Starting a hotel or bed and breakfast business is an exciting venture. You might have a unique idea that fills a need in your area, or maybe you’ve come across an acquisition opportunity and you need to know how to proceed. Where do you start? How can you ensure your success? Let’s look at four basic steps for starting up your new hospitality business.
1) Check Your Niche
Find out in what ways your idea meets needs that aren’t already being met. Research the market to find out what your customers are looking for, and how you’ll deliver it to them. This is where you create your business plan, which you’ll need when you’re ready to apply for loans and grants to get started.
Once you have a business plan, you’ll want to create a marketing plan. This will help you narrow down your target audience and convince them to do business with you.
2) Startup Cash
You have to have money to get started. Depending on your model, you’ll need to buy or rent a new property, or remodel your existing home to accommodate your plans. The location in which you choose to do business can have a lot to do with how much money you need. Opening a hotel locally, for example, may be less cost effective than opening an offshore resort. Look into properties in busy tropical tourist areas. Costa Rica hotels for sale, for example, could save you money over a property in New York.
Whatever the case, you need money. You need money for mattresses and bedding, small room amenities such as televisions and coffee makers, towels and more. It’s also not a bad idea to have a few months’ wages for your employees saved back, so you can make sure they’re getting a paycheck while you get your business started.
How do you get the startup cash you need? Try business loans, government grants, or donations from the community.
3) Finalize Your Model
During this stage, your final decisions about your business model should be made. You should know what services and amenities you will be offering and you should know how you will be paying for them. Remember that any food-related service will have its own set of liabilities and overhead costs, so be sure that is figured into your startup.
Know your target audience thoroughly at this stage. Are you marketing to vacationers, business travelers, or couples on a romantic getaway? Cater to the needs of your customers. You may also need to apply for business licenses and obtain a fictitious business name. Finalize any parking or zoning issues at this point. Depending on your municipality, you may be hindered if your location isn’t in a business district.
This is also where you’ll decide what to charge for your services. Research other businesses like yours to come up with fair and competitive pricing.
4) Build Your Team
At the hiring stage, you’ll want to decide how large a team you’ll need to accomodate your business. This will depend on your size and occupancy expectations. Cleaning help, reception, and food preparation people should be at the top of your hiring list. Consider your own strengths and what you can handle yourself, and hire others to pick up your slack. Just make sure you can afford to pay everyone you hire, or you’ll have legal problems down the road.
The biggest mistake you can make in building your team is to assume you can manage more than you really can. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, in other words. If numbers are your weakness, hire a bookkeeper. If you’re no good in the kitchen, make sure you add a cook to your team.
With proper planning and adherence to legalities, you can have a successful hotel or bed and breakfast off the ground.