WIMCO Villas: A Policy Of Service, Service, Service!
By Ellen Lambert Greaux for Le Weekly
WIMCO Villas Concierge Team
WIMCO has spent 30 years building itself into one of the leading villa rental agencies in Saint Barth.
The secret to their success: "service, service, service—continuously improving," says Stiles Bennet, WIMCO president and COO.
"If we provide a great vacation experience that is stress free,
then clients are more likely to use us again, and refer their friends to us."
Bennet notes that, "the villa rental market is very healthy, and villa rentals are up significantly VS a year ago across each month, and it's both repeat clients and those
people traveling with us for the first time." He finds that client demand seems to be focused in two areas: villas
which have been recently built or renovated, with clean modern design, full of amenities; and villas which offer a measurable value
compared to other villas and hotels, and are located in good areas, with attractive views
In terms of sales, "the real estate market also seems very active and healthy," asserts Bennet. "There have been numerous transactions. The market is not as transparent as
what we are used to in the US, and information is not as readily accessible, which can slow things down. That said, the allure of investing in a
second home in St Barth is strong relative to other islands, and St Barth's appeal is international."
In terms of service, Bennet contents that WIMCO has the leading edge. "We know our clients have many options. They can call any number of companies and find a villa in St Barth,
so our mission is to provide such a stress free vacation planning experience that they have no reason to try anyone else. It starts with weekly
product training sessions in our US reservations
office, so we can answer any question about any villa we represent, and get answers about what is or is not available faster than any one else.
We have invested in developing interactive digital floorplans for many of our villas on St Barth so clients can more easily see how a villa's
rooms are laid out, simplifying the reservations process."
Once a villa is selected, WIMCO's concierge service team kicks into gear and helps clients book their international and local flights,
their rental cars and any activities or services they want to book in advance. "Once the clients arrive here and we get them up to their villa,
we want them to feel like we are always available to help them with any question or concern," Benett notes.
"They can call us with last minute requests for boat charters, restaurant reservations, babysitters, whatever, we will take care of it. In the
end it's the level of service we
can deliver at all stages of the vacation, whether the client takes advantage of it or not, that gives the client peace of mind, and makes them more
likely to travel with us year
after year," says Bennet, who notes "In most cases clients expect that a villa be in as good condition if not in better condition than their own home.
They expect a clean and
well-maintained home with a well-equipped kitchen, flat screen TVs with access to the channels they watch at home and clean towels and linens.
They have every right to be irritated with anything less than that. Villas that fall behind quickly fall out of favor."
WIMCO's staff includes villa specialists like Bethany and Glennie who have been with WIMCO for over 20 years, plus a team of folks like them in our
reservations department who have toured hundreds of
villas, building a knowledge base that makes them the best in the industry in helping clients find the villa that is just right for them," Bennet
explains. "Then there is our St Barth team, led by
Fabienne and Laurent, who have invested years of their life in providing great service to visitors to the island. We just keep investing in those
people, and the systems that support them, building up
their knowledge and capabilities, so they can provide amazing service."
WIMCO also plays an active role in the community: "We do what we can to support events that make St Barth a distinctive and enjoyable place to
vacation," says Bennet, citing The Bucket,
Summer Music Sessions, and most recently the Taste of St Barth culinary event.
The WIMCO SBH office is located directly across the street from the St Barths airport, (blue house)