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Understanding a Hotel’s Place in a Bed-And-Breakfast World

Unlicensed lodgings represent a growing change to the hospitality industry. Hotels must now face a new competitor in the form of any person with a spare room and access to websites such as AirBnB. However, consumers must also understand how the two services now differ as far as expectations, regulations and more.

For those who are unaware, new websites allow properties owners-or sometimes simply those with lax lease agreements-to list their spare rooms for lodging. There are certain expectations, but these are largely negotiated between the owner and occupant, with the websites acting simply as an intermediary for money exchange and advertisement.

At first, these upstarts represented less than a fraction of a fraction of the lodging industry revenues, warranting little more than an idle eye from the hotel industry. In the last year, however, these services have exploded-AirBnB, for example, has now coordinated over 10 million stays since its founding.

It’s important for savvy consumers and worried executives alike to understand the inherent differences between traditional lodging and these new services.

First, hotels are a regulated industry. In addition to star ratings, laws at the city, state and federal level define a minimum guidelines for cleanliness and safety. This provides travelers with a degree of certainty when booking lodging. BnB websites claim to mitigate these concerns through a review and returns process; however, such a process is reactive, leaving jilted travelers stranded in the event of a bad rental. The onus is on the consumer to vet any new or uncertain rentals.

Cities across the world are moving to address the regulatory issues of these under-the-radar rentals. Many cities already have requirements for buildings acting as BnB to be licensed, but many avoid this requirement. As a result, tax revenue is lost and minimum standards, such as handicap access, are avoided. The use of profiles, lauded as a way to connect the community, differs from the traditional lodging community, which is required to offer lodging based solely on the ability to pay. The process by which an AirBnB renter can choose who stays bases on photos and personal information opens the door to discrimination.

The interest in legitimizing these alternative services, however, lies in the consumer demand for an alternative way to stay while traveling. While hotels serve a fantastic function for business and short-term travelers, they can be ill-suited for theme and longer-term stays. Alternative lodgings often include apartment-like amenities geared towards longer stays and lower prices-services that few companies can afford to maintain in high volume. Online BnB rentals can often have fascinating themes. One example includes a jungle “tree house” on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Though many resorts can be “themed,” these themes are often limited to common areas and in-room d├ęcor.

As the two industries play to their strengths, it’s the consumer who will win. Hotels will likely save costs by no longer needing to pander to the demands of boutique and long-term rentals, while online rental services will slowly develop the legitimacy needed to guarantee a minimum level of service.

Effective Business Tools – The Value of Boutique Business Plans

Starting a boutique can be both enjoyable and rewarding. If you love trendy styles and have a good fashion sense, you can definitely start a boutique. These qualities are the secret to put up a boutique – however, being creative and passionate is not a guarantee to succeed in this endeavor. Keeping a bunch of loyal or repeat costumers and growing your business need a lot of time, patience hard work and more importantly a sound business plan. Boutique business plans are used to seek finances and make more sales.

The highly essential aspect of boutique business plans is the evaluation of the market force so you can easily look for opportunities and build up a market place in the future. This factor includes details about market trend, what kinds of products are preferred by specific groups of consumers and what categories are declining. This will also help you know what types of consumers are influencing the growth in purchasing. A retail boutique usually caters to men, women and kids; it also serves those clients who want to be unique such as artists, entertainers and item collectors. This method is also useful to understand and learn more about your target market.

These business plans also include information on how you want to operate your boutique. The important elements of good boutique business plans are efficient marketing techniques, defining the groups who can help you manage your business and powerful methods you can use to promote your products and attract a number of potential costumers. The details must be clearly written but must be flexible enough to adjust to tough business competitions.

Finding a visible and accessible location for the store is also included in boutique business plans. Choosing a name for the store and recognizing business licensing organizations are also crucial factors you should consider when creating business plans. Listing possible start up finances, merchandise and evaluating the level of competitions are also part of the process. You should also include some possible and reliable sources that can substantially finance the business such as potential investors and bank loans either personal or business loan. This should be taken into account to secure sufficient fund for your expenses. Apart from that, business plans are also used by banks and other lending organizations to determine the possible profit of your business and credit rating when you will apply for credits. Business plans are quite complex but they are powerful tools to secure your business and ensure its success.

Investing: Boutique Manager

There are people come out of financial institutions to offer their skills. Sometimes, they’re people who have struck out on their own, leaving the security of their jobs in larger financial groups. These start-ups are called boutique fund managers.

‘Boutique’ suggests up-market exclusivity on a small, personal scale. Boutiques tend to be small in size, especially at the inception stage and the house is identified with one or two key individuals who own and run the company. The fund managers’ track records are their companies’ best and probably, only advertisement. Their focus is managing money first and marketing second.

Size isn’t the critical defining feature of boutique managers; it’s their independence from the influence of the parent or related companies within the same financial group that sets them apart from the ‘big boys’. Often, conflicts of interest may arise in a large financial group comprising stock broking, banking, investment banking and fund management operations.

Clients are boutiques’ only source of income; this is a real motivation to perform, unlike bank-backed houses that may still rely on their parent or related companies for survival.

The alignment of customers’ and fund managers’ interests gives comfort to investors that boutique managers stay focused on what they’re paid to do, which is making money. The success of a boutique fund manager is critically dependent on their promise to deliver in terms of performance. Therefore, commitment and focus is critical.

To ensure survival and success, boutique fund managers have to differentiate and carve a niche for themselves. This is done by way of specialization in specific asset classes or investing philosophy and styles.

Since they have come out to compete with asset management companies backed by financial institutions, they had better have differentiation points. Those who succeed have a large following pertaining to their investment styles and philosophy.

Given the size of boutique managers, most of the back-room operations involving the administration and investment operations are outsourced to third parties, thus freeing fund managers from administrative work for better focus on investing.

Having a small fund size also allows the fund manager to be nimble; they have ability to move in and out of markets quickly in response to market events. A smaller team and the absence of intermediaries between the fund manager and client translate to a closer client-manager relationship. Boutique managers also don’t have the advantage of a well-known and trusted name, an extensive distribution network or the protection afforded by layers of organizational structure.

Furthermore, the fund manager has to somehow win the prospective client’s trust. Thus, customer service is important as investors are the fund managers’ only source of income and they’re dealing with financially literate investors. Boutique fund managers also offer consistency in investment style since the owner-manager isn’t likely to leave the company. But the characteristics of boutique managers do present apparent weaknesses in terms of custodian and key-man risks. The absence of backing from a financial group is both a benefit and potential disadvantage. However, key-man risk is a risk faced by any small business, not just boutique managers. Boutique managers risk going out of business if they suffer consecutive years of losses as a result of poor performance.

These risks may be outweighed by the benefits of boutique managers. It is believes the services offered by this group of money managers will be in greater demand as more investors realize the benefits of diversifying across different styles and managers.