Posted on: 21 January 2019
For many, running a small or boutique hotel is a romantic career aspiration. As well as the obvious financial rewards which come along with owning your own business, it also offers the chance to start afresh. However, the reality is that there are a whole host of factors to consider before one can simply begin welcoming guests into their property.
To start you off on the right foot, we’ve compiled four important considerations before taking the plunge. From choosing the appropriate business insurance to finding qualified staff, follow this guide to take your first steps towards competing in the hospitality sector.
Do your research
When you’re in the planning stages of developing a small hotel business, one of your first considerations should be the location. Whether you’ve got your heart set on a sleepy village or are yet to decide, doing your due diligence is vital in succeeding in the hospitality sector.
One way to do this is to scour review sites and find out what other hotels in the area are doing – and, more importantly, not doing. This could provide an opportunity to immediately hit the ground running by offering desired features, such as hot food, which may be missing from the area’s more established hotels. You’ll also get a sense of market saturation and whether your business can cut through the market.
In addition to this, research is important in understanding the potential clients of a given area. This will allow you to cater to your guests and forge a better customer experience. For example, if you’re based in the city centre, you should provide detailed information on all the local amenities.
Play by the rules
Now, you’ve picked the location and are ready to whip your property into shape. The next step should be to contact the local council, as you may need planning permission.
Even if you aren’t physically altering the building in question, planning permission may be required if you are changing its use. That’s because properties are separated into different categories by The Town and County Planning Order 1987, which means you must seek permission if your building is changing its “use class”, i.e. from residential to commercial. In any case, it’s always best to check with the council.
You’ll also need to carry out a hotel fire safety assessment, adhering to the regulations set by the government. Once this is complete, you’ll need to action any required changes to your property and organise regular future assessments.
Furthermore, if you’re serving food or drink at your hotel, you’ll need to arrange a health and safety inspection with your local council. For more information on food safety, visit gov.uk.
Hire the right staff
It’s a well-known fact that in the hospitality industry, you live and die by the quality of your employees. Even if a customer loves everything about your establishment, one bad experience with a member of staff will leave a bitter taste in their mouth.
To ensure that each member of your team is working towards the betterment of your business, an in-depth recruitment process is needed. The number one trait you should be on the lookout for is a great attitude, prioritised over experience. After all, you can train an employee, but you can’t teach someone to be positive.
It’s important that you take your time during this process. Meet with as many candidates as possible, encourage role play in interviews, and check references before you make a final decision. Your staff are going to be the first thing your customers see when they walk through the front door, so you can afford to be pernickety during the recruitment process.
Running a hotel of any size means opening yourself up to risk. That’s why it’s vital to protect you and your assets by taking out the appropriate hotel insurance.
Whether you wish to cover property damage, theft of stock, or cyber-attacks, the right insurance solution can help to relieve some of the stresses that come with hotel management.
You will also want to ensure that your finances are protected, should guests injure themselves during their stay. Public liability insurance can safeguard against these situations, paying any potential compensation, legal bills, and medical expenses should an accident occur as a result of your business activities.
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