Here is some insight as to what a buyer, depending on their intention may wish to consider and find useful as a guide:
We are now finishing the 6th short-let accommodation (there are now 6 units not 4). 2 have been operational since 2019 and 4 are new and mostly ready to fully launch for rent (2 are being rented in between finishing some features).
A buyer assessing a purchase who is looking to open the property as a business case and maximize its potential will wish to consider these assets beyond the land and property themselves.
None of the following have been realized given our current life plan (moving abroad) is to finish building and sell, and not to operate any business:
Expansion of Accommodation
There are two further flattened areas where other houses could be built - one at the Temascal (Mayan steam bath) and another below the bee hives.
There are also many natural features and areas where one could build interesting accommodation spaces where the topography lends itself to creative builds (most of the neighboring area’s remaining land parcels for sale have steeper degree angle of relief which is dangerous to build on if the land is stable, but n this area due to the soil type and landslide potential its foolish to consider building or extremely expensive to do so properly).
A fully operational restaurant (industrial) kitchen and terrace have been built to seat up to 12 people (the number that can be accommodated in the houses if all should want breakfast!). This could be arranged and seat up to 30 people depending on style/desired layout. There is also a further area next to the terrace ideal for expansion, should a restaurant be established and expansion necessary. This could more than double the capacity and very little cost if the theme were to remain relatively rustic and open.
The kitchen and terrace are currently used for processing farm produce, batch-cooking frozen meals for the shop and owners, and for guest breakfasts where ordered.
There is potential to start a full-service restaurant open to public walk-ins which could be extremely successful. From the terrace, you have direct views of some of the most amazing volcanic eruptions and sweeping valley views.
The oﬀer of a full restaurant service would also increase accommodation bookings, as people consistently ask / seek the facility regardless of all of the accommodations having their own kitchenette.
Within the farm boundary, there is concreted secure parking for two cars and many motor and push bikes at the immediate property entrance, plus a further unimproved area that could hold one car and many bikes.
There is also a further small piece of land on the main road that adjoins Finca El Tambor, (owned by this same owner) which could be developed into additional parking and which the owner may consider selling to the buyer of Finca El Tambor (otherwise it’s not for sale!).
There is paid parking in a neighboring public parking lot at the entrance to Finca El Tambor next door, for up to 30 cars.
We have had land rental inquiries from small organic vegetable growers, due to the organic nature of the land (no chemicals used)
Note: Earth Lodge and Finca El Tambor have agreed to keep it as a foot right of way only to maintain the character of the destination. The right of way for Earth Lodge visitors is a footpath only.
There is also in the high season an enormous amount of traﬃc passing through the village up to Hobbitenango and Altamira. A purposeful tourist attraction such as a tap room, cafe, restaurant, or ice cream spot at Finca El Tambor is likely to capture big traﬃc. The traﬃc would divert oﬀ the center of the village for 600 meters - signage and a Google maps / Waze pin are how people are now discovering places and Finca El Tambor is no exception.
We contact a local spa to deliver massages to clients - these are very popular in high season. There is also demand for local hikes during high season (unfortunately the contractor we used became too successful and was not reliably available so we cut this but a new owner could consider this). Guests are not interested in city tours - they are not coming into nature for that. Volcano hikes are popular but so cheap that there is no margin so we direct people to a local travel agent. Birdwatching tours are another exploitable upsell activity we have explored recently and promise great potential.
There are no debts to consider / the property is being sold clear of debt.
The current operations team consists 100% Guatemalans and one foreigner and are trusted and turnkey. We recommend keeping them as the skeleton team required to run operations as a passive concern. Opening a restaurant would require two extra workers and obtaining the legal paperwork at city hall. There is a workforce in the local village and the seller recommends seeking further staﬀ via the existing team's network as they know who is of good standing in the community (we have never had any issues with theft)!
There is a recently created Website (Wix is used and the site can be transferred to the new owner), and there is also a recently created Instagram account and Facebook page which will be transferred over. There is a Google Business account that will be transferred over. Note: sometimes the accounts are not transferrable and if this is the case then the new owner will need to create a new one.
The accommodation has just been launched on booking.com and Airbnb - these accounts are not transferrable and an owner will need to prioritize the creation of their own account so that this is actioned during the handover period (should they wish it). A buyer should look to add the properties to Expedia and other OTAs.
A buyer looking to maximize revenue via shorlets should consider making arrangements with travel agents in Antigua. Typically a 20% commission fee is expected.
A detailed handover Operations Manual for the accommodation will be available to the new owner to help them immediately orientate and integrate with existing operations.
The current owners will also be present/available for 1 month to execute handover tasks that may need input (such as integrating the new owner with the operations team should they wish to keep them/stay on or transfer the marketing assets). This could help given that a period for informal local knowledge transfer could be helpful in the case of a foreign buyer. We would also be available for any sporadic email consultation for another 3 months.