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Following is what we got from Burnett and Hilsford last night.
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Hi Greg:
Vidal and I have finally had a chance to go through the documents you sent (Market Research and House Inventory).  The purpose of this email is to summarize our questions, initial reactions and suggestions to your proposal:

  1. Under Market Research...what were your specific findings?  what were the properties you visited?  Which were comparable to our home (in size, amenities, price, etc.)?  Please provide a comparative analysis (grid) to help us analyze your research and our current rate(s).
     

  2. Have you surveyed or reviewed survey data from guests who have stayed at other Dominica properties?
     

  3. What was your findings/conclusion from the "walk through" you did as a guest and as a manager?  How does that compare to the feedback we have received from guests?
     

  4. If you are interested in having us discontinue marketing our home, we would require an exclusivity contract/lease.  You would lease the property from us for a set amount (TBD) each month...pay your utility usage...(we can discuss other details of the lease)...and anything you make over that...would be yours. 
     

  5. Without an exclusive contract/lease, Villa Vidal and Nature Isle Travel would need to communicate about reservation requests and possibly use a shared calendar to track guest stays.  Villa Vidal reserves the right to accept or decline any and all reservations.
     

  6. Repairs (due to normal wear and tear) are generally owner paid.  Repairs required due to guest negligence, misuse or abuse would be your responsibility.
     

  7. We are most interested in a flat rental rate.  In a business venture like this, our rental agreement would be with you.  Then it would be up to you to meet the needs of your guests  with a self-catered model or a concierge model.
     

  8. The apartment is not available for rent.  We do not approve renting the basement as a stand alone unit because it is not a separate/distinct unit from the house.
     

  9. During the pilot period, when you hope to promote the house to guests, we cannot provide free accommodations, but we can discuss a discount rate.
     

  10. If your business will offer tour guides and day trips, etc. we would require that guests sign waivers to remove Villa Vidal from liability in the event of an injury.

 

In relation to your questions regarding the Villa Vidal and Nature Island Travel DRAFT Proposal,
please see our responses below, per question
:

 
  1. Under Market Research...what were your specific findings?  What were the properties you visited?  Which were comparable to our home (in size, amenities, price, etc.)?  Please provide a comparative analysis (grid) to help us analyze your research and our current rate(s).
     

Response:  Please review the following links to properties visited while in Dominica.  The properties with an asterisk are “most” similar to Villa Vidal in price and/or amenities.  One is a true hotel type setting, but when comparing rates and amenities. There were numerous others that I visited that are not included.

 

Note:  One of the points of consideration is that within the small radius of the island there are numerous lodging options for guests. This is only going to increase, especially in regard to the Grand Savannah area with the new Hilton property proposed to be built and opened by 2017-18 directly across the main road from Villa Vidal.  Additionally, two new resorts are scheduled to open in the Portsmouth area. Of course, on Dominica none of these coming to completion is always a possibility, but I am strongly in the loop of the one on the Savannah and I see it as standing a real chance.  

 

My hope would be that Villa Vidal could become more established prior to opening of these new resorts.  From a marketing perspective, one must also consider location. The Savannah, being the warmest and driest location on the island, poses some issues when in competition with properties located in more lush, cooler areas. Lusher tropical forest and or near to beach locations probably are more attractive to potential guests. Consequently, marketing has to be more convincing, supported by amenities and superior guest services.

 Market Research

Name of Property

Highlighted Services

Rates

Comments

*Villa Passa Flora

http://www.villapassiflora.com/

·        On-site managerial staff

·        Optional rental by room

·        Meal preparation

·        On-site massage option

·        Yoga option

·        Pool

·        Patio

·        Housekeeping

·        Outdoor seating

 

·        3 bedrooms $350 daily

·        2 bedrooms $300 daily

·        1 bedroom $275

·        Off-season (June-October) 15% discount

·        One day free for each 6 days paid, 10% off days over 14, one week half-price for every 3 rented.

·        From December 21-January 4, the villa is available only for full villa rental at $450 daily. Minimum rental is 5 nights.

·        Non-negotiable rates

Provides staff of 3

 

Setting is lower level rain forest with full grown foliage and proximity to several beaches

 

Villa Vidal offers more bedrooms, but fewer amenities.

 

Name of Property

Highlighted Services

Rates

Comments

*Coco Cottage

www.cocoacottages.com

·        Rainforest Guest House

·        Package deals

·        Offers activity coordination

·        Spa / Jacuzzi

·        Outdoor seating

·        Dining available at cost

 

·        6 Room rental

·        $350 Tree house (sleeps 10)

·        $125 Double occupancy room

·        $30 extra per person

 

Unique property;

Open air concept;

Treehouse

 

Property is fully enveloped in tropical foliage

 

*Villa Vista

www.villavistadominica.com

·        Three bedrooms

·        Self-catering

·        Cook available

·        Excursions available

·        Infinity pool

·        Housekeeping by arrangement

·        Outdoor seating

$350 – whole villa (3-6 persons) - $375 with Jacuzzi

$275 – without Jacuzzi (2 persons

$275 – Downstairs only (2-3 persons) aspirin

 

 

Rates based upon area of occupancy, number of guests, and use of Jacuzzi.

Lots of tropical foliage. Close, open view of sea with path to shore

*Calibishie Cove

www.calibishiecove.com

·        Two suites and two rooms

·        Featured in Coastal Living magazine

·        Air conditioned

·        Plunge pool

·        Dual current

·        Whole property rental available

·        Close to beaches

$299 – Penthouse

$233 - Rainforest Suite

$188 – Sea View

$166 – Garden Sea View

 

 

 

Fewer rooms than Villa Vidal; more amenities; honeymoon destination.

Newer property, 4 years old.

 

They refer to this on their website as a hotel but it really is not. It probably more bed & breakfast-like.

 

Smaller but more competitive price point properties:

Name of Property

Highlighted Services

Rates Per Night

Comments

Caribbean Seaview

www.caribbeanseaview.com

·        3 full apartments with kitchens

·        Sleeps 2-6

·        Self-catering

·        Cook available

·        Air conditioner  & Fans

·        Arranges transport & tours as needed

Peak: $125-150

Off Peak: $105-130

Located above Mero Beach

Manicured grounds

Bayview Lodges

www.bayviewlodges.com

 

Reviews

Close to Melville Hall

Self-catering

 

$80-100

Manicured grounds with stunning view of Atlantic

 

5- 10 minute walk to beach via path from property

HomeAway

Birdwatcher’s Rainforest Cottage & Pineapple Crossing Cottage

Pineapple Crossing

Birdwatchers

·        Rainforest environment

·        3 bedrooms, sleeps 6

·        Ceiling Fans

·        Above ground pool

·        Self-catering or meals prepared

·        Transportation from Airport & other services

$70 - 75 per night

$1000 -1500 per month

Smaller properties

 

Mountain rain forest environment – cool, rainy climate

Resorts / Hotels:

Name of Property

Highlighted Services

Rates Per Night

Comments

Atlantique View Resort and Spa  (Green Hotel)

www.atlantiqueview.com

 

·        Resort environment

·        Onsite dining

·        Close to airport

·        Air conditioned

·        Transportation provided from airport

·        Tennis courts

·        Atlantic side of island

 

$245 - 345

Newer hotel


Low key atmosphere

 

Low occupancy

 

Setting is  East Coast

Atlantic

Other places to stay in the Grand Savannah:

 

Name of Property

Highlighted Services

Rates Per Night

Comments

Sunset Bay

www.sunsetbayclub.com

Reviews

·      Restaurant

·      Beach

·      Scuba

$99 - 410

Hotel

Some guest rooms damaged during tropical storm

 

Tamarind Tree

Website  /  Reviews

·   Cooks for guests

·   Packages including dive, explore, hiking

$105-215

Bed & Breakfast

Garden type grounds

Numerous apartments

& houses

 

$30 - 150

Many with sub-par conditions & amenities

 

  1. Have you surveyed or reviewed survey data from guests who have stayed at other Dominica properties?

 

ResponseProperties not listed with TripAdvisor or Airbnb did not provide additional guest comments. Due to low occupancy of Villa Vidal, we have limited comments from your guests during the past 2 years.  We do have personal experiences with guest requests during our stay on the island.

 

  1. What was your findings/conclusion from the "walk through" you did as a guest and as a manager?  How does that compare to the feedback we have received from guests?

 

ResponseMy findings during the walkthrough were from an objective perspective.  Please refer to attachment entitled House Inventory & Review.  These are the items noticed during the walkthrough. The disrepair noted mainly occurred during the stay of your longest tenant, Sean Partington.  Other issues are due to regular wear-and-tear and usual aging.  More specifically, the walk-through occurred after visiting the listed locations (and others) mentioned in Point 1. Essentially, the viewpoint was that of a guest arriving in Dominica, perhaps for a once in a lifetime trip, having paid costly airfare, then paying $300 US per night per accommodations.  The questions I posed were: (a) Besides a nice place stay, what else might my “anticipated” expectations / needs be for this price? (b) How easily accessible are activities from this location? (c) What is the selling point for this location as opposed to another?

 

  1. If you are interested in having us discontinue marketing our home, we would require an exclusivity contract/lease.  You would lease the property from us for a set amount (TBD) each month...pay your utility usage...(we can discuss other details of the lease)...and anything you make over that...would be yours. 

 

Response: Our intention is not for you to discontinue marketing of your home. Rather, it would be financially beneficial for you to continue.  To be clear, we are not interested in paying a flat rate per month

 

for Villa Vidal or any contract of exclusivity. Our intention is to assist our friends (through our contacts and marketing and knowledge of the island) in improving and maintaining occupancy while providing a service to your guests, for a guest-paid fee.  For our marketing efforts and for your exposure to our proposed contacts, we would expect to receive a percentage from any guest stay, per agreement with you. Any guest stay achieved through your marketing would be your sole profit. We reserve the right to determine if we want to offer concierge services or not.

Note:  My initial thought in mentioning this as a point of discussion was based on the premise “if there are multiple points for reservations / payments potential guests researching places could find it confusing and misleading, especially from the point of information provided on the dedicated website. Plus, it could also be confusing from the point of concierge related rates that might include a lodging “package.”  In other words, if we charged X amount per person to include lodging, meals, transportation, select tours, etc., the pricing structure would be inclusive per person, with your “lodging” share being directed to you. The incentive is in the “package.” Potentially, this could benefit all parties.

 

  1. Without an exclusive contract/lease, Villa Vidal and Nature Isle Travel would need to communicate about reservation requests and possibly use a shared calendar to track guest stays.  Villa Vidal reserves the right to accept or decline any and all reservations.

 

Response: Nature Island Travel has no issue with a shared calendar in order to avoid double bookings. Logistically, it could be difficult to determine whose marketing achieved the booking and subsequent payment (see note from question 4). We understand your right to accept or decline reservations at your property.  As a courtesy to Nature Island Travel and future guests, we would request that Villa Vidal provide acceptance within 48 hours of notification from Nature Island Travel of a potential guest. A key point of contact would need to be established for all bookings.

 

Note:  In regard to this, if I am handling marketing, phone calls and guest services, from a management perspective, it would seem I would field (most) calls and keep you informed via shared calendar or other scheduling software.

  1. Repairs (due to normal wear and tear) are generally owner paid.  Repairs required due to guest negligence, misuse or abuse would be your responsibility.

 

Response:

Nature Island Travel agrees.  However, existing wear and tear needs to be reviewed and or documented and addressed appropriately.

 

  1. We are most interested in a flat rental rate.  In a business venture like this, our rental agreement would be with you.  Then it would be up to you to meet the needs of your guests with a self-catered model or a concierge model.

 

Response: The flat rate we are most interested in is a % of the agreed upon rental rate. This is related to time and efforts of marketing, and other management provided by Nature Island Travel that contributed to guests discovering and deciding to stay at Villa Vidal.

While we understand your position and the income it could provide, we do not intend to permanently move to Dominica to rent or occupy a home at this time. Our proposal is based upon assisting you in developing and keeping a steady occupancy rate, if possible. Guests may choose to opt out of the concierge services.

 

  1. The apartment is not available for rent.  We do not approve renting the basement as a stand-alone unit because it is not a separate/distinct unit from the house.

 

Response:  We provided additional options for future guest stays that we would like to discuss. If you are not currently in agreement, then we respect that opinion. However, we do request that you review the market research to get a better idea of other pricing and residence options currently being provided in Dominica and elsewhere. 

 

  1. During the pilot period, when you hope to promote the house to guests, we cannot provide free accommodations, but we can discuss a discount rate.

 

ResponseA discounted rate is understandable. Our thoughts around a no-cost stay are similar to the plan condos provide in order to tempt guests into buying a condo. This is strictly marketing.

 

  1. If your business will offer tour guides and day trips, etc. we would require that guests sign waivers to remove Villa Vidal from liability in the event of an injury.

 

Response Yes, we agree; waivers will be required. Because we have a previous relationship with you as owners, our intent is not to cause you to assume any liability, or ourselves. However, we also expect that Villa Vidal has its own insurance and can provide documentation, in case a guest is injured on your property sans any participation in concierge services.