Hospitality: how to open a small hotel

* The calculations use the average data for the World

The alignment of forces in the hotel business: 60% of guests are served by large hotels, 40% of the flow is a guaranteed share of small formats.

Small hotels in the hotel business in Europe a long time ago not only firmly occupied their niche, but also became one of the key elements of the hotel industry. In cozy hotels, each of which is unique and unique, for a moderate fee, the guest will certainly get much more pleasure than settling in a soulless network hotel, where the client feels more like a moving part on a conveyor belt than a welcome guest. And it’s okay that the mini-hotel does not have a swimming pool, fitness center and casino: as a rule, people do not come for this at all.

The advantage of mini-hotels in the customer choice. The guest can choose a hotel not only on the basis of the cost of the room, set of services and location, but also taking into account aesthetic preferences. The interiors of some small hotels are popular with people in creative professions; in others, businessmen prefer to stay. But most importantly, in each hotel of this class the rooms are individually decorated.

The main feature of the small-format hotel business is the ability to create an individual atmosphere of coziness and comfort, the client feels at home, and such a feeling in a large hotel is sometimes difficult to obtain even for a lot of money. Small hotels allow you to optimize the volume of services provided, quickly control their quality and quantity, as well as choose the most effective ratio of the number of employees and visitors.

Small Hotel Business: Classification

There is no official classification for small hotels in our country, there is not a single legislative or normative act that clearly defines the essence of the concept of a “small hotel”. The only gap is the comments of the Federal Agency for Tourism on the "System for the classification of hotels and other accommodation facilities", from which it follows that a small hotel is a hotel with less than 50 rooms.

Owners of mini-hotels in St. Petersburg use their own classification - depending on the parameters of the occupied space, small hotels are divided into “mini-hotels” (up to 10-15 rooms in a non-residential fund, although many hotels with a capacity of 25-30 rooms also call themselves “mini”); mini-hotels of apartment type (usually no more than 6–7 and a maximum of 10–15 rooms in the housing stock); and, finally, small hotels in separate buildings (up to 50 rooms).

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According to the level of services provided in the hotel business, it is customary to divide small hotels into affordable hostels, home hotels, economy and business class hotels, as well as apart hotels, which are very popular with students. The latter, basically, can boast of an author's interior design, an elite location, exclusive services, the availability of deluxe rooms, and in many respects they can give odds to large five-star hotels.

As for the stars, the current GOST of the hotel business does not take into account the differences between small and large hotels. Therefore, even if the owners of a small hotel with 15 rooms in a separate building install a golden jacuzzi, hang paintings from the Hermitage on the walls and create an unprecedented level of comfort for the guests, the company is unlikely to get at least four stars, since there is only one elevator and there is no hairdresser .

Until now, the number of stars in advertising a particular mini-hotel is more of a personal assessment by investors of the quality of their product than the result of official certification of the hotel business.

Small Hotel Business: Real Estate

The main problem of the hotel business is real estate. Most often, hotels are located in redeemed and then rebuilt old communal apartments and in apartments of residential buildings. And for the official registration of the hotel, you need to transfer the apartments to non-residential fund, which is not easy. The process requires high costs, the process of registration sometimes takes more than a year, plus excessive taxes on property and land, and doubling the operating costs of the hotel business.

According to the estimates of market participants, from 50 to 70% of small hotels in the city are still acquired in the housing stock and registered for individuals, and legally their activity is limited to daily rental of apartments on the basis of contracts with guests. True, in this case, such enterprises do not have a formal right to be called a “hotel”. This means that it is difficult to advertise, clearly position your institution, form network alliances, and receive stars.

Another problem of the hotel business, relevant for all small hotels in the country without exception: most fire and sanitary standards, as well as GOSTs and SNiPs that describe the requirements for both residential premises and the hotel business, have not changed since Soviet times and are completely inconsistent with current conditions.

Even an application for redevelopment made in accordance with all the rules can be rejected by officials only because, according to the standards, there should not be more than two toilet rooms in a dwelling. And, if there is no certificate of conformity, it is strictly forbidden to feed the guests in the housing stock, and even more so to sell alcoholic beverages without a license. That is why 15% of small hotels are not registered at all - businessmen work illegally.

The lack of constructive attention of the state to small hotel business would be justified if the hotel infrastructure in the country was saturated and debugged. However, even relatively prosperous St. Petersburg, in order to enter the top five tourist centers in Europe, you need to double the number of rooms - by 18 thousand places.

Small hotel business: How to open a mini-hotel

On the example of investing in a mini-hotel in St. Petersburg.

The first and main task of the hotel business is the selection of premises. Best for this purpose are communal apartments above the second floor in the “facade” houses in the central historical areas of the city with the most developed infrastructure. Cafes, restaurants and shops are desirable nearby. Recommended total area (including rooms, corridors, kitchens, administrative premises) - at least 300 square meters. m. The minus is that such apartments do not lie on the road, and their resettlement is a whole story. Today in St. Petersburg, the cost of resettlement-purchase is from two and a half to seven thousand dollars per square meter, and on average in the city this procedure will require about 800 thousand dollars.

The next stage in the creation of the hotel business is reconstruction and redevelopment, which will require at least half the amount spent on the purchase of the premises. However, much worse is that it will take more than a year to obtain permits, prepare, coordinate and approve the redevelopment project. After the redevelopment is completed, countless officials will check the results for regulatory compliance. If this stage is completed successfully, the time will come to conclude agreements with power engineers, Vodokanal, firefighters ...

Next, the interior design of the hotel. The main thing is that the hotel does not resemble a hostel and a communal apartment, be clean, comfortable and comfortable for residents. Equipment for such a hotel (furniture, household appliances, home decoration, etc.) will cost another 200-250 thousand dollars. At the same time, one should not forget about the inadmissibility of a sharp scatter in the class of rooms: two suites and eight rooms a'la hostel will scare off both groups of customers, and hourly check-in services for lovers of amorous adventures will quickly ruin the image.

When setting prices, it is useful to study the market and offers of neighbors.

Recruiting is another difficult moment in the hotel business. When recruiting staff, you should prepare for the drill and training. The ideal staff for a hotel with 10 rooms is the manager, three to four administrators, the senior administrator, the head of the reservation department, the chief accountant and two or three maids (in practice, many positions are combined). For all staff, knowledge of the English language is desirable, but for administrators - required.

The following are practical recommendations from experienced owners. Standard services - light breakfast and clean linen - are rigorous. If you do not have a place or legal right to keep your small cafe and mini-laundry? Agree with your neighbors and outsource these processes. In addition, you can conclude special agreements with a nearby gym and sauna, a restaurant and a car rental company, a tour desk, offering guests discounts.

The formation of the base of regular customers will take more than one year, therefore, a novice mini-hotel needs to conclude agreements with travel agencies for the provision of hotel services, thanks to them it will be possible to avoid downtime.

As for advertising, it must also be given. For this purpose, Gloss are good, specialized sites on the Internet. According to some hotel owners, a good return on advertising in the hotel industry is provided by the radio, word of mouth and outdoor information. If an association of small hotels has appeared in a city or region, you must join it.

On average, the cost of launching an apartment-type mini-hotel with 10 rooms in St. Petersburg today is at least $ 1, 200, 000 (in other cities of the country, the amount can be adjusted taking into account local conditions), the investment pays off after 6-8 years.

Based on the article by Alexander Alexandrova in the journal

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