The demand for B&Bs, guesthouses and properties suited to conversion is increasing as the countdown to the 2010 Soccer World Cup continues.
Published figures show that the organising body FIFA alone will need 55 000 beds for players, team officials, FIFA officials, staff and sponsors. In addition, estimates are that up to 750 000 overseas visitors can be expected to enter the country during the tournament.
"Numbers like these look like a gold mine to investors in B&Bs and potentially this is true," says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group.
Kotzé quotes promotions company Guest House Accommodation of South Africa (GHASA) as saying that huge opportunities have been presented by the World Cup for small, medium and micro enterprises in the hospitality industry.
''Part of the reason for the demand is that this will be the first time in its history that FIFA contracts non-hotel accommodation for a Soccer World Cup. However, there are potential pitfalls.
"Without getting into the managerial aspects of B&Bs, which obviously require motivated, dedicated people with particular attitudes and talents to be successful, there are numerous property orientated considerations to take into account.
"These include: zonings, the layout and design of the property, quality of fittings, kitchen capacity, dining and lounge facilities for guest usage and bond servicing costs.
"Above all, however, we are back to the core message about property, that is location, on the basic premise that a B&B close to one of the soccer stadiums will theoretically be in stronger demand. Obviously also important is security and access to transport."
Kotzé says the potential viability of such establishments in the build up to the World Cup is good, particularly if they are FIFA approved and mandated as graded establishments by 'Match', the FIFA appointed company responsible for accommodation for the World Cup.
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"However the post World Cup business 'hangover' aspect also has to be considered. The factors which made a B&B viable before the Cup, will change fundamentally once the tournament is over, so the basic message is to do your homework carefully before you buy."