• Hotel Business in Singapore

Singapore's tourism sector contributes a lot to hotel businesses' potential success due to the great number of travelers and tourists who come in for site-seeing and business purposes, leading to demands for accommodation and hotel related services like foods and drinks. Therefore, starting a hotel business is an excellent opportunity for any aspiring entrepreneur to thrive economically in the hotel business sector, ranging from mid-level hotels, boutique hotels, and luxury hotels.

Forms of Hotel services

  • Eateries
  • Boarding houses
  • Guesthouses
  • Lodging houses.

When starting a hotel business, one must be aware that they will have to license their business according to the various activities and services they choose to offer. There are several licenses and licensing prerequisites that pertain to setting up a hotel business in Singapore. Some of the activities that require licensing are listed below:

  • Managing a hotel and offers any form of hotel service. You are required to register their hotel and obtain a license as a hotel keeper from the board of licensing hotels.
  • Importing food products and food appliances.
  • Broadcasting television programs within the hotel premises. All you need to be licensed is registering your business with the Registrar of companies, ACRA.
  • Offering free or paid ad-hoc entertainment to the public in all its various forms. You will need a license for arts or public entertainment.
  • Operating a money changer for foreign currency in the hotel
  • Playing or reproducing copyrighted music or videos. You should obtain permits form representative organizations.
  • Preparing, manufacturing, packaging, or processing food for distribution to retailers and wholesalers.
  • Offering any halal service or activity or distribution of the product.
  • Permit to buy, use, or store any hazardous substance for cleaning purposes.
  • Storage of any flammable or petroleum materials.
  • Selling of tobacco or tobacco products in the hotel premises.
  • Offering a spa and/or massage services.
  • Offering swimming pool services.
  • Displaying of outdoor signs such as electronic billboards and sky signs.
  • Transmitting or receiving any radio communication.
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Prerequisites before being registered and licensed as a hotel keeper

As a business owner who wish to start a hotel business in Singapore, you will have to complete some preparations before being issued with a registration certificate and licensed as a hotel keeper. Ensure you first do the following:

  • Register the hotel business as stipulated by the registrar of all Singaporean companies.
  • Ensure the business premises are inspected and approved for the suitability of users’ operation and safety by the Singaporean authority of urban redevelopment.
  • Appoint a general manager for your hotel.
  • Advertise your application for certification of your hotel business in the English daily (the Straits Times) and the Chinese daily (Lianhe) newspapers of Singapore within fourteen days.
  • The national environment agency then issues you with a certificate of clearance or certificate of compliance from the department of planning and development.
  • Next, obtain a permit to show that your hotel has met requirements for fire safety.
  • Finally, you obtain from the building authority a permit for temporary occupation or statutory completion certificate.
Prerequisites before being registered and licensed as a hotel keeper

How to apply for Registration Certificate and License as a Hotel-Keeper

The application process takes an equivalent of three working weeks for a fee of S$100 paid when being issued with the license. The license is renewed every year at a fee ranging from S$200 to S$400 according to the number of hotel rooms.

Duly fill and submit the application form and supporting documents. These are the supporting documents:

  • Your resume as a hotel keeper and a cover letter showing proposed date for the beginning of the operation.
  • A copy of all necessary approved permits, and certificates.

How to Apply for Non-Residential Television License

Submit a duly filled application to the department of media along with S$110 for each television set or an annual fee of S$82.50 for hotels with television sets in each room. The process takes five working days, and the license is renewed every year.

How to Apply for Arts Entertainment or Public Entertainment License

One must be a Singaporean citizen, a permanent resident, or a foreigner with a valid employment pass.

Submit the duly filled application form together with the necessary approvals, certificates, supporting documents, and the applicable fees.

How to Apply for Copyright Permit

Submit a duly filled application to Collective Management Organizations (CMO) along with the applicable fee(s). The process takes an equivalent of 2-3 working weeks.

How to determine who your competitors are when starting a hotel business

  • When starting a hotel business, identify the hotels which belong to the same category as the one you intend to establish. Is your hotel belonging to the local or international category?
  • Check to see which hotels are offering entertainment services like the ones you intend to offer.
  • You should look at the distance between you and your competitor. Those in the same locality and offering similar services are considered direct competition.
  • Watch the hotels that offer a similar accommodation arrangement like the one you intend to offer.

How to Stay on Top of Competition

The impact of competitors is not always negative as it can be used wisely to be soar above. When starting a hotel business, you must plan how you are going to deal with competition. One of the sure ways to stay a step ahead of your competitors is to work hard to maximize daily income by providing an attractive variety of products and services. Other ways include:

  • Working on your budget. Do not spread yourself thin by offering so many services or products that may not stand out. It is better to offer one or two excellent services/products that customers will be willing to make long queues. The services don’t have to be unique.
  • Another important strategy that you work on as you plan to start your hotel business is how you will get customer feedback. Customers are the backbone of each business; how you treat them or respond to their concerns, grievances, and queries determine a lot the direction your business is going to take. Put competent, friendly, and patient customer service personnel at the strategic location. Have online reviews. From the reviews, you may get to know where you stand in relation to your competitor.
  • Maintain cleanliness, orderliness, and promptness in service delivery. Your services may be great, but some customers may not be willing to wait or come back next time if the services are delivered slackly.
  • Watch out for the services of your number one competitor, the one who is ahead of you, and the one who is right behind you in terms of services provided and income generated. Watch out for the services that make them stay on top and how they are delivering them. One of the ways is to be a guest or send in a keen person as a patron. Then work out a strategy to provide equal or better services uniquely and excitingly.
  • Pay attention to how your competitors do their promotions. You can subscribe to their customer services or emails or follow them on social media platforms.
  • Do not reduce the price to the point of sacrificing your daily income if the price is fair and competitive. Instead, offer the same price as your competitor but add value to your service. You can offer an extra inexpensive product to go along with the usual service/product. For example, you can create family-friendly corners for family diners or children friendly backyards for outdoor services.
  • When starting a hotel business, think about how to embrace technological advancement applicable to the hotel industry. Examples are online/direct booking services, key cards instead of room keys, and real-time receipting devices. Also, create websites with easy to access information.

Start a Hotel Business in Singapore FAQs

Who Are the Hotel Business Competitors?2020-11-03T08:54:40+08:00

The hotel business, just like any other business, has competitors. The hotel business involves fierce competition for the same customers who are the tourists, local or international travelers. When starting the hotel business, you must look out for direct and indirect competitors. The direct competitors are those in the same locality, those offering similar services, and those in the same category. 

What is a competitive set in the hotel business?2020-11-03T08:54:12+08:00

These are hotels you have researched and listed as competition to your hotel business. They should be between 5 and 10 hotels and not more in order to make important conclusions based on comparison and price analysis. The things to factor into your competitive set include motivation, proximity, price point, concept, and seasonality 

How do you increase your hotel management and knowledge skills that are necessary for starting and running a hotel business?2020-11-03T08:53:19+08:00
  • You increase your management and knowledge skills by attending events and meetings that the professionals in this area are likely to attend.
  • Read newsletters providing information about the hotel industry
  • Fill your knowledge gaps by educating yourself
How do I capture real-time data, and why is real-time data important to me?2020-11-03T08:53:39+08:00

Use tools for intelligence pricing. Real-time data helps you forecast and predict the hotel market’s future, thus preventing you from losing income. 

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