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@Work: Vacation St. Croix

Dec 16, 2004 – Not many people do what Marti Gotts of Vacation St. Croix does. Her company is one of only two on St. Croix that manages property for off-island owners and provides vacation rentals.
Gotts says her business is a very personal business. She does everything from meeting customers at the airport to providing mailing services to having specific food in the refrigerator.
She does get a lot of help providing these services. Vacation St. Croix has 10 full-time employees and uses the full concierge service of Bubble Makers, Inc. Bubble Makers is owned by Deanna and Steven Cunningham and specializes in dive instruction.
"I love my job. And I love my job because I have such an outstanding staff," Gotts says.
"To be honest, I must admit that 99 percent of our customers are also nice people," she says.
Vacation St. Croix has arranged weddings, funerals and honeymoons: "Anything you can think of, we can arrange." She has gone as far as picking up the ashes of a deceased person at the post office, but generally what Vacation St. Croix is offering is a pleasant experience for customers.
The company manages and maintains 30 properties that range in value from $350,000 to $1.5 million. She said all the properties are generally completely booked with weekly rentals in the high season from Dec. 15 to April 15. Summer, according to Gotts, can be "spotty," but overall has been pretty good. "We get a lot of honeymooners in the summer."
The business, she has owned and operated for the last eight years, has not been affected much by the downturn in tourism to St. Croix in recent years. She says, "The people that rent villas for vacation are the more seasoned travelers."
Vacation St. Croix is more than willing to arrange special services such as diving, a masseuse, an exercise trainer, a babysitter or even a traditional West Indian pig roast. The company will prepare anything from a picnic basket to a wedding reception for its guests.
Gotts says her job is a 24-hour-a-day one. She is always on call if problems arise.
Someone from the company meets the clients at the airport and escorts them to the villa. If requested, the kitchen will be fully provisioned from a shopping list sent prior to arrival.
A sign of Gotts' success is that 50 percent of her vacation customers are return customers. She says many of them she has known for over a dozen years, having met them when she worked for a similar company prior to starting Vacation St. Croix, which is a subsidiary of her husband Carl Gotts's insurance business – Buyer Agent, V.I.
She gives special care to these return customers. On her own property she has a storage unit that holds items such as snorkel gear, summer clothes and even the Christmas trees of return customers.
On the other hand Vacation St. Croix promotes itself to property owners as a fully-insured and licensed property management and maintenance company, "dedicated to providing complete professional care for your property."
Vacation St. Croix does periodical inspections of the homes it manages. Doors, windows, plumbing, and generator are tested. Pool and cistern levels are checked and water is ordered if needed. Vehicles stored on the property will also be regularly serviced and licensed.
Gotts said that in recent years most of her business has come through the Internet. She can be reached by telephone at 778-0361.
She and her husband have lived on St Croix since 1989.

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