Top six considerations for setting up a hospitality business

By Tom Little on 21 February 2018

Here's what you need to know before you set up your hospitality business, in a handy five minute guide, provided by hosptiality experts Out of Eden.

The best advice when it comes to a B&B or self‐catering accommodation, with regards to spending and budgeting, is to write a comprehensive business plan clearly and realistically outlining your financial prospects and commitments.

Looking at everything in one thorough plan allows you to grasp how much money is required in each aspect of your property. Planning annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily income and outcome is perhaps a beneficial way to track your payments.

Here are a few costs to consider:
  • How much will you spend on making your accommodation suitable for your customers?
  • Replenishment – toiletries, breakfast supplies, cleaning products, etc.
  • Maintenance – general wear and tear, ad hoc in case of unforeseen incidents
  • Income/pricing your room – you should consider the following: En suite bathrooms? Location?
  • Seasonality? Weekend/weekday/bank holiday? Competition?
  • Tax payments
  • Agency payments or marketing and advertising costs
  • General bills such as gas, electric rates and license fees
  • Online booking agency fees
  • Do you require any employees? Will they be full‐time or part‐time?

Appealing to your target market
Who are they? Families? Friends? Couples? Business people or holiday breaks? Older or younger? Are dogs allowed? If you are catering to an array of markets, consider cost‐effective measures in order to suit each clientele. For example, using zip and link beds allows you to offer twin and double bed rooms.

Marketing your accommodation
In this digital age, an online presence is absolutely key to gaining awareness and exposure for your accommodation. That is not to say, however, you should neglect a good old newspaper feature or brochure in a shop window. It is best to cover all bases.

  • Some of the ways you can gain more exposure are:
  • Alert local businesses: these could provide essential partnerships and bring in an influx of trusted customers
  • Social media presence: regular updates showcase new opportunities within your property and/or local area as well as serving as a port of call if guests should wish to contact you.
  • An easily accessible website with your contact information and high‐quality pictures/gallery readily available
  • Clearly advertise your USPs (unique selling points) e.g. “close to xyz” as well as local transport links, attractions, pubs, etc.
  • Newspaper and magazine advertisements

Licenses for your rental property tend to be the little things you may not have considered, but they are absolutely essential to have. You may be obligated to get:

  • TV licensing for each room
  • Music licensing
  • DVD licensing
  • Alcohol licensing

Legalities and regulations
Keeping up to date on the latest laws takes time, but it is crucial to do.

Below are some that you are strongly advised to consider before committing to setting up a B&B:
  • Planning permission
  • Tax threshold
  • Fire regulations & safety
  • Food hygiene & safety
  • Equality Act 2010 – is your accommodation suitable and accessible for anyone who may wish to stay?
  • Further legislation: educate yourself on what you can and cannot do within your business Insurance

A standard domestic household insurance policy is not suitable cover for a premises with paying guests. Specialist B&B and self‐catering accommodation insurance policies are available and these types of policies cover you for normal domestic use buildings and content cover, but also cover public liability and sometimes, for an extra fee, theft or malicious damage by guests.