If you’re considering entering the hotel business, you’re choosing a challenging, profitable market. It goes without saying that people will always have the need for hotels, so you can be ensured a steady stream of customers throughout the year. There are so many different options you can choose too. Luxurious, bed and breakfast, budget, business-oriented. It can be overwhelming!
The key things for you to focus on though are affordability and luxury. Every guest will want to feel like a king/queen at your hotel, and you should go out of your way to make this happen. From transporting your guests in fancy vehicles to leaving chocolates on their pillow, every little helps. You’ll thrive on good word of mouth and returning guests; most people will visit the same hotel year after year. Make sure that’s you!
In order to combine luxury and affordability, you have to start from the bottom. That means coming up with a solid business plan and executing it perfectly. You may have to start small, and focus on steady growth to increase profit margins. Like any business, you won’t become huge overnight; it’ll take many months of hard work and dedication.
This guide will cover the things you should bear in mind if you’re after a luxurious hotel business. It’s not going to require a degree in psychology or anything similar. It just takes an understanding of what you would expect if you were in your guest’s shoes. Additionally, in some cases, it’s the small changes that will make all the difference. So don’t forget the details.
Firstly, focus on your business plan
Just like any other business, you’ll need to secure funding and investment. You’ll need to pitch your business plan, projected goals and operating costs to potential buyers. If you’re focusing on affordable luxury, have some ideas in mind about how you can implement this cheaply. The aforementioned chocolates on pillows is a good place to start.
Also, be thinking about decor. Golds and purples promote royalty and generally look more expensive when compared to whites and creams. Convey this feel in your business plan to get your point across to buyers. You want to show them that you intend to offer luxury at an affordable price, and this is what will set you apart from other hotels in the area.
Choosing a location and decorating
Once you’ve secured permits and licences, it’s time for the big step. You need to choose a location that’s not too close to existing hotels but is in a highly regarded area. Focusing on the countryside would be a good idea, as people generally want to go there to escape their day-to-day city living.
Of course, the hotel won’t be ready to go straightaway, and you’ll have to decorate and remodel. Firstly, make sure the old plumbing and wiring is pulled out and reinstalled. See here (http://www.self-build.co.uk/first-second-fix-plumbing) for a quick guide.
Secondly, choose your carpets, walls and banisters with luxury in mind. Once it’s decorated it can be hard to go back! As with any property, you’ll want to be sparing with your accessories. Remember; less is more. Don’t overdo the chandeliers or fancy door knobs. People will see right through you. Instead, focus on things that look practical, and work well. Don’t get caught up in style over substance.
Giving your guests the time of their lives
It’s such a cliche, but it really is impossible to please everybody. That doesn’t mean you can’t try, however. Once your hotel is up and running, it’s time to focus on those smaller details that make up the bigger picture. Of course, you have to build up a luxurious reputation over time, but it will be worth it in the long run. The harder you work, the more results you’ll see. There’s no time like the present to begin improving things.
You want to focus on every aspect of the customer experience, from when they walk in the door to when they enter their bedrooms. Consider the numerous different interactions people will have with your staff and equipment. Think about what you would expect if you stayed in a hotel, and apply these thoughts to your own business.
Use your staff wisely
Obviously, you’ll always need someone on the check-in desk, so don’t change that. When people arrive at your hotel, they’ll just want to get up to their bedrooms. This in mind, you should cut down the check-in process to its bare minimum, and be sure to have enough staff to cope with queues.
To add to that luxury feel, have a member of staff on the entrance door. This person will hold open the door for guests, welcome them in and offer to take their luggage. This is an inexpensive way to make people feel important, and will increase your positive vibe right from the first possible moment.
One of the main things people hate about hotels is rude staff. It makes the whole building feel cheap and nasty, and a simple offhand comment can ruin anyone’s day.
Transporting guests to local attractions
Your guests are staying in your hotel, so that probably means they’ll be going out and about at some point. You can’t control the experience they have at local attractions, but you can control how they get there.
Many hotels will use a limo to take guests to popular local attractions, so consider purchasing one! You can check prices and compare vehicles at a site like http://www.AmericanLimousineSales.com/limousines/. This keeps your guests firmly in your wheelhouse, and you could even have refreshments for sale inside the car. If your guests will be walking, your influence doesn’t end there; offer to supply a member of staff who will act as a pseudo-tour guide. Making people feel at ease in a strange location is part of your job, so don’t forget it!
If it’s your own attractions they will be utilising, then make sure they’re up to scratch. Just like with the decor, don’t overdo it. Just focus on the bare essentials. If you’re a new hotel you may not have a huge budget, so look after what you do have. For example, keeping the pool clean – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7-rKKh7gnA – is imperative.
If you have any games machines or a snooker table, ensure all the relevant equipment is always ready to go. Keep spares stocked at the reception too. Don’t frustrate your guests by not allowing them to play properly. They’re here to have a fun time after all!
Food and general service
With food, it’s how it looks that will determine overall enjoyment. It’s that first impression which can put a person off your meals forever, so check their quality first. A lot of hotels will offer an all-inclusive buffet, and this works for several reasons. One, your guests won’t have to wait to be served and can eat whenever they want. Two, it allows them to choose portion size, so if they’re extra hungry, they can get more easily.
So, focus on that presentation. Present all food in metal trays that keep it warm and looking fresh. These separate bursts of colour are really pleasing to the eye and allow your guests to see exactly what they’re getting.
The same goes with drinks. Everyone hates those feeble plastic cups that companies use to cheap out on us, so don’t be the same. They’re bad for the environment when disposed and can even affect human health. Plant a small investment into kitchen utensils and equipment to supply sturdy glass or plastic beakers. Again, it really is the small things that add to the luxury, so don’t forget about them.
Arguably the most important feature of any public area is its cleanliness, and this is never truer than it is here. People will be living and sleeping in this building for many days, so make it feel like home. Supply fresh towels daily, and keep on top of bathroom cleanliness. If things aren’t up to scratch, you’ll turn your customers against you and they may steal hotel supplies.
Lack of cleanliness is the number one thing that concerns travelers, and it can mean the difference between a return guest and poor word of mouth. Remember how luxurious you felt in the last place you stayed, and how clean it was. It didn’t have a huge foyer or an expensive chandelier. It was just well presented, and that goes a long way.
Anyone with common sense and a big wallet could run a hotel. Running a luxury hotel, however, is a different thing altogether. When it comes down to it, it really is just the little things that will stack up and make the experience. You don’t have to fork out thousands of pounds; just being nice to your guests and keeping the place clean goes a long way.
If you’re considering entering the business, I recommend you go for it. It’s a lucrative market, and as previously mentioned, shows no signs of slowing down. Just make sure you focus on the customer experience, and then the luxury will speak for itself.