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FAQ

FAQ: Agency.CapeHolidays Management Services

FAQ’s

Guests (2)

Is Cape Town Safe?

Yes. Cape Town is very safe as long as you are not a gang member or trying to become one, or walking around in poor gang invested areas. These gang areas are never frequented by tourists or everyday ordinary Cape Townians. Obviously, no-0ne in any world city walks around naively thinking opportunists will not pick your pocket. Be vigilant. But that’s about it

Let me give you a quote to answer your question; Is Cape Town safe? 

…..the majority of violent crimes that take place in  Cape Town are between gang members , tribes and people who know each otherTourists are not the target of these crimes that mostly occur outside of the city in the townships, which are a harsh legacy of the Apartheid era.

Take for example one area of Cape Town, Nyanga (a township), where 1% of the city’s population lives, but 13% of the murders occur each year.  Compare this with another area,  Simon’s Town, which hosts over one million visitors a year, but has not had one murder reported in the same time frame.  The dark statistics reported by the media do not reflect this at all. (more).

The above tells it very well. But searching further you’ll get the same message on if Cape Town is safe? Have a look at the following answer to this question:

Cape Town safety: the tale of two cities

As one Cape Town tourist puts it; “Cape Town is safe enough if you take precautions.  There are really two cities here , but the crime stats blend them together. The poor communities of the Cape Flats see 95% of the crime while the city centre and suburbs are pretty safe in terms of violent crime.” Just like with all the other major cities around the world, Cape Town is safe when you take certain universal safety measures in order to safeguard yourself and your belongings from criminal activity and local hazards. (More here).

 

Categories: Guests, Safety
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Is Cape Town safe for tourists?

Many guests ask, “is Cape Town safe for tourists?” or “is it dangerous in Cape Town? Or “is it safe to walk in Cape Town?”

Most of these questions have a common answer; yes it’s safe.  This does not mean you should be naive.  The clever guys define naivety as showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment. Obviously, you have not experienced Cape Town but you should be wise and you can judge. Make use of it. Most of the time while in the tourist’s areas you’ll be happy like the fellow CapeTownians next to you. This is a fun place. 

As you know Cape Town is a massive city of nearly 4 million people. And many of these people live poorly. Others call it Cape Town’s two cities.

The tourist areas you’ll frequent will be the more affluent areas. On your Cape Town travels you may never enter these areas at all. (See map on safIs Cape Town safe for touriste Cape Town areas here).

From the Airport, you’ll go past some of these poor areas. Even though I am sharing this with you there are various township tours. Just look at this Township tour with many reviews at 4.6 out of 5. Excellent. (Consider the tour here). Now have a look at this lady, you may meet on your tour, trying to make a living in this poor area. Do you think she just wants happiness like you? 

You may know we manage very manage Cape Town holiday accommodation. We are SuperHosts (more here). We have been in business since 2009. Do you think we would be a success if we dumped guests into unsafe areas? No. It would be ridiculous. The first time we compromised our guest’s safety will be the last time we rent the home. 

Is it safe to walk in Cape Town?

Yes. It is. But again don’t be naive. Any city in the world has bad people looking for fast asleep tourists who leave stuff on dining tables, walk alone at night, or just not taking note of their whereabouts. Be vigilant but enjoy. All Cape Townians run up and down mountains every day. Everyone walks the streets every day. We cycle. We have fun. And why can you not walk safely in Cape Town?

Is Cape Town safe for tourists? I think you have the idea. Go out and play. 

 

Categories: Guests, Safety
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Safety (2)

Is Cape Town Safe?

Yes. Cape Town is very safe as long as you are not a gang member or trying to become one, or walking around in poor gang invested areas. These gang areas are never frequented by tourists or everyday ordinary Cape Townians. Obviously, no-0ne in any world city walks around naively thinking opportunists will not pick your pocket. Be vigilant. But that’s about it

Let me give you a quote to answer your question; Is Cape Town safe? 

…..the majority of violent crimes that take place in  Cape Town are between gang members , tribes and people who know each otherTourists are not the target of these crimes that mostly occur outside of the city in the townships, which are a harsh legacy of the Apartheid era.

Take for example one area of Cape Town, Nyanga (a township), where 1% of the city’s population lives, but 13% of the murders occur each year.  Compare this with another area,  Simon’s Town, which hosts over one million visitors a year, but has not had one murder reported in the same time frame.  The dark statistics reported by the media do not reflect this at all. (more).

The above tells it very well. But searching further you’ll get the same message on if Cape Town is safe? Have a look at the following answer to this question:

Cape Town safety: the tale of two cities

As one Cape Town tourist puts it; “Cape Town is safe enough if you take precautions.  There are really two cities here , but the crime stats blend them together. The poor communities of the Cape Flats see 95% of the crime while the city centre and suburbs are pretty safe in terms of violent crime.” Just like with all the other major cities around the world, Cape Town is safe when you take certain universal safety measures in order to safeguard yourself and your belongings from criminal activity and local hazards. (More here).

 

Categories: Guests, Safety
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Is Cape Town safe for tourists?

Many guests ask, “is Cape Town safe for tourists?” or “is it dangerous in Cape Town? Or “is it safe to walk in Cape Town?”

Most of these questions have a common answer; yes it’s safe.  This does not mean you should be naive.  The clever guys define naivety as showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment. Obviously, you have not experienced Cape Town but you should be wise and you can judge. Make use of it. Most of the time while in the tourist’s areas you’ll be happy like the fellow CapeTownians next to you. This is a fun place. 

As you know Cape Town is a massive city of nearly 4 million people. And many of these people live poorly. Others call it Cape Town’s two cities.

The tourist areas you’ll frequent will be the more affluent areas. On your Cape Town travels you may never enter these areas at all. (See map on safIs Cape Town safe for touriste Cape Town areas here).

From the Airport, you’ll go past some of these poor areas. Even though I am sharing this with you there are various township tours. Just look at this Township tour with many reviews at 4.6 out of 5. Excellent. (Consider the tour here). Now have a look at this lady, you may meet on your tour, trying to make a living in this poor area. Do you think she just wants happiness like you? 

You may know we manage very manage Cape Town holiday accommodation. We are SuperHosts (more here). We have been in business since 2009. Do you think we would be a success if we dumped guests into unsafe areas? No. It would be ridiculous. The first time we compromised our guest’s safety will be the last time we rent the home. 

Is it safe to walk in Cape Town?

Yes. It is. But again don’t be naive. Any city in the world has bad people looking for fast asleep tourists who leave stuff on dining tables, walk alone at night, or just not taking note of their whereabouts. Be vigilant but enjoy. All Cape Townians run up and down mountains every day. Everyone walks the streets every day. We cycle. We have fun. And why can you not walk safely in Cape Town?

Is Cape Town safe for tourists? I think you have the idea. Go out and play. 

 

Categories: Guests, Safety
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FAQ's About Airbnb (21)

When you list your home it has  ZERO trustability ; no reviews and no bookings. 

More on the topic
Why Should I List With You If I can Do Airbnb
What do we provide for the commission we take?

But, when we list your home, under our Flag – CapeHolidays, your home is seen as a SuperHost home immediately. Our GOODWILL becomes yours.

To be SuperHosts:

We must maintain a 4.8 star rating with positive reviews (more on criteria).  Something we have achieved:

Superhosts CapeHolidays

As you can see we score 4.9 out 5 for every of the nearly 600 guests who reviewed us. Designed for success from 2009. 

For this reason, we are SuperHosts and very proud of it (see our profile at Airbnb). 

CapeHolidays SuperHosts

Obviously, we can, with confidence, say we are a successful professional Airbnb Agency in Cape Town.

Because of this Badge of Trust, we share it with owners who are willing to work with us and have remarkable accommodation. 

Unfortunately, choosing remarkability is not that easy. Why? Because the final judge is the very critical guest who paid to stay and have earned the right to review your home.

These guests come with high expectations. If your home fails at the first booking it will be uphill to recover. 

When we choose, the owner and/or the home, incorrectly we could lose our SuperHost status. Therefore, we must be supercritical before a holiday home is added to our portfolio.

Guests who book and see our SuperHost badge know:

  1. Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.
  2. When we reached Superhost status, a SuperHost badge automatically appears on our listing and profile to help guests identify us.
  3. Airbnb checks Superhosts’ activity four times a year, to ensure that the program highlights the people who are most dedicated to providing outstanding hospitality.

In other words, SuperHosts attract more business because of established trust. This overcomes the lack of trust you have when you list your home from ground-zero. It takes time and lower rates to attract guests when you are new and competing with the masses out there.

I have said it:

We choose our owners and homes very carefully. 

We are a team working together and the sky’s the limit. And there is nothing like reading reviews from happy guests. Wait. You’ll see. It’s fun to bank good money while everyone is happy!

Read more on criteria to become SuperHosts.

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Yes. We use a professional company to take photos. They are not a staging company and only come in a do the shoot. Their basic 20 package is very affordable. They also do a 40 shoot with drone shots. Larger properties (+4 bedrooms) do the 40 photo-shoot. It’s critical that professional the property is staged. Check the FAQ on Staging.
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The short answer: NO!

This is a common concern for new owners. As we implement our trust-building phase we use competitive rates to attract reluctant guests to stay and get reviews at the new accommodation. 

The Consequences of AirBnB’s Commoditization On Rates

It’s only after new owners become familiar with the painful reality and impact of AirBnB’s commoditization of the short term accommodation market, that they change their mind about our rate setting philosophy. 

After this introduction let me address the concern about low rates equaling bad guests

When we talk about low rates to buy trust we are talking about competitive rates only and not Rock-bottom rates. 

As you know, we don’t have the accommodation seeker’s trust yet, and we must use our only effective driver, namely rates, to overcome resistance to book. 

The guests who book initially are the same guest who may pay premium rate tomorrow. But with no reviews (trust) forget it. 

Only a remarkable holiday home at a bargain will do. 

In the market we operate, guests are not poor. 

Let me make a statement based on experience. 

Even if the rates are competitive you still get great guests. 

Now let me share why I say this:

The real risk is not bad guests but rather uneducated guests. With today’s social media profiles guests cannot hide any longer. 

And Forbes did a great job of explaining why guests’ requests to stay are sometimes declined more here.

We started our business in 2009. This was before social media. And many people left homes untidy as there was no recourse. Even owners got away with shoddy offerings. 

Today Your Social Profile Is A Valuable Asset

When a guest book and stay they review us. And these positive reviews made us SuperHosts. Trust! As guests depart we review them. And they establish trusting profile overtime. Today we all know the consequences of a bad review for both parties. 

Let me repeat: Even if the rate is competitive no guests will risk getting a bad review knowing other hosts will not approve them with a  bad previous review. 

The only risk for us is first time users on Airbnb. Unfortunately, they are not familiar with the implications of getting a bad review and how it impacts their future ability to use Airbnb. And some of them, ignorantly, will not leave the property in the same clean state they received it. 

When they get hit with a bad review they never again treat any Airbnb place poorly. And if they do they get blocked. 

Our challenge is to make it as difficult for new guests to book without first qualifying (See Forbes article above) them and then we educate them on what we expect. 

To answer the question: No. Competitive rates are not the cause of bad guests. Bad guests are mostly new guests unfamiliar with their responsibility.

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Many owners want CapeHolidays to manage their accommodation in Cape Town, Simonstown etc, list it with Airbnb and other; the problem is they may wonder if their home will make the grade. Some owners may have an inflated perception of value and expect the ultimate; obviously, when our knowledge of the market does not meet the owner’s expectations we sit with unnecessary conflict. It’s therefore not only the accommodation but includes qualifying the owner.

  1. You can do our free qualifying quiz (here) on your own and get an instant report today.
  2. You send us the best photos of your place. It can be cellphone photos. But it must show everything; the good and the not so good. As long as it’s everything.
  3. Our interest is in remarkable accommodation. Guests must be able to see classiness when they view your staged and professional photos. See FAQs for photos and staging.
  4. Old poorly maintained homes will not make it. Note: Guests are seriously critical.
  5. Remarkable accommodation with great entertainment, pool, beach location, romantic setting, etc, quality easier because guests pay a premium to stay in a house with a pool.
  6. The owner must qualify as well. We establish this by meeting with the owner and understanding her expectations. What incomes she expects against how flexible her rules are and if it is reasonable.

Read more here on how Agency.CapeHolidays.info does business getting 4.9 out of 5-star reviews every time.

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Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more). 

Let’s get to the details:

  • Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
  • Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability. 
  • Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and Booking.com. 
  • All reservations must be accepted by the owner as he appointed us to do it per our T&Cs.
  • CapeHolidays don’t check availability with the owner before a guest do an instant reservation. 
  • But what about owner reservations? The owner agreed to first check availability with the agent at all times and only then reserve the accommodation for his own use.  
  • Owners cancelling guest reservations: cancellations carry no owner penalties only if the cause is a major disaster or something out of reasonable control. 
  • Owners ending/cancelling the agreement do it in writing. All current/confirmed reservations are honoured. Any owner not communicating the cancellation of the agreement will honour future bookings. If these are not communicated and/or honoured the owner is liable for penalties. 
  • All websites like Airbnb and Booking.com do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here

What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking

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 There Are Other Ways To Reduce Risk: Discrimination Is Absolute Useless As A Measure!

The age of people, their sexual orientation, the colour of their skin, their physical inabilities, etc. do not define if they will trample your home, or expose you to risk. 

 Risk comes in all possible disguises.   
Read more on vetting guests

You can set an age limit for kids. But that’s about it. You can share liability risks. But only the guest can decide on your honest rules and warnings that will lower expectations.

Today, with Airbnb-homeowner and guest reviews you  get a legal way to discriminate between good and bad 

Consider Transparency As Your Risk Reducing Measure!

Bad Airbnb guests have previous public reviews. And if they are not good you don’t have to accept their booking. If they have no reviews you can try and qualify them. But  there is no obligation to accommodate zero-reviewed-guest. .

We have found the change in guests behaviour pre and post the arrival of Airbnb significant. In the past guests would have very little respect. Today they care. Even owners have jacked up their offering.  Because no one gets away with bad stuff today.  

Transparency: Guests do care about their public profile.

The solution today is not discrimination; the real issue is rather: from which marketing site does the guest originate from? If the guest is an Airbnb referral the risk is less than when compared to any other website where there are no social profile risks | no real transparency.

NOTE: There is no foolproof way. Things can go wrong. And the way this world operates it will go wrong. But we should always try to minimise risk. 

airbnb-discrimination

 

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Great question.

If You Can Do It! Do It!

The Question is Can You? Or  Do You Want To?  

More on the topic
Should I list With A SuperHost?
Must Read: What do we provide for the commission we take?

If you can list your accommodation on Airbnb and manage it yourself then it’s best you do it yourself because;

  1. Your Airbnb management costs (change over cost) should be less as you will not have to pay to use our professional SuperHost Cape Town Airbnb management services.
  2. You will have to perform at least 20% better the Cape Town average occupancy.
  3. You may have a lot of free time and this can be an adventurous challenge to try out.
  4. You may prefer to control who has access to your home as many homeowners don’t like being told by an agency how it should be done.

On the other hand an Airbnb Agent in Cape Town like Agency.Capeholidays may assist you better if the following are important?

  1. From day one your home – if qualified – is in the hands of a trusted Cape Town SuperHost (read more here) with nearly 1000 5 star reviews.
  2. I said, above, we at least get 20% more than the Cape Town norm. If it’s an extraordinary excellent home it may even do better. Have a look at Mbali at 87% occupancy where the norm is 34% by other hosts, Mbali was 40% when we took it over from another agency and then 27 days booked for December. Obviously I choose one of the best homes to share with you.  airbnboccupancycapetown
  3. Yes, the change over costs will be higher but your home is in the hands of professional Airbnb agents or Airbnb SuperHosts.
  4. Flexibility, liaison and personal availability 24/7; you will not have to worry about going away and being online all day long answering guests, liaising with guests or handling critical guests.

After all that is said and done; we believe it’s better for a Cape Town homeowner to try to become a SuperHost if they believe they have the time and attitude. If not, they may always feel a bit of resentment and that will not be ideal for our Agent & Owner relationship. We have been there. It’s not ideal. But when we have mutual trust we make a winning team.  

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All Airbnb guests should be reviewed fairly, firmly and truthfully by hosts.

Nothing else and nothing less.

We are all nice people with a twist. Some twists are not pleasant. Therefore being nice when we have to write an honest negative review is not easy. But it must be done. 

Unfortunately, when we  give the guests a dishonest positive review we defy the objective of building trust.  Future hosts depend on an honest review from previous hosts. You depend on it. 

As they say,

“what goes around comes around”. 

We have had a case where 4 guys booked into a home with 4 great reviews. They were proper con artists and had parties every night. The last night they had [arranged?] a  break-in . This puts the owner on the spot and he does not want a bad review with comments about a break-in. And then the hosts either not review they guys or shake hands and agree to share only positive stuff. 

Well. We did not. We said they are not recommended. And we blocked them. 

BTW: These guests never laid a complaint with Airbnb or the police. Who would not complain after a break-in? Odd. 

And we expect our owners who manage to give us the truth as we know you want us to only send you good guys. 

When you review a guest consider the following criteria:

  • Overall experience. Overall, how the guest?
  • Cleanliness. Did the guest leave the place in a reasonable state?
  • Communication. How well did they communicate before and during the stay? 
  • Check-in. How well did they adhere to check-in procedure? 
  • House rules: how well did they follow the house rules?
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You normally search using the suburb’s name. Airbnb selects a relative map area to show all listings in that restricted map area.

Unfortunately, Airbnb does not show the actual suburb as known by the locals or how the city demarcates it.

When you don’t see your listing, view the Airbnb map. You would probably notice your home is outside of the area Airbnb selected for your suburb.

Adjust the Airbnb map and click on Search This Area. Now your listing should show.

Can you change this? No, unfortunately Airbnb only uses your actual address to create the map via Google maps and it prefills the address field as you type.

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Dear New Owner,

 

Today I’ll try and give you an answer. However, it will not be straightforward.
Before we share the answer to the million-dollar question we must qualify the owner’s expectations.

Let me explain.

Kicking off we ask the new owner   what income they expect per annum from the property 
The object is not in defining if the owner is a short term rental marketing expert. No. 

We use the owner’s answer to the question to verify if we can meet the owner’s expectations.

It’s critical to know from the owner; who is the investor, the overall caretaker, and person expecting a return on their money.
However, when we normally ask the owner…. 

It’s very common for the owner to say;

“We do not know the market and would not be able to tell…… you telling us what you feel we can expect as you know the market better as you say you are the experts”. Potential Homeowner

Correct! We are the experts!

And  we will guide the owner eventually  but an owner with unreasonable expectations is a concern.

Let me explain.

As I mentioned we use the owner’s annual income expectation to qualify the owner

 

We would rather know today to avoid disappointment tomorrow.Experience Airbnb Agent

For example: 

  1. If the  owner expects a lot more than what we can reasonably get  from the market then we know, to rather, stay clear of the owner. Let’s assume we don’t know the owner’s expectations and it is 2 x what is reasonable then we are going to have a massively disappointing relationship. It will fail as we did not know her expectations. 
  2. If the owner’s expectations are  in the ballpark we know we just overcame one of the obstacles to a good relationship. 
  3. If the owner’s  expectations are too low we can panel beat the expectations ; some times these owners tell us they only want a few profitable bookings. In the past when we did not know their low expectations; we bombarded them will ideas to maximise income while they were not interested. And this also causes strain. 
I am sure you now understand and would agree to our request to know what annual income you expect. Or would love to get.

How do you try and figure it out? 

You may want to at least cover costs monthly, or cover the bond, or make at least what you can do renting it out long term. These are good starts and we can work with that.

It’s not science. You cannot fail. Just go with your gut. 

Trust us on this. 

P.S. We are not real estate agents who want to make a quick buck. Our relationship must last for years.

But if we get it wrong let’s say goodbye before we fail each other.Experienced Agent


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Setup An AirbnbInvestment Advice: Airbnb Cape Town

Excellent question:

How Do You Setup An Airbnb In Cape Town?

Today I just want to discuss flexibility

Let’s kick off with this quote from the FAQ “Why Are The Number Of Bedrooms Not That Important?”

One-bedrooms have a disadvantage as the change over costs for a one-bedroom Airbnb is as much as it is for a two-bedroom and even a three bedroom. Two-Bedroom change-overs cost nearly as much as a 4 bedroom but if you give me two two-bedroom apartments next to each other then I take two x2. I’ll rent them as a 4 bedroom or 2x two bedrooms. But, I suppose this is not the only way to look at it.  Now we are opening-up flexibility as a drive. Experience Airbnb Agent
Setting Up An Airbnb Without Flexibility? You are leaving money on the table!
  • If you are looking at a 4 bedroom apartment then I’ll rather go for 2x two bedrooms next to each other. If you want to buy a 4 bedroom home then I would not consider two 2-bedroom homes. But if you consider building a 4 bedroom try and set them up to have two kitchens and be private if you choose. 
  • Beds. When we do the interior we tend to think large beds where two share the bed. Ideal for couples. But what happens if you have 4 single people who would not like to share? Always choose singles you can set up as kings. 
  • If you can do kings always do king beds, the least should be queen. And normal  double beds are close to being a waste . Not really but why? A bed is a once off investment; lasting a long time. And your beds should be flexible enough to cater to the tall, separated, and the huge. Do this and you will win over an owner ignorant to this basic. 



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Investment Advice in Airbnb Cape TownMore Property Investment Tips

Investment Advice for Airbnb Cape Town:

The obvious question is- how many bedrooms should my Airbnb ideally have?

My quick answer is that the number of bedrooms is a driver when trying to make money with Airbnb. 

 But! If everything is not equal; then other drivers are more important. 

Like The Following Airbnb Success Drivers: 

Location: Critical.

On the beach will “sell” on Airbnb long before any other.

Experience Airbnb Agent

We have two beautiful apartments against the mountain. The two-bedroom is royal but seventy steps up, with spectacular views. The one-bedroom is as great but at 15 steps only, also with views. However, income is not really different.

Interior and outside living:

 Guests pay premiums for funky or modern places with sun-filled light and inviting living areas. Imagine sun-loungers and a deck. It sells. 

Water:

I mentioned beach location; if you cannot bring the beach to your Airbnb accommodation then try a  pool or hot tub . And it does not matter if the sea is just 50 meters away. Airbnb guests will pay a premium for water.

Sun loungers, deck (and pool), amazing location with great interior and a view and you have a seller.

Experience Airbnb Agent

Marketing Philosophy and Rules: 

You cannot measure your Airbnb success until you have learned by failing. Going in with an attitude of….  “why do they need a pool? Can they not see the sea?” , or  “who wants to watch DSTV on holiday?”   or guests “ must pay high rates; I pay high rates at hotels!”  or  “they should stay a minimum seven days!”  

These comments are shortsighted and show ignorance. And will cost you dearly.

Should you invest in a two or three-bedroom Airbnb?

It matters only if  they look exactly the same, at the same location, with a similar interior.  If not, then most of the drivers above are critical.

 For more on investment advice: Airbnb Cape Town Airbnb success drivers,  I suggest you complete our free questionnaire. The questions we ask will assist in getting a better idea. And you may be surprised to know that your Airbnb rule sets may be a killer driver.

After you completed the questionnaire our calculator crunches “numbers” and sends you a report;  automatically emailed to you. More below. 

P.S. One bedrooms have a disadvantage as the change over costs for a one-bedroom Airbnb is as much as it is for a two-bedroom and even three bedrooms. Two-Bedroom change-over costs nearly as much as a 4 bedroom but if you give me two two-bedroom apartments next to each other then I take two x2. I’ll rent them as a 4 bedroom or 2x two bedrooms. But, I suppose this is not the only way to look at it. Now we are opening-up flexibility as a driver. See FAQ on flexibility here

But let me stress: we should never focus on cost. Cost should be driven down but be careful.  Cost is a negative concept.  If your one bedroom has everything I mentioned above and via the questionnaire then a one-bedroom can beat the best.

More reading:

  1. Is your Airbnb set up as flexible as possible? (FAQ here).
  2. Tips for buying Cape Town Airbnb accommodation (more here).
  3. Interior design will make or break your Airbnb Success (more here).
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Our Airbnb holiday accommodation is all remarkable.

They don’t have to be luxury but everyone walking in should say WOW! If it’s not, it’s not good enough. From start to finish, we try to think about designing a more remarkable experience.  

Read more on Foolproof Audit
What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.
  1. We must do an audit of the home before we list it. This audit ensures the investment against bad reviews – it’s not foolproof but does eliminate most nasty surprises. (Why do you need at least 40 reviews?) 
  2. Foolproof: If it can break it will break. Your long hair white carpet is a serious fool failure. Your crystal glasses are cool but why? Guests will use and break them – mostly not on purpose. Why not rather use excellent generics we can replace easily? Steps; are they dangerous? Can you add a gate to prevent accidents? Do it! Do a foolproof audit.
  3. Fumigate: If you live in the home and it’s only available during holidays; fumigate! Cockroaches are very expensive insects! Dogs, and cats? Fumigate; fleas are also expensive mistakes. And you will refund guests whatever your agent negotiates on your behalf. No questions asked! Just refund! 
  4. Some owners initially find it difficult to contemplate guests will use their home and to trust their agents who control their homes.  
  5. Don’t skimp on features; proper WiFi is non-negotiable, Netflix, TV, Nespresso, BBQ, sharp knives, extra blankets in the lounge for cold winters,  etc. 
  6. The above goes hand in hand with the continued investment in improvements. Guests regularly recommend things. We don’t compromise on these as they improve profitability.

Use Our Free Quiz To Qualify Your Airbnb Accommodation here.

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Excellent question, “how much can I make on Airbnb?” when you intend to list on Airbnb. But what about the Airbnb income calculator?

You get some great Airbnb profitability calculators; they tend to only use your property address and the number of bedrooms to calculate your Airbnb profitability. Well, let’s look at….

Airbnb’s own free calculator. For example; look at a two-bedroom in Cape Town. Airbnb suggests a monthly R26 531 (or +R300 000 or $22000 per annum). This is optimistic, to say the least. What about occupancy? I see the norm is a low 37% occupancy. Did they calculate this income at 100% occupancy? I just have too many questions. And you should as well.

Personally, I believe the calculators may be designed to lull you into listing your accommodation as very few people in Cape Town would not list their accommodation on Airbnb if they can get the above. You may even consider buying a property because of the high potential Airbnb income. Mistake.

We believe you must crawl before you run. And let’s rather be conservative.

And consider other factors as well.

Your potential income cannot be based on your neigbourhood and number of rooms only; yes, it’s a good start but what about the host’s attitude towards guests, your rules (minimum stays, cancellation policy, discounts, etc.), your location in relation to the beach (or related major attractions), pool, jacuzzi, features, willingness to invest in staging and professional photos? And the list of critical Airbnb income drivers grows.

It is for this reason that we developed an in house Airbnb quiz to try and determine if your Airbnb accommodation will make money. No bull.

The quiz, obviously, depends on your honesty. But the verdict will be better than using an Airbnb profitability calculator.  It may not answer your question; How much can I make on Airbnb? Calculator. No. But when you get the results from the Airbnb Profitability Quiz you will know; if your Airbnb accommodation will make money or not and what you need to correct it.

 

Get The Free Airbnb Profitability Quiz here.


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airbnb-foolproof-audit

 Underestimate The Ingenuity of Complete Fools.    

This is really well said. In the Airbnb shorter rental business we cannot be more vigilant to the ingenuity of complete fools
When I use the word fool it’s not intended as a judgment; the intention is to rather say, ignorant person. Ignorant in its actions and choices. And these actions and decisions can be the  cause of serious damages and costs .  
All we need is to do what is reasonable to counteract these fools. Understanding we will never cover all ingenuity of complete fools. We, therefore, those owners do a foolproof audit. And keep on fine-tuning it. 

List of possible issues to recover during your foolproof audit.

Fool Proof Checks

Owner Only Protected Area

This content is password-protected. Ask for password on your mobile via WhatsApp Me HERE! OR try +828702004 Then please verify with your password to unlock the content.

In general, you want to replace expensive things with quality but easily replaceable items.
The most critical of these listed issues must be shared to your manager to add to the listing, where guests book as they must take responsibility for staying knowing about potential risks, and in your house manual and rules.
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Potential guests have very many choices. And we have found that photos sell. But photos do a lot better of selling if the home is staged. Guests need to imagine staying at your home. And guests book our homes faster than the norm as measured in occupancy by Airbnb.
Agency CapeHolidays use a Cape Town Airbnb professional stager to evaluate the home, recommend changes to the owner, and when all things are in place she will do the staging on day of the photoshoot.  The staging service starts at R450 depending on the scope of work and size of the accommodation.
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Airbnb Guests book remarkable accommodation before they book a home with poor photos, boring interior. Homes don’t have to be luxury but everyone walking in should know this is a unique place! We believe…..

If it’s not remarkable it’s not good enough. From start to finish, we try to think about designing a more remarkable experience.

  1. We must do an audit of the home before we list it. This audit is like ensuring our (with you we are a team) investment against bad reviews – it’s not foolproof but does eliminate most nasty surprises. (Why do you need at least 40 reviews? more here) 
  2. Foolproof: If it can break it will break. Your long hair white carpet is a serious fool failure. Your crystal glasses are cool but why? Guests will use and break them – mostly not on purpose. Why not rather use excellent generics we can replace easily? Steps; are they dangerous? Can you add a gate to prevent accidents? Do it! Do a foolproof audit.
    Read more on Foolproof Audit
    What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.
  3. Fumigate: If you live in the home and it’s only available during holidays; fumigate! Cockroaches are very expensive insects! Dogs, and cats? Fumigate; fleas are also expensive mistakes. And you will refund guests whatever your agent negotiates on your behalf. No questions asked! Just refund! 
  4. Owners Having To Open Their Home: Some owners initially find it difficult to contemplate guests will use their home and to trust their agents who control their homes.  
  5. Limited features; proper WiFi is non-negotiable, Netflix, TV, Nespresso, BBQ, sharp knives, extra blankets in the lounge for cold winters,  etc. 
  6. The above goes hand in hand with the continued improvements. Guests regularly recommend things. We don’t compromise on these as they improve profitability.
  7. Staging of a home: without staging, guests may not be able to imagine how they could use your home. Professional photos of a staged home is the way to go. The only way for us.
  8. We have created a free tool where you can establish if you (owner) has the right attitude to succeed and if your home has what it takes to succeed.  Complete this free Airbnb Profitability quiz here.
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New Airbnb owners should be aware of the hosting risks of Airbnb and do something to limit it.

NOTE: In general, you may never even encounter any of these issues. Reading about these risks may scare many owners. If that is the case then you make take this as an absolute. It’s not. The risks are very low.  

Let’s consider a list of risks of hosting Airbnb guests and solutions here:

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Our Agency Management Terms and Condition are not cast in stone. Some clauses are negotiable. Some others are not. It’s important that you read it. And understand it. This FAQ will answer any issues you may have. Read the T&Cs here.

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New owners are concerned, initially, with the daily rates we set. 

Set the Airbnb rates high and I am happy. Rates are my measure of success!” 

For example, I got this email from a new owner, after we notified him of his second booking. 

I would have expected the going rate to be higher late in November….but I know you guys know what you are doing.

Although he says we know what we do, he is concerned. Correctly so. 

And most owners, initially, feel the same way. Only high rates will ease their minds. But after they realise we are stacking snow, hand upon hand, building trust they get the idea

Who can stop a snowball of trust?

Eventually, they happily bank a lot of money as the trust-snowball gets momentum and picks up speed.  

Patience is the name of the game. We must crawl before we walk. 

Unfortunately, rates are not based on fact. 

It’s based on the time for guests to take action (speed to book or lack thereof – more below), the level of trust you established (reviews for example), perception etc. 

At the moment your new house has no reviews and therefore no trust. No guest will take action (book your home) without an incentive. 

Why Would An Airbnb Guest Be Your Guinea Pig? 

Guests do not book willy nilly. They base their decisions on the ratings by other guests – positive reviews, Superhost status. Do they like the features, the photos, and the rates? There are more, like cancelation policies, etc. 

You can have it all but with no reviews, your home will come second when compared to similar homes with many reviews.

Therefore, you really don’t have much of a choice but to make it more attractive and your only ally – competitive rates. 

This means you can bring guests to take action faster with rates you may perceive as uncomfortable

At ground zero you are buying reviews. You are paying a price to get trust. 

Our only aim is to focus on achieving higher annual income. This will change your mindset. You now focus on the long term. One solid hand of snow at a time. 

Let’s talk time/speed …. 

The issue with maximizing rates, in isolation, is it ignores time-to-take-action – speed at which you get or don’t get bookings (more below) . High rates are useless if over time you get no bookings. 

Consider the “slower and faster” time to take action scenario:

  1. Let’s say you set high rates and after two weeks you have no bookings. Well, you have nothing to bank and have no possible reviews to build trust. This is slow and useless. And you end up like the rest who try to make money with Airbnb. 
  2. Let’s say you set a rate and get a booking for 28 days within a week, then another few bookings. Fast. 

Use Feedback From Time-To-Action! 

We are getting feedback from both above. 

  1. The first one we know we are wasting our time. Zero money. Zero reviews. No launch. 
  2. With the second option, we know people are interested and the snowball is being packed. By getting bookings so quickly we are going to get many reviews quickly. Trust. Even if the rates do not meet our expectations. 

Action speeds up, due to high demand, we can conclude:

Our Airbnb rates are too low and we can now increase. If we cannot increase now we will increase the rates for the same time next year. Slowly over time, as we collect more reviews, increase occupancy we tweak the rates upwards. And the owner is happy. 

If demand slows down we start all over again by reducing rates until guests start taking action faster. And slowly work our way up again. 

On the other hand; if you are focusing on high rates you may impress your neigbours but not your bank manager.  

Allow us to do what we do best; focus on time to take action, get bookings and reviews and accumulate. Based on these multipliers we will get better than competitive rates. Why? As we build trust the time to take action reduces (higher demand) and due to demand, we increase the rates. Over time the tortoise wins the race. 

Patience is the game now. 

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FAQs: Accommodation Profitability (22)

You Can Identify With Loadshedding Frustrations And Its Negative Impact On Airbnb Guests.

Today I want to make a bold statement!

An investment in power backup will to not only protect your income but potentially increase it. Agent CapeHolidays

We can moan and groan, we can accuse and curse. But as you know it’s useless. We prefer to look for solutions rather than waste time fighting the madness of the past. 

Even if the future has its risks only the most pessimistic amongst us will not agree when I say the clouds have a silver lining. Let me stop dreaming… 

Today we received a note from a guest who booked one of our homes, saying, 

There is a lot of mention in the UK press about Eksom & the power outages. Is the house security system still operational during the outage? Is there a backup generator?Agent CapeHolidays

Current guests, mostly foreign, moan and groan as the lights go out. 

But it gets worse. Read what this host had to say and the consequences. 

airbnbloadsheddingcapetown

And Airbnb’s response….

airbnbloadsheddingcapetown

You may think Airbnb has gone wild. They should not have given a refund. Well, yes. They are in control. They do these kinds of things. And while they have no real opposition they will continue.  So, let’s not focus on what is out of our control.  

We have to fix what we can fix. We have a choice to eliminate guest’ objections; remove the disruption caused by load-shedding. 

As load-shedding fears get televised more and more guests will decide on staying where there is very little disruption. 

I recommend we fix it as soon as possible and in the most cost-effective way possible. 

What can we do about load shedding hassles as Airbnb Hosts and Owners? 

  1. We update our rules to notify all future guests we have load shedding. 
  2. What do we say to guests already booked? We need to decide. Tell them and they may cancel. Don’t tell them and they may cancel on arrival with no time to resell the dates. 
  3. Get the best cost-effective backup solution to cover the home’s power basic needs for three hours. 

What is meant by the most cost-effective power backup for limiting the frustrating load shedding to your Airbnb accommodation? 

Guests want to be distracted watching TV, working on their phones, watching a streaming sports channel. And one light would be great. 

But take the power away and they look for a scapegoat. One way to release frustration is to give your home a negative review. 

Now, I can hear you may say, “they are on holiday and should be out and about, they can do social media back at home!” 

Forgive me but, after very many years, listening to these kinds of jokes I am not really interested in countering this objection. It’s a dumb argument. Guests vote with their money. And if this is how some owners feel then you’ll feel it in your pocket. 😳

Now that I have that out of the way let’s continue……

I’ll suggest a solution to limit frustrations. It’s not a green off the grid solution. Those are 4 or 5 times more expensive. 

We need backup power to cover at least 3 hours in a 24 hour period. We suggest power to the following only:

  1. A single light source. 
  2. Internet modem. 
  3. DSTV or similar. 
  4. TV. 
  5. Telephone 
  6. Charging phones – although we suggest all things that need charging be done before load shedding. 
  7. Fan. 
  8. CCTV. 

To limit the investment further we suggest a power back solution to our Airbnb accommodation as follows:

  1. One battery or more depending on the needs. Batteries can be added later as well. 
  2. Batteries are charged using Eskom power when available. Therefore we don’t include solar panels. It can be done but will increase costs. 
  3. An inverter to provide power from the batteries. 
  4. A plugin and play system. Meaning a power backup system that is relatively mobile. This may allow us not to have to register power back with the local government. And no fancy electricians need to wire the kit. 

How much will such an Airbnb power backup system cost? 

Allow me to set the scene before I tell you the cost. 

If we get a two-week cancellation when someone arrives due to the lenient Airbnb allowing it due to load shedding you will potentially lose a lot more than the investment in a power backup system. An investment to not only protect your income but potentially increase it (more on this later)

With that out of the way…..

There are very many options and you can do your own homework.  I can share with you two simple options. 

  1.  Option one:  The basic unit is 1400Kva to support 720 watts of draw. A single 12v battery will supply the configuration mentioned (Tv, Wi-Fi, DStv, etc) for 3.5 hours. Installation’ is ridiculously simple. At R7650 for the battery and inverter kit. Dedicated deep cycle batteries.  Recommended. . BTW: If load-shedding gets worse it’s pretty cheap to add another battery.
  2. Option two: 2,4Kva (24v) lasts for more than six hours. R11800. This includes the inverter and two deep cycle batteries. See below for more on batteries. Really nice to have for long shutdowns but potentially too much.

Installed at your home with a dedicated manual on how to use it. For example, you do not want the ditsy one to stick a hairdryer in there and stuff the kit up. At the above costs. Obviously prices may fluctuate a little. 

Let’s have a look at the inverter and batteries. 

Silver-Calcium Deep Cycle batteries

airbnbloadsheddingcapetown

They may look exactly like car batteries – but car batteries simply could not stand up to the requirements of load shedding.

Only a heavy industrial battery will last. 

You can get Lead Acid Deep Cycle batteries – but if their charge drops below 50% when you use them, you damage them – and the damage is cumulative each time it dips under 50%.

Even if you don’t damage them, all you’ll get is 200 to 300 uses and that’s it for the battery.

This is why the experts only use Silver-Calcium Deep Cycle batteries – they keep on going-and-going – electricians predict for thousands of recharges.

Inverter: 

airbnbloadsheddingcapetown

1.4 Kva (12v) or 2,4Kva (24v): Pack the good looking inverter out of the box, plug it into the wall, plug your media center and other electronics into it – and… 

VOILA!! Just like that, load shedding becomes a meaningless non-issue

Not only do guests have no more objections, but Airbnb also has no reason to refund them and most importantly…. 

Your home will stand-out, for now, amongst the darkness called load shedding. 

How Do You Not Only Protect Your Airbnb Income But Rather Increases It?

I did a google search “Airbnb Loadshedding” and it’s no surprise two Airbnb listings in Cape Town advertise their accommodation as free from load shedding. As airbnbloadsheddingcapetown

And if guests have to choose will they choose your Cape Town Airbnb with a load shedding unhasseller or the quiet and dark house next door? 

You bet they will choose your home. And  potential not only protect your income but increases it.  Did I say this before? 

In these dark times, we don’t cry. We do what we can. Today. Not only does the backup power supply insure you against costly refunds you are a winner amongst the blind others who lag behind. Sounds familiar? Good things can be repeated 😁


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This is not the question you should ask CapeHolidays. We suggest you read what our guests and owner have to say about us.

  1. See what our Airbnb guest said about our Cape Town Accommodation here.
  2. We are SuperHosts because we do well. See the criteria for SuperHosts here. See the above link to see our SuperHost badge.
  3. We are not driven to be the biggest or largest Accommodation Agency in Cape Town. Our only drive is to be the best. This mindset is critical for our peace of mind and our homeowners and 1000s of guests.
  4. Why would more than 50 owners in and around Cape Town allow us to manage their accommodation? We must be doing something right. 
  5. Why would we be in this business from 2009 if we were to not trustworthy?
  6. Why would owners recommend us if we were not remarkable? See this redacted email we received from an owner wanting an Airbnb accommodation agent in Simonstown.

I hope you don’t mind but I was given your details by Carol, who says that you look after and manage her house in Simonstown. We recently bought a house in Simons Town. We intend to let our the house via Airbnb or Booking.com and wanted to make contact with you to see whether you would be interested in managing it for us. Owner
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Yes. We use a professional company to take photos. They are not a staging company and only come in a do the shoot. Their basic 20 package is very affordable. They also do a 40 shoot with drone shots. Larger properties (+4 bedrooms) do the 40 photo-shoot. It’s critical that professional the property is staged. Check the FAQ on Staging.
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Potential guests have very many choices. And we have found that photos sell. But photos do a lot better of selling if the home is staged. Guests need to imagine staying at your home. And guests book our homes faster than the norm as measured in occupancy by Airbnb.
Agency CapeHolidays use a Cape Town Airbnb professional stager to evaluate the home, recommend changes to the owner, and when all things are in place she will do the staging on day of the photoshoot.  The staging service starts at R450 depending on the scope of work and size of the accommodation.
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When you list your home it has  ZERO trustability ; no reviews and no bookings. 

More on the topic
Why Should I List With You If I can Do Airbnb
What do we provide for the commission we take?

But, when we list your home, under our Flag – CapeHolidays, your home is seen as a SuperHost home immediately. Our GOODWILL becomes yours.

To be SuperHosts:

We must maintain a 4.8 star rating with positive reviews (more on criteria).  Something we have achieved:

Superhosts CapeHolidays

As you can see we score 4.9 out 5 for every of the nearly 600 guests who reviewed us. Designed for success from 2009. 

For this reason, we are SuperHosts and very proud of it (see our profile at Airbnb). 

CapeHolidays SuperHosts

Obviously, we can, with confidence, say we are a successful professional Airbnb Agency in Cape Town.

Because of this Badge of Trust, we share it with owners who are willing to work with us and have remarkable accommodation. 

Unfortunately, choosing remarkability is not that easy. Why? Because the final judge is the very critical guest who paid to stay and have earned the right to review your home.

These guests come with high expectations. If your home fails at the first booking it will be uphill to recover. 

When we choose, the owner and/or the home, incorrectly we could lose our SuperHost status. Therefore, we must be supercritical before a holiday home is added to our portfolio.

Guests who book and see our SuperHost badge know:

  1. Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.
  2. When we reached Superhost status, a SuperHost badge automatically appears on our listing and profile to help guests identify us.
  3. Airbnb checks Superhosts’ activity four times a year, to ensure that the program highlights the people who are most dedicated to providing outstanding hospitality.

In other words, SuperHosts attract more business because of established trust. This overcomes the lack of trust you have when you list your home from ground-zero. It takes time and lower rates to attract guests when you are new and competing with the masses out there.

I have said it:

We choose our owners and homes very carefully. 

We are a team working together and the sky’s the limit. And there is nothing like reading reviews from happy guests. Wait. You’ll see. It’s fun to bank good money while everyone is happy!

Read more on criteria to become SuperHosts.

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The short answer: NO!

This is a common concern for new owners. As we implement our trust-building phase we use competitive rates to attract reluctant guests to stay and get reviews at the new accommodation. 

The Consequences of AirBnB’s Commoditization On Rates

It’s only after new owners become familiar with the painful reality and impact of AirBnB’s commoditization of the short term accommodation market, that they change their mind about our rate setting philosophy. 

After this introduction let me address the concern about low rates equaling bad guests

When we talk about low rates to buy trust we are talking about competitive rates only and not Rock-bottom rates. 

As you know, we don’t have the accommodation seeker’s trust yet, and we must use our only effective driver, namely rates, to overcome resistance to book. 

The guests who book initially are the same guest who may pay premium rate tomorrow. But with no reviews (trust) forget it. 

Only a remarkable holiday home at a bargain will do. 

In the market we operate, guests are not poor. 

Let me make a statement based on experience. 

Even if the rates are competitive you still get great guests. 

Now let me share why I say this:

The real risk is not bad guests but rather uneducated guests. With today’s social media profiles guests cannot hide any longer. 

And Forbes did a great job of explaining why guests’ requests to stay are sometimes declined more here.

We started our business in 2009. This was before social media. And many people left homes untidy as there was no recourse. Even owners got away with shoddy offerings. 

Today Your Social Profile Is A Valuable Asset

When a guest book and stay they review us. And these positive reviews made us SuperHosts. Trust! As guests depart we review them. And they establish trusting profile overtime. Today we all know the consequences of a bad review for both parties. 

Let me repeat: Even if the rate is competitive no guests will risk getting a bad review knowing other hosts will not approve them with a  bad previous review. 

The only risk for us is first time users on Airbnb. Unfortunately, they are not familiar with the implications of getting a bad review and how it impacts their future ability to use Airbnb. And some of them, ignorantly, will not leave the property in the same clean state they received it. 

When they get hit with a bad review they never again treat any Airbnb place poorly. And if they do they get blocked. 

Our challenge is to make it as difficult for new guests to book without first qualifying (See Forbes article above) them and then we educate them on what we expect. 

To answer the question: No. Competitive rates are not the cause of bad guests. Bad guests are mostly new guests unfamiliar with their responsibility.

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Many owners want CapeHolidays to manage their accommodation in Cape Town, Simonstown etc, list it with Airbnb and other; the problem is they may wonder if their home will make the grade. Some owners may have an inflated perception of value and expect the ultimate; obviously, when our knowledge of the market does not meet the owner’s expectations we sit with unnecessary conflict. It’s therefore not only the accommodation but includes qualifying the owner.

  1. You can do our free qualifying quiz (here) on your own and get an instant report today.
  2. You send us the best photos of your place. It can be cellphone photos. But it must show everything; the good and the not so good. As long as it’s everything.
  3. Our interest is in remarkable accommodation. Guests must be able to see classiness when they view your staged and professional photos. See FAQs for photos and staging.
  4. Old poorly maintained homes will not make it. Note: Guests are seriously critical.
  5. Remarkable accommodation with great entertainment, pool, beach location, romantic setting, etc, quality easier because guests pay a premium to stay in a house with a pool.
  6. The owner must qualify as well. We establish this by meeting with the owner and understanding her expectations. What incomes she expects against how flexible her rules are and if it is reasonable.

Read more here on how Agency.CapeHolidays.info does business getting 4.9 out of 5-star reviews every time.

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Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more). 

Let’s get to the details:

  • Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
  • Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability. 
  • Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and Booking.com. 
  • All reservations must be accepted by the owner as he appointed us to do it per our T&Cs.
  • CapeHolidays don’t check availability with the owner before a guest do an instant reservation. 
  • But what about owner reservations? The owner agreed to first check availability with the agent at all times and only then reserve the accommodation for his own use.  
  • Owners cancelling guest reservations: cancellations carry no owner penalties only if the cause is a major disaster or something out of reasonable control. 
  • Owners ending/cancelling the agreement do it in writing. All current/confirmed reservations are honoured. Any owner not communicating the cancellation of the agreement will honour future bookings. If these are not communicated and/or honoured the owner is liable for penalties. 
  • All websites like Airbnb and Booking.com do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here

What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking

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Investment Advice in Airbnb Cape TownMore Property Investment Tips

Investment Advice for Airbnb Cape Town:

The obvious question is- how many bedrooms should my Airbnb ideally have?

My quick answer is that the number of bedrooms is a driver when trying to make money with Airbnb. 

 But! If everything is not equal; then other drivers are more important. 

Like The Following Airbnb Success Drivers: 

Location: Critical.

On the beach will “sell” on Airbnb long before any other.

Experience Airbnb Agent

We have two beautiful apartments against the mountain. The two-bedroom is royal but seventy steps up, with spectacular views. The one-bedroom is as great but at 15 steps only, also with views. However, income is not really different.

Interior and outside living:

 Guests pay premiums for funky or modern places with sun-filled light and inviting living areas. Imagine sun-loungers and a deck. It sells. 

Water:

I mentioned beach location; if you cannot bring the beach to your Airbnb accommodation then try a  pool or hot tub . And it does not matter if the sea is just 50 meters away. Airbnb guests will pay a premium for water.

Sun loungers, deck (and pool), amazing location with great interior and a view and you have a seller.

Experience Airbnb Agent

Marketing Philosophy and Rules: 

You cannot measure your Airbnb success until you have learned by failing. Going in with an attitude of….  “why do they need a pool? Can they not see the sea?” , or  “who wants to watch DSTV on holiday?”   or guests “ must pay high rates; I pay high rates at hotels!”  or  “they should stay a minimum seven days!”  

These comments are shortsighted and show ignorance. And will cost you dearly.

Should you invest in a two or three-bedroom Airbnb?

It matters only if  they look exactly the same, at the same location, with a similar interior.  If not, then most of the drivers above are critical.

 For more on investment advice: Airbnb Cape Town Airbnb success drivers,  I suggest you complete our free questionnaire. The questions we ask will assist in getting a better idea. And you may be surprised to know that your Airbnb rule sets may be a killer driver.

After you completed the questionnaire our calculator crunches “numbers” and sends you a report;  automatically emailed to you. More below. 

P.S. One bedrooms have a disadvantage as the change over costs for a one-bedroom Airbnb is as much as it is for a two-bedroom and even three bedrooms. Two-Bedroom change-over costs nearly as much as a 4 bedroom but if you give me two two-bedroom apartments next to each other then I take two x2. I’ll rent them as a 4 bedroom or 2x two bedrooms. But, I suppose this is not the only way to look at it. Now we are opening-up flexibility as a driver. See FAQ on flexibility here

But let me stress: we should never focus on cost. Cost should be driven down but be careful.  Cost is a negative concept.  If your one bedroom has everything I mentioned above and via the questionnaire then a one-bedroom can beat the best.

More reading:

  1. Is your Airbnb set up as flexible as possible? (FAQ here).
  2. Tips for buying Cape Town Airbnb accommodation (more here).
  3. Interior design will make or break your Airbnb Success (more here).
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Setup An AirbnbInvestment Advice: Airbnb Cape Town

Excellent question:

How Do You Setup An Airbnb In Cape Town?

Today I just want to discuss flexibility

Let’s kick off with this quote from the FAQ “Why Are The Number Of Bedrooms Not That Important?”

One-bedrooms have a disadvantage as the change over costs for a one-bedroom Airbnb is as much as it is for a two-bedroom and even a three bedroom. Two-Bedroom change-overs cost nearly as much as a 4 bedroom but if you give me two two-bedroom apartments next to each other then I take two x2. I’ll rent them as a 4 bedroom or 2x two bedrooms. But, I suppose this is not the only way to look at it.  Now we are opening-up flexibility as a drive. Experience Airbnb Agent
Setting Up An Airbnb Without Flexibility? You are leaving money on the table!
  • If you are looking at a 4 bedroom apartment then I’ll rather go for 2x two bedrooms next to each other. If you want to buy a 4 bedroom home then I would not consider two 2-bedroom homes. But if you consider building a 4 bedroom try and set them up to have two kitchens and be private if you choose. 
  • Beds. When we do the interior we tend to think large beds where two share the bed. Ideal for couples. But what happens if you have 4 single people who would not like to share? Always choose singles you can set up as kings. 
  • If you can do kings always do king beds, the least should be queen. And normal  double beds are close to being a waste . Not really but why? A bed is a once off investment; lasting a long time. And your beds should be flexible enough to cater to the tall, separated, and the huge. Do this and you will win over an owner ignorant to this basic. 



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Great question.

If You Can Do It! Do It!

The Question is Can You? Or  Do You Want To?  

More on the topic
Should I list With A SuperHost?
Must Read: What do we provide for the commission we take?

If you can list your accommodation on Airbnb and manage it yourself then it’s best you do it yourself because;

  1. Your Airbnb management costs (change over cost) should be less as you will not have to pay to use our professional SuperHost Cape Town Airbnb management services.
  2. You will have to perform at least 20% better the Cape Town average occupancy.
  3. You may have a lot of free time and this can be an adventurous challenge to try out.
  4. You may prefer to control who has access to your home as many homeowners don’t like being told by an agency how it should be done.

On the other hand an Airbnb Agent in Cape Town like Agency.Capeholidays may assist you better if the following are important?

  1. From day one your home – if qualified – is in the hands of a trusted Cape Town SuperHost (read more here) with nearly 1000 5 star reviews.
  2. I said, above, we at least get 20% more than the Cape Town norm. If it’s an extraordinary excellent home it may even do better. Have a look at Mbali at 87% occupancy where the norm is 34% by other hosts, Mbali was 40% when we took it over from another agency and then 27 days booked for December. Obviously I choose one of the best homes to share with you.  airbnboccupancycapetown
  3. Yes, the change over costs will be higher but your home is in the hands of professional Airbnb agents or Airbnb SuperHosts.
  4. Flexibility, liaison and personal availability 24/7; you will not have to worry about going away and being online all day long answering guests, liaising with guests or handling critical guests.

After all that is said and done; we believe it’s better for a Cape Town homeowner to try to become a SuperHost if they believe they have the time and attitude. If not, they may always feel a bit of resentment and that will not be ideal for our Agent & Owner relationship. We have been there. It’s not ideal. But when we have mutual trust we make a winning team.  

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Let me qualify: When is the best time for an owner to stay  at their property if they want to maximise income? 

Obviously, if you are not interested in a high return then it does not matter when you stay.

Let me pack it out for you:

  •  About 25-30% of your income will be generated between 15 December and 5 January. This is peak time. And people pay a massive premium for our remarkable Cape Town accommodation. It is therefore ideal if you do not to stay between these dates.
  •  The most popular date is 31 December.  Most peak time reservations include 31 December. Let’s say you stay over Christmas but depart on the 27 December then you can still get peak rates over 31 December. However, if you stay over 31 December but not over Christmas – forget it. People are reluctant to stay over Christmas for long and are not really willing to pay a massive premium. 
  • Winter is nearly dead. If you do it well you may get some income at 30% peak. If you are willing to do winter then it’s the best. But winter is winter. (May to end August).
  • September to 15 December improves. The weather is better. But no fireworks. And ideal if you can stay over this period.
  • January is better than the other pre-peak summer months. If you want to stay then try and stay after 5 January.
  •  February is after peak the most popular.  The rates are not peak but occupancy is very high; higher than December January. 
  • March and April are again slower and not a bad time to come and enjoy your home.
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How to set prices on Airbnb?

Let’s start with what is maximise income?”

“It must be stressed that the concept ‘maximise income’ is a short way of saying; make the home profitable but never at all cost. Only within reason!” Experienced Airbnb Agent

Maximising income is quite simple if you follow a strategy that works. This means you should focus on occupancy and not setting high rates, and on getting more reviews (trust) and  eliminating all resistance to book . Read the FAQ (1) where I discuss high rates and time-to-action (demand).

To set prices on Airbnb it depends on the number of reviews we have and the established demand.

Assuming we list a new property with no reviews and the owner wants to maximise income annually; we go through the following with the owner:

  1. After we have qualified the accommodation as being remarkable we discuss the owner’s income expectations.
  2. It’s critical to know what annual income the owner expects (Read more here on why we  must  know this). 
  3. We use the owner’s annual income, plug it into our income calculator and see what seasonal Airbnb rates and occupancy are required to achieve it. We start off using 35% occupancy as a guide and we adjust the rates to try and achieve this owner income.  If we can generate the annual expected income at 35% occupancy  and the rates are very competitive we know we have a great opportunity to meet or exceed the owner income expectations during year one. If during year one, we need 40% occupancy or higher to achieve the owner’s income goal, we know this owner – agent relationship may not last very well. Either the owner should lower her expectations or we would decline.

Airbnb Pricing Strategy Philosophy Part 1 

Airbnb Seasonal Rate Calculator Part 2 

Case Study 1: Airbnb Annual Income Expectations: Simonstown Villa:  

Let’s consider the following email from a new owner with a lovely 4 bedroom accommodation in Simonstown. She would not be able to manage her home or market it. This is what she told me after I asked her for her annual income expectations:

New Owner

The financial data was as follows for the period May 2018 to June 2019 – 12 months. The loft room was booked for 191 nights at an average of 752 rand per night and generated 143697 rands for the year. The garden suite was booked for 181 nights and had an average nightly revenue of 1419 and generated 256921k for the year. Total revenue after booking sites costs was 400618k. New Owner

This is really an achievement. 

Agent CapeHolidays

Interesting. And your logic makes sense. Obviously we need to see the home. And I believe if it gets foolproof remarkable interior with lots of flexibility like 8 single beds (can be made in Kings), for example, then it should exceed our own expectations.

These are the homes we prefer.

Looking at the figures you shared  the owner is doing 50% occupancy  during the year for both properties. Excellent. And a good sign. This means even higher occupancy/rates during summer as winter is relatively dead. The average Airbnb occupancy for this area is much lower. Obviously ours are on average 20% higher and winners a lot higher. But it took about 12 months of building trust with each property to get there.

New Owner

I would consider this a benchmark to use and hopefully surpass as the entire house would now be available at time that we are not there, this obviously also depends on when we plan to use it too.

For now my view is that we should be able to add a further 200k to the value above. To answer your question we would expect to achieve a minimum of what has been achieved historically and add up to 100k on top of this after costs and achieve a gross 550k before your 20% costs. This is a view based on the data we have, I am sure you will have a view, please could you give us your opinion and experience.

Reasonable! Who would argue?

Agent CapeHolidays

Due to various issues (like meeting expectations) we only start off a new home if we can achieve the owner’s goal at 35% occupancy. This does not mean we will not try and beat it. But agreeing to a new house where 50% occupancy is required, to achieve the R550 000 goal, then we may disappoint you before we start. And that’s not fair on you. Agreeing at the  kickoff stage to higher occupancy  than what is our norm will cause pressure to maximising rates rather than  working on getting trust, and adjusting rates to address occupancy based on supply and demand during the first 12 months.[/su_highlight

I must say that I am confident we can achieve 50% and higher occupancy to meet and exceed R550 000 but why make a promise just to keep the owner happy? Why not rather exceed expectations after 12 months?

Our Motto

We don’t have to be the biggest accommodation agency in Cape Town or Simonstown! No. We only want to be the best!

This implies that we   can walk away; as we are not trying to win a deal at all costs. No.  We rather shake hands and walk. Ensuring we will always look the owner in the face knowing we did what was best for both parties.

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The simple answer is that we manage all unique and remarkable Cape Town accommodation (see the areas we cover here).

We never said it must be luxury. Not necessarily. All we want is for guests to say Wow. Like these reviews (more here).

Airbnb reviews agency.capeholidays.info

But back to your question:

 If we consider peak rates ; our large homes rent for as much as R45000 per day, while small two-bedroom apartments about R2000 per night.

You can see the rates vary a lot. But let me just warn you; don’t get too excited looking at R45000 per night. Outside of peak this home will rent for a lot less. And very few homes will ever rent for R45000 per night.

You can read more on how to qualify your home here.

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Dear New Owner,

 

Today I’ll try and give you an answer. However, it will not be straightforward.
Before we share the answer to the million-dollar question we must qualify the owner’s expectations.

Let me explain.

Kicking off we ask the new owner   what income they expect per annum from the property 
The object is not in defining if the owner is a short term rental marketing expert. No. 

We use the owner’s answer to the question to verify if we can meet the owner’s expectations.

It’s critical to know from the owner; who is the investor, the overall caretaker, and person expecting a return on their money.
However, when we normally ask the owner…. 

It’s very common for the owner to say;

“We do not know the market and would not be able to tell…… you telling us what you feel we can expect as you know the market better as you say you are the experts”. Potential Homeowner

Correct! We are the experts!

And  we will guide the owner eventually  but an owner with unreasonable expectations is a concern.

Let me explain.

As I mentioned we use the owner’s annual income expectation to qualify the owner

 

We would rather know today to avoid disappointment tomorrow.Experience Airbnb Agent

For example: 

  1. If the  owner expects a lot more than what we can reasonably get  from the market then we know, to rather, stay clear of the owner. Let’s assume we don’t know the owner’s expectations and it is 2 x what is reasonable then we are going to have a massively disappointing relationship. It will fail as we did not know her expectations. 
  2. If the owner’s expectations are  in the ballpark we know we just overcame one of the obstacles to a good relationship. 
  3. If the owner’s  expectations are too low we can panel beat the expectations ; some times these owners tell us they only want a few profitable bookings. In the past when we did not know their low expectations; we bombarded them will ideas to maximise income while they were not interested. And this also causes strain. 
I am sure you now understand and would agree to our request to know what annual income you expect. Or would love to get.

How do you try and figure it out? 

You may want to at least cover costs monthly, or cover the bond, or make at least what you can do renting it out long term. These are good starts and we can work with that.

It’s not science. You cannot fail. Just go with your gut. 

Trust us on this. 

P.S. We are not real estate agents who want to make a quick buck. Our relationship must last for years.

But if we get it wrong let’s say goodbye before we fail each other.Experienced Agent


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We received this email from one of our owners asking if we can accommodate other agents who want to share our Cape Town accommodation:

We have a friend (from Austria ) who specializes in renting properties here in Mauritius to a close network of German and Austrian clients. As you have 100% sole mandate and control over the calendar if she booked via you at BNB rates, would you share a small portion of your commission with her? She says they also like Cape Town.

We have many agents we work with. All you do is ask her to contact us directly. We share the images, rules, descriptions, etc. She can make brochures of the home. We give her your Airbnb link to check rates and availability. The rates guests pay are the rate she quotes her guests. If it’s available we give her a 10% commission on the Airbnb fee. Easy.
Agents Contact Us Here!

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Excellent question, “how much can I make on Airbnb?” when you intend to list on Airbnb. But what about the Airbnb income calculator?

You get some great Airbnb profitability calculators; they tend to only use your property address and the number of bedrooms to calculate your Airbnb profitability. Well, let’s look at….

Airbnb’s own free calculator. For example; look at a two-bedroom in Cape Town. Airbnb suggests a monthly R26 531 (or +R300 000 or $22000 per annum). This is optimistic, to say the least. What about occupancy? I see the norm is a low 37% occupancy. Did they calculate this income at 100% occupancy? I just have too many questions. And you should as well.

Personally, I believe the calculators may be designed to lull you into listing your accommodation as very few people in Cape Town would not list their accommodation on Airbnb if they can get the above. You may even consider buying a property because of the high potential Airbnb income. Mistake.

We believe you must crawl before you run. And let’s rather be conservative.

And consider other factors as well.

Your potential income cannot be based on your neigbourhood and number of rooms only; yes, it’s a good start but what about the host’s attitude towards guests, your rules (minimum stays, cancellation policy, discounts, etc.), your location in relation to the beach (or related major attractions), pool, jacuzzi, features, willingness to invest in staging and professional photos? And the list of critical Airbnb income drivers grows.

It is for this reason that we developed an in house Airbnb quiz to try and determine if your Airbnb accommodation will make money. No bull.

The quiz, obviously, depends on your honesty. But the verdict will be better than using an Airbnb profitability calculator.  It may not answer your question; How much can I make on Airbnb? Calculator. No. But when you get the results from the Airbnb Profitability Quiz you will know; if your Airbnb accommodation will make money or not and what you need to correct it.

 

Get The Free Airbnb Profitability Quiz here.


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Meaning of MaximisingHow To Maximise Income

Maximising Airbnb accommodation income is “shorthand”  for our focus on (long term) profitability over a year. Instead of focusing on maximising daily rates we ensure with our philosophy to:

  1. Build trust – reviews and high ratings from happy guests.
  2. We base our Airbnb rates on demand. And demand depends on seasonality and mostly on trust.
  3. Maximising income does not mean we are unreasonable at any time; our guest will never say the rates are cheap; we are not and will not ever be cheap, but guests will tell you we are reasonable.
  4.  Our model of building a snowball of trust takes longer than a year. Getting 40 reviews needs patience (more here).
  5. But if we are lucky and demand jumps quickly to higher than 50% occupancy we increase rates. Let me add; we always adjust rates depending on demand. Always within reason.

Maximised income depends on trust; high rates depend on high demand.

As a Cape Town Airbnb accommodation agency;

Initially, you pay a price for the lack of trust. And you pay a price to get many positive reviews…… Our income only increases if your home improves at all times and your income improves.  Nothing else.

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How To Set PricesMeaning of Maximise Income

How to set prices on Airbnb, within reason, maximise income is quite simple if you follow a strategy that works. This means you should focus on occupancy and not setting high rates, on getting more reviews and eliminating resistance to book. Read the following FAQ where I discus high rates and time-to-action (demand).


Read FAQ (Will I Make Money Setting High Rates On Airbnb)


To set prices on Airbnb depends on the number of reviews we have and the established demand. Assuming we list a new property with no reviews and the owner wants to maximise income annually; we go through the following with the owner:

  1. After we have qualified the accommodation as being remarkable we discuss the owner’s income expectations.
  2. It’s critical to know what annual income the owner expects. The owner, in most cases, tells us; “you are the experts you must tell me!”, this is correct; we are the experts and we will guide the owner but an owner without some expectations is a concern. The owner may want to cover costs, her bond, or make at least what she can do renting it out long term. These are good starts and we can work with that.
  3. We use the owner’s annual income, plug it into our income calculator and see what seasonal Airbnb rates and occupancy are required to achieve it. We start off using 35% occupancy as a guide and we adjust the rates to try and achieve this owner income. If we can generate the income at 35% occupancy and the rates are very competitive we know we have a great opportunity to meet or exceed owner income expectations during year one. If we need 40% occupancy or higher or even higher rates we know this owner – agent relationship may not kick-off very well. Either the owner should lower her expectations or we would decline.

Airbnb Pricing Strategy Philosophy Part 1 

Airbnb Seasonal Rate Calculator Part 2 

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Load-shedding affects us all negatively. And Airbnb guests are frustrated. Obviously we can see load-shedding as a curse or we can do better than our Airbnb host next door in making guests happier than they ever expected.

Unfortunately, the load-shedding curse has consequences; if you are not interested in fixing the issues it will negatively affect your income.  It may even cause your house to burn down.  And we had such a close encounter yesterday. Luck was on our side.

Unsuspecting guests booked into the beautiful Mbali. They went out and left the “things” to charge. When the power got back the surge caused an issue; heat, then a flame and the next thing a fire.
CapeTown airbnb Loadshedding
This is not one of the emails with photos we like to send any of our owners ever:
 loadsheddingairbnbcapetown
“When the power came back on, after load-shedding, there was a power surge that sparked an electrical fire in the main bedroom. Thanks to the quick responses from Security and the fire department the house is ok. The main bedroom has water and smoke damage as the carpet caught alight. Beyond that, all seems OK”.

How Do Propose You Fix These Load-Shedding Issues?

  1. The obvious conclusion we can draw is that guests must unplug and switch plugs off.  But you are missing the FOOL. Guests are sophisticated FOOLs. It’s also called Murphy. If it can go wrong it will go wrong.  The only way to resolve this issue is to take full responsibility, do a FOOLPROOF Audit try and make it impossible for guests to make mistakes. The following steps are designed to protect you from Murphy……
  2. It’s critical that all owners install power surge protectors as soon as possible. With labour it should be less than R1000.
  3. We highly recommend owners invest in a simple power backup system at about R8000 (after discount). Not only will it ensure income it may even increase it. More here on what we suggest.
  4. If you don’t have a gas stovetop we suggest a one plate gas burner (more here).
  5. Fire and monoxide detector should be a standard fixture to any home.
  6. Ensure that you have liability insurance against guest claims and your insurance guys are aware you are doing short term rentals. 

Even though this could have been a major disaster; quick action by many roleplayers prevented a calamity. And it was great to get the owner sharing the following with us:

Elmarie,

Thank goodness I have the best team ever, I appreciate all you are doing to get us back in business.
It was quite a shock to read what happened. I had no idea about Surge adapters and will now investigate what they are and if I need them anywhere else.

 


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You should invest in Netflix, DSTV and other streaming applications. This assumes you have invested in  uncapped Wi-Fi . Uncapped fast internet is non-negotiable.

What streaming apps should I have for my Airbnb?

  • Netflix
  • Showmax
  • DSTV NOW
  • YouTube
  • Music streaming
  • Games – (not streaming).

How do I get Netflix on my TV?

The best choice is a smart TV (more here) with built-in streaming functionality. If you don’t have a fancy smart TV then you need to see if you have a HDMI slot on your TV.

Click here to see what an HDMI slot looks like.

If you don’t have an HDMI slot on your TV then rather buy a smart TV. However, if you have a spare HDMI slot on your TV then either get an Apple Box or Android Box (we recommend this Android box. It’s more expensive than some but reliable and you can add DSTV).

How Do I Install DSTV on my smart TV or Smart Box?

How to install DSTV is not always that simple. Most boxes come with pre-installed DSTV, Netflix, and others. But if it not then it may be a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, the Smart Boxes or Smart TVs are limited as to what you can download and install. These limitations on Android boxes/TVs are due to Google. Why? I don’t know. 

On the Smart TV or Smart Box, you can access Google Play where you should be able to get Netflix and DSTV Now and install it. See how to install DSTV Now, here.

 What is cool is that you can add your Home DSTV account credentials to your DSTV Now application and watch DSTV on this device for free. You don’t pay extra.  Ideal for guests and excellent for reducing costs .

This means you don’t need to pay DSTV at home and at your Airbnb. If you want to be a scrooge you can even leave it for guests to use their own DTSV account login details but this will limit many British and other foreign English speaking guests who like to watch DSTV and DSTV sport.

The same is true for Netflix. With Netflix, I don’t suggest you install it with your account details. No. Each guest familiar with Netflix should use their own account credentials. 

Do This! And you have just invested in more 5 star reviews.

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I just received this concern from an owner. Basically saying, how do I find my accommodation on Agency.CapeHolidays.Info searching Google?

cannotfindmyaccommodationongoogle

I just type Cape Holidays into my browser. Friends have done the same and have the same experience…i.e. they can’t find my house. I’m sure it is taking me to the old site then. But if so it is taking anyone entering Cape holidays there…this may affect the marketing of the house negatively.

My answer is not short but I’ll limit it as far as possible:

Thanks for your question or rather a concern.

Unfortunately, the way you search or friends search for a specific home, using Google, is no longer the way we try and market accommodation.

Let me also say that your inability to find your home as described  has a very limited effect on your occupancy. 

We operate like Pareto.

We had to learn to focus our attention where it really matters. It does not help we focus 95% of our efforts on something bringing in less than 5% return.

BTW. We are not in the business of leaving money on the table. As you know, there is no reason to  plod along a route that is not profitable, not easy, or without unnecessary investment in a loss while trying to conquer Google SEO. 

Today, our website is like a business card today. It’s a place where we share our listings but don’t expect any massive income or traffic from it.

The general competition by big powers like Google, Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and others are severe. And we have to decide which is the most effective and the less evil of the lot.

An accommodation-agency-website generates very little sales today. And those inquiries you get are not only not qualified they are poorly informed, and most tend to be cheapskates who are not familiar with Airbnb  Booking.com and others. If today and you are not familiar with Airbnb then I am skeptical if you can afford to stay with us. 

We do SEO but  Google rather wants us to pay them dear money to get attention . If you look at a search within Google you’ll see about 50% of the page is taken by Google ads.

Trying to win the search engine optimisation game is like a keen school boy trying to play Springbok rugby. Google wants you to play rugby but the dice is loaded in favour of Google. You are competing against Google’s money making goals. The more successful you are with free SEO the less successful is Google. And they are there to squash the daily living light out of you. 

When you pay Google Ads you get what you want and ask for. We can pay Google on your behalf. But we decided against it. Why?

 Google demands money irrespective of success. 

We have taken a conscious decision to let Airbnb and others pay Google. And they do advertise. And we benefit indirectly.

 With Airbnb, we also pay but it’s controlled. You pay only for a successful reservation. The same for other listings sites.  

We have focused our attention since Airbnb took over and Google started aggressively selling their adverts, on marketing via listings sites (Airbnb etc). And using our website as a business card.

Today we are professionals at it with a success record we can be proud of. Like being SuperHosts managing more than 50 Cape Town Airbnb properties an achieving between 20% and 50% higher occupancy than the norm. 

Therefore searching for accommodation and finding Agency.CapeHolidays.Info is not really how we any longer try and market your home or any home for that matter. Any enquiry we get from our site is a bonus. 

If you want to share your home with friends it’s better to visit Agency.CapeHolidays.Info find your home and send your friends a link to your listing (Link here https://agency.capeholidays.info/listings/5-bedrooms-accommodation-simonstown/)

BTW if you search the following you’ll see your home in 11 position.

Have a look at all the Google ads and other stuff Google adds to make this more and more difficult to market via SEO – as you indirectly suggested.

Search via Google for Queens Villa Simonstown.

PS. With your home running at such high occupancy shows we are doing it right. And next year with all the additional reviews it will do even better. This house is and will be a mass success. But we cannot not focus too much (any) attention on completing with Google.

P.P.S. We prefer to find ways to focus on identifying 20% of any drivers  bring us 80% income. Today Airbnb brings us more than 90% of our reservations. Not only is the process simple, and reliable it also brings the best out in guests. Airbnb guests are a different breed than guests from agency websites. This is because of social profiles populated with reviews from hosts where they stayed.

This was a great and important question to ask but any Accommodation Agency should be open to new ways and criticisms from owners. And we welcome it. 👍 

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Management FAQs (32)

When you list your home it has  ZERO trustability ; no reviews and no bookings. 

More on the topic
Why Should I List With You If I can Do Airbnb
What do we provide for the commission we take?

But, when we list your home, under our Flag – CapeHolidays, your home is seen as a SuperHost home immediately. Our GOODWILL becomes yours.

To be SuperHosts:

We must maintain a 4.8 star rating with positive reviews (more on criteria).  Something we have achieved:

Superhosts CapeHolidays

As you can see we score 4.9 out 5 for every of the nearly 600 guests who reviewed us. Designed for success from 2009. 

For this reason, we are SuperHosts and very proud of it (see our profile at Airbnb). 

CapeHolidays SuperHosts

Obviously, we can, with confidence, say we are a successful professional Airbnb Agency in Cape Town.

Because of this Badge of Trust, we share it with owners who are willing to work with us and have remarkable accommodation. 

Unfortunately, choosing remarkability is not that easy. Why? Because the final judge is the very critical guest who paid to stay and have earned the right to review your home.

These guests come with high expectations. If your home fails at the first booking it will be uphill to recover. 

When we choose, the owner and/or the home, incorrectly we could lose our SuperHost status. Therefore, we must be supercritical before a holiday home is added to our portfolio.

Guests who book and see our SuperHost badge know:

  1. Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.
  2. When we reached Superhost status, a SuperHost badge automatically appears on our listing and profile to help guests identify us.
  3. Airbnb checks Superhosts’ activity four times a year, to ensure that the program highlights the people who are most dedicated to providing outstanding hospitality.

In other words, SuperHosts attract more business because of established trust. This overcomes the lack of trust you have when you list your home from ground-zero. It takes time and lower rates to attract guests when you are new and competing with the masses out there.

I have said it:

We choose our owners and homes very carefully. 

We are a team working together and the sky’s the limit. And there is nothing like reading reviews from happy guests. Wait. You’ll see. It’s fun to bank good money while everyone is happy!

Read more on criteria to become SuperHosts.

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How and when will I be paid?

One day after the arrival of the guests you get paid. The only thing to take note of is Tripadvisor and the sites it uses. Tripadvisor make guests pay in USA dollars. And only pay us 1 day after arrival. Due to exchange rate fluctuations, the amount paid may be slightly different from the one we quoted you – we quote you in rands at the time of the booking.  

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I regularly get questions like, “Are you taking a big enough breakage deposit?” 

Injuries, accidents and your liability seem to be on the back burner. 

But let me answer your breakage deposit concern first. 

As an owner, you want to protect your belongings against breakages. You can throw money at the problem or you make it as foolproof as possible. 

After a thorough foolproof audit and making changes, the next defense is a breakage deposit. 

Read more on Foolproof Audit
What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.

How high should the breakage be to cover your home? Can you consider any figure you believe is high enough? 

Okay. You decide to hit them hard with a high breakage deposit. But the consequence is; no more bookings. Nothing. 

Obviously, we need to consider the risk. How many breakages occur and how severe are they? 

  • How often do we claim for breakages from guests? Probably less than 1%.
  • Has our conservative breakage deposit covered these breakages? 99% of the time. 

Instead of limiting or stopping bookings it’s our view to get a breakage deposit about equal to one day’s rates during high season. 

But you may be risk-averse and want more. Your only choice (not really a choice) is to get your short term insurer involved. You must tell him you do short term accommodation and want insurance for breakages, accidents and liability claims. 

Let’s get back to breakages:

  • If breakage is more than the deposit, then insurance must kick in. It’s easier than taking legal action against the guest. 
  • If another non-guest with access to the home breaks something or has an accident the insurance must cover the loss. 
  • Obviously, if it is malicious damage the owner can take legal action. 

Action:

  1. Get insurance and third-party liability insurance. 
  2. Set a reasonable breakage deposit. 
  3. Do a foolproof audit. And act on it.

In general, short term rental accommodation business is easy if you do the common sense issues well. They are simple. But relentlessly risky if skimped.

P.S. If it can break it will break. This does not mean we must change to plastic plates and glasses. Everyday use items must be easily replaceable in the blink of an eye. To claim from a guest for such accidental breakages is not ideal.

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Our Agency Management Terms and Condition are not cast in stone. Some clauses are negotiable. Some others are not. It’s important that you read it. And understand it. This FAQ will answer any issues you may have. Read the T&Cs here.

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CapeHoliday’s Accommodation Management Costs

    1. The explanation: cost drivers.

    2. Video: cash flow; income, expenses, reservations, payments and expense summaries.

    3. Add the Spreadsheet To Your Mobile Home Screen. 

Note: We get two kinds of owners; those who want to unlock the value of their home and bank a healthy profit and those who want to save costs.

The latter always consider costs to operate, but the first consider the opportunity and to learn how they can bank more.

airbnb-money-saving-tip

The one considers problems, the other solutions.  We tend to work best with owners who don’t skimp on investing in guest experiences which results in more guests, better reviews, more trust, and more profit.  

Explanation of Costs.

Owners who utilize CapeHolidays Management Agency are obviously interested in costs to manage their Cape Town holiday accommodation. And it can be confusing. So, let me try and explain. 

Most Accommodation Management companies in Cape Town requires a fixed management fee per month.  In our case, we don’t.  We could not see why we need to charge owners a fee if there is no activity at the home. This is why our management fee is the cost per incident.

The major cost management drivers (change over cost) are:

  1. Meeting and greeting guests.
  2. Change over costs includes laundry, cleaning the home, and replenishing essentials (Olive oil, toilet paper, salt & pepper, coffee, tea, etc). As this is self-catering essentials are stocked just to see the guest over for a day or two – a starter pack.

How much are the actual incident fees? This depends on the home but the minimum is currently R350 per incident. But can be different depending on the house. It can change at any time. And owners will be informed if it does.

All costs; every-day running the home is not included. These not include fees are, but not limited to, rates and taxes, Internet, DSTV, pool, electricity, etc.

The change over cost is per booking. Each booking has at least one meet, greet, and clean. The variables costs are; laundry, consumables, extra service and window cleaning, upholstery- and carpet cleaning (if and when needed).

Every guest who books pays the total rate for the stay and an extra, one-off, change-over fee to cover most of the change-over cost but not all costs.

You may ask, “why does the change-over-fee not cover all the costs?” The problem is not that we can increase the change over fee but we must consider the total rate the guest is willing to pay. We, therefore, make the fee “just enough”. 

When we get paid by the guest we deduct our commission and pay you the total excluding the change-over fee. The change-over-fee is credited to your account. This means you get it but it’s not paid to you directly but used to cover costs. 

When we get invoiced by the contractors (meeting, greeting, laundry, etc) we debit this change-over-credit. 

Most of the time the change-over fee will not cover the full services rendered, and the reason why we keep a kitty for these costs. 

Let me summarise:

  1. The guest pays the rental fee plus a change-over fee.
  2. After we deduct our commission and we credit your account with the rental amount and the change-over fee. 
  3. When and if we get an invoice from our contractors for each incident – for example; meeting, greeting, cleaning, laundry, etc., we indicate the reason for the cost and debit against your account. 

The actual change-over-fee and per-incident management costs are shared with the owner as soon as we have met and discussed the home and the individual owner’s needs.

Video Explaining CapeHoliday’s Accommodation Management Costs

Finding The Cash Flow Spreadsheet when you need it?

It is very simple to do on your mobile phone. You can also add it to your desktop computer but today I’ll only share how to save it on your mobile Home Screen!

Steps:

  1. You get the Cash Flow via email from CapeHolidays
  2. Open the email and click on the button “Cash Flow” while using your mobile phone or e-pad.
  3. It will open in Google Sheets.
  4. If you use an Android Phone (Samsung, and other) watch this 1-minute long video to save where you can get it.
  5. If you use an iPhone or similar watch this short video on how to save this sheet to your mobile home screen.
  6. Now you have a button on your phone with access to the Cash Flow every minute of every day.
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airbnb-foolproof-audit

 Underestimate The Ingenuity of Complete Fools.    

This is really well said. In the Airbnb shorter rental business we cannot be more vigilant to the ingenuity of complete fools
When I use the word fool it’s not intended as a judgment; the intention is to rather say, ignorant person. Ignorant in its actions and choices. And these actions and decisions can be the  cause of serious damages and costs .  
All we need is to do what is reasonable to counteract these fools. Understanding we will never cover all ingenuity of complete fools. We, therefore, those owners do a foolproof audit. And keep on fine-tuning it. 

List of possible issues to recover during your foolproof audit.

Fool Proof Checks

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In general, you want to replace expensive things with quality but easily replaceable items.
The most critical of these listed issues must be shared to your manager to add to the listing, where guests book as they must take responsibility for staying knowing about potential risks, and in your house manual and rules.
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In exceptional situations, we agree to the owner managing her own home with her own staff. It is critical that we agree with the owner on the standards guests expect. The past record of owner-managed-homes is not exactly what guests and CapeHolidays expected.
As you may know, guests score SuperHost CapeHolidays at 4.9 out of 5. And owner-managed-homes score less. If they consistently score 4.7 out 5 or less we will have to correct the issue with the owner in no uncertain terms or cancel our agreement.
When we manage the home and a third party (appointed by the owner) have access to the home; this is a recipe for disaster. In most cases, the third party causes friction between CapeHolidays and the owner. To date, this arrangement has never worked. And we will not be interested in managing the accommodation with such a third party arrangement. If this third party report to us, get paid by us and can be fired by us we may agree.
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Initially, owners may want to use their own maintenance teams. But they quickly realise their team many be great but not as responsive as critical- and frustrated guests expect. Time frustrates! And more so when guests are on holiday. You either fix it now or get a bad review. From 2009 we have learned the hard way and have a team subcontracting-maintenance-providers who don’t argue. If we call they jump. And high.  
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Yes. You can. Refer to the T&Cs. In general, you give us 30 days’ written notice, and we close all calendars as per your request. It’s not negotiable that we manage and liaise with all future guests already booked. And you must honour all future but already confirmed bookings.
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A few owners only want occasional bookings and not interested in maximising income.

Yes. We can assist you.

Some Cape Town Accommodation owners only want to get one, two or three bookings during the year. And nothing more. 

We just need to agree to a different T&Cs (see it here) for your specific needs. 

These owners either;

  • tend to live in their homes during the year. 
  • owners who only want a few guests through their home. 

These owners keep the home for their own use or no use during the year and make certain dates exclusively available to CapeHolidays. Agency.CapeHolidays.info are 100% responsible for bookings during this time and the owner will honour all bookings during the agreed availability period. See the consequences and responsibilities for Instant Bookings.

Owners who don’t live in their homes during the year may want the management of their accommodation while they are not here; our T&Cs do not provide for this function. And these owners will need to discuss their needs with us clearly to understand their needs and agree on the management fee to oversee the home during the empty time.

Can You Assist if I only want occasional bookings? Read this FAQ.

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Can I LIST my Airbnb Accommodation with Agency.CapeHolidays.Info?

Yes. Obviously you need to qualify.
  • We only list remarkable accommodation; meaning if the accommodation is extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvelous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, or wow.  Anything average, below par, standard, boring, cheap will not make the grade. To manage accommodation well, is expensive and only any remarkable accommodation can afford management. Let’s consider a one and two-bedroom boring place and a remarkable one bedroom; the rates on the boring places would not justify professional management but the remarkable one bedroom could.
  • 99% of the accommodation we list we manage and market. This means  if you want to market your own accommodation  but only need someone to manage then we will not be able to assist.
  • If you want to  manage your home and need us to market  we can assist as long as you can prove to us you can be as good as we are. I am not saying this to brag; experience has shown that our owner-managed homes don’t get the same high ranking reviews we get when we manage. There are one or two owners who do really well, one or two lower and then a few who are no longer part of our portfolio.  
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No. Unfortunately,
  • we don’t manage while owners do their own marketing. 
  • if owners allow us to market and they do their own bookings; this is a recipe for double bookings. We are taking a risk to maximise your income. To do this we must know all the bookings we make will be honoured without us checking availability with you.
When we list the owner checks availability with us before she reserves the home for herself.
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Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more). 

Let’s get to the details:

  • Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
  • Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability. 
  • Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and Booking.com. 
  • All reservations must be accepted by the owner as he appointed us to do it per our T&Cs.
  • CapeHolidays don’t check availability with the owner before a guest do an instant reservation. 
  • But what about owner reservations? The owner agreed to first check availability with the agent at all times and only then reserve the accommodation for his own use.  
  • Owners cancelling guest reservations: cancellations carry no owner penalties only if the cause is a major disaster or something out of reasonable control. 
  • Owners ending/cancelling the agreement do it in writing. All current/confirmed reservations are honoured. Any owner not communicating the cancellation of the agreement will honour future bookings. If these are not communicated and/or honoured the owner is liable for penalties. 
  • All websites like Airbnb and Booking.com do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here

What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking

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Within 24 of a reservation, you’ll receive an email titled Confirmed Booking.  We share the following reservation info:

  • Name of guest
  • Dates
  • Number of guests
  • Amount to be paid to you.

And the CONFIRMED BOOKING may not be changed or canceled by the owner or CapeHolldays. 

Depending on the BOOKING SITE’s T&Cs we may only receive the money one day after arrival. 

Obviously, these bookings can be canceled; due to lack of payment or cancellations as per T&Cs

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Our objective is not to discourage owner-stays. It will not be reasonable. However, we have found a few owners would do many owner-reservations. And some would change these reservations as things change.  And it becomes an administration hassle. We want to assist but have decided that after ten zero cost reservations by the owner per year to charge an admin fee of R450 per reservation/change. This will keep unnecessary changes to a minimum. In extra ordinary cases we can discuss it with the owner. 

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Great question.

If You Can Do It! Do It!

The Question is Can You? Or  Do You Want To?  

More on the topic
Should I list With A SuperHost?
Must Read: What do we provide for the commission we take?

If you can list your accommodation on Airbnb and manage it yourself then it’s best you do it yourself because;

  1. Your Airbnb management costs (change over cost) should be less as you will not have to pay to use our professional SuperHost Cape Town Airbnb management services.
  2. You will have to perform at least 20% better the Cape Town average occupancy.
  3. You may have a lot of free time and this can be an adventurous challenge to try out.
  4. You may prefer to control who has access to your home as many homeowners don’t like being told by an agency how it should be done.

On the other hand an Airbnb Agent in Cape Town like Agency.Capeholidays may assist you better if the following are important?

  1. From day one your home – if qualified – is in the hands of a trusted Cape Town SuperHost (read more here) with nearly 1000 5 star reviews.
  2. I said, above, we at least get 20% more than the Cape Town norm. If it’s an extraordinary excellent home it may even do better. Have a look at Mbali at 87% occupancy where the norm is 34% by other hosts, Mbali was 40% when we took it over from another agency and then 27 days booked for December. Obviously I choose one of the best homes to share with you.  airbnboccupancycapetown
  3. Yes, the change over costs will be higher but your home is in the hands of professional Airbnb agents or Airbnb SuperHosts.
  4. Flexibility, liaison and personal availability 24/7; you will not have to worry about going away and being online all day long answering guests, liaising with guests or handling critical guests.

After all that is said and done; we believe it’s better for a Cape Town homeowner to try to become a SuperHost if they believe they have the time and attitude. If not, they may always feel a bit of resentment and that will not be ideal for our Agent & Owner relationship. We have been there. It’s not ideal. But when we have mutual trust we make a winning team.  

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Excellent question;

What is Airbnb property management?

An Airbnb Property Management company provides a service to accommodation owners who would like to generate income from their accommodation but are either not able to manage the home themselves or they are not interested in management and marketing.

 

What Is the Airbnb Management Criteria I should  Consider Before I Decide? 

  1. An Airbnb Property Management company should provide a proven track record of Airbnb marketing success; this is measured in the average review scores. In general lookout for Airbnb Management companies with an average score above 4.8 out of 5 🌟 (FAQ SuperHost).
  2. These management companies should be SuperHosts. 
  3. How do they charge for Airbnb management? Do they charge a retainer or do they charge per incident? If the cost per incident you only pay if need. We have found management retainers make Airbnb agents lazy as they make money even if the home does not rent out. In our case, we only generate an income if the house generates an excellent income.  So the owner wins when we do a great job marketing on Airbnb.  . (FAQ What you are paying for..)
  4. Occupancy. Any Airbnb agency can promise you the sky to get the business. It’s like a real estate agent offering you a high suggested selling price to get the mandate. This is wrong.  Airbnb agents worth their salt must have a higher occupancy than the norm.  In Cape Town, we run between 25 and 50% higher. (FAQ Maximise Income).
  5. Rates: Any Airbnb management company selling their business on high rates is a red flag. Overselling will not work. As an agency we manage to ensure we get 5 🌟 reviews, so that occupancy can increase, meaning demand increases and only then do we increase rates. 
  6. Management and marketing are major functions. Management includes maintaining and improving the home, liaison with guests, welcoming and greeting guests, sorting out issues.
  7. Marketing is useless without 5 🌟 management. Marketing includes but is not limited to setting Airbnb marketing best policies to maximise income by attracting exceptional guests; setting rates to maximise income through occupancy, minimum stay rules, cancellation policies, and others. 
  8. Financial reporting. How do the Airbnb Agency report income and expenses, when and how regularly are you paid? Once a month or when the reservation is paid? We pay within 24 hours of receiving payment. (FAQ Cash Flow Reporting)

Agency.CapeHolidays.info is one of many Airbnb management companies Cape Town. It’s your choice. Obviously. But do your homework. 

Agency.CapeHolidays.info is an Airbnb property management company with offices in Simonstown and Green Point.

You can look at Cape Town suburbs where we manage here



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In the hospitality business the motto is:

Act Fast Or Feel The Brunt Of Guest Revenge! Experience Airbnb Agent
Why Keep A Management Kitty?

The mandate we agreed with the owner is to do everything within reason to get a 5-star review. We can never use the excuse,  “Guest, please wait for 24 hours, as we cannot get hold of the owner to okay replacing the geyser”. 

If we cannot authorize work, in an emergency with our proven and trusted workmen, then the owner is not really committed to us and our aims with the home.

Most emergencies we may get hold of the owner immediately but if we cannot we must act. Immediately.

Guests don’t mind that things can go wrong. But they hate it when you don’t really care. Their only measure of how much you care is how quick you act!Experience Airbnb Agent
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Why Keep A Management Kitty?

More on emergency breakdowns
Owner-only-kitty is kept to cover management costs. We must correct an issue (maintenance, DSTV, electricity, gas, or other) when it occurs.

  1. A few owners tend to forget to pay their monthly accounts. When this happens you don’t want to let the guests suffer because the owner is asleep.
  2. Other times, maintenance is required, and getting money from the owner to pay or waiting for a booking to pay is not clever.

Note: Your Cash Flow statement is up to date 24/7 and shows you at any time what is in the kitty and what money is outstanding at any time.

kittyairbnb

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Controlling the number of guests is not easy. When they arrive you can count them, then you see them seven days later when there’s a linen change or when they checkout.

Obviously guests are clever and will ensure the right number of guests when they meet the manager.

In between arrival and departure, there is no physical interaction with the guests and it is based on trust.

As more and more people use Airbnb and short term rentals other hosts have had extra guest problems. Some of the hosts live in Johannesburg with a place in Cape Town where the guest enters keyless.  No one to count. 

If you are an owner-manager ensure that you and your staff are aware of the number of people who have confirmed.

We send the owner and the manager an email confirming the dates and number of guests who have reserved the home. Unfortunately, not-too-honest guests will try their luck and have more people over. 

How do remote hosts resolve the issue?

Various non-intrusive options are available to detect noise.  Read more here. Party Squasher is another great option if only it was available in SA; it knows when there are too many people in your home by counting the number of mobile devices in the vicinity (more). 

capetownairbnbvideocamerasI could not find a smart noise alert device available to South Africa yet. I, therefore, suggest a  relatively cheap video camera  installed at the entrance (and declare it to guests). This video camera should link to the manager’s phone where she can check if she needs to. The above camera cost about an R1000 installed. In other words; if a manager has to do 3 headcount checks it would pay you back after three such visits. 

Agency.CapeHolidays can go and do an extra check on the number of guests at the standard incident fee relevant at that stage.  My concern is that it’s a very infrequent issue and throwing repetitive money to do a physical check is costly over time.  Please send requests to check guest number more often in writing. 

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I  propose  the following simple procedure:

How to Handle Your Friends and Family Staying:

Most owners use the agent as the bad guy that must be consulted. This removes the emotional ties between family and friends when money is involved. And it works like a dream for other owners. Owners can adapt the procedure to meet their needs as long as you communicate it in writing with us.
  1. Send friends and family to us to check availability, arrange bookings, quote them and get payments.
  2. They pay R1200 change-over-fee for less than 7 days’ stay. Longer than ten nights stay, with another linen change, another R1200.
  3. All guests get a 40% discount between May and September from the Airbnb guest rate they would have paid.
  4. All guests get a 30% discount between March & April and October to 15 December from the Airbnb guest rate they would have paid.
  5. All guests get a 20% discount between 7 Jan – Feb.
  6. No discount over peak 18 Dec to 7 Jan
  7. Any payment received will be reflected in your cash flow sheet.
  8. Our commission is on the discounted rate.
  9. Friends and guests should ideally stay 4 nights. If they stay shorter we will block 4 nights. This is due to capacity constraints. If we can fit in a clean sooner we will open the calendar sooner. For peak, the minimum stay is none negotiable at 12 nights.
May I Use The Home For My Own Purposes?
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  1. Never have a phone available to guests. You cannot control any calls made by guests other than limiting it to local phone calls. If you don’t set it up for local calls only remove the handset and lock the ports.
  2. Internet is a must. Ensure you have uncapped.

PS. Never ever use Telkom for anything. Nothing. Cancel Telkom and ask us for alternatives.

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Typical Airbnb House Rules.

The list below may be typical but only the minimum. Each homeowner must take this list and complete it specifically to their own home.

When owners have additional house rules the newly  updated listed must be emailed to Agency.CapeHolidays.Info where the agent  will add it to online listings of the property.

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The above list of minimum Airbnb House rules must be read by owners with the house manual, domestic person’s tasks and manager task manual.

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Our Cape Town Airbnb management services are ideal for homeowners who  can not or are not interested in marketing or managing their own property. 

More on the topic
Should I list CapeHolidays If I Can Do Airbnb Myself?
What do we provide for the commission we take?

Let me ask you a few questions to qualify your needs:

  1. Can you manage your own home and ensure a 5 Star rating for each and every guest staying? Can you enjoy your holiday away while guests demand attention? Can you be very responsive to guests? Are you willing to liaise with guests 24/7? Are you willing to negotiate with guests, resolve conflicts when it occurs?
  2. Do you know how to set  marketing policies to get the best possible return on your investment?  For example; setting the competitive rates, setting correct seasonal length of stays, protecting your home with the best possible cancellation policy?
  3. Can you generate 20% more income than the average Cape Townian using Airbnb? (Our occupancy is consistently 20% more than the average. Most are 35% and higher).
  4. Do you have on-demand maintenance people who will fix things there and then ensure you don’t get guest revenge when you are slow to act?
  5. Can you supervise maintenance work etc to your home 24/7?

If you answered  yes to many of these then it’s better you manage and market your own home.  You don’t need us. 

However, if you cannot manage/market then our management and marketing skills will bring you,  hassle free , at least 20% more income.

Our experience from 2009 will give you a better chance of renting your home for a fair price. 

Compare our management costs with other great Cape Town Agents.

Other Cape Town agent’s commission is as much as ours or more. And they have a monthly management retainer as well.  If these agencies have bookings or not you pay the retainer.  

However, if we don’t get bookings you pay zero.

Zero commission and zero management fees.

Is this fair or would you rather pay us a monthly retainer for doing nothing?

Don’t you think our model, of management fees per incident, ensure we focus on rather renting your home for the best possible deal than collecting monthly retainers?

Our  management function is exclusively available to you at cost .

There is no profit for us on management. Our managers get paid each cent we claim for management. 

Note: guests pays an additional fee for the change over management incidents. It covers about 80% of the management cost. 

No incidents! You pay nothing.

  •  We can unhassle your holiday home .
  • And you have to do virtually nothing.
  • The home will generate a healthy income while it’s maintained and improved at all times; while you focus on peace of mind.

For this, our homeowners choose peace of mind.

BTW: We are striving to be the best but we are not there yet.

If not we would not have grown our portfolio with very many happy owners.

Interesting: Why would our owners send us messages like this if we are not making a difference?

Airbnb agency cape town



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This answer is specific to owners who only rent out during school holidays

Here are some of the responsibilities of the domestic. For any deviation, the appointed manager must be notified immediately.  Below are 15 minimum functions for the domestic.   Available to Agency.CapeHolidays homeowners and management staff. 

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Be friendly, be accommodating, be FIRM!

We want a 5 Star review but our integrity is not for sale.

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With compiled a proformal manual for you to adapt. The manual is not final. It’s the minimum required.

Owner Only Protected Area

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You should invest in Netflix, DSTV and other streaming applications. This assumes you have invested in  uncapped Wi-Fi . Uncapped fast internet is non-negotiable.

What streaming apps should I have for my Airbnb?

  • Netflix
  • Showmax
  • DSTV NOW
  • YouTube
  • Music streaming
  • Games – (not streaming).

How do I get Netflix on my TV?

The best choice is a smart TV (more here) with built-in streaming functionality. If you don’t have a fancy smart TV then you need to see if you have a HDMI slot on your TV.

Click here to see what an HDMI slot looks like.

If you don’t have an HDMI slot on your TV then rather buy a smart TV. However, if you have a spare HDMI slot on your TV then either get an Apple Box or Android Box (we recommend this Android box. It’s more expensive than some but reliable and you can add DSTV).

How Do I Install DSTV on my smart TV or Smart Box?

How to install DSTV is not always that simple. Most boxes come with pre-installed DSTV, Netflix, and others. But if it not then it may be a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, the Smart Boxes or Smart TVs are limited as to what you can download and install. These limitations on Android boxes/TVs are due to Google. Why? I don’t know. 

On the Smart TV or Smart Box, you can access Google Play where you should be able to get Netflix and DSTV Now and install it. See how to install DSTV Now, here.

 What is cool is that you can add your Home DSTV account credentials to your DSTV Now application and watch DSTV on this device for free. You don’t pay extra.  Ideal for guests and excellent for reducing costs .

This means you don’t need to pay DSTV at home and at your Airbnb. If you want to be a scrooge you can even leave it for guests to use their own DTSV account login details but this will limit many British and other foreign English speaking guests who like to watch DSTV and DSTV sport.

The same is true for Netflix. With Netflix, I don’t suggest you install it with your account details. No. Each guest familiar with Netflix should use their own account credentials. 

Do This! And you have just invested in more 5 star reviews.

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We have compiled an extensive Airbnb Manager Operating Manual.

This manual is a guideline and not limited in any way. As we identify other relevant manager tasks we will update these tasks. The extensive manual with manager tasks is available for owners who agreed to our T&Cs and Agency.CapeHolidays Managers. It should be read with the house rules, house manual, and domestic responsibilities.

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The Best Owners To Assist with Airbnb Management

I wish we had a crystal ball. Because it can go wrong. And it will – more here on the Airbnb Marriage Made In Hell.

When you work with an owner you have to become a team. There is no opposition. Because a good agent assist the owner by doing what the owner expects.  And if the OWNER wins the AGENT wins as well.  Is that not ideal?

Let’s consider a few qualifiers:

  1. If an enquiring owner kicks off asking how much we charge, you know he is shopping for the cheapest deal. We are not in the auction business.
  2. bestairbnbownersOwners who are not interested in reading, or rather studying our FAQs. These FAQs make our relationship transparent. We know. And you know. There are no surprises. When we get an owner not interested in reading the FAQs we know we don’t have a team member. We may end up with more and more misunderstandings.
  3. When owners start micromanage us. It’s great to get the owner’s input and it’s encouraged. But if it continues never-ending, it becomes pedantic, demanding, etc then the relationship will strain. It’s like you assisting your friend with his bad tooth. 
  4. When owners expect us to maximize income but they want to set rates. Unfortunately maximising income should never be left to the owner. In the past, we had various owners who thought high rates equal high income. It’s not and owners have lost massive opportunities. More here!
  5. Owner’s who are very protective, and owners who cannot handle criticisms will find it difficult. Very difficult. Guests can be cruel. Be willing to learn. And improve from each criticism.
  6.  Owners who tend to focus on reducing costs  instead of investing in ways to increase demand for their home.  What you save being stingy will never compare to what you lose not investing in improvements.   If you want to focus on cost then it’s better to get a management company who does everything as cheaply as possible while increasing profitability is not an issue.
  7. Trust. Some owners trust very few people. If this is you then rather find another Airbnb management agency.
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I Don’t Want A Corporate Airbnb Management Company To Assist My Guests!

I never thought about this objection until I got a potential owner who said to me, “I want professionals to manage my mother’s home in Muizenberg, but I don’t want an impersonal corporate company to run it!”

Never in my worst dream did I expect this judgment.  Unfortunately, she never read our FAQs and 100’s of 5 star reviews.

 If you read our reviews and our Airbnb profile carefully (hereyou’ll notice what guests had to say about our personal hosting. You’ll see that we are called the Horak Clan. We host people as, “Johan, Elmarie, Nandi”. How personal is this? The only none personal thing is our logo.

horakclanairbnb

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FAQs: T&Cs | Rules | Protection (33)

The answer is obviously YES

It would defeat the purpose of the home. Most owners don’t purchase a holiday home just as an investment. No, you want to use the home for fun. 

Let’s look at management choices using an accommodation agency. 

  1. You appoint a manager and they set their management fees to look after your home. They charge you retail rates for changeovers between your stays. They look after the garden, oversee maintenance and do the odd booking, etc. In most cases, the manager is not big on marketing. And they might get a peak booking. They charge a fixed fee per month plus an incident fee. 
  2. You appoint an Accommodation Agency like ours. Our focus is on ensuring your investment is giving you a generous return. In order to maximise income, we need very many happy guest reviews. We, therefore, provide an exceptional management service. We don’t charge a monthly fee. We only charge per incident at cost. If there are no incidents you pay nothing. 

What is the concern for owners when they say; the agreement is too restrictive as we may not be able to use the home

Let’s look at our clause affecting you:

3.15 In the event of a non paying guest (friends and family) of the OWNER utilizing the ACCOMMODATION, the AGENT has the option of an admin fee of R450 per owner booking or change to an owner booking after the first 15 owner requests per year. Plus a cleaning fee at the retail rate for the stay (refer to T&Cs for current).

Most owners see a last-minute opportunity and arrange to stay at their home. Great stuff. It’s not booked. Why not? Others book their home far in advance. 

A few owners book a day in advance or change the dates or eventually cancel their own booking. Once or twice no problem but it becomes the norm ……. 

While all these admin tasks take our attention away from what we do best, getting 5 Star reviews, optimising occupancy.

We have an option to cancel the agreement but it may not be beneficial to both parties. It’s for this reason that we have the option to charge R450 as an admin fee. 

Therefore this clause is only to let owners consider their actions carefully. Making a booking for personal use is great and we encourage it. As long as it’s reasonable. 

It’s obvious that this clause will not affect 95% of all owners. 

And if you feel it’s unfair as you plan to make more than 15 personal bookings per year then let us talk.

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If the owner ensures the calendar is always correct there is no reasonable-justification, for the owner, to cancel; other than for extenuating circumstance (Acts of God).

Therefore clause 3.3 in our T&CS should never be an issue. This clause, however, will ensure owners who may not have the best intentions stay honest. And is that not one reason for an agreement; to keep the bad guys honest?

The quick answer is you can not cancel any booking. And not reporting unavailability to us for whatever reason has serious consequences.

Here’s the long version:

Risk. As you know all businesses have some risk. Even though these risks have an extremely low probability please take note. 

One of the risks is what’s called Instant Bookings. Instant bookings increase the chance for bookings. 

When guests meet set criteria they can instant-book. And we cannot cancel as we will face severe penalties. Not only is there a cost involved but we can easily lose our SuperHost status. 

When an owner agrees to our terms and conditions we share this risk and must limit it. 

We, therefore, must indicate to owners, who may not take this seriously, the risk and consequences

Let me quote the Terms and Conditions

3.3 If the OWNER cancels or cannot host as agreed, a confirmed booking, a penalty of US$1500 will be paid by the OWNER to the AGENT and the OWNER will be kept liable for any additional losses incurred by the guest who made the booking and any losses occurred by the AGENT, excluding ‘Acts of God’.

The loss, when the owner rejects a confirmed booking, is not measured only in monetary terms. No. The cost to lose our SuperHost status is not quantifiable. 

Booking.Com makes it more difficult. 

Booking.com says that if you cancel a confirmed booking, you must find alternative accommodation for the guests. If you cannot they will find similar accommodation, and if the rates are higher then you will be liable to pay the cost to relocate the guest. 

Therefore, we, explicitly, share with the owner the risks and consequences of rejecting a confirmed booking. 

How often does this happen? 

Well, infrequently, but we have had one or two peak only owners who have asked us to market and then remove their homes from the market, without notifying us when it happens. In these cases, we accidentally learned about it. Next time we may not be that lucky. 

The risks are low as long as owners inform us of changes well in advance. 

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Today’s social media profiles make it difficult for most to crook the system. Airbnb, for example, allows guests and hosts to review each other. Not only do you get a rating, like our host rating of 4.9 out 5 stars – for many hundreds of happy guests, we review guests as well.

Why Discrimination Is A Useless Measure.

We use Airbnb instant booking and can set various restrictions to ensure only good people book. For example, people with many positive reviews can instantly book. If they only have a few reviews, we can check these and ask the guest pertinent questions. For example; we may ask what is your group make up?  You may not discriminate  but if you have a potential booker with no reviews who do not answer our questions we may decline.

Another way to stop funnies is not to do one night or two night stays. Because party animals only need a home for one night. 

Guest profiles: Airbnb also uses a system where every user of their platform has to verify their profile. And the more verification you have the higher the trust. 

All is not sunshine; the host may not always give honest reviews as they feel guilty to do it. This can be a problem for guests with relatively few reviews.

Booking.com is pretty useless when it comes to guest verifications as they don’t do guest reviews by hosts. However, the guest can be asked to verify their address and phone number.  

TripAdvisor is similar to Booking.com. 

Our own website: The profile of the party is critical. Your best group is family. We have access to social profiles and Google if we need to qualify guests. 

General: Guests pay upfront; therefore they have money to afford your home. They have their own homes to go back to after their stay. Compare this to longterm renters who may not have their own home yet – this is another issue short term does not experience. And since 2009 we have had less than 0.1% issues with short term rental guests. Therefore the risk for issues is low. If not, we would not be here assisting you. 

Read more on risks.

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How and when will I be paid?

One day after the arrival of the guests you get paid. The only thing to take note of is Tripadvisor and the sites it uses. Tripadvisor make guests pay in USA dollars. And only pay us 1 day after arrival. Due to exchange rate fluctuations, the amount paid may be slightly different from the one we quoted you – we quote you in rands at the time of the booking.  

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I regularly get questions like, “Are you taking a big enough breakage deposit?” 

Injuries, accidents and your liability seem to be on the back burner. 

But let me answer your breakage deposit concern first. 

As an owner, you want to protect your belongings against breakages. You can throw money at the problem or you make it as foolproof as possible. 

After a thorough foolproof audit and making changes, the next defense is a breakage deposit. 

Read more on Foolproof Audit
What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.

How high should the breakage be to cover your home? Can you consider any figure you believe is high enough? 

Okay. You decide to hit them hard with a high breakage deposit. But the consequence is; no more bookings. Nothing. 

Obviously, we need to consider the risk. How many breakages occur and how severe are they? 

  • How often do we claim for breakages from guests? Probably less than 1%.
  • Has our conservative breakage deposit covered these breakages? 99% of the time. 

Instead of limiting or stopping bookings it’s our view to get a breakage deposit about equal to one day’s rates during high season. 

But you may be risk-averse and want more. Your only choice (not really a choice) is to get your short term insurer involved. You must tell him you do short term accommodation and want insurance for breakages, accidents and liability claims. 

Let’s get back to breakages:

  • If breakage is more than the deposit, then insurance must kick in. It’s easier than taking legal action against the guest. 
  • If another non-guest with access to the home breaks something or has an accident the insurance must cover the loss. 
  • Obviously, if it is malicious damage the owner can take legal action. 

Action:

  1. Get insurance and third-party liability insurance. 
  2. Set a reasonable breakage deposit. 
  3. Do a foolproof audit. And act on it.

In general, short term rental accommodation business is easy if you do the common sense issues well. They are simple. But relentlessly risky if skimped.

P.S. If it can break it will break. This does not mean we must change to plastic plates and glasses. Everyday use items must be easily replaceable in the blink of an eye. To claim from a guest for such accidental breakages is not ideal.

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Our Agency Management Terms and Condition are not cast in stone. Some clauses are negotiable. Some others are not. It’s important that you read it. And understand it. This FAQ will answer any issues you may have. Read the T&Cs here.

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CapeHoliday’s Accommodation Management Costs

    1. The explanation: cost drivers.

    2. Video: cash flow; income, expenses, reservations, payments and expense summaries.

    3. Add the Spreadsheet To Your Mobile Home Screen. 

Note: We get two kinds of owners; those who want to unlock the value of their home and bank a healthy profit and those who want to save costs.

The latter always consider costs to operate, but the first consider the opportunity and to learn how they can bank more.

airbnb-money-saving-tip

The one considers problems, the other solutions.  We tend to work best with owners who don’t skimp on investing in guest experiences which results in more guests, better reviews, more trust, and more profit.  

Explanation of Costs.

Owners who utilize CapeHolidays Management Agency are obviously interested in costs to manage their Cape Town holiday accommodation. And it can be confusing. So, let me try and explain. 

Most Accommodation Management companies in Cape Town requires a fixed management fee per month.  In our case, we don’t.  We could not see why we need to charge owners a fee if there is no activity at the home. This is why our management fee is the cost per incident.

The major cost management drivers (change over cost) are:

  1. Meeting and greeting guests.
  2. Change over costs includes laundry, cleaning the home, and replenishing essentials (Olive oil, toilet paper, salt & pepper, coffee, tea, etc). As this is self-catering essentials are stocked just to see the guest over for a day or two – a starter pack.

How much are the actual incident fees? This depends on the home but the minimum is currently R350 per incident. But can be different depending on the house. It can change at any time. And owners will be informed if it does.

All costs; every-day running the home is not included. These not include fees are, but not limited to, rates and taxes, Internet, DSTV, pool, electricity, etc.

The change over cost is per booking. Each booking has at least one meet, greet, and clean. The variables costs are; laundry, consumables, extra service and window cleaning, upholstery- and carpet cleaning (if and when needed).

Every guest who books pays the total rate for the stay and an extra, one-off, change-over fee to cover most of the change-over cost but not all costs.

You may ask, “why does the change-over-fee not cover all the costs?” The problem is not that we can increase the change over fee but we must consider the total rate the guest is willing to pay. We, therefore, make the fee “just enough”. 

When we get paid by the guest we deduct our commission and pay you the total excluding the change-over fee. The change-over-fee is credited to your account. This means you get it but it’s not paid to you directly but used to cover costs. 

When we get invoiced by the contractors (meeting, greeting, laundry, etc) we debit this change-over-credit. 

Most of the time the change-over fee will not cover the full services rendered, and the reason why we keep a kitty for these costs. 

Let me summarise:

  1. The guest pays the rental fee plus a change-over fee.
  2. After we deduct our commission and we credit your account with the rental amount and the change-over fee. 
  3. When and if we get an invoice from our contractors for each incident – for example; meeting, greeting, cleaning, laundry, etc., we indicate the reason for the cost and debit against your account. 

The actual change-over-fee and per-incident management costs are shared with the owner as soon as we have met and discussed the home and the individual owner’s needs.

Video Explaining CapeHoliday’s Accommodation Management Costs

Finding The Cash Flow Spreadsheet when you need it?

It is very simple to do on your mobile phone. You can also add it to your desktop computer but today I’ll only share how to save it on your mobile Home Screen!

Steps:

  1. You get the Cash Flow via email from CapeHolidays
  2. Open the email and click on the button “Cash Flow” while using your mobile phone or e-pad.
  3. It will open in Google Sheets.
  4. If you use an Android Phone (Samsung, and other) watch this 1-minute long video to save where you can get it.
  5. If you use an iPhone or similar watch this short video on how to save this sheet to your mobile home screen.
  6. Now you have a button on your phone with access to the Cash Flow every minute of every day.
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New Airbnb owners should be aware of the hosting risks of Airbnb and do something to limit it.

NOTE: In general, you may never even encounter any of these issues. Reading about these risks may scare many owners. If that is the case then you make take this as an absolute. It’s not. The risks are very low.  

Let’s consider a list of risks of hosting Airbnb guests and solutions here:

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Airbnb Guests book remarkable accommodation before they book a home with poor photos, boring interior. Homes don’t have to be luxury but everyone walking in should know this is a unique place! We believe…..

If it’s not remarkable it’s not good enough. From start to finish, we try to think about designing a more remarkable experience.

  1. We must do an audit of the home before we list it. This audit is like ensuring our (with you we are a team) investment against bad reviews – it’s not foolproof but does eliminate most nasty surprises. (Why do you need at least 40 reviews? more here) 
  2. Foolproof: If it can break it will break. Your long hair white carpet is a serious fool failure. Your crystal glasses are cool but why? Guests will use and break them – mostly not on purpose. Why not rather use excellent generics we can replace easily? Steps; are they dangerous? Can you add a gate to prevent accidents? Do it! Do a foolproof audit.
    Read more on Foolproof Audit
    What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.
  3. Fumigate: If you live in the home and it’s only available during holidays; fumigate! Cockroaches are very expensive insects! Dogs, and cats? Fumigate; fleas are also expensive mistakes. And you will refund guests whatever your agent negotiates on your behalf. No questions asked! Just refund! 
  4. Owners Having To Open Their Home: Some owners initially find it difficult to contemplate guests will use their home and to trust their agents who control their homes.  
  5. Limited features; proper WiFi is non-negotiable, Netflix, TV, Nespresso, BBQ, sharp knives, extra blankets in the lounge for cold winters,  etc. 
  6. The above goes hand in hand with the continued improvements. Guests regularly recommend things. We don’t compromise on these as they improve profitability.
  7. Staging of a home: without staging, guests may not be able to imagine how they could use your home. Professional photos of a staged home is the way to go. The only way for us.
  8. We have created a free tool where you can establish if you (owner) has the right attitude to succeed and if your home has what it takes to succeed.  Complete this free Airbnb Profitability quiz here.
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This is not the question you should ask CapeHolidays. We suggest you read what our guests and owner have to say about us.

  1. See what our Airbnb guest said about our Cape Town Accommodation here.
  2. We are SuperHosts because we do well. See the criteria for SuperHosts here. See the above link to see our SuperHost badge.
  3. We are not driven to be the biggest or largest Accommodation Agency in Cape Town. Our only drive is to be the best. This mindset is critical for our peace of mind and our homeowners and 1000s of guests.
  4. Why would more than 50 owners in and around Cape Town allow us to manage their accommodation? We must be doing something right. 
  5. Why would we be in this business from 2009 if we were to not trustworthy?
  6. Why would owners recommend us if we were not remarkable? See this redacted email we received from an owner wanting an Airbnb accommodation agent in Simonstown.

I hope you don’t mind but I was given your details by Carol, who says that you look after and manage her house in Simonstown. We recently bought a house in Simons Town. We intend to let our the house via Airbnb or Booking.com and wanted to make contact with you to see whether you would be interested in managing it for us. Owner
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airbnb-foolproof-audit

 Underestimate The Ingenuity of Complete Fools.    

This is really well said. In the Airbnb shorter rental business we cannot be more vigilant to the ingenuity of complete fools
When I use the word fool it’s not intended as a judgment; the intention is to rather say, ignorant person. Ignorant in its actions and choices. And these actions and decisions can be the  cause of serious damages and costs .  
All we need is to do what is reasonable to counteract these fools. Understanding we will never cover all ingenuity of complete fools. We, therefore, those owners do a foolproof audit. And keep on fine-tuning it. 

List of possible issues to recover during your foolproof audit.

Fool Proof Checks

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In general, you want to replace expensive things with quality but easily replaceable items.
The most critical of these listed issues must be shared to your manager to add to the listing, where guests book as they must take responsibility for staying knowing about potential risks, and in your house manual and rules.
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Yes. Unfortunately, agreements are to keep the bad guys in line. 90% of people are trustworthy. The problem is complicated 10%. And we need to clarify very important clauses. Clarifying them with our T&Cs sets the scene explaining the rules we try to adhere to. Our ultimate aim is to protect the guest, you and us. But that’s the foundation from where we aim to make all interested parties happy. This is not easy. But we must start at the bottom and then work towards success.
Some of our T&C clauses ar set in stone. A few are negotiable to suit your unique needs. We believe it best for you to read our FAQs, the read the T&Cs and then ask questions. We have two T&Cs; one for owners who only rent only during school holidays and other renting out during the year. These two groups have unique needs.
Read the Agency CapeHolidays Owner T&Cs here.
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In exceptional situations, we agree to the owner managing her own home with her own staff. It is critical that we agree with the owner on the standards guests expect. The past record of owner-managed-homes is not exactly what guests and CapeHolidays expected.
As you may know, guests score SuperHost CapeHolidays at 4.9 out of 5. And owner-managed-homes score less. If they consistently score 4.7 out 5 or less we will have to correct the issue with the owner in no uncertain terms or cancel our agreement.
When we manage the home and a third party (appointed by the owner) have access to the home; this is a recipe for disaster. In most cases, the third party causes friction between CapeHolidays and the owner. To date, this arrangement has never worked. And we will not be interested in managing the accommodation with such a third party arrangement. If this third party report to us, get paid by us and can be fired by us we may agree.
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Initially, owners may want to use their own maintenance teams. But they quickly realise their team many be great but not as responsive as critical- and frustrated guests expect. Time frustrates! And more so when guests are on holiday. You either fix it now or get a bad review. From 2009 we have learned the hard way and have a team subcontracting-maintenance-providers who don’t argue. If we call they jump. And high.  
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Yes. You can. Refer to the T&Cs. In general, you give us 30 days’ written notice, and we close all calendars as per your request. It’s not negotiable that we manage and liaise with all future guests already booked. And you must honour all future but already confirmed bookings.
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A few owners only want occasional bookings and not interested in maximising income.

Yes. We can assist you.

Some Cape Town Accommodation owners only want to get one, two or three bookings during the year. And nothing more. 

We just need to agree to a different T&Cs (see it here) for your specific needs. 

These owners either;

  • tend to live in their homes during the year. 
  • owners who only want a few guests through their home. 

These owners keep the home for their own use or no use during the year and make certain dates exclusively available to CapeHolidays. Agency.CapeHolidays.info are 100% responsible for bookings during this time and the owner will honour all bookings during the agreed availability period. See the consequences and responsibilities for Instant Bookings.

Owners who don’t live in their homes during the year may want the management of their accommodation while they are not here; our T&Cs do not provide for this function. And these owners will need to discuss their needs with us clearly to understand their needs and agree on the management fee to oversee the home during the empty time.

Can You Assist if I only want occasional bookings? Read this FAQ.

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Can I LIST my Airbnb Accommodation with Agency.CapeHolidays.Info?

Yes. Obviously you need to qualify.
  • We only list remarkable accommodation; meaning if the accommodation is extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvelous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, or wow.  Anything average, below par, standard, boring, cheap will not make the grade. To manage accommodation well, is expensive and only any remarkable accommodation can afford management. Let’s consider a one and two-bedroom boring place and a remarkable one bedroom; the rates on the boring places would not justify professional management but the remarkable one bedroom could.
  • 99% of the accommodation we list we manage and market. This means  if you want to market your own accommodation  but only need someone to manage then we will not be able to assist.
  • If you want to  manage your home and need us to market  we can assist as long as you can prove to us you can be as good as we are. I am not saying this to brag; experience has shown that our owner-managed homes don’t get the same high ranking reviews we get when we manage. There are one or two owners who do really well, one or two lower and then a few who are no longer part of our portfolio.  
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No. Unfortunately,
  • we don’t manage while owners do their own marketing. 
  • if owners allow us to market and they do their own bookings; this is a recipe for double bookings. We are taking a risk to maximise your income. To do this we must know all the bookings we make will be honoured without us checking availability with you.
When we list the owner checks availability with us before she reserves the home for herself.
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Many owners want CapeHolidays to manage their accommodation in Cape Town, Simonstown etc, list it with Airbnb and other; the problem is they may wonder if their home will make the grade. Some owners may have an inflated perception of value and expect the ultimate; obviously, when our knowledge of the market does not meet the owner’s expectations we sit with unnecessary conflict. It’s therefore not only the accommodation but includes qualifying the owner.

  1. You can do our free qualifying quiz (here) on your own and get an instant report today.
  2. You send us the best photos of your place. It can be cellphone photos. But it must show everything; the good and the not so good. As long as it’s everything.
  3. Our interest is in remarkable accommodation. Guests must be able to see classiness when they view your staged and professional photos. See FAQs for photos and staging.
  4. Old poorly maintained homes will not make it. Note: Guests are seriously critical.
  5. Remarkable accommodation with great entertainment, pool, beach location, romantic setting, etc, quality easier because guests pay a premium to stay in a house with a pool.
  6. The owner must qualify as well. We establish this by meeting with the owner and understanding her expectations. What incomes she expects against how flexible her rules are and if it is reasonable.

Read more here on how Agency.CapeHolidays.info does business getting 4.9 out of 5-star reviews every time.

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Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more). 

Let’s get to the details:

  • Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
  • Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability. 
  • Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and Booking.com. 
  • All reservations must be accepted by the owner as he appointed us to do it per our T&Cs.
  • CapeHolidays don’t check availability with the owner before a guest do an instant reservation. 
  • But what about owner reservations? The owner agreed to first check availability with the agent at all times and only then reserve the accommodation for his own use.  
  • Owners cancelling guest reservations: cancellations carry no owner penalties only if the cause is a major disaster or something out of reasonable control. 
  • Owners ending/cancelling the agreement do it in writing. All current/confirmed reservations are honoured. Any owner not communicating the cancellation of the agreement will honour future bookings. If these are not communicated and/or honoured the owner is liable for penalties. 
  • All websites like Airbnb and Booking.com do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here

What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking

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Our objective is not to discourage owner-stays. It will not be reasonable. However, we have found a few owners would do many owner-reservations. And some would change these reservations as things change.  And it becomes an administration hassle. We want to assist but have decided that after ten zero cost reservations by the owner per year to charge an admin fee of R450 per reservation/change. This will keep unnecessary changes to a minimum. In extra ordinary cases we can discuss it with the owner. 

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An Owner Pieter recommended Sandra and husband John. Around the dining table, they heard about the slug of money Pieter got renting his home over peak. 

The one couple got easy money over Christmas and the others wanted to be part of the rainbow. 

Sandra showed us their upmarket apartment close to the beach. It was not guest ready yet. But we assisted in staging the accommodation and the photos were really great. This is going to be a winner. 

We sent them the T&Cs to read, discuss, agree, sign and send back. 

Nothing. Eventually, we got an email;

We know Peter who has a property that you have rented over the high season period. We are comfortable with a similar arrangement with our property. 

Long story short; the: similar arrangement was based on a handshake. Although low incidence, renting out accommodation has various risks. And things had to change. Easy verbal arrangements are great and easy but…. 

Various parties with different expectations make it difficult to just shake hands on hope for the best:

  1. The owner has risks, fears, and needs. 
  2. Guests have high expectations. 
  3. The management agent must address the issues of the owner and guests. 
  4. The provider Airbnb, Booking.com or other third-party agents has its own set of rules. 
  5. And where there is money the one holding it is controlling the roost. 

The rare incidents can be severe. Let me explain:

Since starting out Cape Town Management Agency during 2009 we only had three cancellations due to extenuating circumstances. All during 2019. An insignificant issue as measured in incidence and 4% in value. 

The three owners feeling the burn and are now out of pocket. These cancellations occur last minute. And in most cases, guests book at least two months in advance. Meaning; we will not get another booking. 

Two of the affected owners, we paid a substantial amount, said they were not aware we market their home on Airbnb and did not realise the risk.

One owner asked us to share the risks in more detail. Obviously, this is one example of many. 

An agreement has various purposes:

  • It draws the lines within which the guest, owner, and agent plays the game. 
  • It sets out and explains expectations for parties. It shares timelines, responsibilities, and duties. 
  • It explains the risks in no uncertain terms. And owners have the right to know. 
  • It keeps all involved as honest as is possible. 
  • It indicates to us that we have the right to represent the owner and the owner is committed. 
  • In exchange for generating an income, for the committed owner, we brand the owner’s home with the trustworthiness we established over many years. These include being SuperHosts and having nearly a thousand 4.9 out of 5 Star reviews. And we cannot risk losing these with owners who say, “Sorry, we shook hands and you did not tell me about that!” 
  • Money complicates things. Example: we get paid by Airbnb, we paid the owner; what happens when there’s a refund or cancellation? Airbnb immediately takes the money from us. Now we need to recover the money from the owner. This can become a mess when based on a cordial handshake. 

Our Terms and conditions are general. It may not cover all your specific needs. Certain clauses are negotiable others not. We can add, and adapt some. 

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Our Airbnb holiday accommodation is all remarkable.

They don’t have to be luxury but everyone walking in should say WOW! If it’s not, it’s not good enough. From start to finish, we try to think about designing a more remarkable experience.  

Read more on Foolproof Audit
What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.
  1. We must do an audit of the home before we list it. This audit ensures the investment against bad reviews – it’s not foolproof but does eliminate most nasty surprises. (Why do you need at least 40 reviews?) 
  2. Foolproof: If it can break it will break. Your long hair white carpet is a serious fool failure. Your crystal glasses are cool but why? Guests will use and break them – mostly not on purpose. Why not rather use excellent generics we can replace easily? Steps; are they dangerous? Can you add a gate to prevent accidents? Do it! Do a foolproof audit.
  3. Fumigate: If you live in the home and it’s only available during holidays; fumigate! Cockroaches are very expensive insects! Dogs, and cats? Fumigate; fleas are also expensive mistakes. And you will refund guests whatever your agent negotiates on your behalf. No questions asked! Just refund! 
  4. Some owners initially find it difficult to contemplate guests will use their home and to trust their agents who control their homes.  
  5. Don’t skimp on features; proper WiFi is non-negotiable, Netflix, TV, Nespresso, BBQ, sharp knives, extra blankets in the lounge for cold winters,  etc. 
  6. The above goes hand in hand with the continued investment in improvements. Guests regularly recommend things. We don’t compromise on these as they improve profitability.

Use Our Free Quiz To Qualify Your Airbnb Accommodation here.

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 There Are Other Ways To Reduce Risk: Discrimination Is Absolute Useless As A Measure!

The age of people, their sexual orientation, the colour of their skin, their physical inabilities, etc. do not define if they will trample your home, or expose you to risk. 

 Risk comes in all possible disguises.   
Read more on vetting guests

You can set an age limit for kids. But that’s about it. You can share liability risks. But only the guest can decide on your honest rules and warnings that will lower expectations.

Today, with Airbnb-homeowner and guest reviews you  get a legal way to discriminate between good and bad 

Consider Transparency As Your Risk Reducing Measure!

Bad Airbnb guests have previous public reviews. And if they are not good you don’t have to accept their booking. If they have no reviews you can try and qualify them. But  there is no obligation to accommodate zero-reviewed-guest. .

We have found the change in guests behaviour pre and post the arrival of Airbnb significant. In the past guests would have very little respect. Today they care. Even owners have jacked up their offering.  Because no one gets away with bad stuff today.  

Transparency: Guests do care about their public profile.

The solution today is not discrimination; the real issue is rather: from which marketing site does the guest originate from? If the guest is an Airbnb referral the risk is less than when compared to any other website where there are no social profile risks | no real transparency.

NOTE: There is no foolproof way. Things can go wrong. And the way this world operates it will go wrong. But we should always try to minimise risk. 

airbnb-discrimination

 

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Exclusive Mandate: The Owner gives Agency.CapeHolidays.info authority to act on its behalf regarding the marketing and management of the Owner’s property for short term holiday rentals as per our T&CS.

The main focus of the mandate is the availability calendar; as your agents,

  1. we cannot afford double bookings,
  2. we cannot, therefore, allow another to claim days on the calendar.
  3. The calendar is only valid if we were involved with any changes to the calendar.

Management of the property: We cannot manage and get 5 out of 5 star reviews if unauthorised persons access the home without our knowledge. We have seen too many times where guests arrived at a prepared home to find another left stuff, used the toilet, or wrinkled a cushion by sitting on it.

To keep up the standards across all homes we need homeowners to give us full authority.

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In the hospitality business the motto is:

Act Fast Or Feel The Brunt Of Guest Revenge! Experience Airbnb Agent
Why Keep A Management Kitty?

The mandate we agreed with the owner is to do everything within reason to get a 5-star review. We can never use the excuse,  “Guest, please wait for 24 hours, as we cannot get hold of the owner to okay replacing the geyser”. 

If we cannot authorize work, in an emergency with our proven and trusted workmen, then the owner is not really committed to us and our aims with the home.

Most emergencies we may get hold of the owner immediately but if we cannot we must act. Immediately.

Guests don’t mind that things can go wrong. But they hate it when you don’t really care. Their only measure of how much you care is how quick you act!Experience Airbnb Agent
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Why Keep A Management Kitty?

More on emergency breakdowns
Owner-only-kitty is kept to cover management costs. We must correct an issue (maintenance, DSTV, electricity, gas, or other) when it occurs.

  1. A few owners tend to forget to pay their monthly accounts. When this happens you don’t want to let the guests suffer because the owner is asleep.
  2. Other times, maintenance is required, and getting money from the owner to pay or waiting for a booking to pay is not clever.

Note: Your Cash Flow statement is up to date 24/7 and shows you at any time what is in the kitty and what money is outstanding at any time.

kittyairbnb

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Yes. It happens. How do we manage future bookings for owners who want to sell or who are very sick? 

Obviously, if you pass away it’s an extenuating circumstance and we are allowed to cancel. With terminal illness or selling of your accommodation, you have a transition period where you may want the bookings to continue. And it is possible.

Let me remind you of the T&C clause in question:

3.3 If the OWNER cancels or cannot host as agreed, a confirmed booking, a penalty of US$1500 will be paid by the OWNER to the AGENT and the OWNER will be kept liable for any additional losses incurred by the guest who made the booking and any losses occurred by the AGENT, excluding ‘Acts of God’.T&Cs

This clause does not change at all, other than for extenuating circumstances.

 But there is a way to limit the exposure and it is very simple: 

You close the future booking window from 12 to 18 months to only three months in advance.

This means at any time when the owner sells their property, only the next three months’ worth of bookings must be honoured. As you know; estate transfers take about three months. 

 If this interests the owner, they must just ask us in writing to only open a rolling three-month booking window. 

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Procedure when I want to sell my home while you manage.

An owner may think that it’s easy selling their home while we try and keep guests happy.

Unfortunately, the consequences are not obvious to the outsider. Paying guests will not tolerate intrusions. Never. Ever!

You can ask nicely; they may oblige but deep down they are disappointed when “their home” is intruded upon. 

And the one small consequence? A bad review!

We are extremely protective of our SuperHost status (more here), and our nearly 1000, 5 out of 5-star ratings. We will not sacrifice quality under any circumstances.

Therefore, while we manage and market your home, you must be aware of the limitations.

There is a price to pay for this. And it may be better to cancel our agreement than to compromise our commitment to you, your home and the guests with high expectations.

You know the saying:

You can’t have your cake and eat it too…

There is a conflict between your needs to have a rental income and selling your home. Your rental agent must ensure the integrity of the home at all times while the real estate agent wants access now and will do whatever to get access.

We must find a way for all three interested parties to work hand in hand.

The following procedure is applicable while we have a mandate to market and manage your home.

Obviously, if the owner believes it is too restrictive then we need to consider the request.

But if the request limits our ability to ensure guest’s privacy or a third party interferes with the quality (as we have set it up for guests), then we must reconsider the agreement.

Please read this FAQ first for some background info.

The following procedure applies:

  1. The T&Cs indicate that you need to honour all future bookings. To reduce the risk we recommend you limit the availability calendar. For example, you can ask us to open a rolling one month or three-month availability-window. This will, however, reduce occupancy; most people book at least 2 to six months in advance. The further the calendar extends (opens) the higher the occupancy but the higher the risk that the property may sell and the new owner may not want to honour the bookings. In that case, you, the responsible party, will be liable for additional costs and penalties of at least $1500 plus relocating costs.
  2. Any real estate agent wanting to show the home or wanting access to the home can only enter through Agency.CapeHolidays.
  3. At no time will the real estate agent be permitted to enter the home without an appointment with Agency.CapeHolidays.
  4. Never will real estate agents engage with guests.
  5. No real estate agent will have keys to the home.
  6. Should the owner give access to a third party without our knowledge or consent and we cannot resolve the issue amicably the owner has by default cancelled the agreement and must honour all future bookings as per our T&CS.
  7. Agency.CapeHolidays cannot be responsible for the property when there’s a third party with uncontrolled access. Let me be blunt; if a third party has access without our control the risk is too high and we would not be interested to continue our mandate.
  8. The owner may choose to block a few days per month for viewings. But again only via Agency.CapeHolidays.Info.
  9. The owner must notify Agency.CapeHolidays.Info immediately when a sales agreement has been signed.
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Controlling the number of guests is not easy. When they arrive you can count them, then you see them seven days later when there’s a linen change or when they checkout.

Obviously guests are clever and will ensure the right number of guests when they meet the manager.

In between arrival and departure, there is no physical interaction with the guests and it is based on trust.

As more and more people use Airbnb and short term rentals other hosts have had extra guest problems. Some of the hosts live in Johannesburg with a place in Cape Town where the guest enters keyless.  No one to count. 

If you are an owner-manager ensure that you and your staff are aware of the number of people who have confirmed.

We send the owner and the manager an email confirming the dates and number of guests who have reserved the home. Unfortunately, not-too-honest guests will try their luck and have more people over. 

How do remote hosts resolve the issue?

Various non-intrusive options are available to detect noise.  Read more here. Party Squasher is another great option if only it was available in SA; it knows when there are too many people in your home by counting the number of mobile devices in the vicinity (more). 

capetownairbnbvideocamerasI could not find a smart noise alert device available to South Africa yet. I, therefore, suggest a  relatively cheap video camera  installed at the entrance (and declare it to guests). This video camera should link to the manager’s phone where she can check if she needs to. The above camera cost about an R1000 installed. In other words; if a manager has to do 3 headcount checks it would pay you back after three such visits. 

Agency.CapeHolidays can go and do an extra check on the number of guests at the standard incident fee relevant at that stage.  My concern is that it’s a very infrequent issue and throwing repetitive money to do a physical check is costly over time.  Please send requests to check guest number more often in writing. 

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This answer is specific to owners who only rent out during school holidays

Here are some of the responsibilities of the domestic. For any deviation, the appointed manager must be notified immediately.  Below are 15 minimum functions for the domestic.   Available to Agency.CapeHolidays homeowners and management staff. 

Owner Only Protected Area

This content is password-protected. Ask for password on your mobile via WhatsApp Me HERE! OR try +828702004 Then please verify with your password to unlock the content.

Be friendly, be accommodating, be FIRM!

We want a 5 Star review but our integrity is not for sale.

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The Best Owners To Assist with Airbnb Management

I wish we had a crystal ball. Because it can go wrong. And it will – more here on the Airbnb Marriage Made In Hell.

When you work with an owner you have to become a team. There is no opposition. Because a good agent assist the owner by doing what the owner expects.  And if the OWNER wins the AGENT wins as well.  Is that not ideal?

Let’s consider a few qualifiers:

  1. If an enquiring owner kicks off asking how much we charge, you know he is shopping for the cheapest deal. We are not in the auction business.
  2. bestairbnbownersOwners who are not interested in reading, or rather studying our FAQs. These FAQs make our relationship transparent. We know. And you know. There are no surprises. When we get an owner not interested in reading the FAQs we know we don’t have a team member. We may end up with more and more misunderstandings.
  3. When owners start micromanage us. It’s great to get the owner’s input and it’s encouraged. But if it continues never-ending, it becomes pedantic, demanding, etc then the relationship will strain. It’s like you assisting your friend with his bad tooth. 
  4. When owners expect us to maximize income but they want to set rates. Unfortunately maximising income should never be left to the owner. In the past, we had various owners who thought high rates equal high income. It’s not and owners have lost massive opportunities. More here!
  5. Owner’s who are very protective, and owners who cannot handle criticisms will find it difficult. Very difficult. Guests can be cruel. Be willing to learn. And improve from each criticism.
  6.  Owners who tend to focus on reducing costs  instead of investing in ways to increase demand for their home.  What you save being stingy will never compare to what you lose not investing in improvements.   If you want to focus on cost then it’s better to get a management company who does everything as cheaply as possible while increasing profitability is not an issue.
  7. Trust. Some owners trust very few people. If this is you then rather find another Airbnb management agency.
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School Holiday Owners (38)

If the owner ensures the calendar is always correct there is no reasonable-justification, for the owner, to cancel; other than for extenuating circumstance (Acts of God).

Therefore clause 3.3 in our T&CS should never be an issue. This clause, however, will ensure owners who may not have the best intentions stay honest. And is that not one reason for an agreement; to keep the bad guys honest?

The quick answer is you can not cancel any booking. And not reporting unavailability to us for whatever reason has serious consequences.

Here’s the long version:

Risk. As you know all businesses have some risk. Even though these risks have an extremely low probability please take note. 

One of the risks is what’s called Instant Bookings. Instant bookings increase the chance for bookings. 

When guests meet set criteria they can instant-book. And we cannot cancel as we will face severe penalties. Not only is there a cost involved but we can easily lose our SuperHost status. 

When an owner agrees to our terms and conditions we share this risk and must limit it. 

We, therefore, must indicate to owners, who may not take this seriously, the risk and consequences

Let me quote the Terms and Conditions

3.3 If the OWNER cancels or cannot host as agreed, a confirmed booking, a penalty of US$1500 will be paid by the OWNER to the AGENT and the OWNER will be kept liable for any additional losses incurred by the guest who made the booking and any losses occurred by the AGENT, excluding ‘Acts of God’.

The loss, when the owner rejects a confirmed booking, is not measured only in monetary terms. No. The cost to lose our SuperHost status is not quantifiable. 

Booking.Com makes it more difficult. 

Booking.com says that if you cancel a confirmed booking, you must find alternative accommodation for the guests. If you cannot they will find similar accommodation, and if the rates are higher then you will be liable to pay the cost to relocate the guest. 

Therefore, we, explicitly, share with the owner the risks and consequences of rejecting a confirmed booking. 

How often does this happen? 

Well, infrequently, but we have had one or two peak only owners who have asked us to market and then remove their homes from the market, without notifying us when it happens. In these cases, we accidentally learned about it. Next time we may not be that lucky. 

The risks are low as long as owners inform us of changes well in advance. 

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When you list your home it has  ZERO trustability ; no reviews and no bookings. 

More on the topic
Why Should I List With You If I can Do Airbnb
What do we provide for the commission we take?

But, when we list your home, under our Flag – CapeHolidays, your home is seen as a SuperHost home immediately. Our GOODWILL becomes yours.

To be SuperHosts:

We must maintain a 4.8 star rating with positive reviews (more on criteria).  Something we have achieved:

Superhosts CapeHolidays

As you can see we score 4.9 out 5 for every of the nearly 600 guests who reviewed us. Designed for success from 2009. 

For this reason, we are SuperHosts and very proud of it (see our profile at Airbnb). 

CapeHolidays SuperHosts

Obviously, we can, with confidence, say we are a successful professional Airbnb Agency in Cape Town.

Because of this Badge of Trust, we share it with owners who are willing to work with us and have remarkable accommodation. 

Unfortunately, choosing remarkability is not that easy. Why? Because the final judge is the very critical guest who paid to stay and have earned the right to review your home.

These guests come with high expectations. If your home fails at the first booking it will be uphill to recover. 

When we choose, the owner and/or the home, incorrectly we could lose our SuperHost status. Therefore, we must be supercritical before a holiday home is added to our portfolio.

Guests who book and see our SuperHost badge know:

  1. Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.
  2. When we reached Superhost status, a SuperHost badge automatically appears on our listing and profile to help guests identify us.
  3. Airbnb checks Superhosts’ activity four times a year, to ensure that the program highlights the people who are most dedicated to providing outstanding hospitality.

In other words, SuperHosts attract more business because of established trust. This overcomes the lack of trust you have when you list your home from ground-zero. It takes time and lower rates to attract guests when you are new and competing with the masses out there.

I have said it:

We choose our owners and homes very carefully. 

We are a team working together and the sky’s the limit. And there is nothing like reading reviews from happy guests. Wait. You’ll see. It’s fun to bank good money while everyone is happy!

Read more on criteria to become SuperHosts.

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How and when will I be paid?

One day after the arrival of the guests you get paid. The only thing to take note of is Tripadvisor and the sites it uses. Tripadvisor make guests pay in USA dollars. And only pay us 1 day after arrival. Due to exchange rate fluctuations, the amount paid may be slightly different from the one we quoted you – we quote you in rands at the time of the booking.  

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I regularly get questions like, “Are you taking a big enough breakage deposit?” 

Injuries, accidents and your liability seem to be on the back burner. 

But let me answer your breakage deposit concern first. 

As an owner, you want to protect your belongings against breakages. You can throw money at the problem or you make it as foolproof as possible. 

After a thorough foolproof audit and making changes, the next defense is a breakage deposit. 

Read more on Foolproof Audit
What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.

How high should the breakage be to cover your home? Can you consider any figure you believe is high enough? 

Okay. You decide to hit them hard with a high breakage deposit. But the consequence is; no more bookings. Nothing. 

Obviously, we need to consider the risk. How many breakages occur and how severe are they? 

  • How often do we claim for breakages from guests? Probably less than 1%.
  • Has our conservative breakage deposit covered these breakages? 99% of the time. 

Instead of limiting or stopping bookings it’s our view to get a breakage deposit about equal to one day’s rates during high season. 

But you may be risk-averse and want more. Your only choice (not really a choice) is to get your short term insurer involved. You must tell him you do short term accommodation and want insurance for breakages, accidents and liability claims. 

Let’s get back to breakages:

  • If breakage is more than the deposit, then insurance must kick in. It’s easier than taking legal action against the guest. 
  • If another non-guest with access to the home breaks something or has an accident the insurance must cover the loss. 
  • Obviously, if it is malicious damage the owner can take legal action. 

Action:

  1. Get insurance and third-party liability insurance. 
  2. Set a reasonable breakage deposit. 
  3. Do a foolproof audit. And act on it.

In general, short term rental accommodation business is easy if you do the common sense issues well. They are simple. But relentlessly risky if skimped.

P.S. If it can break it will break. This does not mean we must change to plastic plates and glasses. Everyday use items must be easily replaceable in the blink of an eye. To claim from a guest for such accidental breakages is not ideal.

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Our Agency Management Terms and Condition are not cast in stone. Some clauses are negotiable. Some others are not. It’s important that you read it. And understand it. This FAQ will answer any issues you may have. Read the T&Cs here.

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CapeHoliday’s Accommodation Management Costs

    1. The explanation: cost drivers.

    2. Video: cash flow; income, expenses, reservations, payments and expense summaries.

    3. Add the Spreadsheet To Your Mobile Home Screen. 

Note: We get two kinds of owners; those who want to unlock the value of their home and bank a healthy profit and those who want to save costs.

The latter always consider costs to operate, but the first consider the opportunity and to learn how they can bank more.

airbnb-money-saving-tip

The one considers problems, the other solutions.  We tend to work best with owners who don’t skimp on investing in guest experiences which results in more guests, better reviews, more trust, and more profit.  

Explanation of Costs.

Owners who utilize CapeHolidays Management Agency are obviously interested in costs to manage their Cape Town holiday accommodation. And it can be confusing. So, let me try and explain. 

Most Accommodation Management companies in Cape Town requires a fixed management fee per month.  In our case, we don’t.  We could not see why we need to charge owners a fee if there is no activity at the home. This is why our management fee is the cost per incident.

The major cost management drivers (change over cost) are:

  1. Meeting and greeting guests.
  2. Change over costs includes laundry, cleaning the home, and replenishing essentials (Olive oil, toilet paper, salt & pepper, coffee, tea, etc). As this is self-catering essentials are stocked just to see the guest over for a day or two – a starter pack.

How much are the actual incident fees? This depends on the home but the minimum is currently R350 per incident. But can be different depending on the house. It can change at any time. And owners will be informed if it does.

All costs; every-day running the home is not included. These not include fees are, but not limited to, rates and taxes, Internet, DSTV, pool, electricity, etc.

The change over cost is per booking. Each booking has at least one meet, greet, and clean. The variables costs are; laundry, consumables, extra service and window cleaning, upholstery- and carpet cleaning (if and when needed).

Every guest who books pays the total rate for the stay and an extra, one-off, change-over fee to cover most of the change-over cost but not all costs.

You may ask, “why does the change-over-fee not cover all the costs?” The problem is not that we can increase the change over fee but we must consider the total rate the guest is willing to pay. We, therefore, make the fee “just enough”. 

When we get paid by the guest we deduct our commission and pay you the total excluding the change-over fee. The change-over-fee is credited to your account. This means you get it but it’s not paid to you directly but used to cover costs. 

When we get invoiced by the contractors (meeting, greeting, laundry, etc) we debit this change-over-credit. 

Most of the time the change-over fee will not cover the full services rendered, and the reason why we keep a kitty for these costs. 

Let me summarise:

  1. The guest pays the rental fee plus a change-over fee.
  2. After we deduct our commission and we credit your account with the rental amount and the change-over fee. 
  3. When and if we get an invoice from our contractors for each incident – for example; meeting, greeting, cleaning, laundry, etc., we indicate the reason for the cost and debit against your account. 

The actual change-over-fee and per-incident management costs are shared with the owner as soon as we have met and discussed the home and the individual owner’s needs.

Video Explaining CapeHoliday’s Accommodation Management Costs

Finding The Cash Flow Spreadsheet when you need it?

It is very simple to do on your mobile phone. You can also add it to your desktop computer but today I’ll only share how to save it on your mobile Home Screen!

Steps:

  1. You get the Cash Flow via email from CapeHolidays
  2. Open the email and click on the button “Cash Flow” while using your mobile phone or e-pad.
  3. It will open in Google Sheets.
  4. If you use an Android Phone (Samsung, and other) watch this 1-minute long video to save where you can get it.
  5. If you use an iPhone or similar watch this short video on how to save this sheet to your mobile home screen.
  6. Now you have a button on your phone with access to the Cash Flow every minute of every day.
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New Airbnb owners should be aware of the hosting risks of Airbnb and do something to limit it.

NOTE: In general, you may never even encounter any of these issues. Reading about these risks may scare many owners. If that is the case then you make take this as an absolute. It’s not. The risks are very low.  

Let’s consider a list of risks of hosting Airbnb guests and solutions here:

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Airbnb Guests book remarkable accommodation before they book a home with poor photos, boring interior. Homes don’t have to be luxury but everyone walking in should know this is a unique place! We believe…..

If it’s not remarkable it’s not good enough. From start to finish, we try to think about designing a more remarkable experience.

  1. We must do an audit of the home before we list it. This audit is like ensuring our (with you we are a team) investment against bad reviews – it’s not foolproof but does eliminate most nasty surprises. (Why do you need at least 40 reviews? more here) 
  2. Foolproof: If it can break it will break. Your long hair white carpet is a serious fool failure. Your crystal glasses are cool but why? Guests will use and break them – mostly not on purpose. Why not rather use excellent generics we can replace easily? Steps; are they dangerous? Can you add a gate to prevent accidents? Do it! Do a foolproof audit.
    Read more on Foolproof Audit
    What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.
  3. Fumigate: If you live in the home and it’s only available during holidays; fumigate! Cockroaches are very expensive insects! Dogs, and cats? Fumigate; fleas are also expensive mistakes. And you will refund guests whatever your agent negotiates on your behalf. No questions asked! Just refund! 
  4. Owners Having To Open Their Home: Some owners initially find it difficult to contemplate guests will use their home and to trust their agents who control their homes.  
  5. Limited features; proper WiFi is non-negotiable, Netflix, TV, Nespresso, BBQ, sharp knives, extra blankets in the lounge for cold winters,  etc. 
  6. The above goes hand in hand with the continued improvements. Guests regularly recommend things. We don’t compromise on these as they improve profitability.
  7. Staging of a home: without staging, guests may not be able to imagine how they could use your home. Professional photos of a staged home is the way to go. The only way for us.
  8. We have created a free tool where you can establish if you (owner) has the right attitude to succeed and if your home has what it takes to succeed.  Complete this free Airbnb Profitability quiz here.
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This is not the question you should ask CapeHolidays. We suggest you read what our guests and owner have to say about us.

  1. See what our Airbnb guest said about our Cape Town Accommodation here.
  2. We are SuperHosts because we do well. See the criteria for SuperHosts here. See the above link to see our SuperHost badge.
  3. We are not driven to be the biggest or largest Accommodation Agency in Cape Town. Our only drive is to be the best. This mindset is critical for our peace of mind and our homeowners and 1000s of guests.
  4. Why would more than 50 owners in and around Cape Town allow us to manage their accommodation? We must be doing something right. 
  5. Why would we be in this business from 2009 if we were to not trustworthy?
  6. Why would owners recommend us if we were not remarkable? See this redacted email we received from an owner wanting an Airbnb accommodation agent in Simonstown.

I hope you don’t mind but I was given your details by Carol, who says that you look after and manage her house in Simonstown. We recently bought a house in Simons Town. We intend to let our the house via Airbnb or Booking.com and wanted to make contact with you to see whether you would be interested in managing it for us. Owner
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Yes. We use a professional company to take photos. They are not a staging company and only come in a do the shoot. Their basic 20 package is very affordable. They also do a 40 shoot with drone shots. Larger properties (+4 bedrooms) do the 40 photo-shoot. It’s critical that professional the property is staged. Check the FAQ on Staging.
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Potential guests have very many choices. And we have found that photos sell. But photos do a lot better of selling if the home is staged. Guests need to imagine staying at your home. And guests book our homes faster than the norm as measured in occupancy by Airbnb.
Agency CapeHolidays use a Cape Town Airbnb professional stager to evaluate the home, recommend changes to the owner, and when all things are in place she will do the staging on day of the photoshoot.  The staging service starts at R450 depending on the scope of work and size of the accommodation.
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airbnb-foolproof-audit

 Underestimate The Ingenuity of Complete Fools.    

This is really well said. In the Airbnb shorter rental business we cannot be more vigilant to the ingenuity of complete fools
When I use the word fool it’s not intended as a judgment; the intention is to rather say, ignorant person. Ignorant in its actions and choices. And these actions and decisions can be the  cause of serious damages and costs .  
All we need is to do what is reasonable to counteract these fools. Understanding we will never cover all ingenuity of complete fools. We, therefore, those owners do a foolproof audit. And keep on fine-tuning it. 

List of possible issues to recover during your foolproof audit.

Fool Proof Checks

Owner Only Protected Area

This content is password-protected. Ask for password on your mobile via WhatsApp Me HERE! OR try +828702004 Then please verify with your password to unlock the content.

In general, you want to replace expensive things with quality but easily replaceable items.
The most critical of these listed issues must be shared to your manager to add to the listing, where guests book as they must take responsibility for staying knowing about potential risks, and in your house manual and rules.
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Yes. Unfortunately, agreements are to keep the bad guys in line. 90% of people are trustworthy. The problem is complicated 10%. And we need to clarify very important clauses. Clarifying them with our T&Cs sets the scene explaining the rules we try to adhere to. Our ultimate aim is to protect the guest, you and us. But that’s the foundation from where we aim to make all interested parties happy. This is not easy. But we must start at the bottom and then work towards success.
Some of our T&C clauses ar set in stone. A few are negotiable to suit your unique needs. We believe it best for you to read our FAQs, the read the T&Cs and then ask questions. We have two T&Cs; one for owners who only rent only during school holidays and other renting out during the year. These two groups have unique needs.
Read the Agency CapeHolidays Owner T&Cs here.
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In exceptional situations, we agree to the owner managing her own home with her own staff. It is critical that we agree with the owner on the standards guests expect. The past record of owner-managed-homes is not exactly what guests and CapeHolidays expected.
As you may know, guests score SuperHost CapeHolidays at 4.9 out of 5. And owner-managed-homes score less. If they consistently score 4.7 out 5 or less we will have to correct the issue with the owner in no uncertain terms or cancel our agreement.
When we manage the home and a third party (appointed by the owner) have access to the home; this is a recipe for disaster. In most cases, the third party causes friction between CapeHolidays and the owner. To date, this arrangement has never worked. And we will not be interested in managing the accommodation with such a third party arrangement. If this third party report to us, get paid by us and can be fired by us we may agree.
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Initially, owners may want to use their own maintenance teams. But they quickly realise their team many be great but not as responsive as critical- and frustrated guests expect. Time frustrates! And more so when guests are on holiday. You either fix it now or get a bad review. From 2009 we have learned the hard way and have a team subcontracting-maintenance-providers who don’t argue. If we call they jump. And high.  
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Can I LIST my Airbnb Accommodation with Agency.CapeHolidays.Info?

Yes. Obviously you need to qualify.
  • We only list remarkable accommodation; meaning if the accommodation is extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvelous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, or wow.  Anything average, below par, standard, boring, cheap will not make the grade. To manage accommodation well, is expensive and only any remarkable accommodation can afford management. Let’s consider a one and two-bedroom boring place and a remarkable one bedroom; the rates on the boring places would not justify professional management but the remarkable one bedroom could.
  • 99% of the accommodation we list we manage and market. This means  if you want to market your own accommodation  but only need someone to manage then we will not be able to assist.
  • If you want to  manage your home and need us to market  we can assist as long as you can prove to us you can be as good as we are. I am not saying this to brag; experience has shown that our owner-managed homes don’t get the same high ranking reviews we get when we manage. There are one or two owners who do really well, one or two lower and then a few who are no longer part of our portfolio.  
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Many owners want CapeHolidays to manage their accommodation in Cape Town, Simonstown etc, list it with Airbnb and other; the problem is they may wonder if their home will make the grade. Some owners may have an inflated perception of value and expect the ultimate; obviously, when our knowledge of the market does not meet the owner’s expectations we sit with unnecessary conflict. It’s therefore not only the accommodation but includes qualifying the owner.

  1. You can do our free qualifying quiz (here) on your own and get an instant report today.
  2. You send us the best photos of your place. It can be cellphone photos. But it must show everything; the good and the not so good. As long as it’s everything.
  3. Our interest is in remarkable accommodation. Guests must be able to see classiness when they view your staged and professional photos. See FAQs for photos and staging.
  4. Old poorly maintained homes will not make it. Note: Guests are seriously critical.
  5. Remarkable accommodation with great entertainment, pool, beach location, romantic setting, etc, quality easier because guests pay a premium to stay in a house with a pool.
  6. The owner must qualify as well. We establish this by meeting with the owner and understanding her expectations. What incomes she expects against how flexible her rules are and if it is reasonable.

Read more here on how Agency.CapeHolidays.info does business getting 4.9 out of 5-star reviews every time.

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Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more). 

Let’s get to the details:

  • Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
  • Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability. 
  • Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and Booking.com. 
  • All reservations must be accepted by the owner as he appointed us to do it per our T&Cs.
  • CapeHolidays don’t check availability with the owner before a guest do an instant reservation. 
  • But what about owner reservations? The owner agreed to first check availability with the agent at all times and only then reserve the accommodation for his own use.  
  • Owners cancelling guest reservations: cancellations carry no owner penalties only if the cause is a major disaster or something out of reasonable control. 
  • Owners ending/cancelling the agreement do it in writing. All current/confirmed reservations are honoured. Any owner not communicating the cancellation of the agreement will honour future bookings. If these are not communicated and/or honoured the owner is liable for penalties. 
  • All websites like Airbnb and Booking.com do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here

What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking

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Within 24 of a reservation, you’ll receive an email titled Confirmed Booking.  We share the following reservation info:

  • Name of guest
  • Dates
  • Number of guests
  • Amount to be paid to you.

And the CONFIRMED BOOKING may not be changed or canceled by the owner or CapeHolldays. 

Depending on the BOOKING SITE’s T&Cs we may only receive the money one day after arrival. 

Obviously, these bookings can be canceled; due to lack of payment or cancellations as per T&Cs

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An Owner Pieter recommended Sandra and husband John. Around the dining table, they heard about the slug of money Pieter got renting his home over peak. 

The one couple got easy money over Christmas and the others wanted to be part of the rainbow. 

Sandra showed us their upmarket apartment close to the beach. It was not guest ready yet. But we assisted in staging the accommodation and the photos were really great. This is going to be a winner. 

We sent them the T&Cs to read, discuss, agree, sign and send back. 

Nothing. Eventually, we got an email;

We know Peter who has a property that you have rented over the high season period. We are comfortable with a similar arrangement with our property. 

Long story short; the: similar arrangement was based on a handshake. Although low incidence, renting out accommodation has various risks. And things had to change. Easy verbal arrangements are great and easy but…. 

Various parties with different expectations make it difficult to just shake hands on hope for the best:

  1. The owner has risks, fears, and needs. 
  2. Guests have high expectations. 
  3. The management agent must address the issues of the owner and guests. 
  4. The provider Airbnb, Booking.com or other third-party agents has its own set of rules. 
  5. And where there is money the one holding it is controlling the roost. 

The rare incidents can be severe. Let me explain:

Since starting out Cape Town Management Agency during 2009 we only had three cancellations due to extenuating circumstances. All during 2019. An insignificant issue as measured in incidence and 4% in value. 

The three owners feeling the burn and are now out of pocket. These cancellations occur last minute. And in most cases, guests book at least two months in advance. Meaning; we will not get another booking. 

Two of the affected owners, we paid a substantial amount, said they were not aware we market their home on Airbnb and did not realise the risk.

One owner asked us to share the risks in more detail. Obviously, this is one example of many. 

An agreement has various purposes:

  • It draws the lines within which the guest, owner, and agent plays the game. 
  • It sets out and explains expectations for parties. It shares timelines, responsibilities, and duties. 
  • It explains the risks in no uncertain terms. And owners have the right to know. 
  • It keeps all involved as honest as is possible. 
  • It indicates to us that we have the right to represent the owner and the owner is committed. 
  • In exchange for generating an income, for the committed owner, we brand the owner’s home with the trustworthiness we established over many years. These include being SuperHosts and having nearly a thousand 4.9 out of 5 Star reviews. And we cannot risk losing these with owners who say, “Sorry, we shook hands and you did not tell me about that!” 
  • Money complicates things. Example: we get paid by Airbnb, we paid the owner; what happens when there’s a refund or cancellation? Airbnb immediately takes the money from us. Now we need to recover the money from the owner. This can become a mess when based on a cordial handshake. 

Our Terms and conditions are general. It may not cover all your specific needs. Certain clauses are negotiable others not. We can add, and adapt some. 

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Our Airbnb holiday accommodation is all remarkable.

They don’t have to be luxury but everyone walking in should say WOW! If it’s not, it’s not good enough. From start to finish, we try to think about designing a more remarkable experience.  

Read more on Foolproof Audit
What to check for when doing a foolproof audit – get it here.
  1. We must do an audit of the home before we list it. This audit ensures the investment against bad reviews – it’s not foolproof but does eliminate most nasty surprises. (Why do you need at least 40 reviews?) 
  2. Foolproof: If it can break it will break. Your long hair white carpet is a serious fool failure. Your crystal glasses are cool but why? Guests will use and break them – mostly not on purpose. Why not rather use excellent generics we can replace easily? Steps; are they dangerous? Can you add a gate to prevent accidents? Do it! Do a foolproof audit.
  3. Fumigate: If you live in the home and it’s only available during holidays; fumigate! Cockroaches are very expensive insects! Dogs, and cats? Fumigate; fleas are also expensive mistakes. And you will refund guests whatever your agent negotiates on your behalf. No questions asked! Just refund! 
  4. Some owners initially find it difficult to contemplate guests will use their home and to trust their agents who control their homes.  
  5. Don’t skimp on features; proper WiFi is non-negotiable, Netflix, TV, Nespresso,