What does it take to start a hotel?

Are you aware of what it really takes to get to the top and become the next Premier Inn, or even Hilton?

A building punctuated with a few beds and a bathroom or two is, strictly speaking, a hotel, but in a busy marketplace, are you aware of what it really takes to become the next best thing to the Premier Inn or even, The Hilton?

Know your customers

Fundamentally, a hotel is like any other business venture, and you won't get anywhere without knowing your target audience.

This will be reflected in everything from the sort of design you choose, its placement in the country, the sort of building you want to set up in and the way you market your new business.

For the quirkier among us, it can also mean things like what sort of gimmick do you want to choose? Whether you want to focus on families, older people, couples or students, your strategy will be different depending on the demographic you choose. 

Knowing your audience can also help you decide on fundamental business factors such as the price you will charge per room.

Know your location

Where will your hotel be located? This is entirely dependent on the sort of operation that you want to be. If you are going for a family-run countryside retreat, for example, there is very little point in being located next to a motorway slip road or an airport.

Knowing your business will be the deciding factor on where to locate your business.  If you want to be a travel hotel to compete with the chains like Premier Inn and Travelodge, buy a hotel that's near to a train station, motorways or an airport. 

On the other hand, if you're looking upmarket and pricey, look to buy in the centre of city as close to the attractions and entertainment you can get.

Essentially, it all boils down to making sure you hit your target audience and are always visible to them.

Take your time

Unlike other areas of the property sector, investment in hotels is usually a bit of a slow burner, rather than something that will quickly generate real returns.

If you want to buy a hotel, you need to be in it for the long run and stay focused on getting a return somewhere down the line. you have to love what you do and be sure that running a hotel is something you want to do. If not, it can be a jarring experience, filled with long days and short sleeps.


Getting the decor right is also extremely important. In the age of amateur and widespread travel reviews, you need to wow the customer to make sure you are always viewed favourably.

When looking for a hotel to buy, always factor in the cost of refurbishment - it's surprising what a lick of paint and pulling up that paisley carpet can do. Crisp designs and neutral colours will without a doubt persuade guests to pick you over other outdated, dusty and dingy hotels. 

Similarly, hardwood floors look natural, effortless and are long lasting and durable. This is vital to your overheads as you won't want to keep changing your decor over and over. 


No one will know where you are if you don't market yourself right. 

So, once you're up and running, get yourself online and visible. People are always looking on the internet to find their next stay these days, and if you aren't online, you'll end up with empty rooms over and over again.

For more advice, why not check out some words of wisdom from experienced Blackpool hotelier, Claire Smith. 

Melanie Luff

About the author

Mel wrote for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other global industry publications.


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