Update on the Coronavirus

 

 

**This page will be updated as conditions continue to evolve**

UPDATED – Sunday, April 5, 2020

In response to extraordinary travel restrictions and global events, we have relaxed our cancellation policy and terms for all bookings made after March 14, 2020.

Please review our new policy outlined below.

1).  Once guest’s signed rental contract is confirmed with 50% (of rent) deposit, should guest cancel in writing prior to 60 days of arrival, half of the initial deposit (25% of rent) will be refunded to the card on file, less a 3.50% processing/admin fee. Should villa owner be able to replace the reservation in whole or in part, the (prorated) un-refunded balance of the initial deposit will be returned less any re-booking costs incurred. Should the owner not be able to replace the reservation, the balance of the initial deposit is forfeited.

PANDEMIC/EPIDEMIC EXCEPTION: Should a declared Pandemic or Epidemic prevent reasonable travel options to the destination, the guest may cancel and the entire initial deposit will be refunded, less a processing/admin fee of 3.50%.

2). Once full payment has been made (or the 60-day mark has passed and the guest has not paid the balance), should guest cancel in writing, GCVC will refund any occupancy taxes, cleaning fees and refundable damage deposits to the card on file. The dates will be opened on the calendar for rebooking. Should the reservation be replaced in whole or part, the guest will receive up to 100% of monies paid less rebooking charges incurred. Should GCVC not be able to replace the reservation, rent and service fee will be forfeited; however, guest will receive a credit for 50% of rent paid to be used for a similar stay at the same property, taken within 13 months of the original date of arrival.

PANDEMIC/EPIDEMIC EXCEPTION: Should a declared Pandemic or Epidemic prevent reasonable travel options after full payment, the guest may cancel up until day of arrival and all payments will be refunded, less a 3.50% processing/admin fee.

HURRICANE WARNING EXCEPTION: Should a hurricane warning (not a hurricane watch) affect Grand Cayman’s ability to welcome guests; the guest will have the option of rescheduling the trip with generous owner flexibility or a full 100% refund of all monies paid with no deduction.

We strongly advise the purchase of CSA trip interruption insurance to indemnify the risk of cancellation, weather delay, airline interruption, medical reason for non-travel, etc.

Please know that very few insurers will cover a declared “pandemic”.

UPDATED – Monday, March 23, 2020

At the current time, there is a Level 4 Advisory from the US State Department advising to avoid international travel. To clarify, it is not a travel ban.

The Cayman Islands, as an independent country, closed its airport effective yesterday until midnight, April 12th, in order to prevent the importation of the virus and to allow its 65,000 citizens to self-isolate. Anyone returning to the Cayman Islands from abroad this weekend must self-quarantine for 14 days. The airport will be shut down, except for medical emergencies and cargo shipments. The Cayman Islands rely on tourism and takes virus prevention extremely seriously.

Our reservations team spent last week rescheduling and refunding over 185 guests who were immediately impacted for arrival until April 13th when our airport is rescheduled to reopen to international travel. Over 100 guests we are happy to say, decided to reschedule and take advantage of scheduling different dates, adding an extra free day, etc. Some guests just could not commit to dates or for health reasons could not commit to future travel. We refunded them 100%.

We now need to reach out to all guests arriving within the next 21-90 days to offer updated information and a flexible option.

Guest Arrivals Within The Next 90 Days

Many of our homeowners have authorized us to offer to move affected guests with an arrival date up to 90 days out, to reschedule alternate future dates at full-value at the same property within the next 12-15 months. Flexible terms apply.

1.  If you would like to explore rescheduled dates in the future, please check your villa’s calendar following the instructions below. The owners will be very generous with dates and rate differences for guests whose travel may be impacted by travel restrictions or reduced flights from their resident country. We will turn around your request immediately and resend a Revised Statement of Guest Account. Those new dates can also be changed by yourself in the future, subject to villa availability.

2.  If you are arriving WITHIN the next 60 days and wish to cancel with a full refund, we must contact the villa owner to ask for that accommodation. See our contractual cancellation policy below. For refund requests beyond 60 days, please be patient and monitor conditions. If you cancel, per section II in the policy below, and take the ½ rent credit towards another stay at the villa, and your original dates become cancellable, of course, we will refund you 100%.

As always, if for your arrival date, or even your newly rescheduled arrival date, are impacted by the Cayman Islands refusing your plane to land for any reason, our homeowners will refund you 100%.

Final Payment Date Modification

Our standard deposit terms are to pay in full 60 days prior to arrival. We have always automatically charged the card on the reservation at 60 days.  For arrivals through August 31st, we will collect the final payment 30 days prior to occupancy and will only charge the card on file after receiving permission from the cardholder.

We understand the disruptions the virus has caused in our everyday lives. However, we are looking to be as flexible as we can possibly be. Please understand that we act as an agent for over 80 different homeowners and each is different.

Grand Cayman Villas & Condos (GCVC) has been managing vacation villas on Grand Cayman for over 18 years. We are independently-owned, have an office on Grand Cayman and own Silver Thatch Guest Services, our exclusive guest services provider on-island.

We have staff and assets in place on-island and are committed to our guests and owners for the long-run. We will do whatever we can to accommodate our guests and owners during this period of anxiety & uncertainty.

Our Contractual Cancellation Policy

I.  Once “booked” (paid 50% of rent), should guest cancel (by written email or fax) prior to paying the full rental amount (or prior to 60 days from occupancy), 25% of the rent will be returned by US$ draft or credit card as soon as possible.  Should GCV be able to replace the reservation (or any portion), the prorated balance of the initial deposit will be returned less any re-booking costs and/or credit card fees incurred.  Should GCV not be able to replace the reservation, the remaining 25% of rent is forfeited.

II.  Once full payment has been made (or the 60 day mark has passed and the guest has not paid the balance), should guest cancel prior to arrival, every effort will be made to replace the reservation.  Occupancy taxes and refundable damage deposits will be refunded in full immediately.  Should the reservation be replaced (or any portion), the guest will receive a prorated balance of RENT paid less rebooking charges/credit card fees incurred.

III.  Should GCV not be able to replace the reservation, rent & service fee will be forfeited, however, guest will receive a credit for 50% of rent to be used as credit for a subsequent stay at the same property to be taken within 13 months of the date of cancellation.  We strongly advise the purchase of CSA trip interruption insurance to indemnify the risk of cancellation, weather delays, airline interruption, medical reason for non-travel, etc.  If a cancelling guest successfully claims CSA for trip insurance, the above credit is extinguished (as guest has been made whole.) To be clear: once the 60 day mark has been reached, the only funds returned will be any taxes & damage deposits paid unless the reservation is replaced in full.


UPDATED – Monday, March 16, 2020

As the virus continues to affect world travel, many of our homeowners have reached out and authorized us to offer to move affected guests with an arrival date through April 30, 2020, to alternate future dates at full-value at the same property within the next 15 months (rather than apply 50% of rent lost towards a subsequent stay per our contractual cancellation policy).

Most of our homeowners have given us the discretion to be very generous and accommodating. If you are contemplating cancellation -or- we have already processed your cancellation, refunding taxes and the refundable security deposit with 50% of the rent credit to be used as stated above per your rental contract, AND YOU WOULD PREFER TO TRANSFER FULL-VALUE TO DATES IN THE FUTURE, please contact reservations@grandcaymanvillas.net with your reservation/folio number and dates for a future stay. We will confirm with the owner that option.

Many of our homeowners are also not going to nit-pick about future dates being a little more expensive than your current dates (except Holidays). Likewise, if your future picked dates are cheaper, you can either elect to stay longer or we can credit you the difference. Our homeowners are trying to be as accommodating as possible given the situation.

To view your villa’s calendar, visit our homepage, scroll to the middle of the page, and use the Find a Villa by Name tool (pictured on right) in the blue block along the left. Select your villa’s name, then click on the Calendar tab to view available dates. Remember, you can shift your dates at the same property up to 13 months out. Please let us know if this offer can help you and your group.

In the event, we may have already processed your cancellation, you can still partake in this option. Email our reservations team with your reservation/folio number, original dates of stay, along with your new proposed dates and we will follow-up accordingly.

Our homeowners, as well as our entire staff, ultimately want you to come and visit once we have safely weathered this storm.

We regret the disruptions the virus has caused in our everyday lives. However, we are looking to be as flexible as we can possibly be. Please understand that we act as an agent for over 80 different homeowners and each is different.

Again, if you have an arrival date through the end of April and prefer to shift your dates rather than cancel your stay altogether, please contact reservations@grandcaymanvillas.net with your reservation/folio number, original arrival, and departure dates, as well as your proposed new dates up to 15 months out (that we may also change later subject to availability).


Posted – Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Arriving Guests,

We at Grand Cayman Villas & Condos (GCVC) want to share with you what precautions the Cayman Islands government is taking, as well as what we are currently seeing, regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on Grand Cayman tourism.

PRECAUTIONS
The Cayman Islands is a sovereign foreign country and controls its own airspace as well as ports. The Cayman Islands relies on tourism and the finance industry for a large percentage of GDP. They are not going to risk the health of tourists just to further those industries. Whether a hurricane, natural disaster or any health issue, our government acts quickly to protect both its citizens and visitors alike. Three weeks ago, the Port Authority refused entry of a cruise ship with one suspected case of COVID-19–turns out it was just the common flu. We tend to over-protect out of an abundance of caution.

Our island-nation of 65,000+ residents has the highest standard of living in the entire Caribbean with the best healthcare, telecommunications, and utility infrastructure.  We have 3 hospitals on-island, including the new Cayman Health City. We are not a 3rd world country by any means. We have many direct flights from US gateway cities and few visitors have to change planes abroad traveling with others who may have arrived from affected countries. We have no direct flights from Europe.

Our Cayman Health Service Authority (HSA) was placed on alert weeks ago regarding COVID-19 and maintains a website (https://www.hsa.ky/public-health/coronavirus/) to keep the public up to date. They report any suspected cases and are charged with protecting the public.

Our HSA, of course, must assume that the COVID-19 will ultimately affect Grand Cayman and has measures in places to quarantine and care for any affected individuals. The island is small so word travels quickly. Preventive measures like self-quarantine, increased personal hygiene and more frequent hand-washing are commonplace. I was just there last week and spent each day driving around the island and speaking with many residents and government officials. Our restaurants, water sports providers and shops are in full swing. We don’t have remote areas on the island where the population is isolated from the news. Everyone knows what is happening globally and taking appropriate precautions.

WHAT WE ARE SEEING
We receive about 2-3 calls a day from confirmed guests (mostly new visitors to the island) asking if there are any travel restrictions to Cayman. There are none.

We welcome up to 3,000 passengers each day to our airport and Grand Cayman is very busy. Last week, we were sold out for both condos and villas and had to turn away business. The resort hotels are seeing some corporate event cancellations, but out of caution and corporate responsibility especially where attendees are arriving from European and Asian offices. Those vacancies have been filled in part by families scrambling to save spring breaks originally booked abroad.

We have seen an influx of last-minute inquiries from displaced families booked to Europe, the US Northwest, and the Far East as well as families canceling cruises.  Cayman has direct flights from the US and has the healthcare infrastructure and standard of living that rivals most cities in the USA.

We have seen only 5 last-minute villa cancellations due in part to COVID-19; 2 of them were due to a guest being quarantined as a precaution, 3 were out of a fear of flying (and we understand). Of the 5 cancellations, 2 of them were replaced with last-minute displaced tourists.

We do our best to be part of the solution when we can. We have over 80 families on-island right now enjoying the weather and time away.

OUR CANCELLATION POLICY
Our unique cancellation policy can be reviewed at the following week: https://www.grandcaymanvillas.net/deposit-cancellation/

If a villa guest cancels, we understand it is usually out of their control and done so reluctantly. Outside of 60 days, we are standard and many times we can replace the booking to make the canceling guest almost whole (save the credit card fee we incurred to process their deposit).

If a guest cancels within 60 days and has paid in full, we not only refund the refundable damage deposit and 13% occupancy taxes collected, our owners provide that guest (unless the guest is compensated by trip insurance) a “credit” of 50% of the rent forfeited to use towards a future stay at the same villa, taken within 13 months of the original stay. Further, if the owner is able to replace any/all of the canceled dates, we will refund the guest pro-rata for any dates replaced and the future credit is reduced accordingly.

Many of our competitors are silent in their policy to replacing the canceled stay, tax refund, etc. GCVC feels our policy above is uniquely even-handed and balanced.

What our owners cannot do is to indemnify multiple guest risks of illness, death, military obligations, travel/flight delay or fear to responses of COVID-19. Our cancelation policies are set. We offer optional trip insurance to indemnify many of those risks.

SHOULD THE CAYMAN ISLANDS REFUSE TO ALLOW AIRCRAFT LANDINGS, that is tantamount to a Hurricane Warning and our “Cayman Kind” policy of issuing a full refund or full-value rescheduling of your vacation dates will come into play.

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism set this policy years ago and our owners enthusiastically support it. We want your future business.

TRIP INSURANCE
Unless trip insurance was purchased prior to January 29th, CSA/Generali (our trip insurance provider) has specifically exempted any COVID-19 related claims as a “Foreseeable Risk” post-January 29th. Standard risks are still covered.

Thanks for your business and we look forward to welcoming you to Grand Cayman.