The majority of the advice that follows is based on common sense, with a strong help from the experience of Peter Venison, retired Hotelier of Sun International Hotels and many other hotels around the world. “Identifying the obvious is important. But going one step beyond the obvious is success. “
The “100 Tips for Hoteliers” book on which this article is based is addressed to experienced Hotel Managers as well as to students who are envisioning an ever-evolving career in the hospitality field.
RELATED ARTICLE A new hotel approach beyond “5 Star” & “Luxury” Perceptions HERE
For reasons of brevity and mystery creation, the tips that follow are handpicked without reaching the penetration of the complete book. Grab paper and pencil and let the notes start:
Tip # 1: You can make a difference – Size counts.
When you choose the location of the Hotel you should not only look at your tree, but also the forest around. What I mean; If you intend to “build” in an area full of industries, how much do you think a luxury boutique hotel can fit? The best thing to do is create and not change a location. How do you achieve this? Building in the wilderness. By investing in “uncontaminated by hotels” locations. There you buy land and expand your business into the industry, you can create the ground for your business to thrive in the long run. You create the destination instead of trying to “fit” into an unsuitable one.
Tip # 2: Feel the environment
Choosing the right location is the first step. Choosing the best place to grow is the second. Do not hurry, this decision takes time. Walk the location. Visit it at dawn, evening, at night with a Martini in hand. You have to “feel” the environment: its weaknesses, its advantages. Do not forget: you have an obligation towards the surrounding area. Tourism alone can be devastating to the environment, the economic interests of big powers may want full exploitation at the point of exhaustion of a “virgin” space. Before and above all you have still a debt to your children. If you can not enhance the area around you, at least do not make it miserable.
Tip # 3: Trust your instincts
Think of buying a new home. You pass the door and you feel that this place is for you. So you have to feel about your Hotel. If you do not feel this is the “right” place for you, just do not buy it – your instinct knows. And something that perhaps the instinct will not realize: Make sure before the purchase that the person who sells the land has the right to do so. P. Venison mentions cases where he was in conflict with the legitimate (and the illegal!) seller of the land he had bought for his business.
Tip # 4: Understand Your Market
After building the Hotel, letting the world know it is the next BIG step. Some of the questions you must answer first of all are:
Who will be your customers?
Will they be rich or on-budget?
Will they be young or old?
The quality of your prospective customers will also affect building. The higher the budget of the customers you want to target, the higher the quantity and quality of the services you will offer. As a result, so will the budget of the building, the decoration etc. Venison says “the cost of a building reserved for a luxury hotel or resort can be up to 5 times higher than the corresponding budget or hotel package, with almost the same number of rooms.”
There are also the branded chains that give the guidelines with their established standards and operating systems. However, they may not work the same way around the world due to limitations on the degree of intervention in the architecture.
Be careful of the size of the Hotel. It is challenging to make a “small” hotel a source of “big” profits. That is why advertising a hotel with a three-digit number of rooms costs the same as the advertising of a boutique. Perhaps the boutique’s advertising will cost more because it requires more targeted focus.
Finally, try to build against the “obsolete”, the biggest enemy of the hotels. If you predict from the very beginning that in 30 years the specific room or bathroom size will not need full refurbishment, you will save a lot of money and time.
Tip # 5: Timing is everything.
The sooner the business opens the sooner the revenue will start to flow! However, the completion of the project is affected by many factors, most of them above your strengths. Cement needs a certain amount of time to dry, workers’ night shifts are more expensive, so you may schedule all work to be done in the morning, the availability of workers depends on the region.
You should also take into account the seasonal timeline of the hotels. It is best to open a summer resort at the beginning of the summer season rather than at the end. So finishing the building of the Hotel in May will be a criminal action. Also, do not forget your tour-operator brochure – the deadlines for printing are different per region, and you do not want to miss them. Advertising a Hotel based on how it is going to be is sometimes illegal – did you check it out?
The worst you can do is leave the opening date in the air. Nothing gathers the mind better than a clock that counts backwards. Projects with no timelines are meaningless, giving the impression that they will never be completed. You will be impressed with how much more focused everyone is, when they have clear goals to achieve.
To sum up the anxiety, 5 more Tips are coming in the next few days that have to do with the continuous budget management and sales of a Hotel ! A big surprise is coming with them too, so stay tuned in Workathlon!