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FAQ: Agency.CapeHolidays Management Services

These FAQ’s are listed from the most popular as read by readers.


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). 

Instant book has two possible aspects: 

  1. Guests book immediately. They don’t need to enquire. 
  2. It does not mean guests stay instantly. Book now and stay within the next hour. No. We set what’s called a minimum notification period. For example, depending on the home, we set 24, 48 hours up to 7 days notice is required before they can stay. BTW: We also set prep days before and after a booking. We can set one, two days, etc. 

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 
  • 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 do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here
  • Instant Booking Objections: Uninformed owners believe instant-book is a way to book riff-raff. Far from it. Airbnb is good but dominating force. (Either you don’t get bookings, or you are aware of their dominance and work accordingly). Instant-book not only works because of the psychology behind it, it also allows hosts to set up triggers to block bad guests with no or few reviews who cannot book instantly. We also can ask the quests to give us qualifying answers. If they fail you can cancel penalty-free. On the other side for enquiries first; if you opt for enquiry first you are looked upon as a judge; do you cancel because of prejudice? People do. You are too fat, too ugly, too white etc. Airbnb, therefore, limits the rejection of non-instant bookings; you justify your case for a non-instant booking rejection; if you reject too many you get kicked off. There are risks in any business. (If the kitchen is too hot don’t become a cook).

Read Why Are You Not Keeping Us Informed On The Pipeline Of Bookings?

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

Here’s a typical email from a worried owner.

Just one question.  With instant booking, how do we vet the client? 

I would first like to find out who they are etc.  I have heard nightmare stories of houses being let and then the owners not being able to get the short term tenants out again.

Can I opt out of the Instant Booking option?

We don’t ever recommend not using Instant Book.
Obviously, there are risks. We must take the route less likely to bring us in to trouble. But risks will always be there. It’s not an Airbnb issue. It’s the nature of humans. There will always be dudes out there to try and fool us.
Instant bookings are complicated psychological triggers which bring Airbnb etc more money because people are eager to book. Take this away and you get less bookings. Airbnb does not like that. They promote Instant Book. If they have 200 homes in Rondebosch and 100 are instant book they place the instant books on the first page.
Airbnb made it easier to cancel an instant booking that an enquiry. Look at Airbnb using “penalty-free if you’re ever uncomfortable” under instant booking. They must qualify as follows for instant booking:
From the Airbnb site:
Instant Book
Guests who meet all your requirements can book instantly. Others will need to send a reservation request. You can cancel 100% penalty-free if you’re ever uncomfortable with a reservation.

Guests who can book instantly must:

  • Meet Airbnb requirements
  • Agree to your House Rules & Expectations
  • Acknowledge that Airbnb homes can be different from hotels

Guest Requirements

Profile photo

If you turn on this requirement, you’ll be able to see guests’ profile photos after a booking is confirmed, but not before. It’s turned on.

Government-issued ID (Instant book only) It’s on.

Require guests to submit government ID to Airbnb in order to Instant Book. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.

Recommendation from other hosts (Instant book only) It’s on.
Require guests to have recommendations from other Airbnb hosts and no negative reviews. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.

House rules

Suitable for children (2-12 years)

You can decide to restrict guests with children from booking if there are features that are dangerous for children or there’s a risk of property damage. Learn more

Suitable for infants (under 2 years)
You can decide to restrict guests with infants from booking if there are features that are dangerous for infants or there’s a risk of property damage. Learn more
Pets allowed NO

You can limit guests from bringing pets, but you must reasonably accommodate guests that might bring an assistant animal. Learn more

Smoking allowed NO
Events allowed NO
The following is a flexible list of Host rules:
– No Parties allowed
– Pets live on the property during the year but not while you are there
– The pool has no cover and guests take full responsibility for open pool
– No overnight guests.
– No loud noise after 10:00 pm.
– Have fun and respect your neighbours.
– After 6 pm arrival at R350 cash on arrival.
– Domestic worker rules:________


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Cape Town Airbnb Management Agency
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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. 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.

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.

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. 

Exclusive Mandate: The Owner gives 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.

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.

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.
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?
Category: Management FAQs



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