Starting your journey as an entrepreneur in Cambodia is no easy task. But if you aim for success in the hospitality industry, Siem Reap is probably the place you want to be. According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, $1.4 million was invested in tourism across the country in 2016. There’s no doubt about the potential.
The demographics of tourists stopping in Siem Reap are changing, however. Middle-class visitors from China are leading the pack. They are looking for more luxury options in larger hotel premises. Conversely, many domestic and Western visitors want either something affordable, or a unique experience at an eco-resort or boutique guesthouse.
Without a doubt, starting a hotel business begins with picking the right real estate. Realestate.com.kh sat down with Calum Binnie, the managing director of Property Finder Cambodia, to talk about the top factors for choosing the right location for a hotel. PFC specialises in helping out those who are looking to buy or rent hotel space in Siem Reap.
Location, location, location
Though the old adage says this is the most important factor, it may vary from owner to owner. Some buyers want a central plot that is right in the city centre, others need something that provides a bit of green space, or perhaps something nearer to the Angkor Wat complex.
Binnie noted, however, that being close to the centre of Temple Town isn’t always a sure sign of prosperity.
“There are many successful hotels outside the city centre,” he said, adding that it was more about finding a location that fit in with the overall business strategy of the prospective hotel.
Building and room quality
Finding the perfect place to fit your aesthetic can often be the hardest part of shopping for real estate. Luckily, agencies like PFC are staffed with experts who stay up to date on all the best listings in the area. They can listen to your plans and lead you on tours of many different locations.
The range of options are nearly endless in Siem Reap and growing day by day. Some buyers want a small place with a dozen rooms or fewer. Others are looking for a hundred rooms or more. Some want a blank canvas they can decorate to their taste, others want a place that is already set for business.
Last year, 30 new boutique hotels were built in Siem Reap. Bigger places, those with between 100 and 200 rooms, can often be found on the market for around $50,000 to $100,000 per month to rent, or $20 to $60 million to buy outright.
Here is where many hotels try to stand out in terms of luxury. Many have swimming pools, fitness centres, restaurants or even sky bars that serve to attract those looking for more luxury.
Luckily, many hotel properties in the city are already outfitted with pools, kitchens and bar areas. Another option on the table is to look for a villa to host your hotel. These large houses sit on their own property, have many bedrooms, gates, parking space, and can often be outfitted with swimming pools or other amenities.
It shouldn’t be overlooked that some customers want an environmentally-friendly experience. Resorts in this category usually have traditionally-inspired structures and are surrounded by forests or near a river. Amenities can even come in the form of complimentary breakfast or a common area with games like billiards or table tennis.
Level of service
When your guests feel comfortable and have a positive experience, your hotel will prosper. Many in Cambodia have called for a boost to the nation’s training and human resources infrastructure.
That being said, there are still seasoned hospitality workers in Siem Reap that can help bring your operation to life. Here it’s important to understand what your customer base will be. Do you need workers who speak Chinese, English or other languages? Will you need drivers, cooks and managers in addition to front-desk workers and housekeepers?
Someone in your corner
It’s no surprise that Siem Reap holds tons of potential for future growth. As home to a Unesco World Heritage Site, it remains one of the most popular places in Asia for tourists. With growing disposable incomes across the continent, more people in the middle class will have money for travel.
Agencies like PFC can help you through the whole process, too. They won’t just abandon you after you sign on the dotted line! Navigation through the entire buying process is part of the package with PFC.
And don’t forget about all the resources here on Realestate.com.kh if you are starting a tourism business. Check out our guide on how to start a business in Cambodia, and click over to read the Cambodia Investment Guide 2019.
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