How much does it cost to open/start/launch Desert Resort

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The travel and tourism industry has grown steadily in recent years, and desert resorts have grown in popularity among travelers looking for a unique and exotic vacation experience. With the growing demand for desert getaways, entrepreneurs are considering opening their own desert resort businesses. However, before embarking on this endeavor, it is crucial to understand the costs involved in launching a successful desert station.

According to the latest statistical information, the global travel and tourism industry generated .8 trillion in revenue in 2019, and this figure is expected to rise to .5 trillion by 2029. As Covid-19 has impacted the industry in recent months, experts predict travel and tourism will recover and continue to thrive in the long term.

As for desert resorts in particular, they have seen an increase in popularity. In the United States, the desert desert market is expected to reach .3 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.2% . This growth indicates a promising market for entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry.

However, starting a desert resort business requires a significant initial investment and a thorough understanding of the various costs involved. In this blog post, we break down the one-time expenses you should expect to incur when opening a desert resort, giving you a clear idea of how much it costs to start this type of business.

  • Land acquisition
  • Building construction
  • Purchase of furniture and equipment
  • Staff recruitment and training
  • Marketing and advertising expenses
  • Technological systems and software
  • Purchase of leisure and activity equipment
  • Utility and infrastructure costs
  • Legal and regulatory compliance expenses

Startup costs:

Startup costs for opening a desert resort can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as location, size, amenities, and target market. Accordingly, it is essential to conduct comprehensive research and prepare a detailed budget to estimate the initial investment required. Typically, the major costs of launching a desert station can include:

Costs Average amount (in USD)
Land acquisition 0,000 – ,500,000
Building construction 0,000 – ,000,000
Purchase of furniture and equipment 0,000 – 0,000
Staff recruitment and training ,000 – 0,000
Marketing and advertising expenses ,000 – 0,000
Technological systems and software ,000 – 0,000
Purchase of leisure and activity equipment ,000 – 0,000
Utility and infrastructure costs 0,000 – 0,000
Legal and regulatory compliance expenses ,000 – 0,000
Total ,200,000 – ,000,000
  • The cost of land acquisition will depend on the location and size of the property, as well as its proximity to popular tourist attractions and amenities.
  • Building construction expenses can include site preparation, foundation work, framing, roofing, electrical and plumbing systems, and interior finishing.
  • The purchase of furniture and equipment can include beds, linens, kitchen appliances, dining tables, chairs, living room furniture and outdoor equipment.
  • Staff recruitment and training costs can include salaries, insurance, benefits, and training programs for various positions, such as front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, and kitchen staff.
  • Marketing and advertising expenses may include website development, social media campaigns, printing materials and promotional events.
  • Technology systems and software spending may include reservation software, point of sale systems, security systems and communication systems.
  • Recreation and activity equipment expenses can include the purchase of hiking, biking, and camping gear, as well as sports equipment, such as golf carts, tennis racquets, and pool toys.
  • Utilities and infrastructure costs can include water, electricity, sewer, waste and recycling services, as well as road maintenance, internet connectivity and landscaping.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance costs can include permits, licenses, taxes, insurance and legal fees to ensure compliance with local, state and federal regulations.

1. Land acquisition

Land acquisition for a desert resort is one of the major start-up expenses for this business. The cost of land acquisition can vary depending on various factors such as location, land size and soil quality. On average, the cost of purchasing land for a desert resort can range from 0,000 to ,500,000 per acre .

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The location of the land plays a crucial role in determining the cost. Land in a popular tourist destination like Scottsdale, Arizona can cost as much as ,500,000 per acre . In contrast, buying land in a remote, less popular area like Joshua Tree can cost as little as 0,000 per acre .

Another factor that can impact the price of land acquisition is the quality of the soil. Land that has fertile soil and is suitable for farming can be more expensive than less fertile land. For example, buying land for a desert resort in the Sonoran Desert, where the soil is more suitable for farming, can cost up to ,000,000 per acre .

  • Example: A 10-acre piece of land in Scottsdale, Arizona with breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert can cost ,000,000 .
  • Example: A 20-acre piece of land in Joshua Tree, California, located near the entrance to the national park, might cost ,000,000 .

2. Construction of the building

Constructing buildings is one of the biggest expenses for a desert resort. Depending on the location, terrain and type of complex, building construction costs can vary significantly. According to the latest statistics, the average building construction cost for hotels in the United States is around 8 per square foot. This cost can go up to ,000 or more per square foot for luxury resorts in upscale areas.

The cost of materials is one of the biggest factors affecting building construction costs. Materials such as concrete, steel, and glass can be expensive, and their costs can vary depending on factors such as quality, availability, and transportation. For example, high-quality natural stone like granite or limestone can cost to 0 per square foot, while pre-cast steel can cost around to per square foot.

Labor cost is also a major expense for the construction of the building. The hourly rate for construction workers can vary depending on location and skill level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for construction workers in the United States is .60. Highly skilled workers, such as electricians or plumbers, may charge more, and their prices can range from to 0 per hour.

Other Expenses This can contribute to building construction costs includes permits and fees, design and engineering fees, and equipment rental costs. For example, obtaining a permit to build a new station can cost several thousand dollars, and hiring an architect and engineer to design the station can cost around ,000 to ,000. Additionally, rental equipment such as cranes and bulldozers can cost anywhere from 0 to 0 per hour.

  • Examples of building construction costs:
  • A 50,000 square foot luxury resort in Palm Springs, California: million
  • A 20,000 square foot family resort in Sedona, Arizona: million
  • A 10,000 square foot eco-resort in Moab, Utah: million

3. Purchase of furniture and equipment

Furniture and equipment are crucial components of any desert station. The type and quality of furniture and equipment can have a significant impact on the overall guest experience. The cost of purchasing furniture and amenities can vary depending on the size of the resort and the level of luxury provided. According to industry experts, the average cost of furnishing a hotel room in the United States is around ,500.

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The cost of furniture and equipment for a desert complex can range from ,000 to 0,000 or more. The exact cost will depend on factors such as the size of the resort, the number of rooms and the quality of furnishings. For example, a luxury resort with high-end furnishings and specialty amenities, such as a spa, will cost more than a standard mid-range resort.

When buying furniture and equipment, it is important to consider durability, style and functionality. Furniture and equipment must be built to withstand the harsh desert environment and frequent use. The style should reflect the overall aesthetic of the station and appeal to the target market. Functionality is also essential, especially for equipment such as air conditioning, heating and swimming pool filtration systems, which are necessary for the comfort and safety of customers.

The following list outlines some of the essential furniture and equipment items for a desert station:

  • Bedroom furniture (beds, dressers, chairs, etc.)
  • Hall and furniture in the common area (seating, tables, decoration)
  • Restaurants and dining furniture (tables, chairs, crockery, glassware)
  • Kitchen equipment (ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, utensils)
  • Pool and poolside furniture (chairs, tables, umbrellas)
  • Recreational equipment (fitness equipment, sports equipment, bicycles)
  • Housekeeping equipment (cleaning supplies, carts)
  • Technological equipment (TVs, Wi-Fi routers, sound systems)

To reduce costs, some desert stations choose to buy second-hand furniture and equipment or rental equipment instead of buying outright. The resort may also consider negotiating with vendors for bulk discounts or purchasing furniture and equipment that is unmarked. However, it is essential to maintain quality and functionality while reducing costs.

4. Staff recruitment and training

Staff recruitment and training are crucial parts of any successful desert resort business. The costs associated with these aspects can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the station, the number of personnel required and the level of expertise required.

The average cost of recruiting and training a resort staff member in the United States is approximately ,000 to ,000. This includes expenses such as job advertising, interviews, background checks, pre-employment assessments, and training materials. Additionally, training costs may also differ depending on the complexity and diversity of job responsibilities. For example, training a front desk receptionist can cost around ,500, but training a head chef can cost up to ,000 or more.

It is crucial to develop a comprehensive training program that aligns with the station’s goals and objectives. A well-planned training program can help staff members understand their roles, responsibilities and expectations. It can also foster a positive work culture and improve their skills and expertise. On average, the cost of developing and implementing a training program for station personnel can range from ,000 to ,000. This includes expenses such as designing training materials, hiring trainers or consultants and running workshops or seminars.

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Retaining trained and qualified staff members is essential to the success of a desert resort business. High employee turnover can lead to additional recruitment and training costs, low productivity, and reduced customer satisfaction. Offering competitive salaries and benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, employee discounts, and opportunities for career growth and development, can help retain staff members. The cost of providing benefits can vary depending on the type and level of benefits offered. For example, the average cost of health insurance in the United States is ,188 per year per employee.

  • Example 1: ABC Desert Resort plans to recruit 50 staff members for its new all-inclusive vacation package. The estimated cost of recruitment and training for each staff member is ,000. The total recruitment and training cost will be 0,000.
  • Example 2: XYZ Desert Resort wants to implement a comprehensive training program for its 100 staff members. The estimated cost to develop and implement the training program will be ,500.
  • Example 3: PQR Desert Resort offers its full-time staff members health insurance of ,500 per employee per year. The total cost of providing health insurance benefits to its 200 full-time staff will be ,500,000 per year.

5. Marketing and advertising costs

The success of any business depends on its marketing and advertising strategy. A desert resort is no exception. This is a lucrative business model, and you need to advertise it to reach potential customers. Marketing and advertising expenses usually incorporate various techniques and tools to present your services and facilities to a massive audience.

According to the recent Statista survey, spending on marketing and advertising in the hospitality industry ranged between ,000 and ,000 per month, or even more depending on the size and services of the resort. However, the average marketing and advertising budget for any small desert station in the United States can range between ,000 and ,000 per year. It is essential to allocate sufficient resources for this purpose as it can significantly affect your occupancy rate.

One of the effective marketing techniques for Desert Resorts is social media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer targeted advertising features that allow you to showcase your services and facilities to specific audiences based on demographics such as age, gender, interests, and location. These ad campaigns can cost anywhere from 0 to several thousand dollars, depending on the target audience and engagement.

Another effective way to market your desert resort is through online travel agencies or OTAs. These platforms like, Expedia and Agoda allow potential customers to search and book accommodations with just a few clicks. OTAs typically charge a commission of between 10% and 30% of the booking fee. Thus, it is essential to choose the right OTAs that align well with your marketing goals and target audience.

Print advertising campaign is still effective and crucial in the tourism industry despite the shift of digital marketing. Print media advertisements can be brochures, trade show displays, billboards and magazine advertisements. However, the costs of this traditional marketing campaign can be quite high, ranging from ,000 per ad to ,000 or even more, depending on the placement of the ad or post.

Likewise, hosting events and promotions can also help attract potential customers to your desert resort. For example, hosting a culinary event or special interest workshops can generate social buzz and engagement that can eventually lead to increased bookings. However, these events and promotions can be expensive and can cost anywhere from ,000 to ,000 or even more depending on the scale of the event.

  • In conclusion, marketing and advertising are essential aspects of any business, and a deserted station is no exception. The allocation of sufficient resources, targeted advertising methods and promotions can significantly influence your occupancy rate.
  • Social media campaigns, online travel agencies, print ads, and special events can attract potential customers and help drive revenue and overall profitability.

6. Technological systems and software

The implementation of technological systems and software is crucial for a successful desert station. The cost of technology and software depends on the size and complexity of the station, but on average it can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The cost includes the purchase of hardware, software, licenses, maintenance and upgrades.

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Here are some of the technology and software systems needed for a desert station:

  • Property Management System (PMS): A PMS is a computerized system used to manage reservations, room inventory, billing, and guest information. On average, the cost of a PMS is around ,000 to ,000.
  • Point of Sale (POS) System: A POS system is used to manage sales transactions, inventory, and accounting. The cost of a POS system can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on the features.
  • Customer feedback system: A customer feedback system allows the station to collect and analyze customer feedback, which can help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. The cost of implementing a customer feedback system can range from ,000 to ,000 per year.
  • Security Systems: Installing security systems such as CCTV and access control can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on the coverage area and level of security required.

In addition to the above systems, here are some of the necessary software a desert station should consider:

  • Revenue Management Software: This software helps the resort optimize pricing and room availability based on demand and competition. The cost of revenue management software can range from ,000 to ,000 per year.
  • Online Booking Engine: An online booking engine allows guests to book their stay online through the resort’s website. The cost of an online booking engine can range from ,000 to ,000 per year.
  • Inventory Management Software: This software helps the station manage inventory, track supplies, and avoid overstocking or inventory. The cost of inventory management software can range from ,500 to ,000 per year.

In conclusion, the implementation of technological systems and software is an essential investment for a desert station. Although the costs can be significant, the benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity and revenue can outweigh the expenses.

7. Purchase of leisure and activity equipment

Purchasing recreation and activity equipment is one of the most important aspects when it comes to starting a desert resort. The cost of equipment will depend on the amenities and recreational activities that the resort will offer its guests. According to the latest statistical information, the average cost of purchasing recreation and activity ranges from ,000 to 0,000 depending on specific requirements and quality of equipment.

For example, if the resort plans to offer adventure activities like hot air balloon rides, sandboarding, and horseback riding, the cost of purchasing the equipment can add up to 0,000 or more .

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If the resort is going to offer water-based recreational activities, such as a swimming pool, water park, or hot tub, the cost of purchasing the equipment will also increase. For example, the cost of installing a standard swimming pool ranges from ,000 to 0,000 . However, if the resort wants to build an Olympic-sized pool, the cost can easily reach million or more .

The resort may also decide to invest in indoor leisure facilities like fitness centers, game rooms and cinemas. The cost of these facilities can range from ,000 to 0,000 depending on the quality of the equipment and the technology used.

To save money, the station can opt for second-hand equipment instead of buying new. This can reduce the overall cost of purchasing equipment by 30-50%. However, it is important to ensure that the equipment used is in good working order and safe before purchase.

  • Example 1: A desert resort in Arizona invested 0,000 in the purchase of recreational and activity equipment, including sand boards, horses, and buggies.
  • Example 2: A newly built desert resort in Nevada, which includes a water park and Jacuzzi, has invested 0,000 in purchasing equipment alone.
  • Example 3: A desert resort in California saved 0,000 by buying used equipment for their movie theater and game room.

8. Utility and infrastructure costs

Opening a desert resort requires significant investments in infrastructure and utility costs to ensure customers receive reliable, quality services. These costs include electricity, water, gas, heating and waste disposal,

The annual utility cost for an average-sized desert resort in the United States can range from 0,000 to 0,000 or more depending on the size of the property, the number of guests, and the specific amenities offered. For example, a resort with a golf course or water park will likely have higher electricity and water consumption rates.

In addition to utility costs, the resort must invest in maintaining its infrastructure, including the swimming pool, tennis courts, and landscaping. According to industry data, these costs can range from 0,000 to million or more per year depending on the size of the resort and the specific amenities offered.

The cost of waste disposal is another important consideration for desert stations. The resort must adhere to federal and state regulations for waste management while ensuring guest comfort. For example, the annual cost of hiring a waste management company can range from ,000 to 0,000 depending on the size of the resort and the number of guests staying at the resort.

Additionally, the station must invest in reliable, high-speed internet services to serve its tech-savvy customers. The annual cost of Internet services can range from ,000 to ,000 depending on the type of Internet service used and the number of customers the resort serves.

  • Electricity and water: 0,000 to 0,000
  • Infrastructure maintenance: 0,000 to million
  • Waste management: ,000 to 0,000
  • Internet services: ,000 to ,000

Therefore, a desert resort must factor in a significant amount of money in infrastructure and utility costs before launching its business model. These costs are critical to ensuring a hassle-free and comfortable customer experience while complying with federal and state regulations.

9. Legal and regulatory compliance costs

Starting a desert resort requires a lot of legal and regulatory compliance expenses that entrepreneurs need to consider. According to data provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA), entrepreneurs must spend approximately ,000 on licenses and permits, ,000 on legal fees, ,000 on insurance, and ,000 on accounting and bookkeeping services. In addition to these expenses, contractors may incur other costs associated with compliance such as taxes and fees related to zoning, employee benefits, and labor and safety regulations.

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Environmental Regulations: Desert Resorts must also comply with various environmental regulations such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery (RCRA). These regulations aim to protect the environment and public health by limiting the release of pollutants into the air, water and soil. Resort owners and operators must invest in environmentally friendly technology and equipment to comply with these regulations. Compliance costs may vary depending on the location and size of the station.

Labor Law: Contractors must also comply with labor laws and regulations such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers must pay their employees minimum wage, provide qualifying medical and family leave, and provide equal opportunity to employees with disabilities. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in penalties, fines or prosecution against the station. Therefore, it is important to budget for legal advice and related expenses associated with labor law compliance.

Consumer Protection Laws: Desert resorts must comply with laws that protect the interests of consumers. For example, the resort must comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC) which prohibits misleading or unfair advertising, packaging and labeling of products and services. The resort must also comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which provides consumers with the right to access and dispute their credit reports. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in lawsuits and monetary penalties which may affect the reputation of the resort.

  • Examples of legal and regulatory compliance expenses:
  • Fees for obtaining operating licenses and permits
  • Legal fees for business registration and contracts
  • Labor law compliance and legal advice
  • Taxes related to zoning, safety regulations and benefits
  • Invest in environmentally friendly technology and equipment
  • Perform regular employee training
  • Insurance including general liability, property and workers compensation


Opening a desert resort business requires significant investment, but the potential for profits and growth is promising. Knowing the costs of starting a desert resort will help you plan your budget and ensure you are financially prepared for the business.

Acquisition of land, construction of buildings, purchase of furniture and equipment, recruitment and training of personnel, marketing and advertising expenses, technological systems and software, purchase of equipment Recreation and activity costs, utility and infrastructure costs, and legal and regulatory compliance expenses are the major one-time expenses you will need to consider when launching your desert resort business.

According to industry data, the global travel and tourism industry is on a steady growth trajectory, with estimated revenue of over .8 trillion in 2019, expected to reach .5 trillion. by 2029. Additionally, the US desert desert market is expected to grow to .3 billion by 2025, indicating a potentially profitable market for entrepreneurs.

By understanding and considering these costs, you can launch your desert resort business with a solid foundation and set yourself up for success in this exciting and growing industry.