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Pulse Centre looks to Airbnb for room bookings

Published:Thursday | June 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder/Business Reporter

Pulse Investments Limited has wrapped up the construction of 20 residential units at the Trafalgar Road complex, which will be marketed on Airbnb.

Chairman Kingsley Cooper said that, to bring clients to the property, Pulse would seek to leverage the company's fashion and lifestyle events, such as Caribbean Fashion Week and the new Resort Fashion Week, slated for 2019, as well as the other facilities at Pulse Centre.

Pulse is tapping into Jamaica's new popularity on the booking service, which allows tourists the opportunity for stays in local communities and cultural immersion. Airbnb said Jamaican hosts earned more than a billion dollars through accommodations booked on the site in 2017. Bookings rose by an annual 49 per cent that year.




"We think Airbnb is a good choice, given that it is the fastest-growing accommodations option in the travel trade. We, however, will also be looking at other online booking opportunities, such as Home Away and Expedia," said Cooper.

Pulse spent $89 million to develop the 20 rooms, $24 million of which was spent on furniture, fixtures and some amenities, and $7 million for a new sewage system and parking facilities.

The price for the rooms will range from US$90 to US$120 per night, Cooper said.

"We expect to recoup our investment in three to four years," he told the Financial Gleaner. "Thereafter, our operational profit from Pulse Rooms at Trafalgar should be about $45 million per annum, with revenues of approximately $70 million per annum."

Pulse will next focus on finalising the expansion of its Villa Ronai hospitality complex at Stony Hill, St Andrew, which is similarly targeting the vacation and short-stay market.

The company is adding around 50 suites at the complex, costing $300 million.

"Villa Ronai is being completed in two additional phases. The first 25 suites is projected to be completed in June 2019. The final Villa Ronai phase 24 suites is projected for June 2020," Cooper said.

Pulse has raised $65 million from a bond brokered by NCB Capital Markets to support the real estate project.

"This was largely standby funding, as most of the cost was expected to be covered from related party and internally generated funds. Most of the NCB Capital Markets funds are still in hand," he said.

"Given our funding mix, we will have sufficient funds in hand to complete the first of the two additional Villa Ronai phases. We anticipate thereafter that our operations will generate sufficient funds to complete the final phase when the time comes."

He adds, however, that Pulse has a number of funding options to complete the last phase, and that the timeline for wrapping up project would be adjusted as appropriate.