When starting a business is setting up an Organizational Structure a priority?

So, you’d made a conscious decision in the past to open an Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast. The very thought of being your own boss, spending the days chatting with your guests, sharing stories, being known all over as The Friendly Innkeeper sounded extremely appealing.

It was a delightful and romantic vision.

Now, returning to reality.

Occasionally, it’s likely you have days like that but most of the time you find yourself in your office; taking care of the accounting; replacing staff and attempting to set a marketing plan in place. Your time for schmoozing with guests is less and less; you’re feeling tired and the concept of taking a time off is out of the question. You worry that you always have to be onsite or things will crumble.

Not being organized can make you feel sad

image by Bob Jagendorf

The romantic vision you had when you began now seems like an unrealistic notion.

If you’re able to relate with this, then it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your organizational structure.

So, what’s the first step?

This might sound a bit odd but instead of thinking of yourself as an innkeeper, hotelier or Bed & Breakfast owner, imagine yourself as an owner of a franchise.

You might be thinking that sounds insane and you have no intention of ever turning your property into a franchise…but hear me out.

Consider many of the most successful franchises on earth; let’s use McDonald’s for an example. You can travel the 4 corners of the world and when you buy a Filet-O-Fish in Toronto Canada, Düsseldorf Germany or in Mumbai India, you will find it has tartar sauce along with a thin slice of cheese placed exactly the same way.


Setting up a franchise

image by Mike Mozart


This is not made by accident.

Much time and research went into determining the sharpness of the sauce and kind of cheese. Actually, much time and studies have been allocated to the design of the business to ensure that each restaurant has fundamentally the same setup.

  • McDonald’s signage
  • Uniformed employees
  • French fries deep frying on timer
  • Filet-O-Fish created using the same tartar sauce

… Ect.

Why this consistency? They have an organizational structure they follow and it works.

So you might ask “How does this apply to my hospitality property?”

When you put an organizational structure into action, you will understand all that’s needed to operate your property and who is responsible.

Here’s how you start.

Consider yourself as a large corporation which someday you might like to sell. Who do you need to run your corporation?

How to be like a corporation

image by Elliott Brown

Initially you are going to stop thinking of yourself as the owner. Imagine you’ve shareholders and any action you take might have to be justified in their mind.

So one job functions do you need in your corporation?

You need a:

Setting up an organizational chart

President: (This person is accountable for the entire achievement of the business and reports to the shareholders.)

Marketing Manager: (this individual is responsible for discovering new customers and finding new methods to provide these customers an excellent experience at a competitive cost. They report directly to the president.)

Operations Manager: (This individual is accountable for keeping clients by giving to them what is promised by Marketing Department, and for discovering new ways to make the operation more effective and so as to provide clients better service. They report straight to the president.)

Finance Manager: (this individual is responsible for both marketing and operations departments’ budgets, ensuring the property is profitable and by securing funds when needed by the best rates available. They report straight to the president.)

Salesperson: (they report directly to the marketing manager.)

Advertising/Research Person: (they report straight to the marketing manager.)

Housekeeping Manager: (they report directly to the operations manager.)

Front desk Manager: (they report directly to the operations manager.)

Maintenance Manager: (they report straight to the operations manager.)


Now, you might be thinking “that is crazy! I only have a little operation with three employees. I can’t afford or require more staff.”

Well, you don’t have to. Here is how you begin.

Where to start when opening a hotel

image by Todd Dailey

Have a look at your property and find out in a perfect world, the positions you want to have and just what their responsibilities would entail.

You assign positions to current staff as well as yourself. Most likely you will be taking on more than one role. Probably, the majority of the roles.

For each of these roles you’ll want to start documenting a checklist of what is required and who is responsible for each job. Each of these checklists will then require their very own section in a new operations manual.

This checklist or operations manual is going to be utilized in the future as a teaching tool for everyone who steps in to that specific role. Eventually these manuals will help your organization operate like a well-oiled machine.

Now, this might sound like a large amount of work, and it is however, you need to start somewhere.

I did mention earlier that the president and COO are accountable to the shareholders.

Who are the shareholders you might ask. Well, you are.

If you have any stories about operating your Hotel or Bed & Breakfast as a corporation or a franchise or how you have set up your organizational structure and would like to share, or have questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section. You can also visit us at our website:



Let’s work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.


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