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FAQ: Agency.CapeHolidays Management Services

FAQ’s

FAQ's About Airbnb (5)

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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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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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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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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FAQs: Accommodation Profitability (4)

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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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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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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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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Management FAQs (12)

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

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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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FAQs: T&Cs | Rules | Protection (17)

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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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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0
0
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 (13)

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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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-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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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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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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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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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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0

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

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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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All FAQs: Home Owner (23)

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

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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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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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