Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Fall/Winter 2006 issue.
In Puerto Vallarta there are numerous properties held by second homeowners who would like to rent out their home or condominium when they are not using it. For most, however, it is not as easy as they may initially think; there are a number of issues working against both them and the person who may be interested in renting it.
Homeowners usually have just one property they wish to rent out, so marketing costs can be prohibitive. How do you connect with people who are interested in renting a home or villa? The Internet has certainly made it easy to post your property, but it consequently has become inundated with people who have the same goal: to rent their property. A search on Google for “Puerto Vallarta property rentals” produced 1,240,000 relevant pages. Getting a property into the top 10 or 20 with those odds is more than just difficult, it’s nearly impossible.
Hotels have systems in place where it is very easy to check availability. This can be done online on a multitude of sites, the most popular being Expedia and Travelocity. Just enter the dates you want to travel and they’ll show you which hotels have availability, the types of rooms, and even what the airfare will be.
Currently, nothing like that exists for rental properties. Someone who may be interested in renting generally has just two options. One is emailing or calling all the owners who have a property they believe fits their style and budget. But if they are considering an especially busy time of year, this can involve a lot of emailing/calling and a lot of wasted time. Or they can have a rental specialist do this for them. Rental specialists keep in regular contact with rental property owners so they usually know what’s available, and they do the emailing/calling. But, the potential renter won’t be able to do it easily on his own like most people are now accustomed to doing with hotel availability, nor will he be able to get back immediate results.
There are a number of rental sites that allow you to view multiple properties at once. They have made arrangements with property owners so they’ll be paid a commission if they find someone to rent the property. In this industry there are some agents who are excellent and really do a good job for their clientele; however, there are also those who do not. The problem for the person considering renting is they usually have no way of checking who is legitimate and credible and who isn’t. This is bad for the person who wants to rent and also bad for the rental agent who is professional and legit; it gives the industry a bad name. Again, this is not usually a problem within the hotel industry, especially with so many brands and franchises that people are very familiar with. But this just doesn’t exist in the vacation home rental business.
Another issue for the owner who wants to rent his property is how exactly does he go about paying taxes on the income he earns? There is more than one way of establishing oneself fiscally to rent out property, and to determine what is best for a particular situation the advice of an accountant is needed. When there is just one property to rent out for just a limited number of days of the year, and the homeowner also needs to employ an accountant to help sort out his taxes, on top of paying a commission to agents and additional marketing costs, the cost of operating the home may not leave much for him.
Taking all this into consideration, it’s easy to see that the current system doesn’t work well for rental property owners or for people who want to rent. It’s difficult and inconvenient for all involved.
A new company, Costa Vallarta Boutique Villas, belongs to the successful collection of small hotels in Mexico called Mexico Boutique Hotels (MBH). This group, comprising 45 hotels in 29 destinations throughout Mexico, has become the mark of quality for boutique hotels in Mexico. Its goal with Costa Vallarta Boutique Villas (CVBV) is to take their successful program for hotels and apply it to villa rentals.
All MBH properties need to be in business for at least a year and must pass a stringent inspection by an MBH inspector, including staying overnight at the property. Inspections are continued on an annual basis and MBH follows up by contacting guests after their stay to ensure their experience was an enjoyable one. CVBV does the same for the properties it accepts for its collection. Each property must have onsite staff so that it functions similar to staying at a boutique hotel.
Actually, the goal of CVBV is to create a “virtual” boutique hotel by having quality villas available to rent throughout the Vallarta region. People interested in renting can call a central reservations office and speak to reservationists in four different languages. Each of the reservationists knows the villas intimately. To carry the concept of a virtual hotel further, CVBV offers concierge service for the villas to arrange for restaurant suggestions and reservations, tours and activities, or just general information on Puerto Vallarta. CVBV also has an automated reservations system where availability can quickly be checked at all the properties for any date with just one search.
CVBV has an advantage in quickly gaining recognition as a mark of quality for rental properties because of their success with Mexico Boutique Hotels. MBH has a public relations firm in both the United States and Mexico promoting the brands, and has developed strong relationships with travel agents who specialize in luxury travel.
At the present time, CVBV is concentrating on luxury villas only; however, once the system is well in place they will consider adding other quality properties, such as condominiums. For more information regarding Costa Vallarta Boutique Villas, visit their website at www.costavallartaboutiquevillas.com or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.