Business Tips: Getting Into The Hospitality Industry

Getting started in the hospitality industry can be daunting, but these tips may help you get started.

The hospitality industry is one of the most lucrative fields worldwide, registering more than a trillion dollars worth of profit every year. It's no surprise that many people want a slice of the pie, but not everyone knows where to begin.

First it's important to understand that the hospitality industry is a huge field covering a wide variety of businesses that base themselves on customer service. With restaurants, travel agencies, hotels, tours, airline services, boutiques, and many other areas to choose from, it can be hard to know where to get involved.

When going into business for yourself, it's important to be doing it for the right reasons. The hospitality industry has unlimited financial potential, but at the same time, it is wildly unpredictable. You want to make sure that you're getting involved in a project you enjoy, have some knowledge of, and are not afraid to invest in.

No matter what area you begin in, you have to go into the project with the understanding that you really can't cut corners when it comes to the primary financing. A lot of times business owners will get involved in the details involving design, or food, or services and start to lose sight of the fact that it's the people who matter the most. Whatever you choose to invest in, eventually you're going to have those first customers coming through your doors, and they will notice right away if you've cut corners. When it comes to making people happy, there is no halfway; it's all or nothing. The industry as a whole is wildly unpredictable, and when it comes to the details of starting your own business, that same concept will apply. You want to make sure you've planned to cover all of the costs of the original establishment without cutting corners, and then have another fund set aside for unforeseen problems.

In any hospitality business, there are three very important words to consider . . . location, location, location. Cliché or not, it's still one of the most important aspects of business. You don't want to open a restaurant in an area choked with restaurants, nor do you want to open one out in the middle of nowhere. You wouldn't want to build a hotel in an area without traffic, and you wouldn't want to start a shuttle service without an airport. Decide what general area you'd like to base your business in and then get a feel for what the area needs. You want your business to meld well with the local environment and still be attractive to visitors. This concept is trickiest in the hotel industry.

No matter the size of a hotel, everything should be designed to optimize comfort. Whether vacationing or traveling for business purposes, everyone who comes through the lobby doors is looking for some leisure relaxation. Muted colors and eye pleasing patterns should be used for lobby and hall carpeting. Rooms should have an earthy decor, and be uniform throughout. Hotel personnel should be overly accommodating and openly friendly. If the hotel doesn't have a kitchen, then you should contract a nearby food establishment to assist in providing meals for guests.

A bar/restaurant relies just as much on location, if not more, than a hotel. Your business must be appealing and offer a little something for everyone. Many bars/restaurants have found a lot of success in choosing an overall theme and carrying that theme throughout every aspect of the business. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, then your decor, menu, lounge, and designs should all work together to complete that theme. Perhaps you want to start a business that has less to do with food and is more of a bar with entertainment. Then your decor, personnel, and entertainment increase exponentially in importance. People have to eat to survive; with a restaurant you can be assured of at least some business, based on this premise alone. Bars have no such human compulsion to fall back on. The bar primarily must rely on marketing and advertising in order to draw business in. No matter which style you choose for your establishment, the most important aspect of your business has to be the service. Your managers, servers, and bartenders are going to be interacting on a semi-personal level with all patrons and you want people in those positions who know what they are doing. Your staff should know everything on the menu. They should be fast on their feet and even quicker of wit. They need to be knowledgeable and courteous. Once again, everything depends on the customer.

These are just a few tips on general hospitality, but no matter what area of the industry you choose to invest in, remember to advertise. There will always be some sort of competition, and you shouldn't underestimate the draw of a coupon advertisement. You can put ads in your local newspaper, in travel brochures, and in radio and television commercials. Word of mouth, however, is the most important advertising tool of all. Experts in the industry will always agree that word of mouth is the most dependable form of advertising you can get. You make your patrons happy, and they'll do your advertising for you.

© High Speed Ventures 2011