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Small Biz Insider: 5 Ways to Stay Ahead in Hospitality and More With Wanderstay Founder

Published Mar 09, 2021 by Maggie Martin

Wanderstay Hospitality

Deidre Mathis, owner of Wanderstay Houston Hostel, is opening a new boutique hotel in Houston's East End.

It's been about a year since COVID-19 was first reported in Houston and it's been a hard road for the hospitality industry, including hotels. But the pandemic hasn't slowed down small business owner Deidre Mathis.

Deidre is the founder of the Wanderstay Hospitality Group, a hybrid hospitality brand. She's the owner of Wanderstay Houston Hostel, which opened in the summer of 2018 just steps away from Midtown and the Museum District.

Now, Mathis has her sights set on the East End, where she'll be opening a boutique hotel between late 2021 and early 2022.

On this episode of the Small Biz Insider podcast, host Maggie Martin talks with Deidre Mathis about scaling her business in Houston and advice for small business owners in the hospitality industry. Listen to the episode above to hear more.

On overcoming self-doubt and taking chances

Mathis was among the first recipients of a $10,000 grant from Beyonce's BEYGood Foundation and the NAACP awarded to Black-owned business owners last year. She said she was hesitant to apply for the competitive grant at first, but convinced herself to go for it. Her chances paid off. 

"Ten thousand dollars came at a really great time," said Mathis. "That money was really helpful." 

Mathis said small business owners have to overcome their own doubt to move forward and get things done. 

"I always tell myself I'm allowed to feel sorry for myself one hour a day," said Mathis. "After that one hour, it's like okay snap back into reality. You're an entrepreneur, you're a business owner. This is what you must do in order to continue to thrive and survive."

On starting and scaling her brand in Houston

“I am happy that the brand and the company was started here," said Mathis. "And I’m from Florida, so I’m not a Texan born and raised, and so for me to say coming to Houston was one of the best things I could have ever done for my business says a lot. I’m really grateful that the city has just continued to support me and my business endeavors, and so no matter where the company goes, no matter how big we get, I’ll forever be indebted to the City of Houston.”

Top 5 tips for small business owners in hospitality

Mathis says these are some of the ways for small businesses to stay ahead in hospitality. 

  1. Know your numbers. What is your break-even? What is the typical occupancy rate for your area?
  2. Save, save, save. Have cash reserves for a rainy day. “No one could expect something like COVID to happen, but because I’m such a saver, that helped me survive a few months that we probably would have struggled through had I not done that," said Mathis.
  3. Constantly put yourself in the position of a guest. Walk around your property and consider: How bright are my lights? Do the toilets flush at full capacity? How’s the water pressure? It’s so easy to get behind and miss the day-to-day of your property, said Mathis.
  4. Read your reviews and listen to what your guests are saying
  5. No two days are the same, so always be prepared. 

Small Biz Insider is presented by: 


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The Small Biz Insider podcast is part of our digital series highlighting entrepreneurs in the greater Houston region who are making a big impact in the small business community. 

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