Blue Sky Luxury launches “Stay, safe” our International cleaning and sanitizing standards.
We constantly ask ourselves, “what wouldn’t we do to protect our family?” and the answer is “anything, we’d do anything to protect them”. The safety and well-being of our extended family has never stopped being our priority, nor will it ever. So here we are, introducing “Stay, safe,” the official international cleaning and sanitizing standards for our 150+ portfolio of Barbados vacation villas.
We’re big on information sharing and transparency, click on any link to see all the ways we maintain a safe environment for you. Staying ahead of the curve is important to us. The “Stay, safe,” guarantee lives under the already established banner of The Blue Standard, the companies forward-thinking response to the need for clear standards in the villas rental market in the Caribbean. The Blue Standard focuses on four core areas:
- Health & Safety
- Cleanliness & Maintenance
- Accurate Marketing Materials
- Training and Service Delivery
The emergence of COVID-19 was the catalyst to integrate new local and international standards to the already rigorous 300 pt. checklist covered by The Blue Standard.
Whenever you see the “Stay, safe” label you can rest assured that our villas are as certified clean and sanitized. Some say, they’re so clean you can eat off the floor. From health and safety, space between bookings, to protecting our staff and you, we’ll ensure that you Stay, safe.
PS: Don’t eat off the floor, there’s a table inside.
Blue Sky Luxury is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. See how we’re prepared and learn about our new relaxed booking policies. Read More >
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Download Our Relocations Guide
We’ve launched! Starting today, you can get all of the information needed on relocating to Barbados under the 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp. The Terra Group of companies (a bit below on us) has launched a comprehensive guide to answer any questions that you may have on relocating to Barbados.
When we learned of the 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp, we instantly came together to see how we could pool our best in class selection of villas, houses, apartments and townhouses, all suited for long term rentals. That royal we in The Terra Group ladies and gents comprises Terra Caribbean, Terra Luxury and of course, yours truly Blue Sky Luxury. Ahem…let’s get back to the good stuff!
Other than giving advice on the best authentic local experiences, the best Barbados vacation villas, offering luxury your way, here’s how we can help you relocate to Barbados. Peep our 12 reasons why (yes, we’re playing on the series and the stamp) Blue Sky Luxury and our sister companies Terra Caribbean and Terra Luxury is the best team to help you through the process of relocation to Barbados.
Key information from our 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp relocations guide:
Special Entry & Reside Permit (SERP)
Obtaining your Barbados Welcome Stamp
Your choice of Barbados long term rentals
Life in Barbados
While you patiently await our bespoke long-term rental website with a wide selection of long term rental properties, sign up below to receive new updates!
The holiday rental market has grown considerably worldwide over the last five years. In Barbados the market for short term rentals has also become more competitive. Whether luxury or budget, there is a demand for well-priced and good value for money accommodation at all levels.
On a property management level, this means that efficiently maintaining the property and managing running costs is essential. This allows the owners to be flexible with their rates in order to remain competitive, while still achieving a good net yield from their rental revenue. Traditionally, vacation rentals in Barbados are staffed and this cost can account for a large portion of the running costs to an owner. With the evolution of the rental market and many new guests trying vacation rentals, there is a need to manage this balancing act of providing what the guest requires while doing so efficiently. The key to this is ensuring that we have excellent knowledge on what guests are looking for with regards to staffing.
For smaller apartments not in the luxury segment, many guests often find the traditional staffing levels intrusive. They expect the unit to be thoroughly cleaned before their arrival, but do not want or expect staff to come to the property during their stay as is often the norm in other markets. As a result, it is recommended that owners reduce the frequency of staffing at these smaller properties. Blue Sky Luxury (BSL) provides temporary staffing for housekeeping service once or twice a week from our Smart Staffing pool. This way we can provide the staff that is required by the guests and the owner can access staff on an as-needed basis. For longer stays, it is recommended that housekeeping cleans the unit at least once per week. This allows the housekeeper to keep an eye on the property and report any issues which should be drawn to the owner’s attention.
For luxury apartments, a housekeeper is provided for a minimum of three days per week of stay. These properties tend to be larger than their non-luxury counterparts. Guests may also require additional services such as those of a cook, chef or butler, and these can be provided as an additional service. BSL maintains a full roster of trained temporary staff for accommodating guests’ needs and are thus able to provide them in a seamless manner as needed. This enables owners to provide expected levels of service while not having the overhead associated and the owners are not burdened with retaining permanent staff.
Villas form the core of the holiday rental market in Barbados and possibly have the greatest expectation of staffing levels, but even here the influx of new guests has challenged these expectations. Many villa owners are weighing the benefits of eliminating or reducing the number of permanent staff at their properties to suit the changing needs of these new guests who desire more privacy and less frequent service. During the winter months (between 15th December to 15th April) however, rates tend to be approximately 50% or more higher than the summer months and owners tend to provide staffing as part of their rate. The reason for this is supply and demand as we have many more guests wanting to escape the cold, winter months. With the additional revenue achieved during the winter months, owners choose to offer staffing as part of their rate. From the guests’ point of view, paying higher rates not only allows them to have a regular housekeeper but they also enjoy the benefits of a cook or chef to cater their meals.
Luxury Properties & Estates
Guests staying at our larger luxury properties and estates continue to expect exceptional, full service as delivered in other luxury hospitality outlets throughout the world. It is not just about the physical accommodation, it is about service and experience provided. Many of these guests tend to come year after year and build relationships with the staff, who often become like an extended family. Most of these properties will have permanent housekeepers and gardeners. If required, BSL can cater to the elevated requests of the guest in-house, be it temporary butlers, chefs, or other specialised staff. The staff is drawn from a pool of experienced, well-trained professionals and are comprehensively vetted by BSL. This saves the owner on staffing costs, but still provides confidence in the level of service.
Property management dictates that we keep our finger on the pulse of market trends and listen carefully to what our guests require across all property levels we manage. This allows us to review costs, so that we can advise our owners on how to maximise the revenue received from their rentals. We are innovative in finding solutions to ensure that guests have the experience they are looking for, while at the same time providing staffing solutions that are economical for our owners. At BSL we are building on our core group of temporary staff, implementing annual training and working towards rolling out new temporary staffing software which will improve our ability to match our owners’ staffing needs with guests’ requirements. The short-term rental market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the holiday accommodation, we are committed to following trends, and evolving in order to be successful.
Table 1 provides a sample of staffing required for short term rentals.
Launched in The Red Book 2019, The Blue Standard is Blue Sky Luxury’s response to the need for clear standards in the villas rental market in the Caribbean. The aim is to have benchmarks to ensure consistency in the quality of product and services offered to owners and by extension, their guests.
The Blue Standard initially focused on four core areas, primarily to ensure the best possible service delivered to owners. These core areas are:
The Blue Standard – Part 2
The next stage in development of The Blue Standard has evolved to include four areas we believe are crucial to also providing the best possible service to our guests.
These four areas outline specific experiences and facets that are important to the holiday rental traveller. They identify why each is important and to what level/detail the service is to be provided depending on the holiday home and how each home within a certain category will have its own Service Level Standards which will add value to a guest’s experience.
By differentiating and expanding on the added value provided by category, it helps to ensure that each home operates within, and thrives to its highest levels of service, there is consistency of service throughout the entire category of homes and therefore expectations can be set and we can deliver on this promise.
Direct contact is essential in ensuring that we understand the experience each guest wants. Keeping the communication channels open, asking the right probing questions and being an expert in our local, authentic experiences build the relationship and keep the guest engaged, excited and open to your suggestions.
The arrival experience deals specifically with how each guest is communicated with from the point of booking straight through to their arrival on island.
Regardless of the property that is booked, a Concierge agent is in communication with the guests within 48 hours of booking. We encourage pre-planning especially for the winter season, our team can facilitate requests for restaurant reservations and car rentals. ‘Must-do’ activities such as catamaran cruises should also be booked early so that guests do not miss out on some of the unique experiences Barbados has to offer.
The arrival experience must always be quick, personalised, relaxed and thorough. Luxury properties include their staff as part of the welcome experience, guests are introduced and the staff provide certain details about the home.
The assigned Concierge agent will also be present for the arrival.
Concierge and Staffing Service
The standard has been set for all of our Concierge agents; they are certified in one or more modules of the Certified Guest Service Professional. The role of a Concierge is to provide information and recommendations to the guest for their holiday as well as ensuring the smooth flow of all services requested while they are on island. Information on and assistance with restaurants, bars, and other activities is also very important, in addition to being available 24 hours a day, regardless of the category of the property.
Many holiday guests make return visits to homes in part, due to the caring and hospitable nature of the staff.
A concierge visits the guests daily at luxury properties almost serving as a personal assistant. While guests are on island, we help to guide them, and anticipating their needs is essential.
Many luxury properties allow guests to charge groceries, wines and beverages to their guest account that is settled prior to their departure.
For each level of property, minimum staffing levels for the home have been set. Properties in the luxury category provide different staff for varying needs; oftentimes a chef, butler and a various number of housekeepers and laundresses are available during the holiday. Many holiday guests make return visits to homes in part, due to the caring and hospitable nature of the staff. Cooks/chefs provide amazing meals and service and many times guests are blown away.
There are times when part of the planning of a holiday involves the need for additional staff. This can be organised by the Concierge, using our team of temporary staff who can be assigned on an as needed basis.
Minimum requirements have been established for each home based on the category. Providing amenities at all levels increase the attractiveness to holiday rental guests. Simple recreational additions to the home such as books, puzzles, and board go a long way to show guests that their comfort is considered and important. Owners of luxury homes add amenities to the property; it may be the addition of an espresso/cappuccino machine or something impressive such as tennis courts or an in-house spa, unique touches that will differentiate them from the market.
Having a generator for emergency power needs and water storage tanks in cases of disruption of service are expected of a certain calibre home and owners’ awareness to these needs is growing.
Regardless of the category of home, the departure process at all properties is no different – it must be quick, convenient and effortless. Twenty-four hours prior to departure all bills and any backup information are to be provided for easy settlement. A gift or souvenir and an offer to rebook are presented.
The departure experience doesn’t end on departure; as a standard, a thank-you email/card and follow-up is always sent. Providing feedback should always be easy and all guests are encouraged to do so.
With the latest upgrade of the Blue Standard we continue to evolve as we seek to ensure that our guests have the best holiday experience.
Flights to Barbados resume
Internally the team at Blue Sky Luxury has been excited to announce our partnership with Caledonia Jets, offering direct first-class flights to Barbados from July 8th, 2020 on privately chartered, luxury aircraft. Now that Barbados has officially reopened for travel, we’re equally excited to announce that “commercial air traffic resumes July 12 with protocols.” This is the latest news coming from the Barbados Government Information Service.
We’ve pulled a few key points from the message, for a quick read. Follow the link to read the full article.
Key points on flights to Barbados as of June 26, 2020
- The government announced that effective July 12, 2020, scheduled commercial air traffic will resume at the Grantley Adams International Airport commencing with Air Canada.
- Air Canada will be coming initially twice per week on Thursdays and Sundays.
- British Airways resuming its flight from Gatwick on July 18 once per week, but will respond to demand.
- JetBlue is expected to return July 25, coming four times per week from JFK.
- American Airlines is expected to resume flights on August 5.
- With respect to Virgin Atlantic, Ms Mottley said this airline was expected to resume flights on August 1, 2020.
Key points on safety protocols at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
- Refuelling of business could not be done “without also having a clear mind and understanding towards the health of workers and the health of Barbadian citizens.”
- All passengers arriving in Barbados will be required to have a negative COVID-19 antigen test within 72 hours of commencement of travel to Barbados from an approved lab.
- The standard of the test must be ISO, or CAP, or in the case of the United Kingdom, UKAS compliant, or the equivalent.
- After passing that test, persons would be given a certificate indicating that they are COVID-19 negative and will be granted permission to travel to Barbados.
- You’re expected to fill out online your Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) card in advance of travel and the ED card now will have a new look and will carry within it, a number of questions which relate specifically to issues relating to personal health and symptoms.
- “And once you have filled that out online and submitted it, you’ll get an exchange sent back to your email address; most people will walk with it on their telephone, a barcode, which once you arrive into the island and you have your certificate indicating that you have passed the COVID-19 test, you just clear immigration and you are allowed into Barbados.”
- Depending on the level of risk of your arriving destination, passengers may be subject to further self-monitoring or retesting during their stay in Barbados. Further details will be updated on our website as we receive information.
Questions or comments? We’re always happy to receive! Get excited, we are!
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