First responders work on frontlines battling the COVID 19 crisis and have found vacation rentals a safe haven after exposure. These heroes are justifiably nervous to transmit the virus to their families after working with COVID positive people.
Florida Rental By Owners (FlaRBO) has never been more proud to introduce you to our incredible host Michael Wilcox from Holmes Beach, Florida, found on the Central Gulf Coast area of Florida. Our Host of the Month is not only a First Responder himself but he took COVID 19 in stride by offering other first responders a safe haven in his Florida vacation rental beach house.
1. Why was it so important to offer your vacation rental home to first responders during the COVID crisis??
I am a First Responder. The City and then the State took away my right to rent out my vacation rental so it was sitting inactive. I wanted something good to come of the loss created by the check-in ban.
2. Why is a Florida Vacation Rental a good option for responders to quarantine at??
The best place for a First Responder to isolate is close to home, but not in their home. The next factor then is the cost. Since we offered Casa Coconut AMI for free, it was a favorite selection for those who had to isolate and not create an expense on their family.!
3. What steps should a host take if they want to offer their short term rental to first responders who want to quarantine?
Reach out to their local fire and police departments to offer up accommodations for a more localized effort.
Staying in a vacation rental by owner type of property is one of the safest options for a contained vacation away from crowded hotels and motels that have a large staff and many people in the common areas.
4. Are there any steps hosts should take to prepare their homes for the arrival of a first responder or medical frontline worker in need of a place to quarantine?
Not really. I am in the fire service. All firefighters across the world are family. I opened my vacation rental as I would to any member of my family. It was ready to accept paying guests so accepting a First Responder required no additional effort.
5. What are the benefits of a short term rental versus a hotel during the COVID crisis?
Limiting Exposure. Florida Governor DeSantis said we should make decisions based on FACT, not FEAR. The idea of that is sound. Most vacation rentals have a private kitchen. The vacation rental type accommodation setting allows for less movement and going out if someone has to isolate. It’s the safest option for everyone.
6. When will you be ready to take regular short term reservations for guests?
Day one! As soon as the state of Florida and the city stop restricting vacation rentals and re-open our business operations, Casa Coconut AMI will be ready to receive guests.
7. What Inspired you to start hosting your Florida Vacation Rental?
It had been a long-term goal of ours to retire from our careers in education and the fire service and move to Florida to own and manage short term and long-term rental properties.
8. How do you exceed Guest’s Expectations?
We have a “Welcome” gift for our guests. A bottle of wine and some light snacks. As for all the hosts on Anna Maria Island, our key product is the location right next to the beaches. It is such a beautiful place. Our island doesn’t have those super crowded issues. That is what the guests want. We also offer a large selection of beach amenities such as coolers, wagons, umbrellas, chairs. All that our guests have to do is show up. We pretty much take it from there.
9. Why are you Passionate about your Vacation Rental?
It is a very interesting industry. We get to meet so many people, both guests, and other vacation rental owners. Most of them are great fun to be around. Our vacation rental is in the center of most people’s “happy place”. When they go back home, they put pictures of our island on their computer to look at for the rest of the year and dream about next year’s vacation. It is a great feeling to be able to sell happiness.
10. What would be the perfect Itinerary for a stay in your home, Casa Coconuts AMI?
Arrive at 4 pm on your first day, change clothes, and walk a few yards to the beach. After a little while, head back, walk to dinner, and enjoy the sunset. The next day, get up in the morning to walk the beach then walk to Publix, get your food, and drink for the day. Head back to the beach. Repeat for the next week.
11. Who would you recommend your property to?
Couples and families with not so young children. Everything is walkable so a car is not needed. We don’t have a pool, so it is a little more work for families with young children, but the beach is right across the street.
We have monthly renters in the high season, so it is popular for snowbirds. College-aged guests looking to party on spring break should probably look somewhere else. The area just isn’t conducive to that.
Michael’s Final Thoughts
This is our first year operating Casa Coconut AMI. The COVID-19 outbreak has been a challenge but we will be ok. It’s been our life goal to operate a business in paradise. We made it! Good things are going to continue to happen. We look forward to a prosperous future and will enjoy each day operating our little piece of paradise.
Interested in visiting Anna Maria Island, Florida?
You can view all of Michael’s property here and take advantage of getting the best price directly with his vacation rentals through their FLARBO listings. Why book elsewhere when you can get the best price through Florida Rental By Owners?
Florida’s #1 Owner Preferred Website. No Traveler Fees, No Commissions, and Direct Communication with the Owner always gets you the best price.