The importance of independent entrepreneurs in the hotel industry

The importance of independent entrepreneurs in the hotel industry

Established destination. New destination. Untouched destination. Wherever there is something to be seen in the world and there is a tourist, there is a requirement for a means of accommodation for this traveller.

Alongside the hotel chains, which are installed in the big cities, or resorts inaugurated in paradisiacal locations, there are independent entrepreneurs who work to receive tourists.

Thus, out of this simple necessity, Bed and Breakfast was born in Ireland. At the time, the country noticed a demand from tourists who were looking for accommodation in a number of regions where there were no hotel chains and no projects of this size under construction, on account of the cost versus the benefits of these projects. For this reason, the Bed and Breakfast model became a solution and an economically interesting format both for travellers as well as for small proprietors who began to offer rooms and a daily meal for those who were initially looking for less populated areas.

In Brazil, for example, Bed and Breakfast became a source of income for a lot of small landowners who could no longer make ends meet solely with agriculture and livestock breeding. It became part of the solution and an incentive for rural tourism in small municipalities that were not in a position to attract a large hotel chain, as they would not be included in the pipeline of their hotel feasibility studies.

At present the market exhibits a wide range of possibilities in terms of accommodation. On the one hand, you have the international and domestic chains with their dozens or even hundreds of enterprises of different types located in strategic leisure and business destinations. At the other end there are the niche hotels, some of them which are included in charming itineraries, others in destinations such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Curitiba, state capitals that have their boutique hotels which exhibit high levels of occupation throughout the year. In between you have the small Brazilian or foreign chains that are looking for their place in the sun, which are often the first hotel that is part of chain in the towns, which contributes a great deal to the sector’s development. And just as important as these major players are the independent entrepreneurs – those who have a single unit or just a few units, and who keep track of the menu, the housekeeping, the training of the team and the regular renewal of the hotel’s equipment. In these cases, regardless of the hotel’s size or profile, the owner is the one running the business.

Brazil, which is known to be a country of continental dimensions with great natural wealth, remains an interesting place to open a new hotel. A recent example is the French chain B&B, which has more than 400 units in Europe and has just launched its first venture in Brazil. According to the chain, the hope is to open roughly 30 units in the country by 2025.

Alongside large chains, a number of other destinations are emerging for independent tourism. This is the case of Dores do Rio Preto, a municipality in the State of Espírito Santo, which has a lot of rural proprietors that receive tourists from all over Brazil and the rest of the world who stay on their farms under the “Bed and Breakfast” model.

Due to all of the above and notwithstanding the economic crisis, it can be stated that the independent hotels are an important part of the tourism industry. They help to drive the economy, receiving guests with different objectives, whether for leisure or business tourism.

In this sense, WTM Latin America brings another innovation to the next edition, which will take place between April 3rd and April 5th, at the Expo Center Norte, in São Paulo, namely the lounge reserved for the independent accommodation sector, a space created by the organizers of the event in Brazil and made possible with the support of the Brazilian Hotel Industry Association (ABIH). At this lounge, enterprises, regardless of their size, will have the same business generation opportunities as the large chains.

After all, it’s time to roll up one’s sleeves, increase investment in innovation and work even harder. We are confident that helping to ensure fairness in the hotel business will produce good results for the entire industry.

 

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With 26 years' experience in the Brazilian and international tourism markets, Luciane Leite is the director of WTM Latin America, for REED Exhibitions, which is the world's number one fairs' and events' organizer. Prior to this, she headed up strategies, teams and projects, for organizations such as São Paulo Turismo, BAHIATURSA and the State of Bahia's former Department of Tourism and Culture. With a degree in Tourism and an MBA in Marketing from ESPM (Superior School of Advertising and Marketing) and with a post-graduate course in tourist destinations from George Washington University, this executive also plays an active role in tourism councils and groups, as well as we having been a speaker on matters related to the industry at conferences in a number of countries.

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