By Alan Campbell – March 2013
It seems that when we are looking at raw land that will eventually become a hotel, we need to focus on some elementary guide lines. Choosing the right site is always the best, but sometimes location is not always available. Decide what kind of hotel you are going to be, business, convention, boutique? This will also decide location. Don’t be rushed in your decision take your time. Depending on location, look at the surrounding landscape see what it looks like – are you in a wind tunnel zone, that is to say that wind blows strongly through the property where you are about to build a hotel. How will it affect your building, will you find your pool chairs in the pool every afternoon?
Choose the right neighborhood, your revenue will depend on that. A hotel in the wrong neighborhood will probably fail. How can you tell you ask if it is the right neighborhood? Easy, take a walk around look at the current businesses, shops, theaters and such are they compatible to what you are building. If they are then you are at the right address.
Will your building make a difference? Will it increase the value of land around you? Example: City Center Las Vegas, a billion dollar mix use development. If you have an industrial center next to you beware of noise and pollution. Choose the right place to put your hotel not just on paper, but walk the site see how it feels, get up high to see how your guest will see the panorama, does it face a wall? Will they see the roofs of other buildings, where sometimes the roof is used as a storage room?
Identify your market:
Will it be flagged?
Will it be Independent?
Will it be 4-5 star?
Will it mid-scale?
Will it be budget?
These items need to be determined if the site you have chosen will sustain the market. It becomes very important who your customers will be? Will they be on a business trip? Vacation? Will they be wealthy or on a budget? Will they be young or old? So many things to consider, make the wrong decision and you will end up with an empty building. Look around see what is in vogue see other properties similar to what you are considering building. It’s not a crime to copy success. Make sure that your project is able to return a profit to the investors.
Select the right architect for your project, having identified the market now you must identify a good architect that will be able to see your building in the same light as you. Not an easy task, so search well and do your homework. Same goes for the interior designer, do your homework.
I could go on with a list of items that would make this article way to long, and most of you would never read it. This is just a sample of what it takes to build a successful hotel – there are hundreds of steps before it will open for business, but you get the picture. I have seen many owners build a hotel in the wrong place just because they thought that a hotel would be nice there. Most owners that build hotels are not hotel people, they are business people and do not understand the people business. They don’t understand why they have to add capital to the property once it is up and running. Renovation and upgrades are not part of their vocabulary. There is some ocean front property that is ideal for a hotel, but one thing we forgot to mention, it is only 2 miles from a nuclear reactor site, you think anyone will be interested? Location is not everything sometimes location is best left as is.
There is of course so much more in planning this imaginary hotel that we are building, but if all goes as planned we will succeed in our endeavors.
Here are some mistakes that add to the cost, remember to have a warehouse close to the site. At some point in time the furniture and fixture will arrive. There is nothing like having 2000 bed set arrive at the construction site with no place to put them. Every time you move those beds it cost money and you run the risk of damage. Plan your time line well and make sure that your project manager adheres to it. The best part of all of this is the fact that you will eventually have a pre-opening party and you can look back and see what your idea has created. The staff has been trained and all is ready for the grand finale. Bravo!!!!!!
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world – it is the only place that both kings and Paupers will visit you.