2010 countdown: 9 property questions every home owner wants answered

Next Friday the mad scramble begins when FIFA draws host cities

2010 ACCOMMODATION ACCORDING TO MATCH. MATCH answers pressing accommodation questions

PRETORIA: On December 4 FIFA will conduct its pool draws for the 2010 Soccer World Cup to determine how matches will be allocated between South Africa's cities. This will most likely heighten the scramble by property owners to make their properties available as accommodation for the cup. Officially there are no avenues for individual homeowners to do this. Leoni Kok speaks to Tasmyn Logie of logistics company MATCH, which has been contracted as the official manager of 2010 accommodation.

1. How does MATCH procure accommodation on behalf of FIFA?

MATCH has a standard Accommodation Agreement for properties with less than 20 rooms and a standard Hotel Agreement for those with more than 20 rooms. These agreements set out the terms of business under which we procure rooms for the FIFA World Cup.

MATCH has tried to ensure that accommodation is available to fans wishing to visit South Africa at fair prices and reasonable terms. In order for an establishment to be contracted through MATCH, the establishment must operate as a registered accommodation business in compliance with all applicable laws and have an official grading certificate.

2. Where do you stand in terms of availability? Are there major accommodation shortfalls?

MATCH believes that there is sufficient accommodation provided that room inventory is properly utilized and maximized. Our target is 55 000 rooms and we have a number of initiatives in the pipeline to ensure that we reach that target. However, this does not include contracting private homes as has recently been reported in the media. An event of this size will always put pressure on the accommodation supply in any one city. However, MATCH does not consider accommodation inventory in any one area in isolation. Our strategy has always been to draw on accommodation nationally to support all host cities.

3. So what is your shortfall strategy?

A number of decisions have been taken to supplement hotel accommodation including contracting non-hotel accommodation, particularly SMMEs
(smaller and medium size businesses) offering B&B (bed and breakfast) and guesthouse accommodation. We have also contracted timeshare and university accommodation.

Further, we are encouraging international visitors to select satellite venues and to travel to their matches on return day trips. This will maximize accommodation inventory in all areas.

4. You have even contracted rooms in other African countries?

Yes, it is part of the Local Organising Committee's commitment to share the benefits of the World Cup with other African countries. We have not only identified neighbouring countries, but also Mauritius where MATCH has contracted approximately 3 200 rooms representing 6 400 beds. Mauritius works very well as it is an attractive destination for international visitors with a concentration of good quality accommodation and an air and ground infrastructure that can support an event of this nature.

5. But how do those people get to matches?

MATCH has been working with the Department of Transport, PRASA and South African air carriers to develop a unique operating programme, the so-called MATCH Ville Package programme. This would include ground transportation from the hotel to the stadium for local matches, or the local airport for away matches. Where ground transportation is not feasible there will be air transportation on day-return-trips.

6. Can individual homeowners register with MATCH?

No, MATCH does not contract private homes as they do not meet our contracting criteria.

7. Do you subcontract any organisations to market privately-owned properties for 2010 accommodation?

No, all contracted properties are marketed via FIFA.com and various brochures which are published and distributed via MATCH. We do however have a contract with Classic Hospitality to contract specifically targeted units on our behalf with a view to creating hospitality villages.

A hospitality village is created by securing a large proportion of units in a complex (centrally situated complexes in Sandton, Lonehill, Fourways) and providing the services that would generally be expected in a resort, such as standardised bedding, reception, catering, daily cleaning, security. Classic Hospitality undertakes to remove all personal effects from the units and to provide four star self-catering standards.

Although this would seem like we are wavering on our policy, which is against the contracting of private homes, this initiative is quite different in that the complex will be run as a resort by Classic Hospitality. The villages will not be marketed to individual fans but will rather be available to participating tour operators as part of ‘MATCH-ville'. As mentioned these villages are supported by transport logistics which will ensure that fans staying in these complexes have the means to get to the matches of their choice.

8. What is your stance on organisations promoting private homes as accommodation?

In terms of any unofficial solutions, MATCH does not prescribe to or regulate any outside companies or corporate bodies with regards to how they may contract accommodation to be used during the World Cup, as long as they do not portray themselves as being associated with MATCH, FIFA or the event in any official capacity. It would be up to the various tourism stakeholders and the host cities to ensure that these companies meet the local regulations and bylaws

9. Is there a contact number where B&B and guesthouse owners can check if they qualify under the MATCH accommodation criteria?

Yes, establishments wishing to contract with MATCH should call our offices on 011 567 2700 and ask to speak to one of our consultants. They can also send email: procurement@match-ag.co.za.

Article by: Leoni Kok - www.realestateweb.co.za