|Short-term rental market “holds its own”|
|Thursday, 01 July 2010 11:49|
Coming out of a year-long economic slump that pulled the hand brake on the booming local real estate and tourism market, it is not easy to find a silver lining.
But when you look closely, you might find there is one market that is actually holding its own against all others.
The islands in the Turks and Caicos are dotted here and there with amazing properties, some of which are significantly larger than most normal homes, which serve the sole purpose of being short-term vacation homes. Prestigious Properties Real Estate agent Marjorie Sadler, who also holds an impressive portfolio of short-term rental properties, says the short-term rental market has been holding its own over the winter season.
“The short term rental market is still buoyant,” she explains, not that there is not still room for improvement.
“From where I sit, short-term rentals are doing better than the resorts,” said Prestigious Property CEO Washington Misick. He says the short-term rental property appeals to a certain market segment, ones that especially treasure their privacy.
He says oftentimes a happy client of a long-term rental will book their next year’s vacation right after a stay in a local property. “We see some level of loyalty with short-term rentals,” he says.
Location is the biggest determining factor on the frequency of bookings, according to Sadler. “Properties on the beach do the best,” she says.
Most distinguished travelers are looking for modern residences that offer the top quality amenities as well as complete privacy. While the beach tends to be the draw, Sadler adds a swimming pool is a must: “Everyone wants their own pool.”
Aside from beach and pool, Sadler says 3-6 bedroom upscale or modern homes are in constant demand.
While the market continues to be strong, she has noticed a change in bookings for two other reasons.
“Everyone is looking to wheel and deal,” she says. Bargain hunting has become a priority for people booking vacations in the current economic market. Across the Caribbean, all those in the tourism industry are offering discounts, free nights and extras to attract tourists. According to Sadler, the short-term villa rental market has not been sheltered from this.
Another change in requests has been the length of stay. Traditionally villas rent for only week-long blocks, but she says more and more clients are requesting shorter rental periods, something owners are not always willing to do. “Sometimes it makes it difficult to organize bookings,” she explains. With partial weeks overlapping, organizing of cleaning or staff become a challenge.
Sadler also echoed the high airline prices as being the number one obstacle in turning a request into a booking.
“Often times a client has found the perfect villa, and as soon as they go to book the airfares, they come to a screeching halt,” she said. “That is usually the straw that breaks the back of the booking.”
Due to the high cost of airfares to get to the TCI, many travelers are forced to take their vacation dollars elsewhere. The Tourism Board, Hotel and Tourism Association as well as the business community through the Provo Chamber of Commerce have been pleading with airlines to help relieve the sky-high airfares, opening up more opportunity for tourism to the country, but it seems as if these cries have fallen on deaf ears to date.
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