15 business ideas in the hospitality industry

Every year, millions of visitors to the UK contribute to the massive £73 billion hospitality industry.

Our country is an island packed with a history dating back thousands of years; famous figures such as Shakespeare, Churchill and Nelson; a melting pot of diversity and culture; and world-renowned musicians, artists, sportsmen and creators. Anyone with an interest in helping visitors enjoy their trip, or travelling themselves, can make good money in this industry. Does this appeal to you? Here are 15 ideas for hospitality businesses that you could set up today.

Area or tour guide

This is a competitive area – as an example, a search for London Tours on a search engine brings up more than 8.2 million results. Therefore, you’ll probably need to find a particular niche or find an area where fewer tour guide businesses exist. Ghost tours are always popular, as are historical tours – another idea is a walk based on food or drink; visits to the best or most unusual restaurants and bars can be enjoyed over an hour or two, and also feed you for the day.

Travel blogger or vlogger

Writing about your own area, or filming parts of it, is an enjoyable and creative way of making a living. Thinking outside the box can help – while this isn’t necessarily an angle for those interested in hospitality, there’s also a market for helping those who are looking to move to your area permanently; we’ve seen ex-pats showing how to buy a home in Pattaya in Thailand, for example. Sponsorship, local advertising and monetisation of videos can provide income.

Photography or videography

If you know your way around a DSLR there are a huge number of avenues to explore. Large prints of local landmarks? Check. Corporate photographs for a company website, menu or advertising? Check. Creating a cinematic-style video of an activity or excursion that a company can use for promotion or social media pages? Check. These are just three suggestions for a qualified photographer.

A bright blue sky full of hot air balloons

Aeroplane, helicopter or balloon Rides

An option for someone with aircraft, or someone who knows someone with aircraft! We’ve probably all seen offers of flights over the Las Vegas strip or Uluru on various vehicles, and while your town might not quite be able to match these spectacular scenes there’s likely to be at least some landmarks of note nearby. Offering an aerial view of cathedrals, city centres, woodland and lakes could be an attractive – and regular – offering.

Travel Agency

If you’re an experienced traveller with contacts in other countries forming your own travel agency you might be able to create your own specific, niche tours abroad. Perhaps they’ll visit multiple regions and countries, and enjoy the fact that it’s a local travel agent delivering their bookings. Alternatively, perhaps you’ll create specific tours in your city, to be booked online by international travellers or as soon as they arrive.

Hotel or B&B

People need somewhere to sleep, and often the big hotel chains are expensive and soulless. Meanwhile, a building with some history, a proper fried breakfast and an owner who not only knows the area but the people who live there, could be a far more enticing prospect for the visitor. Be warned that your evenings will no longer be your own and that you’ll have to put in a lot of hard work.

An illuminated neon bar sign

Pub or nightclub

Owning or running a pub or club is an exciting way to earn a living. There are also many ways to stand out from the crowd, with the choice of ales or a menu of local specialities giving you a point of difference to attract customers to a pub. Clubs can make a name for themselves through their live music too – with specialist DJs able to pull in the punters in big numbers.

Coffee Shop

There’s a reason that coffee shops/cafes seem to be ubiquitous: people like them! Create homemade cakes, buns and breakfasts, and pair these feasts with fresh hot drinks, to entice both visitors and locals alike. Memorabilia and a stylish décor will enhance the experience, and these venues can also be used to host networking events and live music/arts.

Adventure tourism

Think you know the area better than other tour guides? Maybe you know a woodland area or river that’s largely quiet and perfect for outdoor pursuits, or perhaps you can team up with a local leisure company and promote an exciting activity that remains largely un-offered – anything from rock climbing to cave exploration could be a great idea. Alternatively, maybe you know a street or pub or show or art collective that can give visitors something memorable to tackle!

Shuttle or taxi service

For the car owner there are a huge variety of uses for their vehicle to make money. Airport rides and luggage handling are two services which will always be in demand; make sure you give out your number to happy customers so that you can take them on to events and attractions in the area.

Three coloured kayaks on a pontoon surrounded by green water

Kayak or boat tours

This depends on where you live of course, but exploring a city or village by boat gives tourists a completely different view of the area. Get to know different routes, the wildlife on display, and any famous landmarks or homes on the waterside. Also, try to conclude or accompany the tour with a relaxing stop-off at a local, authentic pub.


Speaking French, German, Polish, Japanese or any other language, and then assisting natives of those countries, could be a lucrative little venture. Another way of selling your services is to translate brochures, documents, menus and even websites into other languages for local hotels and restaurants.


A small souvenir shop or display, perhaps supplementing one of the other ideas listed here, could bring in additional income. If you can make something unusual but attractive that will serve as a visual reminder of a visitor’s day you’re onto a winner. Alternatively, a quick scan of Etsy or local art/antiques shops will soon show you how many skilful local creators live in your area – and you can sell their work as well.

Beach Activities

There’s a huge range of things that you can sell or games that you could promote, including selling swimwear and buckets and spades, and renting out dinghies or jet skis. Again, this is highly dependent on your location – this probably won’t be something offered in Birmingham, for example.


The vast majority of visitors will never need a service such as this, but some people like a specific level of protection when they travel to somewhere new, particularly if they’re carrying items that are precious or venturing to a location that is dangerous or unfamiliar. Perhaps they may be a celebrity and want to be escorted safely by a person who knows the area.

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