Let’s consider Holiday Accommodation T&Cs | Rules | Protection.
Managing a Cape Town self-catering holiday home has its risks, fears, and worries. You read bad press about parties, people occupying houses, theft, and whatnot.
You need to be careful. You should do audit reports. You also need to make sure people don’t do risky things. Fools like people who take risks without thinking about the consequences.
The following FAQs are for owners of Cape Town self-catering businesses. You can pick what to read.
Read these FAQ’s on setting up a self-catering accommodation business in Cape Town to make it foolproof (if there is such a perfect home – we should try).
Have a look at these concerns by owners:
“N asks me quite often if I heard of any new bookings that are in the pipeline. Of course, I don’t, I get your note only when there is a firm reservation. Times are hard for most of us and Nathalie is obviously worried about the finances of the house. Maybe a short message to the owners telling them how it goes would be great”.D asked, “Thanks [for the] update but have you had any enquiries for our place as yet? I saw it online but as you say we happy to discount where necessary and for longer stays. We want to avoid our place standing empty over the Christmas holiday period but also not prepared to give that period away either. Please keep me posted!”
As soon as the buyer talks he thinks. When he thinks he changes his mind.
We never give stuff away. And will never allow an owner to do it. But given the above and the buyers market (COVID) rather tell me what you think is a reasonable rate. And for Instant Book we must set the best rates up front; don’t do this upfront and you snooze and just too loose.
How To Try and Prevent Too Many (Unlawful) Airbnb Guests Staying!
As an Airbnb host or as an Airbnb agency in Cape Town no one can really be checking a home 24 hours a day. Guests are trusted. And more than 99% is great. Really excellent. ?
But what happens when you get too many guests staying?
- You have no way of controlling the number of guests. At arrival and departure, you’ll see them but never in between. And if they want to break the rules they will. Hosts can visit daily but this is not only an expensive story lining guests up to count them, it is also intrusive to the more than 99% who behave well.
- Airbnb will not compensate you if you discover after the fact that too many stayed over. Airbnb will however support you to kick them out, and or get compensation for the extras from the date you discovered it.
- Trying to get the less than 1% kicked out is a mess. It can be confrontational. And neighbours may become very upset.
- The time to resolve such issues is long and painful.
- Time to fix issues, replace broken stuff, etc.
The larger the home, pool, jacuzzi, etc are the more the potential it is a target for parties. Smaller places may not attract parties but may still get the extra unauthorised guest or two.
How to limit the issue.
- You discourage extra guests before they book.
- The host, during pre-arrival communication, tells guests that only x number are expected 10 to stay as per the booking. And that no one extra is allowed.
- Network with neighbours to inform you of any disturbances or odd things.
- It is recommended to install a very basic video camera outside of entrances. There are various inexpensive options available. This can be used as evidence or to check numbers when guests are staying. Hosts can check the feed on their mobiles. BTW. This must be declared to guests before they book on booking sites.
- Unfortunately, one guest is enough to cause continuous loud noise. Therefore, I strongly recommend owners to install a clever noise monitor. One of the recommended ones for Airbnbs is the Minut Smart Home Alarm. South Africans can get it here. All new owners will be required to install such units.
Let me just remind you that we are talking about low risks. Very low. But for a small investment, you will ensure long term peace of mind.
Is this a reasonable recommendation? Tell me.
Regards Johan Horak
Cape Town Airbnb Agency.CapeHolidays.info with offices in Simonstown and Green Point.
Win Unhassles Airbnb eBook & Plus Advice Worth R10000
Y ou have read the previous Airbnb Host tutorial articles (here) in the series?
Can you assist? I am looking for personal interaction with guests and not a corporate management approach!
I Don’t Want A Corporate Airbnb Management Company To Assist My Guests!
I never thought about this objection until I got a potential owner who said to me, “I want professionals to manage my mother’s home in Muizenberg, but I don’t want an impersonal corporate company to run it!”
Never in my worst dream did I expect this judgment. Unfortunately, she never read our FAQs and 100’s of 5 star reviews.If you read our reviews and our Airbnb profile carefully (here) you’ll notice what guests had to say about our personal hosting. You’ll see that we are called the Horak Clan. We host people as, “Johan, Elmarie, Nandi”. How personal is this? The only none personal thing is our logo.
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:
- 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.
- Owners 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Trust. Some owners trust very few people. If this is you then rather find another Airbnb management agency.
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.
You should invest in Netflix, DSTV and other streaming applications. This assumes you have invested in uncapped Wi-Fi . Uncapped fast internet is non-negotiable.
What streaming apps should I have for my Airbnb?
- DSTV NOW
- Music streaming
- Games – (not streaming).
How do I get Netflix on my TV?
The best choice is a smart TV (more here) with built-in streaming functionality. If you don’t have a fancy smart TV then you need to see if you have a HDMI slot on your TV.
Click here to see what an HDMI slot looks like.
If you don’t have an HDMI slot on your TV then rather buy a smart TV. However, if you have a spare HDMI slot on your TV then either get an Apple Box or Android Box (we recommend this Android box. It’s more expensive than some but reliable and you can add DSTV).
How Do I Install DSTV on my smart TV or Smart Box?
How to install DSTV is not always that simple. Most boxes come with pre-installed DSTV, Netflix, and others. But if it not then it may be a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, the Smart Boxes or Smart TVs are limited as to what you can download and install. These limitations on Android boxes/TVs are due to Google. Why? I don’t know.
On the Smart TV or Smart Box, you can access Google Play where you should be able to get Netflix and DSTV Now and install it. See how to install DSTV Now, here.
What is cool is that you can add your Home DSTV account credentials to your DSTV Now application and watch DSTV on this device for free. You don’t pay extra. Ideal for guests and excellent for reducing costs .
This means you don’t need to pay DSTV at home and at your Airbnb. If you want to be a scrooge you can even leave it for guests to use their own DTSV account login details but this will limit many British and other foreign English speaking guests who like to watch DSTV and DSTV sport.
The same is true for Netflix. With Netflix, I don’t suggest you install it with your account details. No. Each guest familiar with Netflix should use their own account credentials.
Do This! And you have just invested in more 5 star reviews.
This answer is specific to owners who only rent out during school holidays.
Here are some of the responsibilities of the domestic. For any deviation, the appointed manager must be notified immediately. Below are 15 minimum functions for the domestic. Available to Agency.CapeHolidays homeowners and management staff.
Be friendly, be accommodating, be FIRM!
We want a 5 Star review but our integrity is not for sale.
Our Cape Town Airbnb management services are ideal for homeowners who can not or are not interested in marketing or managing their own property.
Let me ask you a few questions to qualify your needs:
- Can you manage your own home and ensure a 5 Star rating for each and every guest staying? Can you enjoy your holiday away while guests demand attention? Can you be very responsive to guests? Are you willing to liaise with guests 24/7? Are you willing to negotiate with guests, resolve conflicts when it occurs?
- Do you know how to set marketing policies to get the best possible return on your investment? For example; setting the competitive rates, setting correct seasonal length of stays, protecting your home with the best possible cancellation policy?
- Can you generate 20% more income than the average Cape Townian using Airbnb? (Our occupancy is consistently 20% more than the average. Most are 35% and higher).
- Do you have on-demand maintenance people who will fix things there and then ensure you don’t get guest revenge when you are slow to act?
- Can you supervise maintenance work etc to your home 24/7?
If you answered yes to many of these then it’s better you manage and market your own home. You don’t need us.
However, if you cannot manage/market then our management and marketing skills will bring you, hassle free , at least 20% more income.
Our experience from 2009 will give you a better chance of renting your home for a fair price.
Compare our management costs with other great Cape Town Agents.
Other Cape Town agent’s commission is as much as ours or more. And they have a monthly management retainer as well. If these agencies have bookings or not you pay the retainer.
However, if we don’t get bookings you pay zero.
Zero commission and zero management fees.
Is this fair or would you rather pay us a monthly retainer for doing nothing?
Don’t you think our model, of management fees per incident, ensure we focus on rather renting your home for the best possible deal than collecting monthly retainers?
Our management function is exclusively available to you at cost .
There is no profit for us on management. Our managers get paid each cent we claim for management.
Note: guests pays an additional fee for the change over management incidents. It covers about 80% of the management cost.
No incidents! You pay nothing.
- We can unhassle your holiday home .
- And you have to do virtually nothing.
- The home will generate a healthy income while it’s maintained and improved at all times; while you focus on peace of mind.
For this, our homeowners choose peace of mind.
BTW: We are striving to be the best but we are not there yet.
If not we would not have grown our portfolio with very many happy owners.
Interesting: Why would our owners send us messages like this if we are not making a difference?
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.
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.
- 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.
- Internet is a must. Ensure you have uncapped.
PS. Never ever use Telkom for anything. Nothing. Cancel Telkom and ask us for alternatives.
How to Handle Your Friends and Family Staying:
- Send friends and family to us to check availability, arrange bookings, quote them and get payments.
- They pay R1200 change-over-fee for less than 7 days’ stay. Longer than ten nights stay, with another linen change, another R1200.
- All guests get a 40% discount between May and September from the Airbnb guest rate they would have paid.
- All guests get a 30% discount between March & April and October to 15 December from the Airbnb guest rate they would have paid.
- All guests get a 20% discount between 7 Jan – Feb.
- No discount over peak 18 Dec to 7 Jan
- Any payment received will be reflected in your cash flow sheet.
- Our commission is on the discounted rate.
- Friends and guests should ideally stay 4 nights. If they stay shorter we will block 4 nights. This is due to capacity constraints. If we can fit in a clean sooner we will open the calendar sooner. For peak, the minimum stay is none negotiable at 12 nights.
Controlling the number of guests is not easy. When they arrive you can count them, then you see them seven days later when there’s a linen change or when they checkout.
Obviously guests are clever and will ensure the right number of guests when they meet the manager.
In between arrival and departure, there is no physical interaction with the guests and it is based on trust.
As more and more people use Airbnb and short term rentals other hosts have had extra guest problems. Some of the hosts live in Johannesburg with a place in Cape Town where the guest enters keyless. No one to count.
If you are an owner-manager ensure that you and your staff are aware of the number of people who have confirmed.
We send the owner and the manager an email confirming the dates and number of guests who have reserved the home. Unfortunately, not-too-honest guests will try their luck and have more people over.
How do remote hosts resolve the issue?
Various non-intrusive options are available to detect noise. Read more here. Party Squasher is another great option if only it was available in SA; it knows when there are too many people in your home by counting the number of mobile devices in the vicinity (more).
I could not find a smart noise alert device available to South Africa yet. I, therefore, suggest a relatively cheap video camera installed at the entrance (and declare it to guests). This video camera should link to the manager’s phone where she can check if she needs to. The above camera cost about an R1000 installed. In other words; if a manager has to do 3 headcount checks it would pay you back after three such visits.
Agency.CapeHolidays can go and do an extra check on the number of guests at the standard incident fee relevant at that stage. My concern is that it’s a very infrequent issue and throwing repetitive money to do a physical check is costly over time. Please send requests to check guest number more often in writing.
As you may have read, Agency.CapeHolidays.Info kicked off during 2009.
During this time we have had a few experiences we would not wish upon our worst enemies. Luckily we can count these bad experiences on two hands.
Some ridiculous, some funny and others; close to madness. Use the links below to read more.
Why Keep A Management Kitty?is kept to cover management costs. We must correct an issue (maintenance, DSTV, electricity, gas, or other) when it occurs.
- A few owners tend to forget to pay their monthly accounts. When this happens you don’t want to let the guests suffer because the owner is asleep.
- Other times, maintenance is required, and getting money from the owner to pay or waiting for a booking to pay is not clever.
Note: Your Cash Flow statement is up to date 24/7 and shows you at any time what is in the kitty and what money is outstanding at any time.
What is Airbnb property management?
An Airbnb Property Management company provides a service to accommodation owners who would like to generate income from their accommodation but are either not able to manage the home themselves or they are not interested in management and marketing.
What Is the Airbnb Management Criteria I should Consider Before I Decide?
- An Airbnb Property Management company should provide a proven track record of Airbnb marketing success; this is measured in the average review scores. In general lookout for Airbnb Management companies with an average score above 4.8 out of 5 ? (FAQ SuperHost).
- These management companies should be SuperHosts.
- How do they charge for Airbnb management? Do they charge a retainer or do they charge per incident? If the cost per incident you only pay if need. We have found management retainers make Airbnb agents lazy as they make money even if the home does not rent out. In our case, we only generate an income if the house generates an excellent income. So the owner wins when we do a great job marketing on Airbnb. . (FAQ What you are paying for..)
- Occupancy. Any Airbnb agency can promise you the sky to get the business. It’s like a real estate agent offering you a high suggested selling price to get the mandate. This is wrong. Airbnb agents worth their salt must have a higher occupancy than the norm. In Cape Town, we run between 25 and 50% higher. (FAQ Maximise Income).
- Rates: Any Airbnb management company selling their business on high rates is a red flag. Overselling will not work. As an agency we manage to ensure we get 5 ? reviews, so that occupancy can increase, meaning demand increases and only then do we increase rates.
- Management and marketing are major functions. Airbnb property management? includes maintaining and improving the home, liaison with guests, welcoming and greeting guests, sorting out issues.
- Marketing is useless without 5 ? management. Marketing includes but is not limited to setting Airbnb marketing best policies to maximize income by attracting exceptional guests; setting rates to maximize income through occupancy, minimum stay rules, cancellation policies, and others.
- Financial reporting. How do the Airbnb Agency report income and expenses, when and how regularly are you paid? Once a month or when the reservation is paid? We pay within 24 hours of receiving payment. (FAQ Cash Flow Reporting)
Agency.CapeHolidays.info is one of many Airbnb management companies Cape Town. It’s your choice. Obviously. But do your homework.
Agency.CapeHolidays.info is an Airbnb property management company with offices in Simonstown and Green Point.
You can look at Cape Town suburbs where we manage here.
- 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.
Can I List my Airbnb Accommodation with Agency.CapeHolidays.Info?
- We only list remarkable accommodation; meaning if the accommodation is extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvelous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, or wow. Anything average, below par, standard, boring, cheap will not make the grade. To manage accommodation well, is expensive and only any remarkable accommodation can afford management. Let’s consider a one and two-bedroom boring place and a remarkable one bedroom; the rates on the boring places would not justify professional management but the remarkable one bedroom could.
- 99% of the accommodation we list we manage and market. This means if you want to market your own accommodation but only need someone to manage then we will not be able to assist.
- If you want to manage your home and need us to market we can assist as long as you can prove to us you can be as good as we are. I am not saying this to brag; experience has shown that our owner-managed homes don’t get the same high-ranking reviews we get when we manage. There are one or two owners who do really well, one or two lower and then a few who are no longer part of our portfolio.
Within 24 of a reservation, you’ll receive an email titled Confirmed Booking. We share the following reservation info:
- Name of guest
- Number of guests
- Amount to be paid to you.
And the CONFIRMED BOOKING may not be changed or canceled by the owner or CapeHolldays.
Depending on the BOOKING SITE’s T&Cs we may only receive the money one day after arrival.
Obviously, these bookings can be canceled; due to lack of payment or cancellations as per T&Cs.