If you operate any type of hospitality property, and before you open the doors to guests, you have to have your paperwork in place.

Welcome to another addition of hospitality property school.

Today, I’m going to take a look at The Necessary Paperwork Needed for Your Hospitality Property.



I was asked once “What more is there more to operating a Bed and Breakfast and then putting a sign in front of my house?”


Wouldn’t it be great if all you have to do to operate any hospitality property was to open the doors to weary travellers and invite them to enjoy your hospitality?


Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

There’s business that has to be taken care of before you can even consider inviting in your first guest.


To open and operate an independent hospitality property like a hotel, resort, inn or bed & breakfast you need to take care of business issues first before you go about the business of caring for your guests.


A hospitality property is a business, so make sure all your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed is essential. You don’t want government officials knocking at your door while you’re serving croissants.


So where do you start?

To ensure everything is done correctly, talk with and use your professionals, your accountant, your lawyer, your consultant, and/or your broker as well as other hospitality property owners.


You have to make sure you have the paperwork and right accounts in place before opening day so we have prepared a checklist you can use as a guideline (remember, it’s just as a guideline. Your location may require different or additional forms or permits.)

  • Registered Business name
  • Business license
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Conditional use and sign permits (if required)
  • Account for transient/lodging taxes
  • Sales tax account (seller’s permit)
  • Federal and State / Provincial Tax ID
  • Business checking credit accounts
  • Merchant account (to process debit and credit cards)
  • Health Department inspection
  • Fire Department inspection
  • Food service certification (if required)
  • Insurance (business, liability, property, and liquor liability if applicable)
  • Property management/reservation and accounting software
  • Liquor license, if applicable


Make sure nothing slips through the cracks mark any necessary renewal dates on your calendar.


Now as I said, these are just guidelines to get you started and you will have to consult with your local professionals to make sure you do have all the proper forms and permits.


Sounds fun so far doesn’t it?


Okay, you have all your hospitality property paperwork in place and your accounts set up. Your doors are open and you’re welcoming guests.


Things are great!


What happens if a wind storm knocks over a tree into your power wires and damaged part of your property?

What do you do if you wake up in the middle of the night when hit by an unexpected snow storm?


I would like to share which important contact numbers you should have at the ready.


It does not matter how organised we are, there are times when something could happen that will catch us off guard and we are not sure who to call.


Record telephone numbers for the following services and keep the list on hand for quick fixes to ensure your guests’ comfort, enjoyment, safety and your peace of mind.

  • Animal Control
  • Appliance repair
  • Cable provider
  • Carpenter/Contractor
  • Electrician
  • Heat/AC equipment person
  • Hot tub repair
  • Internet provider
  • Landscapers/tree removal service
  • Plumbing & Drain cleaning service
  • Power Company
  • Propane gas supplier
  • Phone service provider
  • Roofer
  • Septic tank info


Snow removal service (don’t laugh at this if you live in a warmer climate. But it was not that long ago the Southern US was hit by major storms)


Some of these contacts may not apply or you have others I have not included but this is a good list to start with and if you do have any others, I would sure like to hear them.


If you have any interesting stories about Hospitality Property Paperwork and I know there are some great nightmare stories out there and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.


You can find them at:




That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.

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So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.




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