How to start an accommodation business

As you would expect, running a guest business is no small feat. With thousands of details to consider, just finding where to start can be a daunting task but despair not, we are about to make things simple! We have done our research and have then distilled that research into a list of the most vital components key to a successful accommodation business. Although not exhaustive, the list can be a good starting point to ascertain which factors need consideration. Good luck!

The location - Naturally, spectacular views, local interest, amenities etc all add value to your business meaning a higher fee can be justified. A sea/lake/river/mountain view will always command a higher price than a room without a view.

The guests - Think carefully about what clientele you area trying to attract. Are you budget friendly, pet friendly, exclusive, luxury, urban, country, e.t.c.? Knowing who your clientele will be can help you minimise advertising spend, as you can concentrate on targeting the right people from the outset.

The potential - Be realistic in your assessments of potential earnings. Look at what other, similar, businesses in the area are charging. Can you turn a profit charging the same? Can you make your rooms more affordable? Can you make them dearer? Does what you're proposing offer good value for money for your guests? If not, how can you make it more appealing?

The Unique Selling Point - What makes your business stand out from the competition? Is your building listed for historic interest? Do you have a swimming pool in your basement? Are you offering gourmet meals and room service? Are you family- centric? Knowing your USP can help you convey the essence of your business to your guests so they know exactly what to expect and provided they get that, they will be happy.

The theme - Twee, minimal, kitsch, boutique, regal? Will the style be an important feature for your guests or merely a reflection of personal taste?  Having a uniquely styled property could be one of the unique selling points for your business. Bear in mind that, overall, generic properties will not demand as high a price. Will styling your property effect your profit margins? 

The food - basic bed and breakfast or chef prepared meals? There are definitely profits to be had from upselling services such as lunch and evening meals. This may be especially worth considering if you are based in a fairly isolated location with no easy access to restaurants/cafes. If you are only providing breakfast, be sure it is spot on! 

The reviews - Pay attention to these as they crop up on various review platforms. A bad review somewhere could negatively affect your business without you even knowing it. Be sure to promptly reply to any reviews, be they positive or negative. This demonstrates  that you are an attentive host. Don't be afraid to counter any unreasonably negative reviews which you perceive as being unjust. Use constructive criticism, as opposed to outright berating. Other potential guests are intelligent and will be able to see if someone is being negative without grounds (hopefully). 

The marketing - Where does your competition advertise? If they are offering a similar service, chances are there will be some cross over between their guests and yours. Minimally, we would recommend that you build a website for your business. In 2024, not having a website will definitely be detrimental. Obviously, it goes without saying, a social media presence is also prerequisite - after all, this is basically free advertising and allows other people to promote your services.

The pets - Pet friendly or not? The majority of businesses are not pet friendly so it can be considered somewhat of a niche. Obviously, being pet friendly can potentially put off some prospective clientele.  

The booking procedure - The easier and less fussy the process, the more likely it is that someone will make a booking. Again, guests will appreciate being able to book directly on your website as this minimizes the potential for miscommunications. A direct contact phone number is also reassuring. 

The bathrooms - Always a sticking point if not satisfactory! In some ways the bathroom are even more important than the sleeping areas. Any dirt here is particularly intolerable, to many people. 

The little things - Take the whole package into consideration. Again, are you offering good value for money i.e. are your prices fair?

Q&A - Put to rest any concerns your prospective clients may have. Particularly in  an online context, addressing any concerns here is pre-emptive advertising - letting your clients know exactly what to expect when staying with you, thus avoiding any unpleasant surprises. 

Cleanliness - A universally important factor. This is one of the most important factors in customers deciding to return to a property. Leaving everything in pristine condition is absolutely key! A single unchecked hair in an inopportune location could be a deal breaker for some/many.

Seasonality - What will you do during the off season? Will the profit earned during the peak season be sufficient to sustain you throughout the quiet times. If yes, that's great! If not, you need to think of some creative ways to bring in additional revenue streams. 

Summary

If your building is in a nice location, if your accommodation is in good order, if your food is fresh and tasty, the chances are you will have a successful business. Bear in mind, there will be at least one guest who hates everything you do no matter what. Don't worry about it! As the saying goes "there's no pleasing some...". As long as 99.99% of your guests are happy, you should be too and perhaps even your bank manager!

If you are looking for ways to add value to your accommodation property, we have a range of products that can help you achieve this. Please check out the following product lines:

Hikki Of Sweden

Weltevree

Good luck in your endeavors!

Photo credit: Pexels, Quark Studios.