tips to open a new independent hotel

Tips for Opening an Independent Hotel: Part 1

Opening an independent hotel would be a dream come true for many hospitality industry veterans, as well as some newcomers.  Whether expanding the family business, embarking on a second career or taking an entrepreneurial leap of faith, running an independent hotel is the perfect endeavor for those who are passionate about taking care of others.  However, as many would-be hoteliers have learned, it takes a lot more than passion to open and operate an independent hotel.

Running an established hotel is challenging, so opening and operating a freshly renovated, rebranded or new build property requires hoteliers to pair knowledge and skill with their passion to be successful.  Passion may be enough to drive you to opening day, but without the information and tools needed to navigate the complex world of independent hotel operations, closing day will come much sooner than expected.

In our newest blog series, Tips for Opening an Independent Hotel, we’ll provide helpful tips for those who are serious or simply curious about opening an independent hotel.  We’ve gathered insight from some of innRoad’s most loyal clients, as well as our colleagues across the hotel industry, so we’re excited to share our findings with you.

What’s trending in your market?
Here’s a quick, 2-question pop quiz for future independent hotel operators:
1)    What is the 2015 year-to-date RevPAR rate growth/decline for your local market?
2)    How many new hotel rooms are currently in construction in your market?

If you don’t know the answers to the questions above, do you know where to find them?  If so – great!  If not, then it’s time to get up-to-speed on some of the industry’s most important performance data.
Before investing time, effort and dollars into opening an independent hotel, you must know how your market and competitors are currently performing, as well as the outlook for the future.  A great starting point is STR, the hotel industry’s leading performance data provider and its online news resource, Hotel News Now.  Here you can find a wealth of hotel industry information and performance data that will provide valuable insight and help set performance goals for your hotel.  Opening an independent hotel must make sense over the long-term, so understanding the opportunities and challenges presented by your local market is critical for achieving success.

Get to know your guests
Getting to know your guests before opening a hotel may sound odd, but it is essential to know who you must target in the future.  First, pay attention to the type of guests other hotels are attracting.  Are they mostly weekday business travelers or weekend leisure guests?  Having a grasp on this will help you better understand the shifts in the market’s ADR and Occupancy rates.  Additionally, to get a glimpse into the future, contact your convention and visitors bureau (CVB) and subscribe to the local business newspaper.  Most major conventions and events are booked 2+ years in advance, so your local CVB can provide insight on schedules and the number of attendees that will likely need hotel rooms.  And subscribing to the local business paper will keep you informed of business community activity, such as openings, relocations and closings, so you can use this information to plan and structure your hotel operations accordingly.

Stay tuned for future tips for opening an independent hotel.  Subscribe to the innRoad blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest insight tailored just for independent hotel operators.