By Jurie Bezuidenhout MD of The Capital Hotels
There was once a time when checking into an Airbnb was one of the best hacks for travellers who wanted value for money. The rates were lower, and the rooms were quirkier. These days, however, smart money is on aparthotels.
In front of the trend, The Capital Hotels and Apartments has used its innovative business model to give its clients suave, reliable and convenient accommodation options at rates that rival many Airbnbs. The result is that the group has become the fastest-growing hotel group in the country and until recently, the only one that was still raising new buildings.
The travel and accommodation space has changed over the past 15 years with the number of options mushrooming when Airbnb arrived and then falling flat when the pandemic hit. During that time, we’ve consistently been able to pivot and discerning travellers a whole lot more than just a roof over their heads.
The beauty of reliability:
Most Airbnbs are ill-equipped to deal with loadshedding as it currently stands. Many aparthotel, on the other hand, have the resources to run for days without interruptions to their power or water supply meaning a guest’s stay isn’t interrupted by your local state-owned entity’s troubles. The same applies for Wi-Fi. The quality of a Wi-Fi connection is often dependent on Airbnb itself. This means sometimes the line speed can be painfully slow or not work at all. These are problems you’ll rarely face at an aparthotel. What’s more, because they tend to have higher occupancy rates and can house more people, aparthotels can make themselves ‘loadshedding proof’ without overburdening the consumer with the cost.
You always know what you are getting:
If you have been to enough Airbnbs, then there is a good chance you have fallen victim to accommodation catfishing. This is where you fall in love with the pictures only to unlock the door and find that your place does not match up. Experienced Airbnb users will also know the annoyance of having to memorise a whole host of complicated check-in and key collection procedures. The beauty of aparthotels is that it does not matter which one you visit or when everything is consistently sophisticated. You get exactly what you are looking for and when you check in, all you have to do is walk up to the receptionist, give them your name and then bask in the convenience of receiving a key and having a porter walk you up to your room.
Safety always comes first:
When travelling safety is paramount. No one wants to run into an incident while on holiday. Unfortunately, the safety of airbnbs is often dependent on a variety of factors including location, time of day and price point. Aparthotels are required to take security seriously. That is why they always have 24-hour security, CCTV surveillance and secure parking. Some will even go as far as to have measures in place to ensure guest safety should incidents of civil unrest occur.
Location + vibe = your chance to live it up
Have you ever arrived at your Airbnb, finished your day’s work and then realised that there was nothing fun to do nearby? Or that it was far from a central location where you could have meetings? Often, securing cheaper rates at an Airbnb may mean having to find one that is further out and less centrally located.
With properties in key city and business hubs, most aparthotels provide their guests with an enticing range of entertainment, dining, meeting options and the option of being able to take the party to their rooms should they need to.
There may have been a time when urbane and discerning travellers could have set their sights on a nice Airbnb property and know that they were getting the best deal but like the fax machine, those days are gone. As the bond payments for the owners have gone up, loadshedding has worsened and low occupancy rates have taken a toll, aparthotels have emerged as the new travel go-to for savvy travellers.