Here we are now, sitting in a cafe called Bio Lab opposite our hostel. We have begun working on the website and logo. I look to my left and I can see people doing some construction on the property. It is a weird feeling knowing that it is our hostel they are working on. Our home and in 4 weeks we are going to be operating as White Rabbit Hostel, Siem Reap.
In this post I want to tell you how we found this property and why we chose to use this one instead of all the other properties we looked at.
I begun this journey with my friend Rohit from India, he was my former business partner. We looked at over 40 properties in Siem Reap, brainstormed ideas, made plans and researched the local hostel market. We did a lot of competitor analysis, this meant we had to get some drinks at the Bars and go clubbing as well.
We were pretty close to finalising a property with 52 rooms, a swimming pool and a huge Skybar. We talked about it a lot and I was falling in love with the property, mostly because I love Skybars and just starring into the horizon and letting my thoughts running through my mind – but we had to let it go. As much as we liked it at the beginning, the location was just too far away and due to our target market and competition we needed to be more central.
We then started to look at more properties, Rohit’s girlfriend, who arrived a couple of days before, joined us. It was then that we had a second look at Reflections hotel and soon I realised it was going to be the perfect place to set this Hostel up. It was so different to anything that I had seen before.
I arranged an informal meeting with the owner so we could have a chat and get to know each other better over a few beers. This also gave me the chance to speak to his Chinese business partner. At this point there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted this property and I was going to make it work.
After a couple of days and some discussions with Rohit I came to the realisation that we are good friends and have a lot of fun together, but we would not work out as business partner, our aims of how we wanted to set it up were too different.
We went to a Cafe and I told him my concerns about it. This is a huge step in my life and I want make it work. At the time I felt that I needed to do this on my own. I needed to have control over all decisions and do it the exact way I wanted to have it. He understand my concerns. It was better for both of us to realise it at that moment instead of later down the line.
The next few days were pretty quiet. He decided to travel Europe with his girlfriend and take care of his Hostels in India and clear his mind. I told him that I was going to take this property and I was going to ask Maricet to come over and help me set it up. Luckily after a couple of days we were able to clear up the tension between us and we spend another two weeks together and had a great time. When he left Siem Reap I actually cried a little bit. I´m sure he will come over at one point and I can´t wait to show him how I transformed this property to one of the best Hostels in Cambodia.