Monday, October 5, 2009

Mixed news from the rentals front

For years now we’ve been hearing bad news about the economy, but at the same time, my Second Life rentals have been doing fine. Each month, the rentals (some of them visible in this snapshot to the right) pay for the tier fee, and usually there’s a small surplus of a few US Dollars. Over the past year or so, this surplus slowly grew to a buffer large enough to pay for two months tier. When I got to that point, I decided to cash in those US Dollars, as I needed them elsewhere. In hindsight however, this may not have been such a good idea.

Yesterday I received a report from my land manager Zena Silverstar and her team at Tropical Beach Rentals, with some less than stellar news: the occupancy rates of some of the rentals suddenly and unexpectedly dropped considerably, at an unprecedented rate, over the past few weeks. A development we hadn’t experienced before! Tenants come and go all the time, and occupancy rates always vary a bit, but generally they stay well within a certain (profitable) bandwith and we didn't expect that to change so suddenly.

It took a while before a possible explanation was found: the occupancy drop occurred right after Zindra, the new SL 'adult' mainland, was opened. Could it be that people are moving off the regular mainland to Zindra as a permanent place to live? When asked, former long time tenants mentioned all kinds of small reasons to end their stay with us, but none of them mentioned the new adult continent ; perhaps they didn’t want to admit to moving there.

In the mean time however, occupancy has recovered a bit as rentals vacated by long term tenants are being occupied again by newcomers, and as far as I can tell my rentals are still profitable, albeit with a smaller than usual margin. Tropical Beach Rentals also expanded their staff, with support for tenants now available across a larger time frame of the day. Perhaps that helps too.

No comments: