Opening a souvenir shop in a hotel 

Opening a souvenir shop in a hotel 

Opening a souvenir shop in a hotel 

If you own a hotel then maybe you should consider opening a souvenir shop inside! Having a shop is a great way to earn some extra revenue. Think about it: if you’re on a holiday and you’ve just done a crazy zipline for adults – you’d want to buy a t-shirt to prove it to your friends! You can stock items of interest to tourists; something they can bring home with them to remember the holiday. Ensure that your souvenir shop stocks everything that will be of interest to tourists such as fridge magnets, t-shirts, postcards and location-specific trinkets. What you sell also needs to reflect the socio-economic and demographics part of the market. If you are a place that brings in young families then consider selling items of interested like toys, candy, trinkets and clothing. If you are getting more sophisticated people in, then it may suit to sell jewellery that comes with a little slant like stones and rocks that were found in that area. For example, when I was at a zipline in Melbourne, they took photos that we could buy afterwards – and everyone did! It’s so fun to keep. 

Who does a souvenir shop in a hotel suite?

You can either open the souvenir shop yourself (being the owner) or you can rent it out to someone else who may sell small trinkets for travellers or even have a small art shop that has beautiful artworks of the area around. 

You can succeed in this type of business, but you need to know the market. Can you match the inventory with what travellers are looking for but for an affordable price? You also must be able to carry out daily duties such as:

  • Opening and preparing the shop
  • Preparing schedules and supervising staff if you have some
  • Helping customers find the right souvenir
  • Handling vendors, ordering merchandise and arranging credit relationships
  • Keeping the store clean 
  • Ensuring all merchandise is displayed correctly
  • Networking with the different sellers in the same area 
  • Stay in contact with your landlord and other officials who may impact your business
  • Paying the bills and managing cash flow
  • Maintaining the financial records in accordance with the law

Who is the target market?

If you have a souvenir shop in the right spot of the hotel and it has the right inventory, then your customers will be able to find what they need, and your place will be remembered for next time they visit.

Travellers are prone to spending premium rates when they are on holiday as they are happy to include it as part of their experience. Travellers also often become impulse buyers, and will look for souvenirs that they can remember their holiday with. They will also choose gifts for their family back home, co-workers and neighbours. The fact is travellers are motivated to spend.


How can a souvenir shop make you money?

Your route to making profits is to sell merchandise to plenty of people that can cover the rent, staff, and other costs like the bills but still get a decent profit. You have the advantage over the other retailers as you are selling items that they are not. Travellers staying in a motel will wander around and explore through the hotel in their spare time. This is where having a souvenir shop there is a great option, as people don’t need to go out of their way to get to you – being right there where they are.

What is the growth potential?

You won’t have a worry when the economy is booming, and people are out travelling and spending their money. While people will still be travelling during the bad times, they won’t be spending much on souvenirs. In this case, it is good to adjust the inventory and sell the cheaper items when peoples budgets are tight instead of just having everything expensive on show.

Here is a breakdown of the costs involved in opening a souvenir shop in a hotel:

The staff

You are looking at around $20,000. This amount may be lower if you are doing the work yourself and if you are only open seasonally.


Your computer and the software you need plus a cash register will cost over $2,500, which should include the management software for sales, inventory, cash flow, invoicing and the critical tracking requirements.

Promotion and marketing 

Here you are looking at about a $2,000 budget. You won’t need to have too much marketing and advertising if you are inside a hotel. The attraction itself from the hotel will draw people towards you. You should hire a graphic designer to create your logo, signage and website. This can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on how big your shop is etc.

Permits and licensing 

This part will cost you $200 and could end up costing more in the exclusive locations like Time Square. Consult with the business association near you to see what licenses you need. If you are just renting from the hotel then there shouldn’t be much you need to take care of.

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