In a tough lending environment, prospective borrowers are increasingly being asked for security to support funding applications for fit-out projects, particularly in sectors which might be susceptible to future lockdowns, such as hotels, restaurants and leisure businesses.

In lending parlance ‘secured’ typically refers to charges over bricks and mortar premises, not, as some assume, to guarantors.

In response to this, Fit Out Finance has connections with several reputable secured loan providers who are able to offer facilities supported by first, second or third charges against freehold or long -leasehold premises, whether those premises are commercial or residential.

With the additional security of charges over property, lenders will be more relaxed over other transaction terms and able to offer much more flexibility against conventional equipment leasing facilities. With security we can offer facilities over periods up to 10 years rather than the usual 5 year maximum. In a recent case our client benefitted from a 6-month payment holiday at the start of the agreement, which means that they are able to get the fit-out completed and the restaurant fully open and earning money before they start to make monthly payments.

Additionally, we can be far more relaxed around deposits, pre-payments and staged payments than on a conventional leasing transaction. These are things that can improve your relationship and terms with your chosen fit out contractor or selected trades.

The underlying transaction can be documented as a loan or a lease arrangement to suit your tax and accounting requirements and won’t be restricted by the nature of equipment or the number of suppliers, which sometimes affect such transactions.

Properties acceptable as security include the main residence, rental properties (either individual or portfolios) or commercial properties. In some cases, we are also able to consider non bricks and mortar assets as security, including classic vehicles, boats or share portfolios. The key criterion is that it can be professionally valued, and it is possible to put a charge on it.

On a cautionary note, you need to give serious thought to putting residential property up as security, particularly when that property is the family home. For our part, Fit Out Finance also takes this very seriously. So much so that we will stipulate that you must take professional advice from a recognised legal practitioner before committing to a transaction. Additionally, we will never rush or push you into signing. We respect the need for careful consideration before entering into a secured finance transaction

For businesses that own their own premises – for example hotels – it makes a lot of sense for the charge to be over those commercial premises. Alternatively, charges can be split over multiple investment properties in a portfolio, thus leaving the all-important family home out of the equation.

Whilst the majority of our business is likely to remain as conventional unsecured lease, loan or hire purchase, the availability of good, professional secured loan facilities means that fit out finance can be available in circumstances where traditional agreements simply won’t work.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme What you need to know Our Government has pre-announced a ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ scheme specifically to help businesses affected by Covid19. Full details have yet to be released – launch probably won’t be until April; however it is pretty certain to be operated under the banner of the […]

Fit Out Finance Teams up with Transmit to offer funding for new start up business Fit Out Finance is pleased to announce that we have entered into an affiliate agreement with Transmit Start-Ups which enables us to offer start-up loans under the official British Business Bank Start Up Loan scheme.

Semi-Permanent Structure Funding Fit Out Finance has a strong record on providing funding for temporary and semi-permanent structures, whether for own-use or for hire and long-term rental purposes.

The results of investing in a great customer experience can be seen in your customer reviews. If you have a great all-round proposition, you are more likely to feel confident in asking for reviews.

Sites like TripAdvisor, TrustPilot together with listings sites like Trivago, Booking.com, LateRooms, Expedia and more all provide opportunities to leave feedback. You should also factor Facebook and Google reviews into your planning as places where good experiences can be recorded.

There are lots of good reasons to proactively seek reviews and to ask for them as early as possible. If a positive experience is front of mind you want to capture that before the detail is forgotten. The more specific any feedback is, you can either use it in active promotion or use it to quickly address areas of concern.

There are lots of ways to encourage all visitors to leave positive feedback including

  • Offering cards at check in and check out.
  • Adding links to receipts in the bar, restaurant and spa.
  • Putting stickers in windows and in rooms.
  • Sharing feedback and reviews around your venue to show customers you value feedback.

Online reviews are a critical component of the marketing mix for a hotel and hospitality businesses. Many people evaluate the selection online and take into consideration reviews before spending money on hotel stays, meals out, business functions or spa days.

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Any Google, TripAdvisor or Trivago search will present your hotel business together with related images. Many of these often feature the building itself.

Your venue must be clean and tidy, freshly painted and with the appropriate level of signage so visitors can find their way in and around. An old TV property show termed the phrase ‘kerb appeal’ and it is important as it can impact first impressions.

But, often the thing that carries the most weight is the quality of the reception carpet. Carpet is an expensive commodity and one which depreciates but one that can carry the brand and make an immediate and appealing visual impact.

Attention should be given to all the aspects covered in other sections

  • Signage
  • Digital screens (AV considerations)
  • The design of the reception desk and area
  • Art / wall hangings
  • Furniture
  • Internal lighting
  • Exterior lighting
  • External sculptures
  • Flowers

It is unlikely that you will find a bank to support funding for ‘soft assets’ such as front of house carpets, as they hold no residual value. However, a specialist fit-out finance provider will fund based on their inherent value to the business.

These secondary elements are important to creating the ambiance that leads to visitors having a better experience, such that they leave positive reviews, so you can build your business and its profitability.

A thriving hospitality business with sustained good reviews is more likely to receive awards and accolades – which in turn will lead to more customers. A virtuous circle which creates opportunities to re-invest and developing your offering and facilities further.

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In our hotel investment guide “Invest for Profit” we only focus on hotel bedrooms towards the end of the guide.

That’s because the number of hotel bedrooms and number of nights you have to offer are finite. There are, however, infinite ways to maximise the use of other areas of your hotel with revenue generating business.

That said, guest rooms are where most time is spent. investment in bedrooms can start relatively simply in terms of fixtures and fittings through to bespoke room design for specific clientele.

Investment in your bedroom portfolio is important and relative if you think about who you want to attract. Examples of the sorts of things you might want to consider for the different audiences and room types might include

  • Classic double rooms, with options for single occupancy.
  • Family rooms – which might be slightly larger, contain store-away beds, additional screens, decent audio-visual and be located away from the noisy function suites and bars.
  • Rooms for business travellers – minimal in design, potentially less space and including desks, additional sockets including USB friendly charging, appropriate lighting and the latest audio-visual technology.
  • Rooms for elderly / disabled guests – using the family room concept and situating them on the ground floor or near lifts for easy access, wider doors, walk-in showers, alarm cords and lower level height sockets and switches.
  • The wedding suite/bridal suite – a sumptuous room with soft furnishings, appropriate level of décor, high level of comfort, appropriate lighting, great views and technology.

It’s undeniable though that investing in hotel bedrooms – the place where anyone staying at your hotel is likely to spend the much of their time – is a smart move.

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Hotel leisure facilities are one of the ‘nice to have’ aspects for some hotel businesses, especially those targeting business and international customers.

Quality hotel leisure facilities can move a property from 3 stars to 4 stars, potentially attracting a higher calibre of spending customer.

Most independent hotels offering leisure facilities do so through a restricted space – often a single room with a few free weights, a bike and a cross trainer. Leisure provision escalates from this entry level to include more machines, changing and shower facilities, to sauna and plunge pools and showers, and ultimately swimming pool areas at the top end.

At the top end, spas are often central to the marketing of a lot of hotel strategies,  providing recurring revenue streams adding to the seven day, round the clock revenue potential of your business.

Adding spa facilities to your hotel offering does the following:

  • Creates a competitive advantage against other local hotels leading to increased bookings / occupancy (and reducing the temptation to discount).
  • Enhances the overall guest experience, leading to positive feedback and reviews which are critical to online marketing.
  • Keeps guests on site, therefore spending their money in your bar, restaurant etc. rather than somebody else’s.
  • Creates referrals and recommendations. There is no better source of business than word of mouth from a satisfied customer.
  • Adds the purchase of spa-related accessories and consumables.
  • Provides a defined targeted marketing opportunity for ‘spa breaks’.

Well-designed hotel leisure facilities offer a range of income streams when you consider the potential users. You might offer several gym memberships packages for off peak, on-peak, older visitors, hotel guests, corporate memberships, classes, fitness classes, baby swimming lessons and more.

 

Further reading:

Why the time is right to invest in your hospitality business.

A mixed use hotel fit out finance case study.

Why is investing in your hotel kitchen a good thing for your business?

Why investing in your bars and dining areas are good for your hotel business?

 

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Want the entire 9 Step ‘Invest for Profit – 9 ways alternative funding can impact your hotel and restaurant business and create growth’ guide? Grab your free copy here.

Functions and events bring a whole different dynamic and audience to your venue. Using hotel function space for wedding business, birthday and other milestone occasions are an accepted way for independent hotels to improve revenue.

But considering business audiences can truly turn your venue into a seven-day operation and give you countless opportunities to realise additional revenue and reduce your overheads.

Opening up hotel function space for mixed use.

One successful approach may be to make your venue available to business networking groups. There are several national organisations always looking for quality locations and localised groups looking for regular breakfast, lunch and evening hospitality.

  • It provides regular ‘off peak’ custom. Some operate on a weekly or fortnightly schedule and can host anywhere from 20 to 80 delegates.
  • It keeps the kitchen and staff busy. Imagine that additional business every week in one corner of your venue.
  • It keeps bringing new people to your venue. This sort of approach also encourages a passive audience to experience and become advocates for your venue locally.
  • It stimulates further business. Attendees can be encouraged to leave reviews and some of these businesses return and run meetings and events of their own.

This is just one example of maximising hotel function space. Investment to support this kind of customer may come in the form of meeting room presentation, projection, boosted WIFI and meeting materials such as white boards, drop down screens and audio-visual equipment.

What other local businesses or groups could you accommodate during the day to increase function room usage and what investment would you need to achieve it quickly? What types of milestone events are you missing out on because a lack of the right facilities?

Further reading:

Why the time is right to invest in your hospitality business.

A mixed use hotel fit out finance case study.

Why is investing in your hotel kitchen a good thing for your business?

Why investing in your bars and dining areas are good for your hotel business?

 

Free download

Want the entire 9 Step ‘Invest for Profit – 9 ways alternative funding can impact your hotel and restaurant business and create growth’ guide? Grab your free copy here.

Naturally people will spend more time in your bars and dining areas – and therefore spend more money – if the décor, visual impact and ambiance encourage them to do so. So, how can you improve the ambiance and grow your hotel business at the same time?

Typical alternative investment solutions for bars and dining areas include

  • Theming – it is important to consider the right look and feel, something that fits with the overall character of your property or area of the hotel.
  • Décor – how you choose to bring the theme to life in terms of colour, paints and wallpapers.
  • Carpets and curtains – an essential part of the design of bars and dining areas that will be attractive to customers.
  • Lighting – significant in creating an ambiance. What light is required spot lights, full lights, wall lights and where does lighting need to be installed?
  • Audio visual including TVs and sound systems – TVs are probably desirable in certain locations in bars; sound systems with location variability can help set the mood at different times of the day, evenings and weekends.
  • Furniture – tables and chairs go without saying – but what about bar stools, high tables, sofas, coffee tables and other furniture that might work well in transforming space and making it more enticing.
  • Art and wall furniture – don’t forget to consider what goes on the walls. People pay attention and it could just add that finishing touch, creating an environment in which guests will choose to relax.

Think about target audiences. If you are going for a truly mixed use feel – proceed with caution. Be sensitive to where the money comes from. Positioning as a family Sunday lunch venue but looking to provide sports programming can create a conflict if not delicately managed. Create different areas creatively and efficiently.

 

Further reading:

Why the time is right to invest in your hospitality business.

Why investing in mixed-use is perfect for your hotel business.

A mixed use hotel fit out finance case study.

 

Free download

Want the entire 9 Step ‘Invest for Profit – 9 ways alternative funding can impact your hotel and restaurant business and create growth’ guide? Grab your free copy here.