to be alone, to meet others, and to experience as many different sights, smells, and sounds as possible.

Eldon Beck (planner of Intrawest villages including Whistler Blackcomb, Mont Tremblant, Mammoth Lakes and others) said: ‘it’s where the people are and want to be.’

Intrawest’s story teller, Paul Smith wrote in its annual report and went on to say: ‘it’s where people visited, returned again, and brought their family and friends.’

Michael Coyle , Replay Destinations, added: ‘the business rationale for placemaking is to get people to come often, spend money.’ An insight from the attractions business was that if you could get someone to remain in the place more than a couple of hours they would buy a meal, longer than that and they would consider staying the night.

Intrawest concluded then that part of the placemaking was for the place to be so engaging that people would stay longer, come more often, and bring their friends. All this added up to them spending more money which made the business flourish.

Ed Pitoniak’s quote is relevant to this point: ‘who can visit when, seeking what experience?’

Ian Thomas , Thomas Consulting, added: ‘it’s where people want to hang out.’

Point-Form Timeshare

Rather than owning a specific unit, the owner acquires a number of points (that he or she can optionally continue to add to) that translates into usage. For example, the owner can spend a small number of points for a romantic weekend getaway or more points for an extended vacation with one’s entire family. In some instances points-form owners collectively own the timeshare company and all its assets. In other situations, the resort developer and/or the operating entity own the physical assets.

Pop-Up Retail

Pop-up retail is a trend of opening short-term sales spaces that last for days to weeks before closing down, often to catch onto a fad or scheduled event, to test a F & B, or project offering and/or to test a location. Farmers Markets are an example. Food trucks are the ultimate pop up.

The benefits of pop up is they take less investment.

In master planned and resort communities, it’s an affordable way to test the concept at less risk to the sponsor and owner; a way to seek feedback from customers, build or leverage brand awareness, augmenting a revenue stream with a new product or offering; lower risk as if things don’t work out, you not locked into a long-term lease or build out.

Often, popups and food trucks lead to permanent brick and mortar stores. In Bend (OR), food trucks are part of the community DNA, and their locations are published weekly in the newspapers, so locals can easily locate them; many have both food truck and permanent locations. In Seabrook (WA), many brick-and-mortar food outlets started as food trucks.


Plussing is a technique (used at Pixar by Steve Jobs) that allows people to iterate on ideas.

Plussing is about finding what's good about an idea, putting it metaphorically ‘in the middle of the table’ and then making it better or improving on it by making subtle suggestions, building on the sound things that are already within the concept, and making it even better by propelling continuous improvement.

Phil Scott, who created the Mountain Institute for Intrawest, had a variation of this he referred to as ‘Dialoging’. Storyteller, Paul Smith, made Plussing an integral part of his ‘envisioning and story creation process and outcomes’.

Private Members' Clubs

Private membership clubs are the fastest-growing segment of the fractional industry. While not all of these clubs, also known as resort or destination clubs, offer their members an ownership stake in the clubs’ properties, they do represent the top tier of luxury vacationing, with members paying a one-time initiation fee.

Rent a Crowd + Body Heat

Two buzz words created by Henry Beer, and plussed by Ian Thomas, to capture the importance of creating a program of events to bring people to a place or resort that he called ‘renting a crowd’ which ‘creates body heat’.

This then establishes in the consumers’ minds that something interesting is always going on there, and then shopping becomes the biproduct.

Rental Pool

A method of allowing individual owners of a resort’s condo-hotel units to place their unit into a “pool” managed by the developer of the hotel, who then shares the resulting rental revenues with the owners of the condos.


A verb, much like Xeroxing and Googling. For me, the act of ‘smithing’ (by Paul Smith) refers to the ability to take a memo and turn it into a powerful story.


A writing that puts forth the answer to two business questions – “What If?” and “What Now?” meaning what’s the actionable and doable plan? People want to hear something more than dry facts – they want to hear a story they can believe in. A story that comes from the hearts and minds of the leaders themselves. As Steven Pinker of Harvard University Department of Psychology explains, ‘the mind best understands facts when they are woven into a conceptual fabric, such as a narrative. Disconnected facts in the mind are like unlinked pages on the WEB, they may as well not exist.”

Strategy & Tactics

Strategy is making choices – choices about what you will do, and what you will not do, to create advantage over the competition:

  1. What is winning vision?
  2. Where will we work?
  3. How will we win?
  4. What competencies must be in place to succeed?
  5. What management & measurement systems are required to execute?

Tactics are the steps to achieve strategy.

The Elevator Pitch

The real purpose of the traditional 30-second elevator pitch isn’t just to offer a short-form description of your business, it’s to offer something so compelling it begins a conversation. At Intrawest, we described it as begging the “tell me more” response.

Social media and social marketing are forcing the whole world to be more succinct and at the same time more engaging in the way they describe their businesses and their products. For example, every Steve Jobs pitch for an Apple product easily fit within 140 characters allowed by Twitter. (iPod: “1,000 songs in your pocket.” MacBook Air: “The world’s thinnest notebook”).

For example, “our company…wants to grow its business…but there are roadblocks and impediments to that happening…so here’s what we must do to remove them.

The Logic & the Magic

At Intrawest we brought together a process that we called envisioning that aligned magic and logic. This is a quote from an Annual Report:

“The Magic – places that give people experiences that enrich, enlighten and excite; places that bring friends and families together and leave legacies of indelible memories. The Logic. Behind the magic is rock solid logic – a business based on understanding our market, mitigating risk and generating profit. Without the logic, there is no magic. Without the magic, there is no profit. And therein is the real magic.”

The Mission

Once a shared Vision has been agreed to by all the people who have the responsibility for bringing that vision (future story) to life, the Mission describes the overall purpose of an organization: what we do, who we do it for, and how and why we do it. It sets the boundaries of the organization’s activities and keeps everyone focused on providing guests, visitors and residents with a great experience of the company and the services and products it provides.

The Values

Reflects the deeply held ideology of a company – known as its CORE – that doesn’t change over time. Values are what your organization lives, breathes and reflects in all its activities – rather than what business textbooks tell you what should believe. The CORE addresses the question, how do we carry out our mission?

The Vision

Describes an ideal future. It answers the question, “What impact to we want to have on our business sector?” How do we want our many constituencies to experience us? Our employees? Our financial and operational partners? Our clients? The community we call home? The media?

The vision is articulated in a written narrative – a future story – that the entire leadership of the organization has helped author and therefore supports.

Zoom In & Out

I’m channeling Steve Jobs’ idea of zooming. In a recent example, the RFP developer decision for Des Moines’ Marina Steps (WA), and then zooming out with the bigger Waterfront vision.