How To School Holiday Rent My Cape Town Home- FAQs
Local Cape Town schools have a six-week break during December and January. For those who own a nice home in Cape Town, this is an opportunity to earn extra income by renting their property while the owner takes a break.
Many Cape Town “school holiday” owners want to rent their home but they don’t know-how. They think they will need to take care of it themselves. They also think it may be difficult to charge correct rates, so they are unsure about the best way to do this. But there is help! There are people with them.
You can read that it’s a difficult task to match the expectations of “school holiday” owners, and the impact of expecting guests (with a managing agent if you want to use one).
When managing an annually available Cape Town holiday home, feedback loops vary–the house becomes more guest-ready or foolproof. Owners also learn everything there is to know about their property. The same is not true for infrequent owners and thorough checks are required to ensure guests and owners are happy.
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.
If the owner ensures the calendar is always correct there is no reasonable justification, for the owner, to cancel; other than for extenuating circumstances (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 R15000 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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Explain instant booking and benefits
Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more).
Instant book has two possible aspects:
- Guests book immediately. They don’t need to enquire.
- It does not mean guests stay instantly. Book now and stay within the next hour. No. We set what’s called a minimum notification period. For example, depending on the home, we set 24, 48 hours up to 7 days notice is required before they can stay. BTW: We also set prep days before and after a booking. We can set one, two days, etc.
Let’s get to the details:
- Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
- Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability.
- Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and 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.
- Instant Booking Objections: Uninformed owners believe instant-book is a way to book riff-raff. Far from it. Airbnb is good but dominating force. (Either you don’t get bookings, or you are aware of their dominance and work accordingly). Instant-book not only works because of the psychology behind it, it also allows hosts to set up triggers to block bad guests with no or few reviews who cannot book instantly. We also can ask the quests to give us qualifying answers. If they fail you can cancel penalty-free. On the other side for enquiries first; if you opt for enquiry first you are looked upon as a judge; do you cancel because of prejudice? People do. You are too fat, too ugly, too white etc. Airbnb, therefore, limits the rejection of non-instant bookings; you justify your case for a non-instant booking rejection; if you reject too many you get kicked off. There are risks in any business. (If the kitchen is too hot don’t become a cook).
What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking.
Here’s a typical email from a worried owner.
Just one question. With instant booking, how do we vet the client?
I would first like to find out who they are etc. I have heard nightmare stories of houses being let and then the owners not being able to get the short term tenants out again.
Can I opt out of the Instant Booking option?
Guests who can book instantly must:
- Meet Airbnb requirements
- Agree to your House Rules & Expectations
- Acknowledge that Airbnb homes can be different from hotels
If you turn on this requirement, you’ll be able to see guests’ profile photos after a booking is confirmed, but not before. It’s turned on.
Require guests to submit government ID to Airbnb in order to Instant Book. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.
– Pets live on the property during the year but not while you are there
– The pool has no cover and guests take full responsibility for open pool
– No overnight guests.
– No loud noise after 10:00 pm.
– Have fun and respect your neighbours.
– After 6 pm arrival at R350 cash on arrival.
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