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How to turn your Guesthouse into an Events Location

South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Soccer Cup left in its wake a range of businesses that sprang up to fill the needs of thousands of tourists brought to the event. Following four years of global economic recession, many business owners have been left with a severely depleted market and resources they no longer have any use for, writes GetSmarter.

Guesthouse owners have really taken a hit, as their establishments, set up specifically for 2010, can no longer bring in enough profit to keep afloat. However, with a bit of clever tweaking, you can transform your business into one that will bring in the bucks again. Here are a few tips for turning your guesthouse into a venue for various events.

Work with what you have

The good news is you already have a lot of what you need. You have the venue, you will most likely have retained some staff, and you have probably begun to develop some good contacts through running your guesthouse.

Work on the strengths of your location. If you’re situated in lush natural surroundings, perhaps place an emphasis on weddings or more elaborate events that will be enhanced by the environment. If your guesthouse is situated in the city, focus rather on hosting work functions or parties for young adults. If you’re in a more suburban area, perhaps aim rather for birthday parties and rites of passage, bar mitzvahs, or engagement parties.

Work out what you’ll need

Unfortunately, there will be a lot of work to do before your guesthouse will be able to function as an events venue. The first step is to figure out how the space will have to be reorganised to accommodate your new business.
You will most likely have a big dining or lounge area that could be converted into the central events location. Perhaps, if you opened a backpackers, you might already have a dancing area. You might consider doing some serious renovations, such as knocking down a few walls to make some space and cut down the number of individual rooms. Obviously you’ll need to get rid of / store a lot of furniture, such as beds and cupboards.

Hopefully you’ll have a kitted-out kitchen, which can function as a catering centre where the food can be prepared or held and waiters can work from, if you hire a catering service.

You’d do well to hire an interior designer to feel out the space and help you decide what can stay, and what needs to change.

Make plans

Once you’ve prepared the space, you will need to develop a new business plan, and hire any staff you may need. Do some market research, start gathering contacts in the industry and get a loan from the back if you need to. This is a new venture, and even though you’ve started out with some of the necessary components, you’ll still needed to treat it like a fresh start.

The part-time University of Cape Town Guest House Management short course is presented online throughout South Africa. Contact +27 (0)21 447 7565 or visit www.getsmarter.co.za for more information about the course.