What Is Green Grass Marketing For Self Catering Accommodation?

The other day someone said that my rugby team is great on paper but fails on grass. It may be painful, but it’s true.

Today I want to ask you if your Cape Town self catering marketing looks great on paper but fails when it gets to the “green grass”? I am sure you get the idea but let me say it another way:

  • You get your Cape Town agency in. And they say you can potentially make Rxxxxx.xx per night for your lovely place. But you are worried, you had your friends, from across the street, over and they said you can make more than double that. It looks great on paper.
  • Or you get the advice from another agent; obviously this agent wants the business and gives you a too good too be true daily rate. It looks great on paper.

But what happens on the grass where the pig and chicken game is played?

We had such an experience where the owner of a lovely home took our advice, on how to set the interior up, but did not like our suggested rates – it was too low. She gave the home to another agent.

Some background info: Most Cape Town agents, worth their salt, pool all their accommodation in a centrally availability database – where we can share each other’s accommodation with our clients. The listing we did not get, is also on this database and always available. Why? It does not get booked out. It may go over high peak but nothing else. There’s only one reason; the rates are too high for the area it’s situated in.

When your friends give you advice they are not committed they are only involved.

When your agent gives you a rate you need to ask her if she knows the difference between the pig and the chicken. In other words are they going to pay you with their bacon or with eggs? Does she make any commitment with regards to your annual income or can she only help you during the easy high peak period where anything with a roof sells? Ask her if she knows the difference between margin and turnover.

In other words: These friends and well-spoken-agents are giving you rates that looks great on paper. Any agent worth anything commits her bacon on the playing field. Commitment – what you bank – may include the following:

  1. Commit to achieving a goal annual income using a calculator like this one and giving you ideas how to reduce costs.
  2. Need to set a realistic occupancy and nightly rates, for year one, two etc, to make a reasonable annual income.
  3. Setting rates and occupancy needs to be based on well established research and studies.
  4. Pro-active marketing. In short this means that you expect your agent to go out and market your accommodation on various marketing sites. (You can read more..).
  5. You need advice on how to manage your home.
  6. At the end of the year your agent must be able to give you actual performance against the goals set.

I believe you agree with me that any one selling you high rates on paper will make you happy today but give you poor to no returns over the long term, because they don’t have to commit their bacon on the playing field.


November 14, 2014


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