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How to Invest in Boutique Hotels?
Episode 1941st April 2024 • Commercial Real Estate Investing From A-Z • Steffany Boldrini
00:00:00 00:22:26

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How to find, analyze, and convert small boutique hotels? What are the systems and tools to use and the processes for hiring top people? Blake Dailey, a real estate investor, owner of boutique hotels, and founder of BoutiqueHotelCon, shares his knowledge

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How long did it take you to surpass your W2 income after you started investing?

It took 13 months from the time of purchase. Short-term rentals helped me achieve that goal more quickly.

How do you find a small boutique hotel? How do you analyze it, including conversions, if you undertake them?

Municipalities across the country are increasingly regulating short-term rentals in places like New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and Southern California. These regulations aim to protect the single-family housing market and the rental market. Hotels, classified as commercial properties, are designed for nightly rentals and thus aren't subjected to the same regulations. Authorities aren't shutting down major hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton due to the influence of hotel lobbyists. This lack of regulation provides an opportunity to invest in prime real estate in metropolitan areas or their suburbs.

To find these opportunities, I seek out tired hospitality assets typically owned by Mom-and-Pop operators who often reside on-site and handle all management tasks themselves. The inefficiencies of managing a business where you both live and work can be substantial. Many of these operators are slow to adopt technology, neglect online travel agencies (OTAs), and fail to engage in marketing efforts beyond word-of-mouth referrals or basic direct booking websites. By acquiring these properties, refreshing and renovating them, and listing them on OTAs such as Airbnb,, and Expedia, we can attract a wider range of guests. We also focus on collecting guest emails and contact information to facilitate direct marketing efforts, which can significantly increase margins by avoiding OTA fees.

We target markets such as destination markets, ski towns, and beach towns. For instance, Panama City Beach attracts 17 million visitors annually. However, similar opportunities exist in various markets nationwide, including metropolitan areas. I've found success in acquiring outdated properties owned by owner-operators, improving their efficiency, updating their design, and consequently increasing their average daily rates (ADRs). Since commercial properties are valued based on net operating incomes, these improvements can significantly boost property values.

Can you discuss your systems, processes, and approaches to hiring and developing your team?

Investing in this asset class requires a team effort. I couldn't manage all my hotels alone, although I did gain experience managing all my short-term rentals while still involved in residential properties. I outsourced administrative tasks and guest communications to cope with increased demand. Boutique hotels generate revenue from the outset, enabling us to hire and outsource roles early on. For instance, with a property generating hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, we can afford a full property-level team, including a director of operations, operations manager, revenue manager, and guest relations team. Regarding guest check-in processes, we employ self-check-in systems for smaller properties, while larger properties with higher revenue may warrant on-site staff

Blake Dailey





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