There are few business activities as complex, and at the same time, as financially rewarding, as hotel development. As in any endeavor of this nature, in addition to having the idea to develop, which means literally, from the American Heritage Dictionary, “to bring it to being”, “to expand or to realize the potential”, or” to convert to a specific purpose, such as a tract of land”, one must have, or acquire, the expertise in the finished product to be developed.

For an individual or partnership, there is more than one way to acquire the product expertise. The most obvious is to start a partnership where one or more of the partners have hotel development experience or hotel operating expertise. The latter experience is especially helpful when considering the project, in regards to what type of hotel would be built, business oriented, tourist location, resort, full service, limited service, high-rise, low-rise, high density or otherwise, to name a few.

A hotel encompasses so many different types and kinds of properties, that there is no single prototype to define the concept, except that it is primarily a facility that provides temporary overnight lodging. It also may or may not include amenities such as food and beverage services, vehicle parking, and a host of other services, depending on the type. This wide diversity is precisely why the trade association for hotels has changed their name from the American Hotel Association, to the American Hotel and Motel Association, and then to today’s name, the American Lodging Association.

So, where to start? With the chicken or the egg, find a tract of land near hotel business generators to support a hotel and then decide what kind of hotel would fit on that land, bearing in mind parking, on grade, a subterranean garage, etc., or have a particular kind of hotel development product in mind and look for a site to accommodate such hotel development product. The latter appears to make the most sense, that is, to look for land to allow the building of the hotel and its amenities of a product that you have in mind to begin with. The reason for this is threefold:

  1. Based on the opening two paragraphs, you and/or your partners have developed an idea of what you are trying to do even if it is an incomplete vision. You already have in mind the area and a rough classification, city, suburbs, highway, and what the generators are, business travelers, tourists, university students, etc.
  2. To finance, and succeed in the hotel development business, you will have to have a franchise. There are no more “Dew Drop Inns” or other complete independents being built, due to brand awareness among the traveling public, offering service and safety assurances in every price category. So you need to have an idea of what franchises are out there and at least their rough site requirements.
  3. Every hotel franchisor has a complete prototype of their hotel development property, together with the site requirements to accommodate them. So to look for a site without knowing what you are looking for is counter- productive. Zero in on the sites that fit your franchise requirement, and develop and build from the franchisors prototype.

So there you have it. Visit online with Google or other search engines to find a list of hotel development franchisors. Contact those of your choice asking each of them for a UFOC (Uniform Franchise Offering Circular).

Consider all of their qualifications, conditions and fees as well as the type of hotel property to develop, check the area competition, and begin you search with established parameters from several franchisors for your site.

Edward Dean is an accomplished website developer and author. To learn more about Hotel Development from Concept to Action [] visit Hotel Franchising [] for current articles and discussions.
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