Photography by Brandi Stage Portraiture
Each year, more and more people are visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Jacqueline Gilich Wilson stands ready to greet them.
As the owner of Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals LLC, Wilson is one of the greatest proponents of the local area and all that it has to offer.
“Each day that I drive Highway 90 to work, I take in the view — thanking God that this is where I live,” says the lifelong Biloxi resident. “It is a pleasure to share my love for my hometown. We live in a hidden paradise!”
PERSEVERING THROUGH IT ALL
Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals has been welcoming visitors to Mississippi’s idyllic shoreline since 2007. It began when a businessman from New Orleans, who had bought condos in the area, was dissatisfied with the management companies available locally and started his own.
Today, Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals is the largest rental management company on the Mississippi Gulf Coast — managing over 150 units located at nine different luxury condominium complexes. The company’s corporate office is located on the beach in Gulfport, and two additional offices operate inside Ocean Club Condos and Sea Breeze Condos.
Whether clients require a vacation rental during their stay on the Coast, or they need management services for a property they own, Wilson and her team are at their disposal — even during hard times.
“Our company has endured many things since 2007 — a recession, an oil spill, COVID-19,” Wilson says. “Through it all, we have soared and continued to grow.”
BECOMING A BUSINESS OWNER
When she started with the business, Wilson had no hospitality experience. However, thanks to her upbringing in a family filled with strong-willed women, she was taught to work hard and give back to the community in any endeavor she chose.
The youngest of three daughters raised by a single mother, Wilson also looked up to her grandparents, Jacobian and Andrew Gilich, who had Biloxi’s first supermarket.
“We knew that if you wanted something in life, you have to do it,” Wilson says. “Do not depend on someone else for your happiness.”
Wilson attended Mercy Cross High School and went on to earn an associate degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. In 2011, she fatefully applied for and received an accounts manager position with Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals.
“I slowly worked my way up to being the general manager,” she recalls. “In 2020, my former boss pitched the idea of me buying the company. The rest is history, as they say.”
A large team helps Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals operate day to day, including a full housekeeping department, maintenance department, reservations department, owner relations and Wilson’s assistant. Clients typically find the company by word of mouth, Wilson says, and sometimes through commercials or magazine ads.
“We advertise on numerous websites, not just VRBO, Airbnb and Booking.com; we have magazine ads across the United States — local commercials,” she explains. “Advertising is important. No one knows that Mississippi has beaches, that we are a hidden vacation destination. If we do not advertise, who will?”
‘A CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY’
Throughout her decade with Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals, Wilson’s passion for hospitality has continued to grow. Describing her role in her business today, she says she’d like to think she’s “the glue that keeps us together.”
“BBRR is so special; it is hard not to go on and on about it,’ she says. “From how we treat our guests, owners and each other on the staff, we are a close-knit family!”
Each day as a business owner presents new challenges, but also brings Wilson a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. The same goes for her home life as wife of 13 years to her husband, Aaron Wilson, with whom she shares a 10-year-old daughter, Caroline Jaye, and two dogs, Maggie and Lucky.
To all of her responsibilities, Wilson brings a can-do attitude and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.
“(The greatest reward) is watching the moving pieces work together, being able to give each one of my employees a steady job where they are appreciated and not just a number, being able to give back to the community that we live in,” she says. “And most importantly, being able to show my daughter that a woman can do anything.”
WILSON’S TOP VACATION RENTAL TIPS:
- When traveling, buy trip insurance — especially when traveling anywhere that is hurricane prone. A storm can pop up overnight, and cancellation policies are there for a reason. The insurance it is worth the money.
- When searching for vacation rental management, make sure you are working with a true management company — a firm with a broker who is governed by the Real Estate Commission. When dealing with a “host,” there can be a lot of fraud. When things are not handled properly, there is no one other than Airbnb and VRBO to complain to. A company like BBRR is held to a different standard.
- It is only smart to invest in a vacation rental property if you can afford the expense without rental income. Vacation rental income comes in waves. Sometimes it’s great, but other times, it can be bad. You must be prepared for both.
- As a guest, using a management company might cost a little more than an individual property manager. However, with a management company, you know the units being advertised are truly theirs. There are other benefits, such as not having to worry about last-minute cancellations before big events like Cruisin’ the Coast.