Airbnb coming to South Africa

By Staff Writer
Airbnb is coming to South Africa as the online accommodation sharing site’s CEO Brian Chesky visited Johannesburg for the first time this week to officially launch Airbnb’s platform in the country.

Chesky was also there to announce the company’s plans to accelerate its growth in South Africa, its largest market on the continent.

“South Africa is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country, with so much to offer visitors,” Brian Chesky said.

For travellers, the chance to book and stay in someone’s home offers the chance to experience a destination like a local. For homeowners, Airbnb offers the potential to meet and host people from all around the world, as well as make some valuable extra income.

Largest market in Africa

South Africa is currently the largest market for Airbnb in Africa with 9,400 homes listed, an increase of 138% in the last 12 months.

Adding to this, South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular global destination, with the number of people staying in places booked through Airbnb in South Africa increasing by 257%.

Chesky highlighted that South Africa has a vibrant and welcoming community, which Airbnb look forward to expanding so that even more visitors can benefit from the unique and local experiences the South African hosts provide.

Across Africa, two of the five largest markets for Airbnb are in South Africa, including Cape Town and Johannesburg.

How to list a property

Listing a property on Airbnb is simple. You log onto the site, and start adding a description, and photos for your property.
“Guests often search for spaces that meet specific needs, so accurately describing your listing and the amenities you offer will help attract the kinds of guests that are best for you,” said Airbnb.

Airbnb said not to forget to answer important questions like whether or not you have Wifi, and include helpful details about the character, activities, and transportation options in the surrounding area.

An image says a thousand words, so make sure to capture what your space really looks like, said Airbnb. You can upload up to 24 images for a listing.
When it comes to dates, and pricing for your property, Airbnb said that you know your space and your schedule best, so they let you decide the price and they ask you to update your calendar to reflect when it’s available to rent.

“We also allow you to set custom prices for individual nights and weekends, special events, and monthly stays. We display your listing at the price you set and when you indicate that your space is unavailable, we make sure not to show it in search results,” said Airbnb.

Cost of listing on Airbnb

Airbnb charges hosts a 3% host service fee every time a booking is completed on their online platform. This fee covers the cost of processing guest payments and comes out of the host pay-out. Airbnb also charge guests a guest service fee to cover the cost of running the site.

“Both guest and host service fees are calculated from the reservation subtotal. The subtotal is the complete price of a reservation before service fees have been added and is calculated from the listing's pricing settings. Our system can only process whole numbers and will round the fee to the nearest dollar (or rand),” said Airbnb

However, Airbnb said that depending on the laws of the jurisdiction involved, VAT on the service fees may be included as an additional amount over and above the total 3% service fee. The service fee presented to you on our website will include such VAT when applicable.

If you want to see what the service fee will be, the amount will be available in your host confirmation by clicking on the reservation code in your Transaction History, and when you receive a reservation request by clicking on the link next to the subtotal.

Example: a 4-night reservation at a listing with a nightly rate of R1000 and a R50 cleaning fee:
  • Subtotal: (4 X R1000) + R50 = R4500
  • Payout: R450 - (3% X R450) = R4360.50
  • R450 - R436.50 = R130.50
  • Host service fee = R140

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