Updated: Feb 13
On a cold, rainy, downright raw day we decided to sit down and reflect upon Gaia's Pearl first full year in operation. We gained a lot of insight as we went through every booking, payment, receipt, invoice and review.
Insight One: We learned our customers’ desires and how to exceed those expectations, as can be seen from our guest reviews.
Most liked about Gaia’s Pearl, in order of frequency:
Infinity pool and Spectacular views (tied for first; see above)
Short distance to Cruz Bay shops, bars and restaurants
Fully equipped gourmet kitchen with private chef
Ease of booking and communication (fast response time was key)
Equal en suite bedrooms, so no bargaining over who gets which room
Plenty of beach gear
Of the twenty-seven parties Gaia’s Pearl hosted -
Twenty-three parties booked directly through Gaia’s Pearl; Only four booked through VRBO.
Insight Two: VRBO is expensive for travelers and owners. But hey, someone has to pay for College Football Playoff sponsorships and Super Bowl commercials. Here is a quick example of the savings of booking directly. Please note that Gaia’s Pearl VRBO rates are purposefully 5% higher than booking direct in order to help cover the costs of VRBO commissions and processing fees charged to owners. In communication with potential VRBO guests we regularly try to steer them to our Facebook and Instagram sights, @StJohnPearl where there is a link to our website, www.StJohnPearl.com. Several have booked direct after finding Gaia’s Pearl on VRBO.
Gaia's Pearl Direct
Post Departure Cleaning
Damage Protection Insurance
VRBO Guest Service Fee
Total Charge if paid by wire
Commission owners pay VRBO
VRBO Processing Fees
Total taken by VRBO
Paid to VRBO as a % of Traveler Payment
So, to pay for one Super Bowl Commercial, VRBO must make approximately 2,877 similar bookings based on a 30-second commercial costing $7 million this year. But that shouldn’t be a problem for Expedia, VRBO’s behemoth parent company, as they reported 2022 first quarter earnings of $2.6 Billion, according to Inman.
We understand that Gaia's Pearl may not fit your needs exactly, We highly recommend the use of St John Villa Rentals. They have hundreds of villas you can book direct without the big boys' booking fees. Do pay attention to the fine print, as we have seen some villa managers try to sneak in booking charges and present USVI taxes more than the required amount of 12.5%.
Of the twenty-seven parties who booked Gaia’s Pearl,
40% reserved Gaia's Pearl nine months. or more. ahead of time,
20% booked between six and nine months from check in;
20% reserved between three and six months from check in;
10% were inside of 90 days; and
10% were inside of 30 days.
Insight three: If your dates are not flexible, or you're traveling during a popular time of year, It pays to book early. This goes for villa and rental cars!
Already Gaia’s Pearl has rented out most of January through July of 2023.
As of now, we still have three popular weeks available that tend to book well in advance -
Easter week, April 8-15, see below
Festival week, July 1-8,
Thanksgiving week, November 18-25, and
Christmas week, December 23-30. (New Year's week has been booked.)
Guests are already booking high season for 2024.
Insight four: Last minute travelers (thirty days to check-in) can negotiate nightly rate discounts. This is especially true for late spring, summer and low season.
As a matter of fact, for the two weeks we have remaining for ‘spring break’, we are offering 15% off of our published rates. This discount is available for stays of March 23-April 2, and April 8- 17, Easter week. Complete our inquiry form, and in the special requests section simply type in "spring break15" and your quote will include 15% off the nightly rate (5 night minimum stay).
We are excited you are considering Gaia's Pearl for your vacation destination. As soon as we receive all the information to best serve you, we will send you a quote.