Resource Guide 8 - Who Will Market Your Self Catering Home?

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cape town property management and marketing

You can market your own home. It's fun. But it is a skill and if you love online marketing, social media, setting up your own website answering client enquiries then go for it.

You know that marketing is more than just listing it on a few websites; you need to know your rates, seasonal minimum stays, having terms and conditions, indemnity, and third party insurance.

Marketing Objective

Achieving 80% or higher occupancy at maximum daily rates: This is not an easy task for the DIY home marketer. It can be done.

Airbnb makes it easy for every DIY owner. But research showed that potential guests visit up to 5 listing sites before they decide.  To maximise income (high occupancy, high rates and low cost) you need to be on three but best is 5 or more of these sites. (Read more here).

Live booking sites are live because they know where the most money comes from:

The best time to get the deal is when emotions are running high: They Want To Book Now! And Pay Now! Today! If you are not on many live booking sites you cannot maximise income easily. 

It is a problem for the DIY owner to manage 5 or more availability calendars. 

Marketing and Management as a combination...

Marketing can be done from anywhere. But management needs to be local. This is a problem for distant owners who want to market themselves. They need to employ a manager. 

These distant owners  need a cleaning company, someone who can meet and greet as well as liaise with your guests.

But most real estate agencies will only manage a home if they are not also the sole marketers of the property. (More on sole marketing in the next guide).

But it will cost money!

You should obviously consider the cost.....

If you focus on cost and not on income (after cost) then you should not work with agency. Capable agencies are supposed to maximise your income.

In other words: although an agency will cost you money to market your home, the great ones should make you more money than if you did it yourself.

Why do I believe an agency can or should make you more money?

Let's have a look..... ​


  • If you are an average marketer you may get 33% occupancy. If you already get 50% occupancy then keep on refining your skills. A great marketing agency can push this to at least 50% and even 80% occupancy. 
  • Setting Rates: Getting higher occupancy is pretty useless if your rates are too low. It's important to start off with competitive rates to buy reviews. And then increase the rates as you get positive reviews and higher occupancy.  
  • Dynamic Rates: You have noted that airways based their rates on demand. Today many live booking sites would also suggest the best possible rate for your home. Use these guidelines. We use a paid service called to do this for us. 
  • Minimum Stays: Miss this boat and you may be in for surprise. One of our owners wanted 7 day minimum stays. This makes sense as it reduces setup cost. But it was a bad idea. Why? Today your description and photos alone do not sell your home; testimonials from happy guests sell your home. Initially you need to reduce the minimum stay to get more people to stay and who will then review your home. After many reviews at the correct seasonal daily with continuously improving occupancy can you increase the minimum stay. )You need to set minimum stays for winter, summer and high peak and be willing to change these if they don't work). 
  • Managing Multiple Calendars:  To maximise income, you will have to list on various live booking sites (because potential guests visit at least 5 sites before they make a booking). This means you'll have to manage many availability calendars. This is risky as live booking sites fine you for double bookings. Airbnb can fine you R1600 for a double booking. Ouch. Good agencies will use services like and other. These services allow you to market on 20 or more booking sites while you manage only one calendar.
  • Getting Paid:  This topic includes a few issues; you need to get the deposit and then the final payment (we get 50% initially and then 50% four weeks in advance of arrival) and you need to follow up payment. You can use EFT and credit card as well as PayPal.  PayPal has it's complications and not cheap. Or you can use other onine payment providers like Exchange4Free that we use. 
  • Being Responsive: An hour is more than enough for you to drop a deal. Your opposition is waiting for you to be non-responsive. This is what a responsive self catering agency will do. Ensure you get the deal when the potential guest is hot and willing. Two hours later and it's past tense.

The above does not mean you cannot do the marketing yourself. But if you decided to do it then do the necessary research into where to list, seasonal rates, setting of minimum stays, how you will get paid and costs involved.


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What Others Say

Anna Bucannan Homeowner

Johan and Elmarie Horak (Cape Holidays) have been acting as agent on behalf of Welgelee Luxury Self Catering for the last year. It has been a great success. They are both constantly cheerful and light-hearted and simultaneously ruthlessly efficient and reliable. I have only the highest praise for them and the ethical and straightforward way in which they conduct business.

Alfred  Andrag Homeowner

Always helpful, friendly, fast and very professional!

Pieter Van Wyk 

I can only say...I will use your services again and again. No problems no hassles...even when asked the impossible the Horaks will make it happen. Thank you!