If you have a dream to start up an accommodation related business you should first ask yourself some difficult questions about the type of person you are and your potential ability to run a successful hotel rental business. This article summarises some of the characteristics and traits of a successful hotel owner and aims to help prospective owners of hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts think about the key issues involved. First be honest with yourself about your primary motivation for becoming a hotelier. Is it because you simply want a change of job and think they’re running a hotel might provide job variety and satisfaction? Are you fed up with working to somebody else and would like to start your own business even though you know nothing about running a hotel? Do you need to supplement your retirement income with a part-time home-based business? Would you like to move out of the city into a traditional holiday hotspots and live and work in a better surrounding? Have you had any formal hotel training will ever worked in a hotel as a waiter, barman or chef? Have you ever set up and run a small business of the rent for and understand the financial, legal and operational challenges and issues to be addressed?
One of the most important factors in deciding whether or not to start up a hotel business is normally your partners corporation, commitment and shared desire to work hard as a team to create a new business. Running any hotel will have unsocial hours, new telephone booking enquiries seven days of the week, deliveries to accept from suppliers throughout the week and dealing with guests round the clock. If you’re spouse or partner does not share your dream question whether it is worth doing in the first place. For most small establishments it is likely you will be working very closely together and facing difficult challenges together, where money might be tight and opinions may vary. Sometimes it’s not healthy for relationship to merge work and personal lives so completely. Likewise it takes years to establish a hotel and so any plans for a young couple to start a family will have to consider the quality of local schools, the environment and quality of life.
Most hoteliers say that hard work and tenacity are the most important behavioural traits of a successful hotelier. You will probably have to get up at unsocial hours of the morning to ensure breakfasts are served and guests can check out efficiently. During the early years it is likely that you may not have sufficient funds employ as many staff as you’d like. Therefore you may be forced to do many of the menial jobs yourself and cover certain shifts of other staff members yourself. Wearing different hats to do different jobs will become second place. Running a hotel business is therefore physically demanding and you will need to be fit and healthy. Being on your feet all day means you simply can’t afford to be ill when you’re time is being constantly divided amongst the hotels maintenance needs and guests requirements. If you’ve never dealt with the public before face-to-face than running a hotel may not be you. Inevitably some guests will be dissatisfied, angry or confused during their stay with you. You may have to spend time explaining the cause of a problem and dealing with a disgruntled guest in a professional manner. Many guests will expect you to have a good local knowledge of the area and require help contacting local cab firms, suppliers or simply providing directions. The likelihood of a guest of returning following a stay at your hotel is usually based on the quality of the service you or your staff provide during their stay. Building up a good reputation is absolutely fundamental and so key will be your ability to make people feel comfortable, relaxed and excited about their overnight stay.
Since the onset of a credit crunch many UK families have tightened their belts and decided to holiday in the UK rather than flying abroad on a more costly holiday. Although the recession has impacted UK hotels and guesthouses in terms a reduction of the quantity of available premium based rooms and fine dining, the UK hotel market remains buoyant. However enjoying a relatively healthy market wont get guests through the door. You still have to market your hotel to get your prospective guests to know where you are and how to find you. This is where marketing plays such an essential role in the survival of a new hotel business. You must allocate a sensible budget for local and national advertising. More money is now spent on online advertising in UK than on traditional print media and so like or not you will have to familiarise yourself with the various forms of internet advertising channels, networks and websites to help you promote your hotel business. This does not mean ignoring essential offline entries for Yellow Pages and other local trade business directories which still represent the bread and butter of local advertising.
One of the key factors you will have to decide as a hotelier it’s how you manage risks of disaster such as a building fire, food poisoning incident, flood, cash flow problems, supply difficulties and so on. You will have to produce a detailed annual business plan outlining your annual expenses. Some of these expenses will be quite excessive and will allow you to identify your minimum break even point and occupancy rate throughout the year. For instance hotel insurance can be quite expensive depending upon the number of rooms, the location and quality of your hotel and whether you are planning to provide a licensed bar on the premises. Another factor which impacts your likely occupancy rate will be the general economic conditions, the weather and the attractiveness of the local area in which your accommodation businesses based. All you can do to minimise these risks is identify a local market need for accommodation. The South West enjoys the best of the UK sunshine and is already extremely popular for families getting away in places like Devon and Cornwall to the seaside, caravan parks, tourist attractions, cream teas and family fun days out.
If you have already convinced yourself that you are the right type of person to start at the hotel business, with enough enthusiasm, physical ability all-round management skills the next step is to produce a business plan.
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