Turn your time and your home into Income 

This year has been a trying time for many.  Our incomes have been reduced or some of us have lost our jobs. We now have a little more time on our hands.   What are we to do with it?  If you are in a situation where you have a property with spare rooms or a cottage, think about transforming them into short term rental opportunities.

I have been offering my home for accommodation for the best part of 12 years.  I started with one room and over time increased the offering to five rooms.   When I started, I googled star grading criteria, local by-laws for accommodation, other properties around me and what they were charging. The information seemed overwhelming.  Most of the criteria and by-laws are common sense.

It was a big step initially and I invested in good quality linen, quality beds, TV’s and of course internet connectivity which has changed over time.

Guests are always happy with a great welcome, clean accommodation, welcome tray with a few biscuits, tea and coffee and a fruit basket is always nice.  Today WIFI is extremely important –  uncapped Fibre is the answer.

Firstly, you need to decide if renting out parts of your property on a short rental basis, is what you want to do. Then you will need to do a bit of market research.   Google is a great reference, as well as your local resident’s association. Firstly, how many guest houses are there in the area and what are they charging per night?  Airbnb is a great platform to get started.  They take the payments, charge a very low commission and pay you on the day of arrival.

Set up your own Facebook page and learn how to market your property on Social Media. Ask your guests to comment on there stay.  Word of mouth is your best marketing tool. In the 12 years of welcoming guests, many have left as friends and most of them return with their friends or colleagues.

I would highly recommend this as an option.  I am shortly leaving my guesthouse in the big city and semi-grating to the Karoo where I will have another guest house with more rooms.  I couldn’t think of a nicer journey to retirement.

Caroline Ungersbock is a respected figure in tourism and hospitality circles and will be conducting training courses for Platinum Tribe members wishing to become BnB and Guesthouse operators. Contact her on caroline@stpp.co.za

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