Just like any other business, there’s going to be competition when starting up a small hotel or bed and breakfast, which means you need a careful business plan and good organisational skills. Have a look at the following tips and things you need to know.
Do your research
How is your hotel going to stand out from others? You need to decide what kind of a business it is that you are going to be running and how you can make it stand out from already existing competitors.
For example, if you are thinking about opening a bed and breakfast, you should research which other B&B’s are nearby and have a look at their services and reviews. If they have negative reviews in a specific area, this is something you’ll want to pick up on in order to give your future guests something that another business can not.
Also, make sure you can see what other businesses are doing successfully, so you are able to make note of these areas and make sure your small hotel or B&B is successful in the same areas. Making note of strengths and weaknesses of other businesses early on is an excellent way of having good market research and finding out what people want, so you are able to be ahead of the game before you have even started.
Work out who you’re marketing to
Before you start up your business, you should know what kind of an audience you want to market to and how you’ll market to them. Once you know who your audience are, you will be able to cater to them better, and therefore creating a more personal experience.
For example, B&B guests generally only stay for one night, so it’s likely they are visiting the area, and therefore a personal touch might be to display some leaflets about attractions near the area. Guests will appreciate a thoughtful touch.
Plan your return on investment
When running your own business, you need to have a good return on investment, otherwise all of your hard work will not earn you a profit and it will seem as though it was all for nothing. Planning your money might seem simple, but there are a lot of areas you’ll need to cover.
You will need to consider how much money you’ll spend to begin with, and then how much money you’ll spend on a monthly basis. Making money plans is a sensible idea to let you know exactly how much is going in and out of your business account. This also helps you understand how long it will take you to earn the money back you spent on starting your business up to begin with, and how much profit you are making.
Plan your management
A successful business needs good management, and this means good organisational skills. The best way to organise how your business will be managed is to create a plan of how certain aspects of the business will be managed, and who will be in charge of each area.
Assign different staff to be in charge of specific areas, for example if you are to hire a cleaner they will be in charge of the bedrooms, and a receptionist will be in charge of taking bookings and checking people in. This way you’ll be able to stay of top of everything, and have staff report back to you so you know exactly what’s going on.
The demand for free WiFi
Whether the hotel is small or large, today’s guests are increasingly demanding free WiFi as a standard feature during their stay, says Rachel Rothwell, regional director at Zyxel. As every aspect of our lives becomes more and more influenced by digital interactions, our reliance on being connected 24/7 has never been greater.
Hotel consumers now see WiFi as one of their top amenities when choosing a hotel. Guests are progressively expecting reliable connections, anywhere in the building and on all of their devices. Guests want the same seamless WiFi experience during their hotel visit as they have in their own homes, although at the moment this is not always what they encounter. According to research conducted by Zyxel, of the 405 hoteliers surveyed, poor WiFi was the second most commonly cited complaint after noise.
While high-performing WiFi has become a guest priority, it should also be a priority for hoteliers. Fast, reliable WiFi in your hotel will foster greater guest satisfaction by providing a valuable platform on which to engage your guests, which encourages them to keep them coming back. Using captive portals and social logins will allow hoteliers to connect and market to guests, producing a far greater ROI than charging for WiFi. It will also allow hoteliers to stay in contact with their guests through social media feeds long after they have checked out.
If hotels wish to maintain their hold on the market, they must align the ways in which they operate to the preferences of millennials. The smartphone is the key to how the next generation of hotel guests operate. As such, constant connectivity and personalised services will become standard expectations the hospitality industry would be unwise to ignore.
Taking this into account, it is important to choose the right solution for your business in order to provide guests with stable, fast and secure connectivity. Most hotels do not have dedicated IT staff in place to manage this and so need solutions that are simple to deploy and hassle-free to manage. A compact, feature rich solution will usually be the best fit, especially when you have limited space and a relatively simple networking infrastructure. But it is still critical to ensure that strong security is used. It is a business environment so business class products should be employed, although this does not necessarily need to mean expensive products!