Hotel market and feasibility studies, the basics

So you want to build a hotel. Or you think you want to. Questions among many that need answering are ‘will this project make financial sense giving me adequate returns; will my concept work; do I have adequate funds for this concept to work; how and will we be able to attract finance for this project of mine to work?’

Factors need assessing, among many other are ‘is my land suitable for this concept or idea to work? How do I get out once I am in? Does this idea suit my real estate sales program? Do I need a management company? Do I need a market study? (Yes) Will a management company invest in this? (NO, even if one would you do not want to do this as it would require some very unattractive clauses in any management contract) How do I attract a suitable management company and negotiate a good deal with them? (Get advice at the very beginning of your project on this one)’

A comment on concession land in Costa Rica, firstly find yourself an honest realtor and a good lawyer (yes there are a few realtors around you could trust) and ask them for their opinions. There are many articles by reputable real estate brokers commenting on the risks involved in developing, owning a hotel or creating a condo hotel structure on concession land in Costa Rica.

Feasibility Studies should have the following content.

  • An overview of the project, defined as what we call an Executive Summary
  • The project definition that is the number and market mix of rooms, what common facilities, what size and to what standard, proposed operating concepts and additional amenities like shops, entertainment areas and the like.
  • An overview of the local area and the region as related to this project.
  • An analysis of the lodging market as applicable to market drivers and growth or non growth patterns; what additional supply in demand and what other properties are in the pipeline to change demand characteristics.
  • An analysis of present occupancy and average room rate achieved within the local competition with a market mix study.
  • Development costs, that is all development costs and not just the build out costs.
  • 10 year financial projections with assumptions on revenue and costs with support documentation on pricing assumptions and the assumed markets that would drive revenues.
  • Conclusion with a ROI statement, supported by a realistic assessment of the attractiveness of such a project for the owner taking into account their unique circumstances.

That should give you an honest assessment of whether you have any chance to make this project work.

All too often I have requests to comment on the suitability of a piece of land to built this, or that, to comment on the attractiveness of this area as compared to others in this region for the project, to propose a hotel concept on this or that all without any formal contract agreement.

We do not give free advice, what we do deliver though are cost-effective reports along the lines as that detailed above that will save you substantial amounts of money in the long run if you do not go ahead with a project that is deemed too risky, and many thousands if you do go ahead as the advice we provide will put you on the correct road map for long-term success.

The minimum you will require before you get serious with any proposed project is a local market study to initially ascertain the suitability of your project in the proposed site and location, and this is what we can provide.

Hotel development coordination

Who does what in the hotel development coordination process, from the design, construction, purchasing and installation of a new hotel?

What budget category, estimated by whom, designed by whom, contracted by whom, purchased by whom, installed by whom, approved by whom, signed off and controlled by whom?

Where does one start!

Take these areas of responsibility; general construction, furniture, art work, flooring, wall coverings, ceiling finishes, doors, lighting, mechanical, electrical, life safety, security systems, elevators, TVs, music systems, telephones and systems, audio visual, food service, laundry, housekeeping , maintenance related, shelving, office equipments, recreational equipment, window coverings, shower curtains, mirrors, accessories, bedspreads linen, mattresses, terry, uniforms, table ware, kitchen utensils, working inventories, signage, landscaping, roadways and pathways.

Then add-on to that all the team members involved such as the architect, acoustical  consultant, audio-visual consultant, construction estimator, civil engineer, elevator consultant, fire protection consultant, graphic artist, general contractor, interior designer, food service consultant, laundry consultant, landscape artist, lighting consultant, millwork contractor, mechanical engineer, hotel operators purchasing department, systems consultant, structural engineer. Add to that also the owner and developer, perhaps even a real estate agent, the hotel consultant and the hotel manager.

No wonder mistakes happen, items are forgotten, duplications arise, budgets get screwed up, owners get frustrated, delay overruns occur, development costs are strained.

For advice in resort hotel development, contact Mark Turner who has been involved with 9 ore opening and development projects worldwide, and whose hospitality business advisory services are customized to serve independent hotel owners and developers in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and southern Europe.