Everyone wants to travel the world and they all need a place to stay when they get there. That’s where you come in. If you’re looking to open up a hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area, or already own one, it’s important to understand the distinctions between types of accommodation in order to best market your business. Whether you’re an hotelier in Oakland or a bed and breakfast owner in Napa Valley or thinking about opening a hostel in the Marin Headlands, understanding the marketplace and expectations for your hospitality business is crucial to maintaining popular public attraction.
There are a few things to consider when opening any sort of hotel or lodging accommodation.
- Take a look at the market of your desired location and the demand for hospitality.
- Decide if you wish to acquire an existing hotel or building and remodel or construct a new one, which takes more money and time.
- Consult your budget and long-term financial ability. Most of your businesses profit won’t come until you start taking a substantial amount of customers.
- Start putting your business on the market according to the type of accommodation you are offering.
Often found in cities and high-density tourist destinations, hotels offer lodging and accommodation for a large amount of people. Hotels often provide private rooms and bathrooms, maid service, telephones, television sets, and sometimes pools, restaurants, gyms, and game centers. The cost of opening a hotel depends on the size and amenities offered and usually have a standard system of rating compared to other types of lodging. Hotels can be great for hosting events and business functions, which can also boost your publicity. Marketing strategies for hotels can include utilizing regional and national press, website and social media, or using local marketing consultants to boost your public reputation. A few examples of high-end hotels in the Bay Area are the Fairmont in San Francisco, the Rosewood San Hill in Menlo Park, and the Park Hotel & Spa in Lafayette.
Bed and Breakfast
Typically Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs) are converted family or guest houses that hold no more than around ten rooms. The main purpose is in the name – to provide a place to stay and a warm, home-cooked meal in the morning. Because of their size, they can be more familial and comfortable than big hotels. Opening a Bed and Breakfast will require start up money, which may not be returned right away. However, maintenance and upkeep is generally inexpensive and easy, compared to larger hotels. Quaint and historical buildings make for delightful B&B’s, such as Churchill Manor in Napa and Mill Rose Inn: Half Moon Bay Bed and Breakfast in Half Moon Bay.
Originally named for a “motorists hotel,” motels maintain a demographic target consisting of travellers on long distance journeys. In this sense, they are set up similar to a hotel but offer the bare minimum amenities and services. Often, motel rooms face the parking lot to provide easy come and leave access. They are less expensive to run because they provide less amenities and leisure activities since they are just a place to spend the night off the road. Popular examples of motels are Super 8 and Motel 6.
Dating back for centuries, Inn’s have been a place of comfort, warm food, and safety for the weary traveller. Usually found along the side of a country road or highway, Inns provide food and drinks for those looking to only stay a night or two. Inns fall somewhere between the level of a motel and a hotel in terms of amenities and space and can be cozier and more comfortable than an average hotel. Prospect customers are usually travellers on long journeys who need a temporary place to sleep before continuing on their travels. Gaining online status through review sites such as Yelp and other social media will expand your market to customers looking for a reliable place to stay based on location.
For the travelling wanderer(s) who need a place to stay on a limited budget, hostels make the perfect temporary communal home. Hostels generally have shared living quarters where guests can mingle with other travellers. They are often cheaper mainly because they cost less to run and some of the employees can take up permanent residence on site. The optimal market for hostels is generally where groups of travellers need a cheap residence, such as along intensive hiking trails or in the countryside and close to public transportation. Additionally, signing up for a hostel booking and local search engines will gain more attention for your hostel.
Hopefully this will help you think about what kind of accommodation you want to open or how best to market one you currently own. Understanding the difference is important to handle your market efficiently and effectively.