Focus Group Room Brings in Revenue for Illinois Builders
The new green-built headquarters of the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield in Illinois is making good returns on its members’ investments in more ways than one.
First, its energy- and resource-efficient construction, profiled last March in Nation’s Building News, demonstrates to area leaders that the association’s green building program is more than just talk, said HBA’s executive director, Matt Morrow.
In addition, its state-of-the-art focus group and observation rooms — which HBA leaders decided to include in the new green headquarters — are providing more meeting space, enhancing the association’s political clout and services to its members and adding rental income to the organization’s revenue.
Equipped with one-way glass, plasma-screen monitors for computer or DVD presentations, discreet microphones, cameras and other audiovisual equipment, the room allows businesses and organizations to monitor discussions of new products, campaigns and other initiatives.
The room is also a vital tool for the HBA’s political campaigns. “We’re really proud of it. We use it ourselves, and we can offer it to our members and community partners at special pricing,” Morrow said.
A $450 payment buys four hours of focus room time for members. A DVD recording of the proceedings can also be purchased.
In the two months since it opened, the new room has been used for two auto dealer focus groups and for an internal focus group to elicit HBA member input on a revamped association Web site.
Focus groups jointly sponsored by the association and the local board of Realtors® are planned to give members of both organizations a marketing edge in the local housing market. One local advertising firm already has purchased a $2,500 sponsorship package for the room, which allows the company to place signage and also use the room’s services for a set number of hours.
“We also use it for committee meetings,” Morrow pointed out. “We have three meeting rooms, and this one is mid-sized. It’s a useful space for us, and as far as recouping our investment, I think we’ll be there pretty quickly.”
The association also rents office space and a ten-station call center to a public opinion polling company in exchange for receiving its polling services. Between the polling and the focus groups, the HBA offices are home to a full-service quantitative and qualitative research facility.
Renting the space is also a great way to showcase the association’s new headquarters, which was built using NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines. With the active support of local U.S. Green Building Council chapter members, there’s been increasing political pressure throughout Missouri to adopt green building mandates, Morrow said.
The HBA headquarters is solid proof that building green to a voluntary program — like the guidelines — works well, he said.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.