Building an Amenity Business? 4 Strategies to Maximize Your ROI

Are you the sort of born host who jumps — literally leaps — at the chance to host holiday dinners? Who takes any excuse, no matter how transparently manufactured, to throw a party? Who loves nothing more than showing visitors around your hometown?

If you can honestly answer “yes” to any of these questions, you might be cut out for hosting on a professional scale. That is to say: Perhaps it’s time for you to think seriously about building your own amenity business. Does your very own bed and breakfast, restaurant, and/or tour guide company await on the other side of your entrepreneurial journey?

Don’t count your reservations just yet. The hospitality business is notoriously challenging. Maximizing your return on investment here is not easy.

“Not easy” is not the same as “not possible,” however. Whatever form it takes, here’s what you can do to maximize your growing amenity business’s ROI.

1. Choose an Undervalued Asset

If you’re buying into the business, make sure it’s an undervalued asset: a poorly run restaurant, or an inn that’s fallen on hard times. Your initial capital investment will be lower, although you will need to invest financial and sweat equity in bringing the business back to life.

2. Deliver a Real Value-Add, Even If It’s Expensive to Implement

Early on, begin thinking about ways to add real value to your existing or soon-to-be amenity business. For example: Manitoba-based hospitality entrepreneur David Janeson, owner of Gull Harbour Marina and The Lighthouse Inn on Hecla Island, added a dinner cruise experience not long after taking over the business from its previous owners. There wasn’t anything like it in the area, and still isn’t.

3. Complement the Existing Hospitality Ecosystem

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, and don’t try to do what nearby hospitality entrepreneurs already have on lockdown — unless you know you can do it better. Janeson’s example is also instructive here: Gull Harbour Marina shares Hecla Island with an upscale resort, but there’s little overlap between the two properties’ amenities. That’s by design.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty

Two works: sweat equity. You and your business partners, along with any family and friends who deign to help out, should take center stage in any refurbishing efforts. By all means, hire licensed tradespeople to do the specialized stuff — you don’t want to land in hot water with local building authorities before you welcome your first guests. But do the grunt work yourself.

Host Like You Mean It

The hospitality business is nothing without hospitality. Aspiring innkeepers, guides, and restaurateurs must be prepared to go above and beyond for all of their customers — especially troublesome ones.

If that doesn’t sound like your idea of a challenge, perhaps this isn’t the business for you. Hosting is hard work, after all; there are easier ways to make a good living in this world. 

Then again, for many entrepreneurs, the sometimes-thankless job of showing guests a wonderful time is a true passion. If you know that, deep down, there’s nothing you’d rather do than delight visitors to your neck of the woods, you may be in the right line of work after all.

Either way, here’s to hosting like you mean it.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.