How to Invest in Hotels

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 13, 2024

Investing in hotels can be a lucrative opportunity for individuals looking to diversify their portfolios and generate passive income. When considering how to invest in hotels, there are several key factors to keep in mind. Firstly, conducting thorough market research is essential to identify promising locations with high demand for accommodation, such as popular tourist destinations or rapidly growing business hubs. Understanding the local market dynamics, including occupancy rates, average daily rates, and competition, will help investors make informed decisions.

Once a suitable location is identified, investors can explore different investment options in the hotel industry. One common approach is to invest in hotel real estate by purchasing hotel properties or investing in hotel real estate investment trusts (REITs). Alternatively, investors can participate in hotel development projects or invest in hotel companies through stocks or crowdfunding platforms. Each investment option comes with its own risks and potential returns, so it's important for investors to carefully evaluate their investment goals and risk tolerance before making a decision.

How do Hotel Investments Work?

The hotel industry is enormous. The global hospitality industry was worth over $4.548 trillion in 2022, with at least 187,000 hotels worldwide. About 1.6 million people are employed in the U.S. hotel and accommodation industry.

While you can purchase a hotel and hire a management team, this financial opportunity requires significant capital, research and an experienced team. A small hotel in the United States costs around $1 million, while a 115-room hotel costs an average of $22 million. But beyond the initial investment, you’ll need to hire a hotel management team to ensure profitable operations.

An alternative to purchasing a hotel is publicly traded hotel stocks that offer the opportunity to own shares in a hotel.

Top Reasons to Invest in Hotels

If you're ready to invest in hotels, here are nine reasons why hotels can be a smart investment to build wealth.

​​1. Steady Income

Hotels can provide a consistent and steady income stream, especially if they are located in popular tourist destinations or business hubs. People need accommodation, which means there is a constant demand for hotel rooms. A well-managed hotel in a popular destination should have lower vacancies than average for steady positive cash flow.

2. Long-Term Appreciation

Hotels are real estate assets that can appreciate in value over time. As the property market improves and demand for hotels increases, the value of the hotel property may rise, allowing investors to realize capital gains upon sale.

3. Investment Portfolio Diversification

Investing in hotels can offer diversification benefits to a real estate portfolio. Hotels can have different revenue streams, including room bookings, food and beverage services and conference facilities. This diversification can help reduce the risk associated with relying on a single source of income.

4. Tourism Growth

The tourism industry is generally expected to grow over time as more people travel for leisure, business or other purposes. Investing in hotels in areas with high tourism potential can position investors to benefit from this growth and the associated increase in demand for accommodation.

5. Cash Flow Generation

Hotels can generate significant cash flow, especially during peak seasons or in popular tourist destinations. With effective management and occupancy rates, a hotel can generate an attractive return on investment (ROI) and steady cash flow to re-invest in the hotel or other investment opportunities.

6. Management Options

Investors in hotels have various options when it comes to management. They can choose to actively manage the property themselves or hire a professional management company to handle day-to-day operations. This flexibility allows investors to customize their level of involvement based on their preferences and expertise.

7. Tax Benefits

Like other real estate investments, hotels can offer tax advantages such as depreciation deductions, mortgage interest deductions, and potential tax deferral strategies. These benefits can help investors reduce their overall tax liability and enhance their returns.

8. Economic Stability

Hotels can contribute to the economic stability of a region by creating jobs, attracting tourists, and stimulating local businesses. This process can be particularly appealing when investing in hotels located in areas with a strong and diverse economy.

9. Hedge Against Inflation

Hotel revenues and room rates tend to increase with inflation. As the cost of living rises, hotels can adjust their pricing accordingly, allowing investors to potentially benefit from inflation protection. Real estate investments are one of the most inflation-resistant long-term investments.

Risks of Investing in Hotels

There are significant risks associated with hotel investments that prospective investors should carefully consider. These include:

Cyclicality of the Industry

Economic downturns and fluctuations in tourism can lead to periods of low occupancy rates and revenue decline. This can have a direct impact on the profitability of the investment and make it challenging to generate returns during tough times.

Severe Competition

With a myriad of accommodation options available to travelers, hotels constantly face pressure to differentiate themselves and attract guests. This can result in significant marketing and operational expenses, which may erode profit margins and impact the overall financial performance of the investment.

Changing Consumer Preferences

Today's guests are increasingly looking for unique and personalized experiences, seeking out boutique hotels, homestays, and alternative lodging options over traditional hotel chains. For hotel investors, keeping up with these shifting preferences can be challenging.

Investments in traditional hotel properties may face declining demand if they fail to adapt to the changing tastes of consumers. This can lead to higher vacancies, lower occupancy rates, and ultimately, reduced revenue and return on investment.

Increased Regulations

As governments implement more stringent regulations to address issues such as safety, labor practices, environmental concerns, and zoning restrictions, hotel investors may face challenges in complying with new laws and standards. This could lead to additional costs for hotel owners, especially small businesses, as they try to meet these requirements while maintaining profitability.

Steps for How to Invest in Hotels

If you're ready to invest in hotels, here are the six simple steps you need to follow.

Define Your Investment Goals

The first step is to determine your financial objectives and timeline. Consider whether you're prioritizing capital appreciation, regular income or a combination of both. You'll also want to decide whether to invest in established hotels or development projects.

Hotel segments like luxury, boutique or budget hotels can offer various risks and returns. As part of your initial research, identify which types of hotels align with your investment strategy.

Conduct Market Research

Evaluate potential markets and locations for hotel investment. Consider factors like tourism growth, local demand, competitive landscape and market trends. If you're not already familiar with the hotel industry, it's crucial to understand the industry.

Research market trends, occupancy rates, average daily rates, ROI and popular tourist destinations. Look into both global and local markets to identify potential opportunities. Consider location-specific and industry-wide risks.

Set a Budget

Determine your budget for hotel investment, including acquisition costs, property improvements, operational expenses and contingencies. This strategy varies widely by property type, location, condition and investment goals.

Identify Suitable Properties

Search for hotels that align with your investment criteria, considering factors like location, size, condition, amenities and growth potential. Perform due diligence to assess the property's legal, financial and operational aspects.

This due diligence should include a thorough financial analysis evaluating key financial metrics like revenue per available room (RevPAR), average daily rate (ADR) and occupancy rates. Review the hotel's historical financial performance, operating costs and profit margins and evaluate the competitive landscape.

In addition, perform a comprehensive due diligence that examines the property's physical condition, reviews legal documents and assesses the hotel's reputation and customer reviews. Additionally, conduct a valuation of the hotel, considering factors such as cash flow projections, asset value and comparable sales in the market.

Working with a financial advisor or consultant experienced in hotel investments is essential to assist in the analysis and market research.

Secure Financing and Negotiate

Once you have selected suitable investment properties, secure financing options. Financing may involve working with commercial lenders, private investors or your own capital. For this, consider different investors or mortgage lenders and negotiate favorable terms while engaging in purchase negotiations, including price and transaction terms.

Then, finalize the purchase price, draft contracts and conduct the necessary legal and regulatory procedures to finalize the sale.

Establish a Business Plan

Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your investment strategy, marketing approach, operational management and financial projections. Set goals and metrics to monitor performance. At this stage, it's important to bring on a management team to assist you in running the hotel and establishing key performance metrics.

Effective management is crucial for maximizing revenue and ensuring the property's success. As part of business planning, evaluate different management options based on their track record, expertise and cost structure. Consider also business development courses for additional support in building a powerful business plan and management team.

Reach Your Financial Goals by Investing in Hotels

Hotel investments can be a booming business, with higher ROI than average stock market returns. However, to attain sustainable returns and prevent failure, you must perform thorough due diligence on the property, location and financial operations before purchasing and working with an experienced management team to build a sustainable business plan. Consider investing in hotels through hotel REITs with excellent returns for a lower-risk option.

Frequently Asked Questions 


Why invest in hotels?


Investing in hotels can create economic stability with tax benefits, appreciation and tourism growth. 


Who invests in hotels?


Anyone can invest in hotels. Whether you have the funds to invest in a hotel yourself, secure financing or choose to invest in hotel stocks, anyone can invest in hotels. 


What is the average return on a hotel investment?


A hotel’s expected average return on investment is 15%. However, this return can vary widely by type of hotel, condition, location and management. 

About Alison Plaut

Alison Kimberly is a freelance content writer with a Sustainable MBA, uniquely qualified to help individuals and businesses achieve the triple bottom line of environmental, social, and financial profitability. She has been writing for various non-profit organizations for 15+ years. When not writing, you will find her promoting education and meditation in the developing world, or hiking and enjoying nature.