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‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals launched

By Staff | Jul 12, 2017

The interior room of one of the rentals available through ‘Tween Water Island Vacation Rental. PHOTO PROVIDED

Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has recently expanded its offerings to guests by launching a new rental program.

Sanibel Captiva Beach Resort Chief Operating Officer Doug Babcock said offering rentals has been something they have talked about for a long time. Unfortunately, with the more than 300 units among their four properties, they could only accommodate so many guests with large groups, which led to launching ‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals in May.

“We only have three, three-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units,” Babcock said. “Vacation rentals fits our hole that we have in terms of filling a vacancy of larger parties.”

He said providing rentals is something different than what others are offering.

“We have a little bit more to offer than the others because of our experience in the hospitality business,” Babcock said of their more than 80 years. “Hospitality is what we know and do. We think we can bring that to the vacation rentals as well.”

‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals has already received good feedback from the numerous presentations they have conducted for homeowners, resulting in several properties being listed.

“There are more coming online daily,” he said. “We are trying to grow slowly, organically. We want to be able to accommodate the demands of the homeowners.”

Homeowners have the option of listing their property with the ‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals program, which Babcock said puts them in front of more than a million Southwest Florida prospects who are looking to rent, or stay in the area.

In addition, he said Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has more than 900,000 visitors to their website throughout the year. Monthly email blasts are sent to prospects who have entered into their email database, and they have 100,000 fans on Facebook, enhancing their ability to share their rental program.

“We get a tremendous amount of repeat loyal guests that come back,” he said.

Their following, Babcock believes gives them the opportunity to get the rental properties in front of people, which will translate into more bookings and more repeat bookings.

“We will be marketing and managing the property. We will market and manage at no cost to the owner on 20 plus international, national rental sites,” Babcock said.

One of the approaches ‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals has taken, and will continue to take, is offering concierge services.

“The person that signs up your property with our vacation rental site, will be the same person you talk to every time,” Babcock said, adding that goes for an absentee owner. “If there is an issue with the property they will talk to the same person that manages your property.”

The same goes for the individual who is renting a home, or condo, according to Babcock. He said when the party checks in, they will discuss their stay with the same person who booked their vacation.

In terms of renting, the minimal length of stay changes between the two islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

“On Sanibel, most of the homes are required to rent by the month, or a 28-day minimum,” he said. “Condos are dictated by bylaws, most are by the week, but some are a month.”

For Captiva, condos are a one week minimum stay.

The accommodations can range from three to six bedrooms in a home and anywhere from one to three bedrooms for a condo.

Those who are looking to rent a home, or condo, on either island, are encouraged to visit www.TWIVacay.com, or call (844) 894-8222.

“We will refer the guests on the phone to our sales office to discuss different options of properties to our program,” he said.

A renters rewards program, a coupon book providing discounts at one of the four Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, is being offered. The discounts include such amenities as dining, shopping, spa treatments, boat rentals, parasailing and fishing charters.

In addition, on island maintenance is included in the rental program 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Babcock said there will be a live person an individual can call and speak to about issues they are experiencing.

On island housekeeping is also offered seven days a week. He said housekeeping staff can arrive at the property very quickly because they are on both islands each and every day.

Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has had record years in terms of occupancy and revenue over the last seven years. In 2016, Babcock said they had their highest occupancy and revenue on record.

Although Lee County’s occupancy was down about 3 or 4 percent, Babcock said Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts was up by 2 percent.

“We outperformed the county,” he said.

Babcock believes the increase is due to money they put back into their properties infrastructures. He said they are putting $400,000 in new furniture in 64 rooms at ‘Tween Waters and are in the final stages of a new pool, as well as putting in new flooring at 55 rooms at West Wind Inn.

“We are upgrading and expanding our offers,” Babcock said.

Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts operates ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa, West Wind Inn, Beachview Cottages and Castaways Cottages.