The tourism industry is amongst the very few industries that register steadily grows each year. Statistics show that, in 2019, the tourism and travel industry contributed to the global economy with over $9.2 trillion. This means that, even though there are probably enough hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs to host all travelers, there will always be room for yet another accommodation business anywhere in the world. But in such a thriving industry, competition is just as feisty, so if you plan on opening a hotel, you need to start everything on the right foot.
In recent years, travelers seem to be liking small guesthouses or boutique hotels more than large ones. That is because they give more of a sense of privacy than a hotel with 100 rooms. This makes it the perfect moment to venture into the hospitality industry and open your own boutique hotel.
If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the tips below, to help you get started. We cover everything, from expenses to the type of staff you need to hire and how to find the best location.
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Market research is paramount
The first thing you need to do before starting any type of business is to conduct proper market research. This means getting to know the market, as well as the competition, to understand what is it that you can bring to the table, in order to attract guests.
Book a room at some of the hotels in your area, that provide similar services to the business you have in mind. See how they treat guests, try to identify pain points, and then come up with solutions. Another thing you can do is to start surveying people and see what they look for in a boutique hotel, as well as what would make them pay the price you intend on having.
Market research will also help you come up with a business plan in case you need funding, so make sure you pay careful attention to it.
Define your niche
After getting a better idea of how the market in your area is, it’s time to decide who your business speaks to. Will it be a hotel that aims to attract young travelers? Are you looking to open a place that is more suited for family vacations? All of these questions need clear answers before you can move on with your plan.
Keep in mind that you may be limited by activities and places to see in your area as well. For example, a small boutique hotel in the countryside may not exactly be a magnet for large groups looking to party, but more for family vacations or romantic getaways.
Plan the budget
The next thing on your list should be budgeting. This depends highly on the initial investment you are planning to make. Will you be building the hotel from scratch, or are you planning on renovating an existing building?
Keep in mind that, even after the last finishing touches, there will be things that need constant maintenance, so make sure you set some money aside for that. If, for example, you have trouble with your water pump, that can really set you back a lot, especially in the beginning, when you are still working to make a profit. If you want someone from the pump repair NYC company to get to you in a matter of minutes, and get the job done in a blink of an eye, you need to be prepared to take some money out of your pocket.
Make it a home away from home
When guests come to a hotel, they expect to have almost everything they need to feel at home. This means ensuring every electronic inside the room works properly, furniture is completely usable, and sheets are changed daily. Families, for example, prefer to have amenities such as a microwave, refrigerator, and iron inside the room, so consider adding those to the list as well.
Breakfast is also something people usually prefer to be included because no one likes to wake up at 8 A.M. and start searching for places to eat. They want to come down, have a good breakfast and get on with their vacation. And, if they like your location, be sure guests will come back and recommend you to others as well.
Hire helpful staff and invest in training
In hospitality, customer service is the number one thing you need to consider. No matter how luxurious your little boutique looks, if the guests are being greeted by someone who makes them feel their presence is a disturbance, they will look for a different place.
Be very careful when conducting interviews and hire staff that is experienced, or is willing to learn. Ask questions about their past experience, see if you can get recommendations, and talk about their previous challenges and how they handled them. Then, invest in good training and always look for courses they can go to, in order to improve their skills. Once in a while, it’s good to conduct personnel audits, to ensure the staff is doing their job as they should.
Don’t forget about the kids
If you want to attract families to your location, you need to ensure the place is children-appropriate. Plan a children’s menu, that offers food kids like, such as chicken fingers, sweets, fun sandwiches, and some vegetables to please the parents. Offer free beverages such as lemonade or juice for the kids, so that they can stay hydrated while they play in the garden.
Another way to attract families is to build a partnership between you and some other businesses that provide children activities in your areas, such as waterparks, adventure parks, museums or zoos. They can give you small discount vouchers that you can offer to your guests, and in return, you will bring them more clients. This is also a good way to market your business and get people to know about it. Additionally, they can also put up a poster with your boutique to advertise it.