“The people want to go out,” that is what Wendy has told me. This was in response to a comment I made about the amount of bookings I have taken for The Playa for the month of July. The government of the Dominican Republic entered Phase 3 which allowed restaurants and hotels to re-open on July 3rd and there has been a steady stream of guests in the cabanas ever since.
Sadly, Phase 3 came with a serious uptick in COVID-19 cases and the government was forced to close the public beaches again. Not as bad as Florida, but bad enough to require action. They did allow the restaurants and hotels to remain open, but kite-surfing on Cabarete beach is a no-no. But even with the step-back, The Playa can still accept reservations and guests. Secluded cabanas right on the sand has a whole new appeal.
The uptick of infections was expected by all countries around the world as they entered phase 3 (or whatever they’ve called it), and except for those countries that had zero-control in the first place (Howdy neighbour), most have been able to test and contain the viruses spread. It’s currently challenging, but most of them are handling it. It’s not going away any time soon, regardless of what some idiots are saying, so as soon as the Millennials stop acting entitled, we might see the numbers decrease to a trickle. I know this is hopeful thinking, but I can always dream.
Regardless, The Playa is humming along at a decent pace, with a more than 50% occupancy rate in the first 28 days. I know you’re saying fifty percent, that’s not much. But let’s not forget there is a pandemic going on out there! People aren’t exactly herding into airports and on to planes!! There are still only three cabanas!!! Half-full amigo! That’s a decent re-start. Most places on the island are only seeing 30%.
To add to this moderate success, this is almost exclusive Dominican business. This local business didn’t exist at The Playa when Captain Ahole ran it aground four years ago! Wendy and the staff at The Playa have cultivated a solid base of repeat customers. It is nice to see them rewarded for their, ‘your money all looks the same to us’, totally inclusive approach to the business. It was something that the previous managements had chosen not to do. Treating some guests differently than others, for whatever reason (Insert ‘systemic racism’ here if you wish, you won’t get an argument from me), is a mistake that people in the service industry cannot afford to make. The customer should always get your best, because the money is all the same no matter whose hand it comes from. A peso is a peso.
A ’Secluded Caribbean Beach Oasis’ will forever have an appeal for travellers. The Playa remains small and it is best kept that way for now. The business is on a solid path to recovery. Not every one of the employees have been able to be rehired to date, but as things hopefully improve, Wendy will return to full staffing. “Poco a poco” she tells me… little by little.