The family of American businessman Michael Holland, co-owner of Puerto Vallarta Villas, has been involved in various sectors of the travel and real estate industry since the middle of the 20th century. In 1947 his father, retired US Naval Aviator Bill Holland, established the Holland Flying Service, which operated private flights and charters.
Over the years, this family enterprise increased its services to include a wide range of solutions for the traveler and extended its reach to other parts of the world. This tradition in the tourist sector ultimately resulted in Holland Travel LLC and Puerto Vallarta Villas, a company specializing in sales, rentals and management of luxury villas.
Currently, both divisions are run by Michael Holland and his partner, Ray Careme, who fly constantly between the USA and Puerto Vallarta to operate them efficiently.
Holland and Careme met more than 20 years ago, while working for the Royal Caribbean International cruise line. In an interview with Vallarta Real Estate Guide, they shared how Puerto Vallarta Villas was born and some of the areas in which the company has been a pioneer over the years.
“We saw an opportunity. On one occasion during the period we worked on the cruises, we came to Puerto Vallarta on vacation with some friends and ended up buying a house in the Marina Vallarta area. At the beginning, we thought we would use it purely for vacationing, but soon we started renting it. Little by little, we became more deeply involved in the industry by managing the rentals of friends’ and acquaintances’ properties,” Holland relates.
They currently have access to a list of more than 100 properties in the Banderas Bay area, of which approximately 60 percent are villas and 40 percent condos. Selling real estate has also become a fundamental part of their business.
One of the First Websites
According to Holland, Puerto Vallarta Villas was one of the first vacation rental companies in the city to use the Web as a tool to promote the properties that were part of its catalog, with their site puertovallartavillas.com.
“Back then, having a website was very expensive. Connecting to the Internet here in Puerto Vallarta was complex, and many people did not quite understand what a web page was. Ray and I were living in San Francisco, near Silicon Valley, home to innovative developers and designers, and what we did was create a page with the property’s amenities for each owner,” he says.
This strategic decision is an example of their constant search for new and better ways to expand their market and increase their offerings. Recently, Holland joined FIABCI, the international real estate federation, increasing the company’s range of real estate sales opportunities.
With this strategy, Puerto Vallarta Villas will not only help its clients buy properties anywhere in the world but also attract new residents to our area and continue positioning Puerto Vallarta on the world map.
Prior to joining FIABCI, Holland already belonged to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios (AMPI), Mexico’s association of real estate professionals.
The Definition of Luxury
When we asked Careme how he would define the service they offer to those wishing to enjoy our destination housed in a spectacular villa, he answered that it is a 100 percent personalized boutique concept that ensures that the client’s needs are covered from the moment they land at the airport until they return home. This can include aspects such as transportation, shopping, activities and chef and bartender services, among many others. This characteristic is where its exclusivity lies.
“We know our customers. We treat them personally. We know who they are, where they are from, what they like to do. Many are our friends or people who visit the destination frequently. There are those who have been coming every season for more than 20 years,” Careme says.
The Development of Puerto Vallarta
“Puerto Vallarta is becoming a very important tourist destination,” Careme comments. “The substantial presence of visitors and the increase in flights and cruises that arrive in the region are proof of that.”
Although at the beginning of the season they were uncertain whether Canadians would be coming to the region, Careme notes that this market turned out to be very good and also that more and more Europeans are coming to Puerto Vallarta. Along with this trend, the city’s new developments and improvements in infrastructure will create a better place to live and visit.
Holland adds that although there have been increases in industry prices, they are natural due to the increase in costs of basic products and services, so they have not greatly affected the sector.
“My parents flew in their plane to this Pacific region in the ’60s and saw its beauty. And it has been an enchanting place ever since. Puerto Vallarta Villas has clients who book their vacations up to five years in advance, which demonstrates the preference for this destination,” Holland concludes.