If I had a nickel for every person whose Costa Rica vacation transformed their life into a hotel owner, I’d be retired right now.
There are countless hotels for sale in Costa Rica and in many cases, these hotels are being sold by foreigners who were not adequately prepared for managing a hotel in their home country, much less in a foreign country.
Check out our Costa Rica Hotels for Sale Page.
It’s easy to fall in love with Costa Rica’s natural beauty, laid back lifestyle, and charming people, but if you’re planning to buy a hotel in Costa Rica, make sure you have the right ingredients.
I’ve lived in the tropical Costa Rican community of Dominical for close to 15 years and assisted numerous investors locating hotels for sale, luxury homes for sale, or suitable land for development in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.
We try to provide the most complete information possible about the properties and inform our clients about the logistics, regulatory requirements, and local market factors of owning and operating a hotel in Costa Rica.
Here are my top ten ingredients for making sure that YOU are ready to own a hotel:
- Capital. The ability to capitalize your investment is crucial. We generally recommend trying to find an existing hotel for sale in Costa Rica that has established clientele, assets, and brand recognition.
Given all of this, having the capital and cash flow to keep up on maintenance, payroll obligations, and seasonal market factors will help ease the transition and help sustain your business.
- Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry! There are many successful hotel operators who don’t speak the language; however, you must consider a few things. Successful business operators in Costa Rica who don’t speak Spanish generally have someone on their staff that is trustworthy and fluent in Spanish.
The ability to speak the native language helps to communicate your vision to employees, negotiate with contractors and professionals, manage compliance with government entities, and develop a larger network of resources and marketing channels.
- Residency & Legal Working Status. Costa Rica requires that foreigners have legal residency or a work permit to perform labor which could otherwise be performed by a Tico (Costa Rican).
You are permitted to own a corporation and a business without residency or working papers; however, you cannot perform any functions related to daily operations that fall under duties which are considered employable.
- Resourcefulness. Having to pay for every little repair, improvement, maintenance task, or service gets very costly. It’s important to know a little bit about basic maintenance and repair so you don’t have to call someone for every little issue. In some cases, your dream hotel is perched up in the mountains and getting a repair man to the hotel could take a day or two.
- Cooking Skills. No frozen foods down here folks! There are numerous markets to get fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood in Costa Rica. Hiring a chef can be expensive, especially when you’re in the off-season and vacancies are higher. Develop a menu, get some help from mom, or take a class! Some basic cooking skills will save you big and keep your guests happy!
- Warm & Friendly Demeanor Costa Ricans are very warm and friendly and beyond the obvious benefit to your guests, you should make sure that your personality is warm and friendly as you work with Ticos.
Foreigners who arrive here and begin to demand, confront, and order people around get a rude awakening in a short time as they find that nothing gets done for them, and suddenly no one is available to work or provide a service.
- Patience The culture in Costa Rica is different than the US and Canada. Costa Ricans avoid confrontations and prefer to protect a relationship rather than create a potential conflict. It is not un-common for Ticos to smile and acknowledge your request, then down the road when you review the work or service; it’s completely different that what you requested!
Why? In many cases, Ticos are embarrassed to say that they don’t understand even if the language barrier is an issue. So, have some patience with your neighbors, employees, contractors, and friends.
- Budgeting Planning a budget to prepare for the seasonal nature of the hotel business in Costa Rica is vital to successful cash management and survival. When evaluating hotels for sale in Costa Rica, it can be challenging to get accurate financial information and history on a business since a large number of business owners are very good a working around income and sales tax obligations.
The “real” ledger doesn’t always get reported. Working with a broker who knows the hotel, the owners, and the local market can really help in getting a good assessment of the actual state of the business and its potential for growth.
- Marketing Developing successful marketing plans can really set you apart. Understanding how to brand your hotel in Costa Rica and create successful campaigns designed to increase occupancy through name recognition and reputation are crucial.
If you don’t have experience in marketing, there is a wealth of information including online resources, books, videos, and professional agencies who can help you develop a cohesive strategy to capitalize on digital, print, and other marketing avenues.
- Networking Skills There are so many successful hotels and bed & breakfasts in Costa Rica which are small and quaint with very little investment in traditional marketing. They thrive on the owners’ ability to develop and maintain a great network.
Getting involved with non-profits in the community, participating in community action groups, patronizing other local businesses, and taking good care of your reputation are the keys to successful networking skills and play a large role in your success or failure as a hotel owner in Costa Rica.
Reach out and get involved in your local community not just for making money, but to be a good citizen as well.
Costa Rica Hotels For Sale. Top ten ingredients you need to be a successful hotel owner in Costa Rica
Article/Property ID Number 4064
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