Naively he trusted the holiday rental listing company showing beautiful photos of the holiday rental. But when arrived he was stunned to see that the holiday home was not as advertised. And he lost all the monies paid to the scrupulous home owner.
When we asked Peter about the incident he said, “Yes. Another victim of Mr [Crook] who was threatening, and got away with stealing our money because the place was too discussing to stay in. We left as soon as we saw the place. The advertised photographs bear no relationship whatsoever to the real place which is a squalid hovel”.
The question is how can holidaymakers reduce the risk when they book Cape Town holiday rentals online?
We asked, Johan Horak from CapeHolidays.Info, a local family run Cape Town holiday rental agency, to share some guidelines with with holidaymakers planning a Cape Town holiday in the future.
Here’s Johan’s six ideas on how limit online holiday accommodation worries:
1) Do a Google search for the holiday accommodation property address before you book. Search for "[address or name of the property] review" or "[address or name] testimonials"
2) Try and verify how the accommodation-
The holiday accommodation owner list their place and they pay a fee or it’s a free listing - and there is no verification of the information provided.
The owner list list their holiday accommodation and the listing business books it out and takes a commission - again no verification of the listing info.
A variation on (b) is where the holiday home gets listed for free but inspected by the listing business (this is the model that Johan uses at CapeHolidays)
3) If you cannot verify your check points then search at travel forums like Tripadvisor and ask questions. There are always people willing to assist you.
4) If a Cape Town holiday rental business, a holiday accommodation homeowner, or anyone advertising holiday rentals does NOT make use of public communication tools (social media) then be wary.
How would you talk to advertiser if they are not willing to publicly show their face? Johan believes your risk is a lot less when advertiser can share an active Facebook page, a Twitter profile, Google+, and even Pinterests. Email and phone numbers are not enough today.
Email or a phone number is not trusted when it comes to booking a holiday home.
When they have business email address that includes their website name then you know the owner is genuine. Be wary of free email addresses when your money is on the table.
5) Check Google Earth or Google maps. It is an extremely useful tool which allows you, on most places to check a satellite picture of the property you are considering. A quick glance will point out any problems or eyesore conveniently left out of the brochure or website description.
6) If the deal is too good to be true it is. Beware. Always remember that you, if you go for the real deal, then you can end up with nothing.
We asked Johan what he thought about Peter’s comment that fraudulent Cape Town holiday rental companies should also be brought to task, and he said, “when you want to book a holiday rental and you use these six ideas I shared then you’ll limit the risk.
But when you are emotional about your holiday you may be blinded by the con artist.
Buyer beware! It’s your money. Stop and do these six checks before you book holiday accommodation online.”
For more information on Cape Town holiday accommodation visit the http://CapeHolidays.info