How To School Holiday Rent My Cape Town Home- FAQs | Cape Town Airbnb Management Agency
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How To School Holiday Rent My Cape Town Home- FAQs

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.

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. bestairbnbownersbestairbnbownersOwners 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.

 

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

airbnb-foolproof-auditairbnb-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.
We have two scenarios for owners wanting to clean their own homes:
  • Owner Cleaning After Staying: The owner stays regularly. She wants us to do the management cleaning when guests stayed as well as marketing. She wants to save a few bucks by using her staff to clean when they depart.
  • The Owner Manage All Guests: The owner wants us to do the marketing, guest vetting and administration and she will manage the guest at her location.

Owner Cleaning After Staying:

This is a high-risk solution to saving a few bucks.

We can understand why owners may want to do their own cleaning. Other new owners also wanted to do this. But they quickly learned that we carry the can. If there is a mistake, we cannot tell guests that the owners cleaned. We are the only ones responsible.

Your maid may be good. But is her “good” good enough for us? Or let me rephrase; is her “good” good enough for the guest? We are excessively concerned with minor cleaning details.

The review scores she gets measured are her ultimate measure. And 5-star is the least we expect. We cannot leave it to chance to let anyone clean on our behalf.

We may find a solution if the host agrees; the host will do a thorough quality check supervising the cleaner a few times (at call out fee). If our host trusts the cleaner, we may agree to the owner’s cleaning.

We agree with the owner managing her own home with her own staff in exceptional situations. 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.

The Owner Manage All Guests

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 the owner is directly involved with the full management and we only communicate with the owner, then it can work. And it’s working at 8 homes.

But when owners appoint a third party, it becomes a problem. This third party becomes a proxy owner.
When we manage the home and a third party (appointed by the owner) has access to the home; this is a recipe for disaster. The third-party causes friction between CapeHolidays and the owner in most cases.
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 reports to us, get paid by us and fired if necessary, we may agree.

 

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

What is the Airbnb hosting risks?

New Airbnb owners should be aware of the Airbnb hosting risks 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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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: 

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

Let’s get to the details:

  • Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
  • Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability. 
  • Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and 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).

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

What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking


Here’s a typical email from a worried owner.

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

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

Can I opt out of the Instant Booking option?


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

Guests who can book instantly must:

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

Guest Requirements

Profile photo

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

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

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

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

House rules

Suitable for children (2-12 years)

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

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

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

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

 


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