Will We Crash? Or Should I Only Be Asking When?

Will We Crash? Or Should I Only Be Asking When?

I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out in my bookings here at St Lawrence Beach Condominiums.  So far, though, so good (it was difficult to type that with my fingers crossed).  Of course we have the benefit of it being high season as well as the current bookings having been made before the economic worry set in.

My own holiday rental apartment is booked completely through May 09.  Three other apartments I represent are fully booked in February and otherwise have reservations for a little more than half the time through March. I’m not yet at the point of discounting prices; our prices are amazing already ($200 low season, $300 high for gorgeous, new two-bedroom apartments on the sea).

Inquiries continue to come in from various marketing efforts I have going.  It’s too early to know what percentage of the inquiries will convert to bookings.

I'm feeling a bit off-balance these days …

I’m new at this rental business – I bought my holiday rental property last March and I began representing other owners’ apartments around August 08 – so I don’t have the benefit yet of loyal, repeat visitors.

Local news is mixed.  The Nation newspaper paints a picture of gloom and doom, with bookings at island hotels down up to 25%.  Free Press is saying you can “taste the (economic) fear,” with tourism “dropping off a cliff in January.”  Caribbean News is slightly more optimisticA “leading financial analyst on the global recovery” told The Advocate newspaper that he predicts that “Barbados will see the previously sure-fire market of high net worth individuals now no longer able to afford their luxury vacations and no longer boasting strong revenues from their Barbados-based offshore banks.”

I’ve got the benefit, of course, of needing to fill just a few apartments; we’re a small building, not the Hilton … and I presume, too, that it’s easier to rent a nice, self-catering apartment for $200 or $300 a night than it is a Barbados villa renting for $5,000-$10,000 a night.  But given that prices are relative to one’s income, I don’t know that for sure.

Time will tell.  Most of our visitors currently come to Barbados from the UK and Canada – and somewhat from the epicenter of the downturn, the US.  However, some economies are still strong. For example, ever since a wonderful foursome from Estonia visited, I’ve been exploring the Eastern European market.  And perhaps other less-affected markets such as Shanghai and Mumbai might be worth looking at.

Will my marketing mettle be tested?  I believe so …. For now, I’m grateful for our current visitors and I continue to work hard to provide the best $200/$300 accommodations in Barbados.

One Response to “Will We Crash? Or Should I Only Be Asking When?”

  1. Greg says:

    I’d say we’re all in the same boat, all around the world. Hopefully value will still be recognised by customers, and a new President in the White House will give the world economies some much-needed lift.

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