Lifecycle of a Small Hospitality Business
Recently I made a quick trip to London to participate in a workshop run by an old friend, Dan Priestley from Entrevo.
At the workshop he laid out some shocking facts about business and how over 90% of them struggle, fail or close and the tragedy of putting your life force into something often over many years only to have to walk away in the end with nothing to show for your efforts.
This got me thinking about the small hospitality industry, and the research I’ve done over the past couple of years which lead me to this analogy.
There’s the start-up phase, where you’re excited. You’re about to turn your dream of owning and running a bed and breakfast business, guest house or small hotel into reality, and you envisage a beautiful home, welcoming loads of lovely people who say fabulous things about you and tell all their friends and family about you, and the money comes from doing something that you love.
And so the first year is wonderful. You can’t believe how long it took you to make this happen, and you’re set to do this for the rest of your life, you love it so much.
Then in the second year, or even sooner, reality creeps in and you enter what Dan calls, “the wilderness”. Why didn’t anybody tell you how hard you have to work? Well, maybe they did, but you didn’t hear it.
Third year, business is OK, but there could be a growing anxiety inside of you because you don’t know when or where the next guest is coming from. You decide to list with the major online travel sites and although you hate the thought of having to give 15 – 25% of your income away in return for business, you can’t see any other way.
Besides, everyone else is listed with them, so how can you not?
And so in year 4, you get a spike in business because those OTAs certainly do bring you business, and even though your profitability is way down, you feel like you’re winning and you feel like the business is growing.
Then something happens. The economy tanks, there’s some kind of disaster in your area, there’s a credit crunch, people just aren’t travelling any more, and you struggle to stay alive. The low season is particularly worrying because you haven’t made enough this year to carry you through. You’ll maybe have to get a part time job to tide you over until next season.
You might also be thinking that you need to re-do a room or two, because that will certainly bring more guests, won’t it? And if you have to take out a loan or put it on a credit card, then surely the extra business will soon pay it off, won’t it?
We’re now into year 6 and according to studies, this is typically where most people give up. But what if you have no other income, no other plan? Well, you just have to keep going.
(Stay with me here, because it does get better)
So you resolve to carry on anyway, because retirement is impossible right now, so you go and learn a few tactics, like updating your website, posting on social media, maybe even doing Facebook ads, and business picks up again for the next couple of years. You feel you’ve cracked the code.
But now you’re so exhausted with trying to make this business work, and you’ve done everything you know how to do but it’s still not like in the beginning. Your enthusiasm has waned, guests become annoying, you’re getting some negative reviews, you’re tired, worn out and frustrated, so over the next couple of years, business starts to slow down again, and this time, you’ve had enough.
You need a miracle now.
This is where you need a complete makeover in the way you’re running your business in the 21st century.
You need to learn how to use the internet (40% of the world’s population is online) properly to draw potential guests to you and build a relationship with them, so that even before they’re making their decision, they’ve already decided on you.
You need to learn how to develop extra products and services that will not only make their stay remarkable (setting you apart from the sea of mediocrity out there) but add considerably to your bank balance.
You need to learn how to keep the conversation going with those guests, so that when it’s appropriate, you’ll be able to invite them to come and stay again, refer their friends and family and talk about you in a way that feels natural to you, and helpful to them.
You need a way to transition to “the lifestyle business” you always dreamed of but never quite got.
The lifestyle business is where all the fun, the joy and the money is. This is where you can double, triple, even quadruple your business as I have, and many of my clients have done.
The lifestyle business is the one you deserve.
I’m opening up some spots in my calendar to talk to people like you who are ready to make the leap into the business they dreamed of, but don’t yet have. But first, I need to know where you’re at, so CLICK HERE to book a free 15 minute consultation, where we'll uncover just what you need right now.
I’m looking forward to assisting you in any way I can