It is many people’s dream to own and manage a small guest house in a beautiful location, and while the majority will never realise their dream, there are those who have the determination and the resources to make it happen. There will always be a demand for temporary accommodation, so your industry has a great future, and if you are still in the early stages of the planning, crunch the numbers and see what sort of start-up capital is required. Factor all expenses into the equation; furnishings and fittings, any building work that will need to be done, and don’t make the mistake of buying inferior quality items. You are better off going into debt than settling for cheap furniture, and the same goes for appliances and equipment, which can be found online at lower than retail prices. Like any enterprise, you need to plan carefully, covering every aspect of the proposed venture, and your business plan will be your guide.
Here is some practical advice on how to set up a guest house.
- Location is everything – If you are planning to use a property you already own, you need to do some research to ensure that the location is suitable. How far are you from the city centre? Are there attractions in the area? Is it easy to get around? Are there parking facilities? The answers to these questions will help you make the right decisions regarding the location of your guest house, plus you will have to decide if you are going to buy or rent the property. If you are looking to rent, make sure you include an extension clause, which allows you to extend the lease for an agreed period, and a good real estate agent could help you view suitable properties. This is a key decision and not one that you should rush; a suitable property should have everything you would expect and be entirely suitable in terms of size and condition.
- The Legal Aspect – Of course, you will have to register your business, and we suggest talking to a leading business lawyer, who can give you the best advice on company set-up. In order to operate, your premises will be inspected by the local authority, to ensure that the venue is safe and all state guidelines are met. Fire prevention must be in place, with a fire exit and the correct signage to inform guests where to go in the event of a fire, plus you will need specific insurances that cover every aspect of the business. If you know little about the legal aspects of being your own boss, here is a very informative Australian government website that helps you to set up a business.
- Digital Marketing – This will be the method you use to find guests, and unless you happen to be an SEO guru, you should outsource your digital marketing. If you approach a local SEO provider, they have an in-house web design team and they can take your design concept and turn that into a workable digital platform with online booking. You need to list with all digital platforms for short-term accommodation, and linking up with a few review companies, you can build a great digital reputation that can be published on your website. Social media is not something you can afford to overlook, and opening accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is the first step towards creating a large following.
- Equipping the Guest House – Of course, quality should be your priority when looking at appliances – talk to the professionals at electroluxprofessional.com/au/ who can supply you with many essential appliances, plus you can take out a maintenance contract, ensuring the appliances are always in good order. Your interior should be conceptual and if you have no firm ideas, talk to an interior designer, who can make some suggestions and help to create the perfect ambience, something essential for a guest house. Cleanliness is paramount, and here is a great blog about keeping your living space clean and virus-free, which is a must-read.
- Customer Focused – If you hold the guest above everything else, and focus on providing a 5-star service, you will see the benefits in the form of referrals, and with great online reviews, your venue is an attractive option for those looking to stay a few nights.
You can save money by not outsourcing linen, better to talk to a commercial appliance supplier and purchase the units. It might take a few years to see a return on investment, but in the long-term, having your own major appliances makes good business sense, and they offer credit at affordable rates.
Whatever your concept, you should strive for excellence in service, and hiring the right people is another critical aspect of success. When your business plan is complete, ask a business expert to take a look and if they should find any issues or unanswered questions, you can improve the plan, and this will be your guide to success.