We Thought That By Now We Might Have At Least Had A Booking | Cape Town Airbnb Management Agency
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We thought that by now we might have at least had a booking

By in Home Owners with 0 Comments

One of our dear homeowners sent me an email the other day. Concerned:

Not having had any enquiries for a while we were also keen to chat about the marketing to see how you think it is going. We thought that by now we might have at least had a booking for the popular December/January period. August 2015.

Also read: Case Study: How To Kick Start Your Listing On Airbnb

Background:

This is a new listing we got during winter (3 months ago). It’s a very exclusive two bedroom place attached to their luxury home in amongst the Constantia wine farms. There’s only a few homes on this strip and the Who’S Who are their neighbours. In the past, they got two bookings for long periods over summer and the guest paid a premium to stay their. And a premium the owners expect because of the luxury and location. This created an expectation we could not easily match. One of the issue we had was the photos; the owner had average photos and not really interested in getting a real interior photographer to take professional photos. We got them two short bookings during the first month or so but nothing spectacular.

Here’s my elaborate response:

It’s also a supply and demand issue. Currently, there’s an oversupply of accommodation and everyone (majority) compete on price alone.
Slow season: You having a minimum stay of seven days limit this competitive market by another 50% or may be even more. As most people during this time stay for 2 or 3 days. The odd one stay for longer. Most are people from Cape Town looking for a nice weekend break.
We use various international sites to advertise.
The one does millions of transactions and share dynamic trends and rate forecasts with us.
They do it per suburb as well. This following link shares your current gross rate. It shows the demand is declining for September. Also see the graph.
I use these forecasting tools with my own gut feel and knowledge of the actual house and it’s location. I am more concerned about the trend than the actual proposed rate. They suggest a very low rate for August and September. I did not look at Nov but it would be similar.
Given the lack of demand, the seven day limitation and the exclusivity of your accommodation we have sliced out a small pie from an already small pie. The other issue is the lack of third party independent endorsements. I’ll get to that.
High Peak:
We will get the two bedroom out for December. And we will get it out for 14 nights. At R42000 or more. Only a dumb man cannot sell holiday accommodation over Cape Town’s peak period.
We are part of a Cape Town self catering accommodation pool of 400 agents and property managers. Today there are only ten two bedroom places left for high peak. If yours don’t get booked then we are useless as yours would be the only one. And your Dec peak rate is very competitive. See the other here.
What can be done to get more people pay full rate?
We need to BUY reviews/testimonials (benefits if testimonials) on international sites. You buy reviews by getting people in through the door through these sites. You get this done by selling your rooms at a rate you would never do on a regular basis. And as you get them trough the door they experience your amazing place. And their reviews sell the place. The photos are one way, the story another but only independent reviews will set the rate.
We have a lovely home in a Lakeside. We were reluctant to manage the three bedroom. Surprise surprise: We have grossed R343 000 in less than a year. Why? It’s a beautiful home. I has a pool. It has professional photos. We bought reviews with low rates initilly, and as we got reviews the inquiries increased. And the calendar got full. And we justed the rate more and more. Today the owner is considering another similar home.
What do we need to do to get guest paying true value? We need others to sell it to them via their review. Here’s how it worked for our other owners:
  1. You need to reduce the rates significantly during the slow season.
  2. You need to reduce the minimum stay to the minimum you can bare. If need to, we can assist with the meet, greet and cleaning service.
  3. As soon as the reviews do their job and the calendar gets full we increase the rates.
Our objective is to maximise your income. For all possible reason; we have a clean slate for your two bedroom accommodation. You have had people staying there, we know the place, two of our guests stayed there. But the long-term success will depend on positive ratings on large international sites. This blank slate’s value will increase only by guests leaving positive testimonials. The more, the sooner the better.
Our forecasting model for different scenarios on your two bedroom:
Scenario Occupancy Gross Owner Income Avg Rate Per Day
1.1 33% 160000 1330
1.2 50% 243000 1330
1.3 65% 316000 1330
2.1 33% 214000 1775
2.2 50% 324000 1775
2.3 65% 421000 1775
3.1 33% 320000 2663
3.2 50% 486000 2663
3.3 65% 632000 2663
At the moment, your initial rates are around scenario 3.
This brings me back to my philosophy if you can call it that:
I rather bank money while I make a mistake with a conservative scenario than making a mistake with an optimistic scenario banking very little or no money. Obviously not at all cost.
I other words: I would, therefore, learn, adapt, and increase rates etc as I bank money using a conservative scenario to guide my learning.
We need to consider the following to buy credibility and market the place effectively:
  1. We need professional photos telling the full story in a romantic way. 
  2. We need a sole mandate on marketing it. You can accept your own personal bookings but need to check if we have availability. If there is an issue our enquiry takes preference. This is required by our partner sites as they do live bookings and we are obliged to fulfil the enquiry if we indicated availability.
  3. We need to accept any bookings independently when our calendar shows availability and it’s within the agreed rules of rates, minimum stay and right profile guests.
  4. I suggest 2 nights minimum stay until 30 November. 4 days minimum 1 Dec to 14 Dec. 14 Days minimum for the first booking between 15 Dec and 15 Jan. 7 Days between 16 Jan and 30 April. Back to 2 nights May to September – this will depend on demand. If the demand is high we can change.
  5. Rates: All rates on our website and our 400 strong agents database will be higher rates. Rates on sites where we need to *buy* testimonials: R695 gross for two people. R895 gross for 4 people – until 30 Nov. As soon as we start getting enquiries/testimonials we will tweak the rate upwards. 
  6. You need to tell us which of the three scenarios above you want us to use as the goal. If we feel we can achieve it we will commit 🙂
  7. The suggestions from guests must be implemented; for example the one mentioned locking of the door between the house and the two bedroom. We also need to clearly define the shared and private spaces – the pool, the garden and parking. This we have done but with guests we need to have no expectations we cannot meet. Rather more info than less. Here the photos can tell the full story.

 

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