Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  27 Jul 2009

HOSPITALITY: Give Us Beds, Please


Recent Western Cape Business News

MORE than 55 000 soccer fans are yet to book accommodation for the World Cup. Now Seeff Properties and football icon Gary Bailey have joined forces that will see property owners hopefully scoring  by letting their homes to alleviate the problem.

We realised that with 55 000 fans still having nowhere to stay presented a business opportunity worth an estimated R400 million for the property market,” says Seeff Properties chairman Samuel Seeff.

He says few realise the extent of the growing accommodation problem. “For the first time, Fifa has had to sign up non-graded accommodation for its officials because of the shortfall of accommodation in South Africa. MATCH, which accommodates VIP’s, sponsors and the media, is 20 000 beds short for the 30 day period.”

Bailey says this is without taking into consideration the needs of the ordinary fan. According to SA Tourism, there will be a shortfall of around 65 000 beds in Gauteng on peak nights and also shortfalls in smaller cities such as Port Elizabeth (15 000 beds), Polokwane (5 000), Rustenberg (5 000), Bloemfontein (14 000) and Nelspruit (13 000).

The good news for the property sector, which has up until now been left reeling by the ongoing financial meltdown, is that it could scoop up as much as half of the estimated R1 billion that is expected to be spent on accommodation across the country.

Bailey says this is no exaggeration as South Africa could expect between 250 000 and 400 000 visitors - at least ten times the number during the Rugby World Cup. “In terms of value, if we take 65 000 beds in Gauteng and assume that fans will be here for a minimum of one week, we get to 455 000 bed nights. At R1 000 per night, that’s R455 million that will be spent in Gauteng alone.”

In terms of this joint venture, Bailey will, through his own network channels, refer all requests for non-graded residential accommodation to Seeff Properties. Seeff will help determine a fair rate, and then market the property to visitors.

Seeff says homes close to stadiums in good condition are most likely to be snapped up early by fans. Because educational institutions are closed during the event, those with homes in prime positions could consider moving out or even taking a holiday and letting their properties during the event.

The actual amount you would receive varies from property to property. However, we believe that you could charge a minimum of double the monthly rental that you would ordinarily receive. So, if your house could rent today for R20 000 per month, we reckon you could get a minimum R40 000 (or R10 000 per week) – and that that would still be cheap for visitors who pay a lot more for accommodation in their own countries,” says Seeff.

Even at this early stage, Seeff has signed up a number of properties and has let many - including one in Cape Town for R13 000 per day. Some 60 homeowners in Athlone have also signed up to let out their homes - and this is just the beginning, Seeff points out.

Bailey, however, cautions that there is significant risk for both home owners and visitors when letting out properties. “I had been concerned for some time about the number of websites offering accommodation, where there is no middle party, like an estate agent, to ensure that both parties benefit and that valuable assets are protected. With Seeff, for both landlords and visitors, there is no second chance here – there is only one SA Soccer World Cup and it’s imperative that everything works, that both parties’ interests are protected, that the visitor has the experience we all want to create, and that the owner gets the maximum benefits from the letting of their properties with the least amount of hassle and potential problems. Seeff says he has a national infrastructure and over 45 years of experience, to ensure this.

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