Shannon Beston—Beston Properties founder and director—has been involved with the vacation rental sector since she began her career in Banderas Bay. Today, with over two decades of experience and having founded her company in 2005, she focuses on the luxury market and features an exclusive catalog of villas located in El Centro, Amapas, Mismaloya, Conchas Chinas, Altavista, South Shore and Punta de Mita areas.
Originally from Vancouver Island, on Canada’s west coast, she visited Puerto Vallarta for the very first time in 1975 and fell in love with the destination. “My sister and I originally intended to travel around Mexico. We arrived in Vallarta and I immediately felt at home. We decided to extend our stay in the city and ended up staying here for months,” she recalls.
Seduced by the weather, culture, people and the landscapes of the bay, Shannon Beston came back year after year, eventually making the city her permanent home in 1993. One year later, she started working as the local representative of a Canadian rental company. According to Beston, it was not easy for the expat community to get access to job opportunities at the time, so she felt fortunate to join an activity that would allow her to develop professionally.
In 2000, she joined Applegate Realtors, where she served as a rental agent for five years. During that time, Beston noticed the growth and potential in the rental industry: “When I worked for other people, I was always proposing new ways of getting things done because I identified opportunities and areas to be improved. Finally, I found the freedom of exploring new directions when I opened my own company.”
When we asked her about the reason why she decided to focus primarily on the luxury villas market, Beston mentions that she’s always been attracted to the impressive architecture of these properties. Moreover, in terms of logistics, this particular segment gives her better control over the service her company offers: “For me, the term luxury has to do with quality. A lot of people don’t realize that the current rental market is working somewhat like the real estate market: you have an agency that represents a listing but any agent can come and sale. One inventory can reach 300 condos and I prefer to have 19 exclusive villas.”
With regard to her clients’ attributes, Beston shares that her company’s major market comes from United States. They are families that have chosen Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit as their destination of choice year after year to spend holidays, who stay for about one week, and might spend up to $40,000 UDS for their vacation. Markets from other latitudes are increasingly joining this sector, as well. Beston Properties constantly host familiarization trips for members representing companies in Canada, Ireland and United States, such as Exceptional Villas and Casa Bay Villas, in order to better promote their properties abroad.
On the other hand, and regarding the Mexican market, Beston mentions that it has been complicated to match the manner in which luxury vacation rentals operate with the needs of the domestic market. “It is clear that there’s a high-income Mexican segment that can purchase our product. Unfortunately, most of the market is not used to planning their vacations well in advance. Luxury villa rentals involve logistic issues that go beyond just booking a stay and that allow us to personalize the service to make sure our clients have everything they need when arriving and enjoy their stay.”
More than her inventory of residences, Beston is fully aware that Puerto Vallarta is the primary product promoted by all those involved in the real estate and tourism industries. This is why she considers important to encourage the establishment of criteria to protect the image of neighborhoods such as El Centro and Emiliano Zapata against the large number of lots in which new developments are being built. Moreover, she considers that a large portion of the market still feels attracted to the traditional architectural style, and therefore the latter should take precedence.”
With regard to the 2016 rentals activity and projections for 2017, Shannon Beston mentions that the growth of the sector has been continuous and that the future will depend on the global stage.
“The travel industry is constantly changing and it is nice to see how Puerto Vallarta is positioning itself as a popular destination. As long as our major markets remain economically strong and Mexico can keep a nice balance, it makes so much sense to be one of the world’s principal destinations,” she concludes.