6 proven startup strategies for entrepreneurs in the hospitality space

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Dec 16, 2021 5 min read
6 proven startup strategies for entrepreneurs in the hospitality space
This article is contributed by Sohail Mirchandani, Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder, Ekostay, a homestay venture.

Despite the setbacks, the hospitality and tourism industry is only projected to grow by leaps and bounds by the year 2029. For aspiring start-up owners, this is the motivation they were looking for. Because as intimidating it is to launch a start-up, it is even more of a challenge in the post-COVID era - knowing the industry can dip due to factors beyond its control. The journey will be a lot less daunting and more exciting if you know how to navigate the paths beforehand. These six proven startup strategies will help you turn your startup into a lasting success:

1. Understanding your industry/ sector

The first step before starting your entrepreneurial journey is to do exhaustive research of the industry or sector your start-up belongs to. For the hospitality space, this involves keeping up with the present and future movements in the local and foreign markets that are shaping it continually. For instance, understanding the growth predictions for hospitality and travel amidst the local and international markets can help you analyze customer demand and scope for penetration in the existing market. Another instance would be the rising demand for staycations and staycation packages post-COVID along with mandatory sanitization and a heightened need for adherence to safety/ cleanliness protocols.

Also Read: Travel and Tourism Industry Trends in 2021: Post-Pandemic

2. Learning from your competitors

A core part of research also involves analyzing what your competitors are up to. Competitors aren’t rivals; they are your inspirators. You can take competitor research as a personal fuel to motivate you to carve your start-up goals and find your niche. Understanding what the major hospitality players are doing, specializing in, and preparing for will give you excellent insight into what the market is missing and how you can fill the gaps in what is lacking. That way, you can even gauge your core demographic and market your unique selling point better. For instance, travelers are on the lookout for luxury-like yet affordable staycations – something which top hoteliers might not be able to offer to meet their financial margins - but a start-up like you could fuse the two and rake huge profits.

3. Building presence through marketing and social media

At present, nothing reaches prospective customers more effectively than digital marketing and social media. As a startup, it is crucial to build a strong social media and digital presence to garner the maximum number of customers. Ensure that before you launch your website, you have registered on all the popular social media apps as well like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Once you are operating, you can develop daily or weekly posts that engage with your key demographic. Make sure to grow your reach organically and resort to paid adverts rarely. Not many users appreciate being bombarded with or shown sponsored posts.

4. Listening to your customers

Listening to what your core clientele wants is a marker of trustworthiness and reliability – two qualities that you must establish as a start-up. For your startup venture to be a success, people need to know that you are listening to them and coming up with ways to serve their needs. One of the best ways you can tap into your customer’s mind is through social media. Social media applications enable customers to reach you directly and engage with them in numerous ways – including chat, email, call, direct message (DM), tags, and comments. So, if there is any negative feedback or complaint, use it as constructive criticism to change/ upgrade to what works best for the customer. Acknowledging this feedbacks will also make you adaptable and establish your business/ company as a people-first organization.

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5. Being ready to adapt

Reiterating on the point above, being ready to adapt is one of the most vital essentials of transforming from a hopeful startup to a successful large-scale venture. The world we live in today is hyperdynamic and constantly evolving. Just last year, no one would have predicted how the coronavirus would take our world by storm. And while the hospitality sector took one of the biggest hits, it still found a way to get back on its feet and adapt to people’s changing needs. So, if you cling on too tight to your old ways, you run the risk of becoming inflexible and losing out on revenue/ profits in the long run.

6. Re-investing any money earned into the start-up

Those who save a penny today earn a penny later. Saving whatever income you earn from your start-up helps you stay prepared against emergencies that require your immediate attention. Resist the urge to spend away from your earnings or profits on your personal desires at least for a few years from your launch. Re-invest that money into your startup and see the scope of returns multiply within the next few years. Focus on the aspects of the business that need financial assistance and improvement. Sow to reap more and grow beyond expected margins.

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To Conclude -

The hospitality industry is an exciting space, especially for spirited entrepreneurs. Before COVID-19 hit, the hospitality space was thriving and ever agile. It is no secret then that the impact of COVID-19 left several leading players, let alone young start-up owners struggling to stay afloat. However, with almost everyone vaccinated and the resumption of local and international travel, the hospitality sector is seeing a bigger, better, and wiser revival. Now is the perfect time to strap on your entrepreneurial gear and kick-start (forgive the pun) your start-up journey with these six proven-to-work strategies!

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