HomeCommunityVacation rentals shut down amid pandemic

Vacation rentals shut down amid pandemic

By ARIELLE CASTAGNA

The COVID-19 pandemic has touched countless businesses on the Monterey Peninsula, as the Mobility Market Outlook estimates that the global revenue for travel will decrease by 34.7% from last year, and while impact varies from business to business, the pandemic has had a notably detrimental impact on vacation rental companies. 

Some rental companies, such as Sanctuary Vacation Rentals located in Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel, have not been shut down, but the operation of these businesses has been modified. 

“Our reservations and in-office team have all been working remotely, and our house management and maintenance teams have only been addressing urgent issues and travel stays which were deemed to be for essential travel purposes only,” Sanctuary Vacation Rentals owner Josh Ohanian says. 

The business owner goes on to say that Sanctuary Vacation Rentals have discontinued accepting non-essential travel reservations through mid-May, depending on what public health officials say. 

“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we have had to lay-off or furlough more than half of our staff,” Ohanian adds. “The remaining staff members have had significant reductions in schedule and hourly pay and salaries. We plan to review the business standing on May 1 and reassess as needed at that time.”

Although downtown Carmel is sparsely populated by tourists now, local vacation rental companies are optimistic that good news is on its way. (Photo by Sherman Chu)

But vacation rental businesses are remaining optimistic for the future. As far as long-term business, the owner of Monterey Vacation Rentals in Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove, Jan Leasure, notes that the long term effect on business is minute thus far. 

“On April 1, 98% of our tenants were able to pay their rent in full,” Leasure says. “We are a little concerned that the number may be less on May 1, since more of our tenants will specifically have been out of work for a longer time.” 

Leasure further elaborates that all vacation rentals have been canceled for the foreseeable future: “This means that the business, which works on commission from these rentals, is not making any income from those types of rentals.”

The business owner says there have been exceptions for essential workers and people who have sold their home or are in the process of doing a repair. The owner adds that they have switched from natural cleaning products to hospital grade, as sanitation and new cleanliness standards are at the top priority for companies. 

“Our senior leadership team has applied for a Small Business Loan, which we hope will allow us to remain open through the shelter in place orders, up until we are able to begin renting and operating ‘normally’ again,” Ohanian says. 

Sanctuary Vacation Rentals has also ceased spending on anything nonessential in efforts to save money during uncertain times.  

For San Carlos Agency Inc. located in Carmel, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Monterey, the impact has been no different. 

“With the county restricting any new bookings coupled with the cancellation of big events like the Bach Festival and Concours d’Elegance, we have had many spring and summer cancellations,” broker Jack Britton says.

Vacation rental companies are remaining hopeful that things will pick up again soon.

“We are hopeful that when the county is comfortable loosening their restrictions and the country as a whole is ready to travel again, we will be able to salvage some of our peak summer business,” Britton says. 

The future of businesses is uncertain, but the future brings new hope and promise for the possibility of what’s to come.

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