Jenny of Jam Villa Management answers questions about how the pandemic has affected the property management business.
Lots of owners are off-island and unable to return. Does this make villa management more important security-wise?
Villa security is an important subject and one I discuss with all my villa owners. As a villa manager I can check a villa on a weekly basis, if that is what they contract me to do, but I have encouraged most clients to install an alarm which I believe gives them the peace of mind they are looking for.
I recommend an alarm company connected to a call-out centre, with cameras that take photos as soon as the alarm is activated and which also comes with two- way voice, so a live person’s voice warns any intruders that they have been detected and police have been dispatched, which is effective in getting them out of the premises.
What’s the overall situation like at the moment?
Things have been a bit hectic as we’ve been trying to confirm who’s going to arrive and who’s moving their dates . Some, of course, have just decided not to travel due to the quarantine on their return.
How have the quarantine restrictions affected things?
I think a lot of people from the UK were hoping that their government would change their minds about the 14-day quarantine because most of the English and Welsh children go back to school in the first week in September, so they do not want them to miss their first few days of school.
On the other hand, I’d seriously advise holiday makers who plan to come next year to book early. Some villas I manage are already fully booked for summer 2021 from the postponements of this season, and hopefully this Covid nightmare will be a distant memory by then.
Has the coronavirus made changes in your business (e.g disinfection etc)?
It has made a big difference in the way that we present the villas to the holiday makers: we have had to remove all paper copies of information packs which we had inside the villas and all books, magazines and leaflets have been disposed of – otherwise we would have to disinfect every page on every changeover day which is just not feasible. All villa information packs are sent to clients via email now and they can, if they wish to have a hard copy print them out themselves.
Everything left in the villas by guests, has to be put in the bin, even down to the salt, pepper etc, and all inflatables are disposed of, as we cannot risk leaving anything in villas which could potentially have the virus on it.
Every cup, plate, glass, item of kitchen equipment and all surfaces and floors has to be disinfected and sanitised, so the cleans are taking much longer and the products we have to use are much more expensive. This makes profit margins very “slim” at the moment and I cannot see that changing for some time to come as we have to abide by the guidelines set out by the authorities.
Is winter and the arrival of “swallows” likely to make things any better?
As a specialist in holiday rentals, the so-called “swallows” culture does not really have a major effect on my business, but I do wonder how many we will see this winter.