How to Start a Resort Business

by Heather Burdo - Updated October 20, 2018
Guest taking room keys at reception in hostel

A resort is like a hotel, but even better with accommodations and attractions conveniently located on the same premises. An ideal startup, a resort business has excellent prospects since many people love traveling, and luxury resorts are always a popular destination. From developing a solid business plan and scouting out the property where you will build, to promoting and marketing your resort, if you cover all the bases you'll be well-positioned for success.

Creating a Business Plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan should be your first step in starting a resort. The project will usually require a huge investment of funds for the land purchase and construction of the hotel and amenities, so you'll need a convincing business plan to attract investors or to get the bank to take a chance on you.

Your business plan should include your costs for the land and any licenses, permits and approvals you'll need, your estimated time for completion of the project and when you plan to open to the public. Describe your vision for your resort business in realistic, colorful detail so that the bank or investors are inspired by your passion and will want to get on board and finance your dream.

Ensure you develop a unique branding and catchy name for your resort, and if you plan to operate your resort as part of another hotel operator's franchise, you will need the requisite licenses, permits and approvals before, during and after the start of construction.

Choosing a Location

Don't settle for the first piece of land you see. Thoroughly check out appropriate properties within your budget, taking photos and making notes. You will want the absolute best location available for your resort, keeping your target customers in mind as you decide on the perfect spot.

Your location needs to be picturesque, ideally waterfront with a sandy beach and berths for yachts, or near a lake or ocean. It will need to be large enough to accommodate all your amenities such as swimming pools and other outdoor features and attractions. It will need to be reasonably easy for your guests to get there. You'll need spacious parking, and plan for activities such as a golf range, tennis courts, water-skiing and para-sailing. You can also rent small boats and recreational watercraft like jet skis.

Think about all the attractions you would like to add to your resort such as an amusement park, water park, a park designed for kids with swings and slides, and even a boutique mall featuring resort wear such as sun hats, designer clothes, bags and shoes. Consider anything you can think of that visitors would rave about and recommend to their friends and family, including an upscale restaurant, bar and nightly entertainment.

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Depending on your location, your resort may be a contemporary or exotic, beach-front design with tiki huts, or traditional or modern hotel/resort complex designed for equestrian and skiing activities.

Ultimately, your resort needs to be a place where people can unwind, relax and enjoy themselves. When they rent a suite or villa at your resort, they will want to kick back and forget their problems.

Promoting Your Resort

Once you have your resort built and ready for your grand opening, you don't want to be wondering where your customers are. Start promoting your resort the moment your break ground. Create a buzz around your project and get everyone excited about the new upcoming resort in town. Your resort's name will be top of mind before it's even open, with people planning their vacations in advance.

Some ways of promoting your resort include blogging, social media and delivering flyers or full-color brochures to public facilities, stores and businesses in the area. Hire a designer or build your own website where you can showcase the entire project from ground-breaking to completion with beautiful photos, list of amenities, venues and attractions and even a mouth-watering menu and featured entertainers. Offer early-booking discounts and other perks for booking before the official grand opening.

About the Author

Heather Burdo has been personally involved in business for six years. Her passion is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs through engaging and insightful content.

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