PRINCEVILLE — JP Parrish doesn’t anticipate a spike in tourism when tourists are allowed to return to the island on Oct. 15.
Parrish, the owner of one of the largest and locally owned vacation rental management companies on Kaua‘i, continues to evolve his company which operates 300 independently owned luxury homes and condominiums from the South Shore to the North Shore.
“There is a lot of talk of ‘pent-up demand,’ and we will see increased arrivals, but that certainly will not take us to the highs of 2019, which quite frankly is a good thing,” Parrish said.
Parrish knows Kaua‘i’s relationship with tourism is essential, but his focus is on a comfortable transition.
“We have a duty to continue to keep Kaua‘i safe,” Parrish said. “I think keeping the quarantine in place for those that don’t want to test is a must. However, testing alone does not allow us to begin to open up safely.”
Evolving with the times
With increased attention to sanitation, one area Parrish emphasizes to enhance the comfort of his guests is Parrish Professional Cleaning Service.
“We have found guests are particularly interested in the best practices for health and hygiene that we are employing throughout our operation,” Parrish said. “They are reassured that our company and our community takes very seriously our responsibility to keep Kaua’i safe.”
But the expanded cleaning services is just one area Parrish has adapted.
“We have enhanced our cleaning procedures and training, and have now developed our Parrish Professional Clean program that exceeds steps that many hotel brands have instituted,” Parrish said. “Our company had a reputation for high standards of housekeeping and care at our properties, and now we have taken it to a whole new level.”
The company policies changed to allow guests to move dates in reaction to planned or unplanned changes in their schedule.
Parrish’s company altered it’s payment terms so guests do not have to pay for their stay until closer to their departure date, and a whole new pricing structure incorporating new rates for monthly stays at many of our properties, versus just daily rates.
Utilizing existing resources
One area Parrish’s company has done to adapt to the changing landscape of the industry is to integrate existing technological resources and put them to use.
Implementing technology has allowed owners and guests to arrive directly at their property with minimal interaction.
This includes the expansion of a comprehensive concierge service that allows grocery, supply and home improvement pick-up and delivery company, including take out orders.
“Our team has expanded the use of technology to replace face-to-face interaction as we’ve moved from front-office check-in to self-check-in,” Parrish said. “We had already implemented text and chat abilities via our software and that is being utilized even more now.”
Anticipating more changes
The anticipation for a return for tourists to Kaua‘i is extremely high, according to Parrish.
“We’ve been generating calls from guests who are anxious to return to Kaua‘i and this is obviously good for us and the owners of the properties we manage,” Parrish said. “It is also going to be good for the many business owners throughout Kaua‘i who have been impacted by this crisis.”
Change in any industry is inevitable, and Parrish said he understands this will continue to be the trend moving forward in the global tourism industry.
“As with all industries, there are good players and bad players,” Parrish said. “I see us having to work to continue to differentiate ourselves from those that chose not to follow local and state regulations. I would like to see our industry working together more with the local government to help track and eliminate those that do not follow the rules.”
Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami, Expedia Group and Airbnb signed an agreement to combat illegal rentals, and more actively enforcing them should have an impact on the industry in Kaua‘i.
“Hopefully that agreement will help the County enforce the existing rules and clamp down on illegal vacation rentals while protecting the responsible legal operators like my company,” Parrish said. “It is partnerships like this that will help rebuild tourism and ensure a more sustainable balance.”
Building a brand
Parrish’s biggest project is Blue Wave Kaua‘i, a brand-new climate-controlled commercial laundry facility that opened last year.
“We just began to hit our stride with signing new customers when the pandemic hit,” Parrish said. “Happily, I never had to close our doors. We have continued operations and I look forward to continuing to expand that enterprise.”
Parrish is also working on the pre-development on a much-needed workforce housing project here in Koloa.
“In conversations with my team as well as other local business leaders, many mention their staff cannot find affordable housing here on the South Shore,” Parrish said. “We are circling back to part of my history. I was able to connect with an Opportunity Zone investor and we hope to break ground soon.”
Making Kaua‘i his home
Parrish, who was born on the East Coast and moved to California to attend the University of Southern California, later became involved with investment and management of over $1 billion in real estate across the Western portion of the United States.
After frequently visiting Kaua‘i, he decided to make this one of his permanent homes in the mid-2000s.
“I knew I had to live on an island and no matter what island I visited, I always came back to Kaua‘i,” Parrish said. “I made my first investment here in 1999 and eventually that led me to meet Nancy Grantham, who owned Grantham Resorts &Real Estate, and who was my property manager. In 2006, I approached her about working together and later that same year, I ended up buying her company and moving to Kaua‘i permanently.”
Working toward a brighter future
With a lot of consolidation and commercialization happening in the global tourism industry, Parrish continues to make the future his focal point.
“Technology is enhancing the guest experience and improving the back-office operations, and I am investing in several of those technologies that I feel add value to my guests, clients and operations,” Parrish said. “My biggest focus in constantly enhancing our services and offerings to differentiate ourselves.”
Parrish isn’t deterred at all by the changing economic infrastructure created by COVID-19.
“I see the continued growth in popularity of rentals, standardization of policies and terms, more simple pricing structures and more regulation,” Parrish said. “I see professional companies like mine joining forces with local governments to enforce regulations to ensure a healthy balance in communities that are maintained.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.