Project #1

1000000 pre-launch coins will allow this first project to be funded. (or similar, should the target property below, no longer be available.)

A first project operated in-house is required in order to ensure ThePeopleCoin will work sucessfully and to asertain and fix any potential problems before mass adoption.

Objectives of our 1st Project Business Plan

  1. To secure £525,000 of funding to provide for the purchase of the WEST COUNTRY INN, BURSDON MOOR, NR. HARTLAND, NORTH DEVON, EX39 6HB.
  2. To provide a sound business case for purchasing the above business and successfully operating it during our first trading year and beyond

Executive Summary

The West Country Inn is an established 17th century free house that was built in 1620 and has the benefit of 9 high class letting rooms all of which have en-suite facilities situated on the very busy A39 Atlantic Highway, which is the main route to the seaside town of Bude in Cornwall.

The agreed purchase price for the property, fixtures and fittings to operate the business and goodwill is £ 495,000 and we have allowed a further £ 30,000 for associated purchase costs and working capital in our funding calculations.

The most recent figures show the business turnover in 2017 was £160,545 with a gross profit of approximately 70%.

We have been researching the small to medium hotel market extensively over the last couple of years and have viewed and stayed in numerous establishments to identify what constitutes a suitable property to operate from.

Our requirements were a property that offered a good layout, good location, high quality guest facilities and the ability to improve on the business both in turnover and profitability. We believe that the West Country Inn fulfils all these criteria to be a successful, high quality business.

The West Country Inn offers considerable scope to upscale the business immediately, given several areas are currently under utilised, including a gymnasium with hot tub, a caravan site and a large function room due mainly to the current owners very restricted opening hours.

The property has seen considerable investment during the current ownership and requires no immediate investment for us to begin increased trading just from increasing the opening hours.

 

Current Status

The West Country Inn has been operated by a single mother since 2003, who wants to spend more time with her son. Currently she is covering most of the work herself with part-time Chefs, bar and housekeeping staff as required.

The hotel aspect of the building has nine letting bedrooms, all of which have stylish en-suites and have been refurbished extensively over recent years.

Three rooms make up the public house area of the building plus a further two dining rooms, one where breakfast is served for guests. There is also a large function room which will be utilised as a cafe selling cream teas, Icecream, chocolate bar milkshakes for the younger visitor (I already own US manufactured Blentec blenders required to do this from a previous business.) and light/childrens meals during the summer months. Should we determine that it would still be profitable outside of the summer we will extend its trading period accordingly.

Guests also have access to a beer garden, which is laid to lawn. There is also a car park for upto 30 cars to accommodate guest parking.

There is also a licensed camping site, which is currently not advertised. This is a major area that we are keen to exploit by increased advertising and the addition of a top up/farm shop for both campers and visitors during the summer months. The addition of a building classified as moveable will be utilised for this as permission is granted for upto 5 of these under the existing camping license. A poly tunnel will also be added so we can grow plants and veg, some of which can be used in the restaurant thereby decreasing our costs as well as increasing sales profits.

The owner’s accommodation on the first floor consists of a very large lounge, 2 double bedrooms, separate bathroom, office and utility room and has a separate entrance through a private garden as well as access via the hotel.

The West Country Inn has an alcohol and live music licence. The business is VAT registered. Currently, the occupancy seems to be made up of mainly business clients through the week and tourists over the summer months.

The business attracts visitors because of its central location and its easy access to various attractions within the area. It also has regular customers from businesses in the locality.  It has a good reputation and strong repeat business.

Marketing of the hotel is through multiple Online Travel Agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com, LateRooms.com and Hotels.com. This has resulted in a considerable cost in commission charges reflected in the current trading accounts.

The West Country Inn is situated on the busy A39 which allows easy access to multitude of things to do and places to see including local sandy beaches for surfing, body boarding or just for soaking in the sun, great tourist attractions for families and those that are interested in history, walking and cycling routes.

 

SWOT Analysis

In order for us to make realistic proposals to develop the business and increase turnover and profitability we have carried out a SWOT analysis of the business as it currently stands.

Strengths

 

Location of the property: Best of all worlds – easy access to both the countryside, tourist resorts and towns.  Easily accessible from the M5.

Layout of the property: The guest accommodation has been well designed and the guest areas are all easily accessible.

 

Ability to improve profit: The West Country Inn is currently traded well above the VAT threshold but run to suit the current owner’s life style.

 

Turn-key business: No immediate expense of refurbishment or maintenance. Everything has been invested in and maintained to a very high standard by the current owners

 

Additional income:          The West Country Inn already has a large customer base, which would automatically provide extra income as new strategies are added and the word of mouth advertising that these customers would bring to these strategies would be priceless.

 

Weaknesses

Turnover / current trading: The historical accounts show a lower level of turnover than would be expected. However, we know this is down to the personal choice of the current owner and not an indication of business trends.

 

Website: The website needs improving, but we have the skill set available to us to improve this as we develop the business and will reduce costs of the 3rd party service that is currently being used.

 

Marketing: A more focused attitude to marketing is required.  The current owners are reliant on new hotel business coming from OTA’s but we could do more to get lower cost marketing in place. It’s physical location allows for a lot more curbside advertising of special offers, etc.

 

Local Knowledge:            Although North Devon is a new home for us, I am Somerset born and well versed in dealing with the tourist trade so do not anticipate any major problems in becoming a “local’.  

        

Opportunities

 

Increase turnover/profit: Turnover and profit can be increased through increased occupancy and being more business focused. Introducing upselling opportunities and new strategies to the business.

 

Website: The website can be easily improved to make it more inspirational for our potential guests

 

On-line Booking: Reduce the reliance on third party booking sites.

 

Marketing: Refresh the overall brand of The West Country Inn.

 

Business style:                  Ability to manage the business in a more cost-effective way rather than the relaxed manner as it is now.

 

Tourism: The Bed and breakfast Association reports that tourism has increased throughout the UK due to the weakened pound.  People are staying in the UK more and overseas visitors have been seen to be increasing. Unsettlement abroad has contributed to more people having holiday breaks here also.

 

Loyalty Reward Scheme: Needs to be added immediately to all aspects of spending within the West Country Inn to assist in ensuring repeat business.

 

Threats

 

Competition: There are a few competing hotels, B & B’s, etc. in the surrounding area according to the official tourist board website, which suggests that there is money to be made within the locality and would only be a threat IF our standards drop below theirs.

The Economy: Uncertainty with the government changes and Brexit.  Decreasing income for some people. Businesses are trying to cut costs so we need to be affordable and competitive.

 

We are forecasting our first years turnover to be in the region of £ 300,000 with a forecasted NET profit of £ 60,000.

Business Proposal

Objective

 

Our business objective is to increase the profit margin whilst providing a 5-star unforgettable stay with warm hospitality, attention to detail, comfortable beds, modern en-suite facilities, hearty locally produced breakfasts and optional lunch and evening menus.  We will cater for business clients, tourists, families, couples, walkers and cyclists throughout the year. We want to operate a successful business in financial terms as well as being recognised through awards and accolades from industry bodies.

 

Phase 1 (First 6 Months)

 

The current proprietors are willing to give us hand over training (of 2-3 weeks) following exchange of contracts. This will enable us to learn the current procedures and practice which are currently done to a high standard.  We will be keeping on some part time experienced staff plus employing our own industry trained family members.

Trivago (A price aggregator, like comparethemarket.com for insurance, but compares accommodation on the internet across Europe.) shows a 7.6 out of 10 for customer satisfaction based on 152 reviews from the major online booking sites so we have no immediate concerns of poor practices. The only major issues seem to stem from opening hours and staffing levels, both of which will be immediately increased as soon as contracts are finalised.

Over the first few months we will start to identify areas for improvement and where we can take the business forward.  More income will be immediately generated from the availability of an all day breakfast from 7.00am (Current public opening times are 12.00 – 3.00pm & 6.00 – 11.00 pm.) and a value for money lunch time menu. (Pizza, burgers, etc.) as there is a large kitchen with stainless steel preparation benches, non slip flooring, 6 burner gas oven, combi-oven, double grill, double deep fat fryer, griddle, stainless steel wash hand basin, plate warmer, 3 x microwaves, plastic clad walls, fridges, freezers to allow us to do this with no additional equipment costs. An additional adjoining wash area with double drainer sink unit and dishwasher avoids clutter within the kitchen when it is operational.

Once areas for change have been identified, we will prioritise and make the changes as quickly as possible.

 

Hospitality Property Management Software

 

Having spent two nights within the hotel the current property management software seems more than capable of managing the tasks required. The current proprietors do not take deposits and payments are made upon check in even when booked via the many online travel platforms.  We will try to change this in order to protect us against no shows.

 

Bookkeeping

 

We will manage our books ourselves as much as possible, including PAYE for staff members if required.

 

Website, Social Media & Digital Marketing

 

The current website, whilst functional in its current capacity has significant scope for improvement. If it is possible we will link the website to the existing property management system, which will enable us to publicise the deals and offers.

Linking these together will automate what we believe are manual processes currently. Such as updating room rates and availability, plus changing room types and room configurations.

Furthermore, the current owners pay a fee to a website management & design company who manage the website for the owners. They pay a significant fee each month for the upkeep and maintenance of the website. I intend that my youngest daughter will manage the website.

Furthermore, her experience allows us greater integration with social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Where we can leverage their powerful social channels and marketing engines to reach customers that the current owners cannot because of a lack of functionality and knowledge in this area. We fully intend to investigate the costs and benefits of an online marketing campaign, targeted at people who are likely to be interested in accommodation in the North Devon Area.

We have identified campaigns and special offers to entice people to book directly with us via our website such as an offer of free wine or chocolates when booking a room directly rather than via an OTA. We cannot undercut the OTA on price, however our research has shown that most people visit the website of the hotel directly from the OTA before booking with them, so capturing that opportunity is key to reducing the costs associated with OTAs.

 

Wider Marketing Strategy

 

We believe that we can improve our Marketing by liaising with more businesses, local nursing and residential homes, universities, historical societies, sports clubs and other places of interest.  There will be a small marketing cost to have business cards and leaflets/posters produced.

We will develop relationships with the local tourist information centres to ensure our hotel is being recommended to potential guests.

We intend on holding an open event for all our potential networking partners to view the 5-star accommodation and what we can offer.

We believe that helping the community with fund raising events e.g. McMillan coffee mornings or events that have a low cost to us, are not only good for the local community, but they are excellent marketing opportunities that are likely to involve local papers, flyers, companies, notice boards and which will lead to the Business being better known in the local area.

We will start collecting data by questionnaire from guests to look at demographics; how they heard about us to check which form of marketing is working, would they like to be on our mailing list including hobbies and interests, plus feedback on service improvement.  This will enable us to target and market to the correct audiences.

Regular mail outs to our mailing list and internet blogging on things to do in the area. For example, up and coming events. This constantly changing content on our website, will ensure that we rank highly on google.

We intend also to make links with local walking/cycling/water sports groups.

Promote the function room.  This room is currently not promoted as such, but is already home to an awesome Sunday Carvery (I know this for sure as I tried it during my stay.), plus regular repeat christmas parties. It is also home to a local skittle team that use it once a week during their season. As well as utilising it during the day as a cafe, the intention is to reach a wider demographic as it would be an ideal venue for larger business meetings in the evenings where we would provide drinks and refreshments to make a further profit.

 

Upselling & Customer Satisfaction Improvements

 

In the lead up to a customer’s stay, we may contact them directly, and offer them the opportunity to pay a small fee to upgrade their room where capacity allows. We do intend to upgrade people where possible, so that we exceed their expectations.

 

Phase 2 (6 to 12 Months)

 

  • To add value, we plan to increase the offers available to include speciality teas and coffees and chocolate bar milkshakes for the younger visitor. We already own the blenders required to do this from a previous business. This will be introduced in stages and closely monitored to ensure new items are making profit. The business does not depend on the upselling of anything at present.

 

  • Market wedding venues and attend wedding fayres if possible to market our services.

 

  • Evaluate the current laundry service. The West Country Inn currently owns all of the bedding/towels used and launder it in-house.  We will look at the cost of doing it ourselves and or using a laundry service to do it for us

.  

  • Add specialist packages to include Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc., which will complement the existing Christmas offer.

 

Post Phase 2 (12+ Months)

 

  • Increase the food service to include a light evening meal for people, as required, who do not want the gourmet style evening meal that is currently being provided.

 

  • We intend to make the bar service more profitable by offering a mini fridge in every room.  Obviously, there is a capital cost involved with this and the plan is to make these purchases as trading profits allow.

 

Planned Roles & Sources of Support

I will oversee everything about the business and have accumulated vast experience during 30 years of self employment within retail sales environments which includes several areas which could be incorporated into the mix as further profit centers.

General stores – operating a top up shop for campers would be easy.

I have several years of experience in the retailing of choc bars and icecream blended together to make custom milkshakes. The shops I owned also made 20+ flavours of slush using the same equipment. Add alcohol to these slush flavours to create a whole new drinks offer – Vodka or Gin Slush anyone? Imagine relaxing in the Beer Garden on a warm summers evening enjoying an ice cold drink.

Use Beer Gardens to try to win awards for best pub in bloom contests, whilst displaying high profit sales items (plants), whilst you do so. Again I have experience of growing plants from seed and selling directly to the end user.

I even owned a gym for a short period that came as part of a property deal.

As well the existing part-time bar, kitchen and housekeeping staff that we will keep, family members whom we intend to employ also have many different skills and experiences to bring to the business.

My youngest daughter Loren Wintle, who has a degree in Tourism and Leisure which required a comprehensive study of using Social Media to increase awareness, will be responsible for marketing and social media, blogging and search engine optimisation (SEO) and replying to online reviews as required, as these are areas of expertise for her.  She also has extensive people skills due to her previous employment with Thomas Cook.

My daughter Tara Wintle’s role will be more practical with kitchen duties and cooking, bar work and waitressing as she has had previous experience in very busy food based public house as a bar person and helped out with waiting tables as well. She can also help Loren with Social Media if required.

Martin Ratcliff who is Tara’s partner and father to their 18 month old son, has the most hospitality experience as he has over 5 years in the trade and is currently employed as an Assistant Manager at a very busy Marstons Public House. He already holds a personal license for the sale of alcohol and will oversee the day-to day running of the bar and restaurant areas

Anita Wintle’s role will be more business management by putting systems in place and doing audits, planning and evaluating all financial aspects of the business. As she is a qualified accountant, all bookkeeping and financial requirements will be easily administered.

The jobs we will do jointly are meeting and greeting, marketing, helping with cleaning/housework, getting supplies, taking bookings and payments, signposting and staff management and recruitment.

Although running a Hotel is new to me, most of my family already have a lot of hospitality experience and I am sure that we have the right transferable skills and personal attributes to operate a successful business.  

We also intend to make ourselves members of the local Chamber of Commerce as it is a rich source of intelligence and resources for new business owners.

Some joint skills we can bring to the business are

  • People skills, friendly, caring, and non-judgemental
  • Communication skills including I.T
  • Project management, managing budgets
  • Recruiting, managing, training and motivating staff
  • Health and Safety awareness, information governance, conflict resolution, fire regulation and general governance. Food allergy awareness and special diets.
  • Good organisation and home skills e.g. cooking, cleaning and general maintenance of buildings.

 

Calculation for lending

Below is the basis for our lending requirement to purchase The West Country Inn

 

Costs
Purchase Price £495,000
Stamp Duty £
Legal Fees £
Stock @ Val. n/a
Working Capital £30,000
Valuation £570,000
Total Requirement £525,000
Cash Deposit £225,000
Loan £300,000

 

The preferred loan term is 25 years

The security for the proposed loan is a first legal charge over the freehold interest of the trading premises

Additional Background Research

There are approximately 50,000 pubs in the UK according to the British Beer & Pub Association.

 

Roughly 20% of these are managed pubs, 40% are non-managed (tenanted and leased) pubs and the remaining 40% are independent pubs.

 

Combined turnover is over GBP21 billion giving an average across the country of GBP437,500 per establishment, but this average is driven up significantly by the managed pub sector.

 

The independent sector is generally outperforming the non-managed, and showing greater resilience in terms of closure rates. Attention to high standards and a spirit of entrepreneurship abound among independents . We do not underestimate the scale of the challenge, pubs are closing at a net rate of about 21 per week according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

 

SOURCE: British Beer & Pub Association

https://beerandpub.com/statistics/pub-numbers/

 

Interest in real ale and craft beer, has grown in the past few years. According to statistics released by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young on 2nd October 2016 a new brewery opened every three days in the UK in 2015, taking the total number of breweries to almost 1,700 largely thanks to the popularity of craft beer.

 

Spirit choices, especially gin, will help ensure that the occasion-led and younger ends of the market are well catered for.

 

SOURCE: CAMRA

http://www.camra.org.uk/

 

Premium soft drinks and excellent quality coffee and tea will be key to embracing the whole community. We expect customers who are drivers, non-drinkers or only occasional drinkers to be just as well catered for as those who are choosing an alcoholic drink. Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day and is obviously taking a large percentage of the leisure pound. There are now 20,000 coffee shops in the UK, with sales on the increase within the UK. Further analysis of the data showed Millennials (20-37) contributed to 50% of all the coffee consumed in coffee shops, bars or restaurants.

 

SOURCE: The British Coffee Association

http://www.britishcoffeeassociation.org/

 

The latest eating and drinking news from MCA, shows that participation is higher than ever as a growing number of consumers eat out, just less often than in the past. Consumers increasingly flock to coffee shops and pubs for breakfast and show a willingness to increase their spend

 

SOURCE: MCA Insight – News site regarding the latest UK eating and drinking trends

https://www.mca-insight.com/

 

The good news is that many pubs are thriving. According to a Barclays survey carried out in 2015, average pub turnover has increased 23% in the three years since March 2012, with growth driven by younger operators entering the trade. The number of pub operators of 25 to 34 years old has increased by nearly 25%.

 

The beer and pub trade is beneficial to the UK economy, contributing GBP22bn to the GDP annually and generating GBP13bn in tax revenue. It supports almost 900,000 jobs of which 46% are 16-24 year olds. On a local level, pubs boost local economies by an average GBP100,000 each per year.

 

SOURCE: The Morning Advertiser – Inspiration For Pub Success

https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/

 

Research carried out by PRS for Music found that pubs that provide music take on average 44% more money than pubs without music, rising to 60% more at the weekend. Live music was found to be the greatest draw with one in four publicans who reported increases in takings of between 25%-50% on nights when they have live music compared to other nights.

 

But, perhaps more importantly, live music pubs are where professional musicians typically begin their careers, developing their skills and craft before scaling up to larger venues. Furthermore, they are also where vast numbers of amateur (in the positive sense of the word) musicians first engage in music making, and often continue to do so throughout their lives. Beyond the musicians who play there, these small pub venues also play host to communities of fans, promoters and other enthusiasts. (Gordon 2012, Kirschner 1998). Small venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills.

 

Local pubs are an ideal stepping stone for musicians, eager to gain exposure and develop their talent before a listening audience. We want to encourage local developing artists to establish informal nights when musicians can sit in and play with others.

 

SOURCE: PRS For Music

https://www.prsformusic.com/

 

Camping

 

Freedom Camping Club is not a corporate business making millions every year. It’s a club run by people for people. Their sole aim is to facilitate the meeting of like minded people, bringing together people who own caravan sites and camping facilities with people who want to enjoy caravanning and camping as a recreational activity.

 

They are a family orientated caravan and camping club whose purpose is to identify and make available safe and suitable locations for the purposes of enjoyment and engagement with the natural environment this country has to offer. Recreational camping and caravanning has a significant role to play in developing strong social family bonds and creating memories of family interaction which in today’s technology driven world is sometimes forgotten.

 

SOURCE: The Freedom Camping Club

https://www.freedomcampingclub.org/

 

Camping is a fantastic way to spend a holiday: it’s fun, easy, and cheap and kids love it. Camping gets you into the outdoors, active and appreciating nature. You see the stars before you go to sleep and you wake up to the sound of birds. You can spend quality time enjoying the countryside, visiting local attractions with family or friends, meeting new people and chilling around a campfire with a beer.

Camping isn’t for everyone, that much is true, but most people will really enjoy it if they give it a chance.

SOURCE: Campsite Guides

https://www.campsites.co.uk/guides/camping-for-beginners/why-go-camping

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