Starting a hotel business is a great investment worth considering. Not only do you enjoy tax benefits, but you also benefit from a high risk-adjusted return. Likewise, people travel every time and need accommodation. This means that you wouldn’t run out of business anytime soon. Statistics indicate that approximately 112 hotels will debut in 2022. However, you must take certain steps to start your hotel business successfully and stay relevant in the industry. Here’s what to do to achieve the best results.
- Understand the rules and regulations regarding hotel establishment
Before establishing a hotel, you want to familiarise yourself with the UK hotel regulations to avoid run-ins with the law. The UK’s regulations cut across three categories: health and safety, employment law and food preparations. Regarding health and safety, you must get a certificate of occupancy (CO) proof that your hotel meets the zoning laws. To ensure food hygiene, you must register your hotel with the local authority’s environmental health services 28 days before launching your business. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay for this process, so keep this in mind.
You also need to adhere to the rules of the Food Standards Agency regarding sampling and labelling food. If you’d serve alcohol, you’d require a licence to serve food and drinks and play music after 11 pm. You can visit the Gov.UK licence finder, the Food Standards Agency and the HSE’s website for more information. It’s also essential that whatever information is displayed on your website doesn’t mislead your guests. It’s an offence to increase your hotel fees after giving your guests a quote, so avoid this if possible. If you have to increase your prices, it’s required to inform them of the changes.
- Determine your hotel concept
Several hotel concepts are available, and choosing the most suitable option is essential. Your hotel concept comprises your premise’s physical layout, services, ambience, and customer experience. It also distinguishes your hotel from your competition. This is especially important as people seek unique experiences during travels. Moreover, you can easily define your target market if you know what kind of hotel you want to open. For instance, you can consider opening a resort, as it offers your guests access to on-site facilities like a pool, spa, restaurant, bar, recreational centres, etc. You can also consider a boutique hotel to offer personalised services. Other options are conference hotels, chain hotels, motels, and inns.
- Create a winning business plan
Business plans are essential to every business, and your new hotel is no exception. While you may have a good idea, making detailed documentation makes it easier to establish your milestones. Likewise, it increases your chances of securing funding, as investors would deem you serious about starting and managing the business. Moreover, having a business plan helps you eliminate assumptions that may harm your business. You can also ascertain your financial needs, revenue model and business feasibility. Defining the best marketing strategies becomes easier, so keep this in mind. To get started, ensure that your executive summary and overview are in place. As a tip, include your vision, mission statement, and goals.
You also want to include detailed industry analysis, focusing on your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Your business plan should include your hotel’s unique selling point, operations, management and marketing strategies. Your revenue and pricing strategies are also important, so keep this in mind. Fortunately, several online resources offer help on how to write a winning business plan, so feel free to leverage them.
- Choose a location
Research indicates that guests often research hotels close to places they wish to visit. Indeed, travellers’ activities are connected to their hotels and will favour those that would make it easier to enjoy their activities without worrying about getting to their rooms on time. This reiterates the importance of choosing a good location for your hotel. As a tip, seek areas close to tourist attractions, landmarks or conference centres to increase customer patronage. You also want to ensure that your premise is closer to other businesses like restaurants, shopping malls, etc.
- Marketing is essential
Irrespective of your hotel’s splendidness, you may not succeed without customers patronising it. This makes it important to develop a marketing plan. Since the hotel industry is competitive, having a marketing plan helps you stay relevant in the business. Moreover, you can easily identify your clients’ needs to help you tailor your services to suit them. A good marketing plan enables you to improve your customer experience while identifying new revenue opportunities. Fortunately, several marketing strategies can help you achieve the best results.
Experts advise that you identify your target market to help you develop the most suitable marketing techniques. Investing in professional photography is also helpful, so keep this in mind. Creating a business website and ensuring it is user-friendly is also essential. Social media is also great for marketing your hotel to a larger audience without incurring excessive costs.
- Leverage technology for effective hotel management
Technology is essential to your hotel’s success for many reasons. First, guests seek a seamless and technology-driven experience regarding hotel check-in, payments, and other processes. Likewise, technology enables them to make requests and get the needed information whenever they need it. It’s also instrumental in ensuring that your staff can communicate effectively. They can also help your staff connect, attend to guests’ requests, and improve customer experience. Therefore, you want to consider technology for your hotel if you haven’t already.
For instance, you can create your hotel app to allow guests easy access to your services. An app can also promote mobile bookings. If you’re unsure how much you should pay for an app, this app development price guide will prove helpful. You’ll also find it helpful to invest in an in-room ordering platform to encourage your guests to patronise other facilities other than your rooms. Live chats on your website can help you respond to your guests’ inquiries, feedback or complaints, so keep this in mind. You can also consider door-opening technology, where clients can open or lock their doors with their smartphones.