As more and more people choose Krabi as a place to build a second home, it is natural that they look to cover the costs of their property management, and generate a return on their investment, by offering it as a holiday rental to others who enjoy the area as much as themselves.
Vacation villas hold a certain appeal that even five star resorts cannot match; indeed many discerning travellers choose only to stay in this kind of property. Managed, well-appointed homes can offer all the facilities and services of a high end hotel (and often more!) but with the added luxury of privacy – allowing for total relaxation, knowing you will not have to sit next to that annoying family in the restaurant, or fight for a place on a pool lounger.
For the owners, the benefits are also clear: a return of 60% of the nightly rack rate; flexible usage – dates of their visit are simply blocked out on the calendar as requested; plus the knowledge that their property is being professionally managed and cared for in their absence.
As tailored holiday experiences become the norm, this segment of the travel market is growing rapidly: a survey by Thailand Property Report in December 2009 reported that “virtually every big villa [in the Andaman region] is rented throughout the peak season, and this is despite of a doubling in supply of finished villas since 2008” – and despite the overall 20% downturn in tourist numbers year on year.
But the luxury sector is very particular: it is not sufficient simply to build a large house and swimming pool and put it up for rent. The ideal holiday villa will be designed as a future rental property from the outset. The architects and engineers at Ton Company, a local firm with many years of experience in the design, construction and management of such villas, will for example factor in essential elements such as adequate technology, power supply and owners’ storage facilities, as well as use their knowledge of what “works” for this market at the planning stage – all the while taking into account the owners’ own ideas of what would make their dream home.
Construction can then be overseen in full by a dedicated project manager and foreman, with the owners being kept updated on progress via email reports and Skype. Once the villa is completed, the maintenance and marketing of the property can also be managed by the same company, ensuring both strong branding and a continuity of service that will benefit both the owners and the guests in the villa, as the team will literally know the house inside and out.
“We feel we really are a ‘one stop shop’,” says Pierre-Yves Loriers, the managing director of Ton Company. “From finding a good plot of land all the way up to changing the sheets on the bed, the customer can deal with a single set of people, which allows us to build a strong relationship and really understand their needs over time.”