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Sector Spotlight: Resorts

The resort sector has rarely, if ever, been in the excellent shape it’s in right now. This may be the best time to take the plunge into resort ownership!

If you’re visiting the in-laws and would prefer a different place to spend the night, or if you’re away on business and just need somewhere to sleep, any hotel or motel will probably do. But, if you’re taking the spouse and kids on the family vacation of a lifetime, there’s a good chance you’ll be selecting a resort.

That’s because the two types of accommodations are very different. Perhaps the easiest way to think about it is that a hotel is where you stay to be near your destination; a resort is the destination.

If you’re considering buying a hospitality business, there are some similarities between the two, but there are even more differences. This article provides a thorough overview of the current state of the resort industry for those considering investing in buying a resort. If your interests lean more toward buying a hotel, here is the Sector Spotlight article you should be reading.

What is the current state of the resort sector?

Tourism and hospitality have been on a steady upswing for several years now since the global recession began turning around in 2012. Since that time, the hospitality sector, including resorts, has seen solid 3-4 percent increases year over year . That trend should definitely continue through 2018, and growth is expected through at least 2022 (albeit at a slightly slower rate.)

In 2017, the global hospitality industry’s revenue was estimated at $878 billion, a sizeable portion of which went to the diverse category considered resort accommodations. It’s difficult to parse the figures accurately because the line between a high-end hotel in a popular destination and a true resort can become blurry. With the U.S. being the number one international travel destination in the world, American resort properties are seeing excellent returns and should for the foreseeable future as well.

What makes a resort successful?

Some aspects of running a successful resort haven’t really changed in decades.

For example, to be successful and keep visitors coming back for more, resorts need to really go all out to make their guests feel not just welcome but adored. The main reason a guest chooses to pay the extra cost to stay at a luxury resort as opposed to a standard hotel is the long list of amenities and luxuries they can expect to enjoy during their stay. In fact, the most successful resorts take “all-inclusive” to a new level by ensuring no one staying with them has any reason — much less, desire — to leave the property.

That being said, locating a resort conveniently close to natural tourist attractions is another standard key to success. For example, resorts flourish along the white sand beaches of Florida, or near the peaks of popular Rocky Mountain ski slopes. But, it’s not likely you’ll be able to make a luxury resort work in the middle of the Nebraska corn fields.

There are also more recent updates in what guests expect from resort accommodations, and they’ve become incredibly important in recent years:

  • Cater to millennials - highlighted Cornell research indicating that, by 2025, millennials would account for over 50% of travel globally. In line with that fact, they noted, “you probably didn’t need us to tell you, but it seems they are posting pictures of their visits on social media. According to Internet Marketing Inc., 97% of millennials post photos of their trip—and impressions of the experience—when travelling.”

    With that being the case, a resort that’s really going to stand out and impress the bulk of travellers in the years to come needs to be active on social media and make it easy and fun for their guests to share their experience online.
  • Keep the tech high - Along the same lines, already today, most travellers fully expect that any and every technological convenience they want to use during their stay is going to work flawlessly. That means a resort’s Wi-Fi and cell service needs to be strong, charging stations should be plentiful, and it needs to have its own mobile app available with as many perks and conveniences included as possible.

    This may seem like the opposite of “customer service,” but if a guest can make their reservation, inspect their room, check in, unpack, and start enjoying themselves, all without ever speaking to a member of the staff , they’re going to come back.

So, to summarize, the resort sector is in excellent health at the moment, and it looks to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Granted, the travel and tourism industry does tend to take a hit anytime something negative happens on the world scene. But, the impact is usually temporary and light. Beyond that, you can confidently invest in buying a resort if offering high-end hospitality is part of your entrepreneurial dream.

Bruce Hakutizwi

About the author

USA and International Manager for, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small medium size businesses. The website has over 60,000 business listings and attracts over 1.5 million buyers to the site every month.