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Short Term Property Challenges

  • 2016-10-06

Short term property offers an enticing investment for many, but it is not without its share of challenges. The rise of platforms such as Airbnb have opened up the field of property investment to more people than ever before. These days, almost anyone can rent out space for profit as long as you own the property you are renting out. This is great news for the industry in many ways. On the other hand however, new investors often find themselves unprepared for the realities of short term property rental.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest challenges in this emerging investment area. We’re also sharing some useful tips on how you can overcome these challenges as a vacation rental property owner.

Short Term Property Challenges to Overcome

What obstacles do you need to be aware of when renting out your property for profit?

Short Term Property Challenges

Here are some of the more pertinent challenges to note…

  • Upholding laws and regulations. Every destination in the world has its own set of regulations that apply to holiday rental properties. In addition to specific country-wide laws that you will need to follow, you will also need to consider city regulations, zoning laws and even neighbourhood bylaws. The very first thing you will need to do once you decide to rent out your place is to do your research on laws that apply specifically to your given area. Assuming you are legally permitted to rent out part or all of your home to guests without doing your homework can be very risky and may result in fines or legal action. For guidance on regulations that apply within Cape Town and South Africa, view our post on the laws that apply to holiday property investments.
  • International guest expectations. Unless you are able to provide guests with a first rate accommodation experience throughout their stay, you may find it difficult to develop a solid reputation. International travellers typically have high demands. They are not willing to put up with poor quality furnishings, outdated or poorly functioning appliances, cramped, shared bathrooms and a lack of service delivery. Failing to prepare your property for guests can result in complaints, lack of repeat business and even returned funds if your property is badly managed.
  • ‘Problem’ guests. No one likes to think of the worst happening, but you may find that some guests are harder to deal with than others. This is why it is important to create a set of house rules for your rental. If your property is not suitable for children under a certain age, make sure that this is clearly stated on your listings. If smoking is prohibited, this should be stated as well. Be clear on whether parties, loud noise and guest visitors are permitted. Bookings should only be confirmed once payment has been made and rules should be in place to protect you in case anything goes amiss.
  • Negative guest reviews and feedback. What do you do if someone leaves a bad review? Feedback is essential – whether good or bad. This is what helps you learn, grow and improve. But a bad review that is left on a public listing can seem devastating. The most important thing to do if this happens is to respond as quickly as possible. Do not get defensive or upset. Instead, aim to defuse the situation and find out what you can do make things right. By responding, you are taking action. Ignoring or deleting reviews sends the impression that you do not care what your guests think. This can be far worse than a bad review – especially if you have responded pro-actively.
  • Poor booking rates. Over certain times of the year, bookings may be less frequent than other times. Understanding travel seasons in South Africa will go a long way in helping you plan ahead. But if your bookings are consistently lower, you will need to determine the cause. Are you charging competitively? Do you get repeat bookings? Is your property managed professionally or are you trying to market and manage it on your own? Without a strategy, it can be very hard to maintain a healthy booking rate. An experienced short term rental property manager will help you optimise occupancy and develop strategies for long-term growth.


Totalstay has helped many short term property owners succeed in marketing and managing rentals effectively. To learn more about what we do, contact us today and arrange an evaluation of your property.