Demand for services of small hotels in large cities is growing. In megacities, there are not enough economy class hotel rooms, so an ordinary person often just has nowhere to stay. Meanwhile, the concept of "fast food & sleep" around the world is traditionally reserved for small hotels. It is this sector of the hospitality industry that has been developing most rapidly in Russia over the past few years and promises in the near future to become a profitable and convenient alternative to two- or three-star post-Soviet hospitality.
Russian hotel business operators offer their guests not too wide a choice: accommodation and services in first-class hotels for 300-350 dollars a day or more, or an unobtrusive two-three star service at a price of 30 to 100 dollars a day.
Experts believe that the cost of building a small (up to 100 rooms) hotel in Moscow can return in 5-6 years, and on average in the country in 9-12. Private investors are ready to spend today on the construction of new hotels or the acquisition of existing ones with an increasingly impressive amount. But often, the hotel business is of interest primarily for those who seek to invest in real estate, and for them the rate of return on the project plays a far from paramount role.
Choosing a building for a hotel
The construction of a new building for a hotel is still an unpopular option for participants in a small hotel business, because there are often no physical places for building sites in the center of large cities with a view from the window. So often a small hotel today is a small part of an existing or former hostel, a basement, or several apartments located on the same landing or several floors. Less commonly, it is part of a residential building or a separate building.
For example, the most common option in St. Petersburg to create a small hotel is to buy one or more communal apartments, which are then resettled and repaired. In one such apartment, from 6 to 8 rooms are created. Ordinary apartments for creating hotels are less convenient due to problems with redevelopment and additional approvals from BTI.
Renting is also not the best choice for a small hotel. When changing owners, not only rental rates, but also the very views of the owners on the hotel business very often change. As a result, instead of working with clients, hoteliers have to spend time resolving differences.
Generally speaking, in accordance with the current legislation, a hotel must be located in a non-residential premises and meet a number of requirements of SES, fire supervision and safety standards established by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It should have about three dozen certificates that need to be regularly confirmed. But, according to participants in the small hotel business market, certification is no longer a problem and an “administrative barrier”, but a necessary measure to guarantee the quality of service and safety of guests of small hotels. In each region, local certification organizations are involved in evaluating the quality of hotel services.
But the processes of transferring premises from housing to non-residential and obtaining the relevant permits, approvals and certificates are associated with additional costs - both financial and temporary.
Therefore, very often owners of mini-hotels choose the “gray scheme of work”. The "gray" path is chosen by almost all small hotels with up to 4 rooms - organized in small apartments, the owners of which, in most cases, do not plan to expand the business.
The main plus of the “gray” hotel business is cost reduction due to complete avoidance of the tax burden. At the same time, according to most market participants, the tax burden is not an unbearable burden - its size is quite moderate, in addition, almost all small hotels use a simplified taxation system in their activities.
The biggest drawback of gray status is the limited client and partner base. Corporate clients who require payment documents for financial reporting immediately fall out of the list of potential customers. Difficulties arise with the placement of advertising and the inclusion of information in specialized catalogs and directories. But be that as it may, the work "in the gray" allows you to provide prices slightly lower than in the "white" hotels. As a result, the payback periods of gray hotels are much shorter than those of whites, and start from two years.
Private apartments and apartments for rent are some competition for small hotels. Demand in this segment is pronounced and increases with the onset of the tourist and university season. Rental rates vary by property. For $ 15-25 a day in St. Petersburg, you can rent an apartment of the most unsightly appearance in the "sleeping" area.
At the same time, large-sized apartments in good condition are for rent in St. Petersburg at a price of $ 140 to $ 200, and luxury apartments in old houses in the center can cost a tenant up to $ 300 a day.
The payback period of the apartment (if they are rented daily and provided that the apartment will be rented for at least 6 months a year) will be about 3 years, which is much higher than with a long-term rental (about 6-7 years).
Meanwhile, in most cases, attracting an "elite" tenant requires much higher costs - it requires not only the repair of the apartment, but also the improvement of the entrance, as well as meeting a number of requirements, such as the availability of reliable iron doors or a concierge.
One of the main problems of small hotels is to ensure a constant flow of customers. So far, the main way to make yourself known is the Internet and special information guides. The best advertising for small hotels is low prices and word of mouth, which consistently provide high occupancy rates.
Ensuring the loading of apartments is done by intermediaries - real estate agencies, travel agencies, sometimes entrepreneurs who rent apartments for a long time, and earn on a sublease difference.
Hospitality: Quality of Service
On average, a third of all income is spent on ensuring the functioning of the hotel. Most of the expenses are related to employee salaries and services of outside service personnel; the second significant item is utility bills, the costs of maintenance and equipment maintenance.
The key to economic efficiency is cost optimization. There are no trifles in a small hotel. For example, soap and shampoo can be hidden in a dispenser, which with prolonged use will result in significant savings. But you can’t save on the comfort of the guest in any case. For example. Among the required services today are the Internet, facsimile communications, copying of documents. Phone calls around the city in most small hotels are free.
In a good hotel, the visitor who has booked a room will never stand waiting near the reception desk - the guest is always waiting for a cup of coffee and a sofa. You can not save on staff. That is why one of the main cost items of small hotels that value their reputation is wages. Personnel decide everything - this is evidenced by foreign experience, according to which the personnel and personnel reserve for hotels begin to be selected long before the end of construction. The atmosphere is very important in a small hotel - the overall success of the hotel depends on it.
Another indicator of the care and hospitality of a high level is the creation of conditions for the convenient placement and residence of people with disabilities.
Another indicator of quality is the highest possible cleanliness. The most modest plumbing will make a favorable impression if it is cleaned to a shine, and the simplest but perfectly clean towel will be no less pleasant than an expensive terry towel ... The same with dishes - an expensive porcelain plate is unlikely to please the guest more than the usual but so similar to home.
In a good small hotel you will always be asked what you want for breakfast and be sure that your order will be surely executed. True, most small hotels prefer not to expand the direction of food and do not have their own bars or cafes, limiting themselves to common kitchens open to visitors. The costs of preparing your own lunches and dinners do not pay off, so small hotels are most often limited to breakfast and hot drinks: tea, hot chocolate and coffee with cognac. Typically, hotels have a mutually beneficial neighborhood - a small cafe or grocery store.
It is extremely important for guests of small hotels and the level of security. These are alarm buttons, reliable safes for storing valuables of guests, life, health and property insurance services. In the case of a long standstill, the administration should help resolve all issues with temporary registration.
When calculating the total costs take into account the cost of the apartment (in St. Petersburg - from $ 1, 000 per 1 sq. M), the cost of repairs, as well as the costs of redevelopment. Furnishing and furniture, electrical wiring, plumbing and other equipment will cost about 250-300 dollars more per 1 sq. Km. m
Based on an article by Timofei Bakhvalov for Business Magazine
* The article is more than 8 years old. May contain outdated data