Coral Beach Club
PHILIPSBURG–In an attempt to discuss the rapid rise of the short-term vacation rental sector, St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) held a meeting with members and non-members of St. Maarten real estate and vacation rental agencies in its offices last Thursday.
SHTA said in a press release that over the past decade, the rapidly growing use of Airbnb, vacation rentals by owners (VRBO) home and away, and private home individual rentals have brought opportunities and challenges to destinations worldwide.
SHTA said realtors endorsed its efforts to get more insight in the short-term vacation rental market and processes in order to create insight in the market and provide a level playing field amongst all St. Maarten lodgings.
The meeting was part of a wider SHTA initiative to assess the size and impact of the short-term vacation rental industry, about which reliable facts are currently not available.
“Charting this sector could yield considerable benefits to the destination when dealing with foreign tourism representatives, airlines and cruise liners home-porting in St. Maarten. When charted, bringing St. Maarten’s sizeable villa and condo market to the forefront could also be part of dedicated marketing messages to short-term vacation rental target groups,” said SHTA. Also, it highlights the number of high-end/luxury market individual units available for rent.
“At the same time, the relatively novel phenomenon also brings challenges to destinations. In the words of one attendee, a fact-based approach is needed ‘separating fact from fiction.’ Many assumptions are currently dominating the market, but exact facts are lacking. Due to its many booking channels – some via intermediates on island, others online, others direct by the owner – it is a complex task to grasp both the size of the market as well as its occupancy,” it was stated in the release.
Opportunities discussed were, amongst others, numerical overviews of how the market is developing. SHTA said it supports recent initiatives by Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion to tackle this complex challenge and had offered assistance in a meeting earlier this year. In an attempt to be of assistance, SHTA has commenced an attempt to chart the sector.
The meeting involved representatives of Lighthouse Realty, Island Real Estate, Coral Beach Club, RE/MAX Island Properties, Sotheby’s International Realty and Keller Williams.
“Realtors endorsed the SHTA effort to get more insight in the short-term vacation rental market and processes in order to create insight in the market and provide a level playing field amongst all St. Maarten lodgings,” said SHTA.