It’s not just those with modest holiday homes who want their property to pay its way. One of the first questions that prospective buyers of luxury villas often ask now is how they can recoup some of their costs by making their home earn its keep. For property owners there are various routes that can be explored.

Peer-to-Peer Rental

AirBnB is at the vanguard of the holiday rental revolution, giving hotels a run for their money by making it easy – and cool – for property owners to rent out their homes in return for a percentage of each booking. Listings range from simple studios to opulent palaces. Numerous other peer-to-peer property rental sites such as HomeAway and FlipKey provide a similar portal for holiday home listings and the owner simply pays a commission on each booking or an annual fee to advertise.

The downside? Managing the property and guests can be time-consuming and troublesome – particularly if your property is a few thousand miles away. You need people on the ground you can trust to act quickly when things go wrong – otherwise, your little earner could soon become a loss-maker.

Online Villa Rental Specialists

Other holiday rental companies such as Le Collectionist and Villas of Distinction specialise in high-end properties where every element from booking to sheet-changing is taken care of – along with concierge services such as private chefs and drivers. Or you may use your holiday home as a way to get free holidays yourself – in someone else’s property – through a luxury home exchange site such as 3RD HOME.

Managed Rental Programmes

If you are looking at purchasing a property within a destination resort, the chances are the management will operate a rental programme of some kind. Resort home owners will typically have a team at their disposal to handle all aspects of rentals, from marketing to maintenance. Rental programmes may limit you to a certain amount of annual usage in return for a guaranteed rental income, with the property rented out to guests for the remaining weeks as hotel accommodation.

For owners who intend to use their property for a few weeks a year at most, this may be the most practical option, with the rental income covering the costs of owning a property on a managed resort. In the most extreme examples, such as on private islands, ongoing costs can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – but that can be quickly recouped with a villa that fetches up to $40,000 USD a night.

Your Home as a Business

If you want your Caribbean home to earn its keep – but you want to live there too – turn it into a luxury B&B or a cultural or wellness retreat. Being a hands-on host can be hard work and you’ll have local small business bureaucracy to deal with, but it can be a sociable and financially-rewarding way to get the most out of your home.

Your Home as a Venue

And finally, if you have an eye for design and think your holiday home is something special, think about hiring it out as a location for film or magazine shoots or as a wedding venue. If you don’t mind the disruption, the payback can be as handsome as your house.


This article was originally published in Issue 6 of The Caribbean Property Investor magazine. To read the full issue, click here.