Germany is becoming more and more popular as a travel destination, which in turn means that the tourism industry is growing rapidly. Not only large hotels but also small guesthouses are happy to have many guests who they can accommodate and entertain. So anyone who is currently thinking of opening a pension has a very good chance of success. However, this only occurs if you pay attention to a number of important aspects. The following article will tell you exactly what this is all about.
Open a pension: You must meet these requirements
A pension is so-called hospitality industry and therefore requires a trade license or a business registration. You can obtain the required form either from your local trade office or online. Before you open a pension, you should be clear about which legal form you want to choose for your pension. For example, the following are possible:
- UG (limited liability)
Depending on which legal form you choose, you have to do a few more steps in advance of the business registration. It is also important to know that share capital of 25,000 euros must be proven to found a GmbH.
Whether your board required a license depends on how many people can you host simultaneously in your accommodation. The magical limit is eight people. If this is exceeded, you need a license to open a pension. To obtain such regulatory approval, you will need to provide:
- a permit from the building authority
- a health passport
- proof that you have attended a hygiene course
Tip: If you want to open a pension and cater to more than eight people at the same time, you have to be prepared for a much higher bureaucratic effort. Since pensions are often characterized by their small number of beds and a very familiar atmosphere, it makes perfect sense not to exceed the limit of eight guests and thus avoid the issue of concessions.
Even if you do not require a license, you can be prepared for the fact that the health department will visit and inspect your pension before it opens. This investigation focuses on hygienic, but also other requirements that guarantee that a stay in your pension does not have any health consequences. When you have received the green light from the health department and have properly registered your business, you can start operations.
In principle, anyone who wants to open a pension does not need to have any special training. However, it is highly recommended that you only undertake this adventure if you have already gained experience in the hospitality industry. Hotel and catering are two industries that are often underestimated and seem very simple to outsiders. In fact, hard (physical) work is the order of the day here. Appropriate training or a degree (for example in hotel management) will help you to successfully open a pension.
GEZ and GEMA – two important topics in the hotel industry
If you intend to set up televisions and/or radios in your rooms, you should under no circumstances ignore the fact that GEZ fees have to be paid for them. The amount of the fee depends on the number of rooms.
Another thing that many pension owners often do not have on their checklist is GEMA – the society for musical performance and mechanical reproduction rights. If, for example, music is playing in the lounge or breakfast room, it is a matter of public reproduction of music – and that in turn means that GEMA fees have to be paid. To avoid getting into trouble, you should conclude a license agreement with GEMA as early as possible.
The right location for a pension
How well your guesthouse is accepted by guests depends largely on the location of your accommodation. A pension does not have to be in the center of a city. Much more important is the environment, which in the best case has several destinations and tourist hotspots. Guests of your pension want to relax first and foremost and are often looking for closeness to nature. Mountains, a lake, or maybe the sea in the immediate vicinity are the perfect visitor magnets and free catalysts for your hospitality industry.
Another important factor for your location is an adjacent parking lot. Most of your guests will arrive by car and want to park it as close as possible to their accommodation. For those who arrive by public transport, a train station in the immediate vicinity is recommended. If there is also a bus from there to your pension and if possible this is in a side street, the location is very good.
Modern furnishings for the feel-good factor
When it comes to furnishing a pension, opinions tend to differ. Of course, furniture, wall colors and furnishing style are always a matter of taste. To please all guests equally is therefore as good as impossible.
If you still want to meet the taste of as many people as possible, it is advisable to use light colors and straightforward furniture when setting up. The Scandinavian furnishing style, which is characterized by functionality and yet exciting design, is extremely popular at the moment and is particularly popular with young audiences.
Note: Setting up a pension naturally costs money. You should definitely not save here – even if the budget is tight at the beginning. Anyone who uses cheap furniture can be sure that new purchases will be made within a few years. Better: Invest a little more money in beds, cupboards, tables, and the like and enjoy them for a long time. Your guests will also thank you if you don’t choose the cheapest mattress and if you take a little more budget into your hand here too.
Sharpen the profile of the pension
Opening a pension automatically means entering a highly competitive market. Depending on the region in which your pension is located, you will face a lot of competition. Establishing yourself as a newcomer here may not be that easy. Without quality, excellent service, and staying power, sooner or later you will most likely throw in the towel.
Also of great importance: a clear profile that is differentiated from that of the other pensions by a certain unique selling point. Before opening a pension, you should definitely ask yourself what makes your accommodation so special. Is it perhaps a particularly unusual furnishing style? A certain philosophy or orientation? Would you like to attach particular importance to the topic of sustainability? Whatever it is, it will help you stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of potential guests.