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FAQ: Agency.CapeHolidays Management Services

FAQ’s

FAQs: T&Cs | Rules | Protection (34)

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

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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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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How To Try and Prevent Too Many (Unlawful) Airbnb Guests Staying!

noisyairbnbmanyguestshowtoprevent
As an Airbnb host or as an Airbnb agency in Cape Town no one can really be checking a home 24 hours a day. Guests are trusted. And more than 99% is great. Really excellent. 👏 

But what happens when you get too many guests staying? 

  1. You have no way of controlling the number of guests. At arrival and departure, you’ll see them but never in between. And if they want to break the rules they will. Hosts can visit daily but this is not only an expensive story lining guests up to count them, it is also intrusive to the more than 99% who behave well. 
  2. Airbnb will not compensate you if you discover after the fact that too many stayed over. Airbnb will however support you to kick them out, and or get compensation for the extras from the date you discovered it. 
  3. Trying to get the less than 1% kicked out is a mess. It can be confrontational. And neighbours may become very upset. 
  4. The time to resolve such issues is long and painful. 
  5. Time to fix issues, replace broken stuff, etc. 

The larger the home, pool, jacuzzi, etc are the more the potential it is a target for parties. Smaller places may not attract parties but may still get the extra unauthorised guest or two. 

How to limit the issue. 

  1. You discourage extra guests before they book.
  2. The host, during pre-arrival communication, tells guests that only x number are expected 10 to stay as per the booking. And that no one extra is allowed. 
  3. Network with neighbours to inform you of any disturbances or odd things. 
  4. It is recommended to install a very basic video camera outside of entrances. There are various inexpensive options available. This can be used as evidence or to check numbers when guests are staying. Hosts can check the feed on their mobiles. BTW. This must be declared to guests before they book on booking sites.
  5. Unfortunately, one guest is enough to cause continuous loud noise. Therefore, I strongly recommend owners to install a clever noise monitor. One of the recommended ones for Airbnbs is the Minut Smart Home Alarm. South Africans can get it here. All new owners will be required to install such units.

Let me just remind you that we are talking about low risks. Very low. But for a small investment, you will ensure long term peace of mind. 

Is this a reasonable recommendation? Tell me. 

Regards Johan Horak

Cape Town Airbnb Agency.CapeHolidays.info with offices in Simonstown and Green Point.

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