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Discussion – 


How Alma Bair Went From 1 to 50 Luxury Villas in Puerto Rico (Ep 279)

How do you go from managing a single vacation rental to 50? Alma Bair got her start renting out her family’s luxury villa in Puerto Rico. Before long, neighbors in Dorado Beach asked her to take on their properties, and the business grew organically by word of mouth from there. So, what challenges has she faced in scaling up? How does she market and manage her listings remotely? And how is she working to customize the guest experience?

Alma is the founder and Chief Joy Officer at Paradise Villas & Vacations, a short-term rental management company based in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Today, she joins me to explain how her own vacation in Puerto Rico 16 years ago grew into a vacation rental management business. She shares the challenges she has faced in scaling up, from finding a sufficient reservation management system to working with owners who cancel bookings.

Alma also discusses her goal to be less dependent on third-party platforms for marketing her business and her luck in finding an outstanding hospitality professional to handle guest services. Listen in for Alma’s insight on delighting guests with a unique experience and learn why it’s beneficial to partner with a local destination management organization!

Topics Covered

How Alma got into managing vacation rentals

  • Bought own vacation home on Dorado Beach
  • Donated to local charity 6 weeks/year
  • Business grew from outside inquiries

How Alma grew from 1 to 50 vacation rentals

  • Neighbors ask to manage their villas
  • Organic growth by word of mouth

How Alma gets paid for her management services

  • Take percentage of revenue in most cases
  • Experimenting with fixed income model

The challenges Alma faces in scaling her business

  • Scaling reservation management system
  • Working with owners

How Alma addresses her challenges with owners

  • Contract with penalty for cancelled bookings
  • Upgrade guest to better luxury villa

How Alma manages her calendars without software

  • Process to update manually on other platforms
  • Remote support assistant in Philippines to help

How Alma markets her vacation rentals

  • Monthly newsletter to database of 8K
  • Third party platforms + own website

How Alma manages her vacation rentals remotely

  • Guest services professional on call 24/7
  • Locally networked and bilingual

Alma’s insight on the value of becoming a local expert

  • Match expectations with reality of vacation
  • Provide offerings in related activities (e.g.: extreme adventures)

Partnering with a destination management organization

  • Access to analytics about marketplace
  • PR, media outlets and social media

Connect with Alma

Paradise Villas & Vacations

Alma on LinkedIn


Keys to Bali

René of Keys to Bali on GPFYP EP215

STR Legends Live Retreat in Puerto Rico

Discover Puerto Rico

VRMA International Conference


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