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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  06 Dec 2009

2010 WORLD CUP: Seeff Kicks Off Middle Market Campaign


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With the 2010 Soccer World Cup draw now behind us, South Africa should brace itself to be inundated with bookings - especially now that soccer fans know where and when their teams are playing.

This warning comes from Emarie Campbell, 2010 Marketing Director for Seeff Properties, which has stepped up its campaign to sign up private homes, guest houses and boutique hotels ahead of the anticipated booking rush.

Although Seeff has already signed up 10 000 beds countrywide ranging from R750 to R90 000 per night as part of a joint initiative with local soccer hero Gary Bailey, she said this was clearly not enough.

She pointed out that Seeff currently has more than 2 000 properties on its books, but needed to add a further 10 000 properties within the next six months. In addition to servicing the upper end of the market, Seeff intends adding a lot more focus to the middle market as well.

This additional emphasis on more affordable properties comes in the wake of the Seeff marketing team’s return from the WTM (World Travel Market) exhibition in London, which was attended by countries all over the world. “This is the premier annual forum for tour operators and travel agents and attracts thousands of exhibitors,” said Campbell.

"It was fascinating. We discovered that tour operators were desperate for medium to average accommodation. The strong demand for luxury properties comes more from direct enquiries than from tour operators and Seeff continues to field enquiries for that tier – from the R30 000 to R90 000 per night homes.

To meet this end of the market’s requirements, we have just listed a home in Bishop’s Court for R80 000 per night and another in Benmore Gauteng for R135 000 per night - over 30 nights that brings in quite a tidy sum for the owner!

We also had three tour operators from Europe and the UK looking for 5 Star High End Villas with the whole service package included.”

However, she stressed that the majority of tour operators that visited the Seeff stand were looking for three to four star accommodation priced at between R600 and R1 000 per person per night and situated in apartment blocks or security villages due to transport constraints and fears about crime.

Tour operators were looking for properties clustered within reasonable distance from each other in security villages, golf estates or apartment blocks. They explained that many people saw the World Cup as being played in Africa and were uninformed about how first world we are.  They were thus more comfortable to travel in organised groups so that they feel taken care of and know that someone is responsible for their stay.”

She pointed out that Blouberg, the Strand, the Atlantic Seaboard and the CBD offered ideal accommodation for 2010 visitors. “These areas have large numbers of reasonably priced apartments in secure blocks and developments. They are in close proximity to all the major events and the stadium, making transport, which is a major challenge for tour operators, much easier.”

Campbell added that Seeff had also received an enormous amount of enquiries for guest houses and boutique hotels. They are now going all out to include these into their offering.  “With the amount of contacts we picked up and the relationships we developed, we believe that we could easily fill hundreds of guest houses in every host city and surrounds.”

However, she said it still appeared that accommodation would be most in demand in Gauteng. “Tour operators have done the maths and have come to the conclusion that 70% of visitors will be staying in Gauteng as a result of the concentration of stadiums in the North. However, the Cape is definitely in demand, especially when it comes to accommodation on the coast.”

According to Campbell, Seeff’s current challenge is to communicate to homeowners that they do not just need to sign up mansions and that there is a massive demand for cheaper accommodation. “This is good news for homeowners who can make a bit of extra cash and maybe even go on holiday or overseas for the month as it will be school holidays during the tournament. Many are also planning to move in with family or friends and pump the surplus cash into their bonds.”

She said that when Seeff’s joint venture with Gary Bailey was launched a few months back, they had been inundated with web queries, walk-ins to Seeff outlets and phone calls. She said the aim was to again generate excitement amongst homeowners - this time, especially in the middle market. Seeff would also continue to target tour operators.

Seeff is presently exhibiting at Soccerex in Sandton. This makes us the only company in South Africa that has presented our offering at both WTM and Soccerex.”

Campbell said that it was clear that many tour operators were relieved to find that that they only had to deal with one company and that Seeff could take care of their clients for every leg of the tournament. “This is because we have 200 outlets around the country and both a firm infrastructure and a foothold in all of the major stadium venues. “

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