Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: This year, the luxury villa rental inquiries are coming in early. By March, agents had already started calling around asking for rental rates over the holiday season of December 2017 to April 2018.

Luxury villa rentals over the last two holiday seasons have been somewhat disappointing, with villa owners either not achieving any rentals for their properties at all or conceding a lower rental rate to accommodate the budget of the booking. It was also noted that the length of bookings over the last two holiday seasons, if any, were shorter than previous years.

The holiday season also looked quite positive, with inquiries for rentals coming in strong.

Nearly all of the early inquires are from the Russian market, and with the strengthening of the Russian ruble and US dollar, it looks like the more popular villas could be snapped up faster than expected. Villa rentals, as compared to hotels, are popular among Russian clients as most of them travel with family (and even extended family) during the holiday season. Thus, they require a villa with a minimum of 3-5 bedrooms or more. Most Russian families also tend to cook – especially if they are staying for 1-3 months – so the fact that nearly all villas come with fully equipped kitchens is another plus.

With holiday villas not renting out well during the last two seasons, we expect rental price wars and steep discounts to begin soon, as most villa owners will attempt to secure an early booking for the coming season. For those villa owners who try to hold out for a higher rate or a longer stay, it will probably be a chicken and egg situation about whether to secure an early booking with a lower rate/shorter period or not get a booking during the holiday season if demand dwindles closer to the holidays.

However, if demand continues to increase and most of the holiday villas are booked, then those owners who have held out will get the most favorable rates.

Russian tourists have always been big spenders, with average spend per person being 5,520 baht per day (source: Russian Tourism Market Report – C9 Hotelworks, March 2017).

Average spend takes into account accommodation; food and beverage; retail; and spa and excursions. Last year saw an increase in non-scheduled flights from Russia and this year is looking positive as the Russians are finally starting to flock back to the white sandy beaches of the Andaman.

Amy Koh is the sales manager of Engel & Voelkers Phuket. To contact Amy or for more information, visit www.engelvoelkers.com/en/phuket

This article first appeared in the April 22-28 issue of the hard-copy
Phuket Gazette newspaper.

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— Amy Koh

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