Identifying a market with growth potential is key to a successful business. Why not set up in the hotel trade and tap into the burgeoning tourism market?
According to a report presented by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) in October 2010, the hospitality industry now supports more than 2.4 million people, with more than 4,000 jobs in hotels and related services, and total turnover of more than £90bn.
Last year, overseas tourists spent £8.6bn in London alone, and this figure looks likely to increase this year, with the Royal Wedding triggering a honeymoon period in Britain’s hotel and leisure industry. With the Olympics on the horizon, the boom is likely to last for a good while yet.
Threats of terrorism, flooding, and bad summer weather have undoubtedly hampered the UK tourism industry in recent years, it's still going strong – in fact, according to a report by the BHA report, it will grow to encompass more than 2.65 million direct jobs by 2015.
So if you enjoy meeting people and have a passion for quality of service, running a hotel could be just the type of business you're looking for.
What is it?
David Stanbridge, formerly head of quality of the English Tourism Council (ETC, nowVisitEngland), told us: "A B&B [will] only provide breakfast and it is usually someone's home, whereas a hotel generally offers all meals and is not a residential property. Guesthouses purely provide facilities for their own guests, while hotels can also offer extra services for non-guests."
The crux of the hotel business is, of course, the provision of accommodation. The size of the establishment can vary widely, from just a few beds to a Las Vegas-style skyscraper, and while beds are a prerequisite, a hotel owner can also choose to incorporate a range of add-on services, such as a restaurant, conference facilities or health and spa amenities.