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How Seasons Affect Short Term Property Rental Success

  • 2016-09-27

Many budding property investors eagerly anticipate the rewards of short term property rental. Not everyone stops to consider the effects that travel seasons have on your success however. If you have the right property in the right area, you may easily find that your occupancy rates are high during the busy time of year, only to suddenly find yourself with an empty house once low season begins. Experienced investors understand how seasons impact on bookings – newcomers on the other hand may find that a longer-term growth strategy is required to plan around the seasons.

The first step in learning how to maintain healthy occupancy rates is to familiarise yourself with the travel seasons typically experienced in Cape Town. From there, you will be able to work out a plan of action that takes the seasons into account.

How Short Term Property Rental is Affected by Travel Seasons

First, let’s have a look at the travel seasons to see how they apply to the short term property rental market. In Cape Town, much like the rest of South Africa, the following seasons apply:

Peak Season: 15 December – 15 January (Summer)

The height of the summer season, this period coincides with Christmas and New Year. Domestic and international travel is at its peak during this time. Schools have closed for the year, the weather is hot and dry, and accommodation is in high demand. Rates are typically at their highest during the peak season.

High Season: 16 January – 30 April; 1 October – 14 December (Summer and Spring)

Late summer and late spring are the second busiest times for travel to Cape Town. The weather during this time is still hot, bringing a number of holiday travellers from within South Africa and abroad. Bookings are slightly quieter at these points and rates may often be a bit lower compared to peak season.

Low Season: 1 May – 30 September (Autumn and Winter)

In the low season, rates are at their lowest. Many short term rental property owners offer specials during this year to increase bookings, which are typically less frequent. A number of restaurants also offer bargains during the winter months, making this season an affordable time to visit for many travellers.

How Seasons Affect Short Term Property Rental Success

Now that you know a bit about the seasons, how can you go about planning around them?

The following tips will help you keep your bookings up, through peak season all the way to low season.

  • Have a long term strategy. In fact, having any strategy is a good start. How will you market your property in the low season? What can you do during quieter months to prepare for busy months?
  • Hire an expert. Working with an experienced holiday rental property manager is your best chance of boosting occupancy all-year around. They will be able to develop smart strategies and actively market your property across multiple channels.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You may have a good track record on Airbnb, but that is not the only platform you have available. How (and where) can you market your property to different audiences?
  • Expand your audience. If holidaymakers are your prime audience, you will feel the low season when things quieten down. If you’re marketing to business travellers as well, you will have the advantage of a greater number of year-round travellers.
  • Consider add-on services. If bookings are lower during winter, you could look at finding additional services to offer to guests, such as tours or concierge.
  • Do your homework when setting rates. It’s easy to increase your rates to the maximum possible figure when summer gets underway, but be sure to do your research to make sure that your rates are market related.
  • Go over and beyond your duty to impress guests. Repeat business is the lifeblood of the self-catering industry. Impress your guests enough the first visit, and they will come back again. They’ll also tell their friends.


Once you realise that there are ways to plan according to travel times, you will soon see that succeeding in the short term property rental market often comes down to smart planning rather and strategy. To learn more about partnering with an expert holiday property rental manager, contact Totalstay today to see how we help you boost your bookings all year around.