8 tips on how short-term rentals can boost their bookings this summer

A beautiful holiday home with panoramic views of the sea. Picture: Supplied

A beautiful holiday home with panoramic views of the sea. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 31, 2022


As South Africa gears up for what is set to be a bumper tourist season driven largely by pent-up demand from international visitors, Max Urban, managing director of Propr, South Africa’s largest short-term rental management company, believes that this presents homeowners with an opportunity to profit by listing their properties on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb.

According to Urban, unlike long-term leases, where the property typically degrades over the course of the rental period, short-term rentals mean that homeowners won’t have to spend time and money bringing the property back into a rentable condition once guests leave.

Here are tips on how hosts can boost bookings for their short-term rentals this summer, according to Urban.

List your properties on as many platforms as possible

When listing your property, make sure that it’s attractive for holidaymakers. Picture: Supplied

Listing your property on multiple platforms can maximise the pool of potential guests. With more than one booking platform, you get access to more clientele.

Make sure the property is in good condition

The design aesthetic should appeal to a wide audience. People love a neat and well-kept home. The more up to date your aesthetic is, the easier it is to attract clientele looking for Instagrammable spots for their pictures and selfies.

Get professional photographs taken of the property

It’s important to invest in good photographs of your rental. Potential guests look at photos first and then at reviews, so it’s not worth skimping on this; the photos will more than pay for themselves in the long run.

Put load-shedding measures in place

Get an inverter or UPS so guests have internet access at all times. This is particularly important for hosts in the Western Cape in light of the City of Cape Town’s new partnership with Airbnb to attract remote workers. It’s also an easy way to differentiate the listing and attract extra bookings in general.

Make use of dynamic pricing

A beautiful bedroom overlooking the ocean. Picture: Supplied

Test a few pricing tools that use aggregated data to price the listing accurately. Some research should also be done to get a feel for what other properties are charging. Additionally, hosts must look at what events are scheduled to take place in their cities and adjust the price of their rental in line with anticipated demand for accommodation.

Have a flexible cancellation policy

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life can change at a moment’s notice. Nowadays, guests are less willing to book accommodation with strict or moderate cancellation policies.

Offer shorter stays and/or accept same-day bookings until very late in the evening

This strategy is not for everyone as it requires more work, but there are definitely fewer listings on the market that offer this, which makes it easier to obtain bookings.

Research articles on how to optimise the listing score on Airbnb

Some examples would include encouraging guests to leave reviews, lightning-fast response times whenever a guest sends an enquiry or message, making changes to the listing description or photos, and never cancelling a booking unless absolutely necessary.

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