By Jee Soo
Johnny and I have been working with Domene Kaw, a quiet and peaceful seaside hotel in Jagna, Bohol. The building’s faded red exterior misleads one to believe it is an old, run down hut, but upon visit, the guests are greeted with pleasant and well-maintained facilities and the soothing rhythm of recurring ocean waves.
Each of its 14 rooms are fully furnished with imported furniture and handmade artwork ranging from cross-stitches to paintings. Everything from bathroom, lobby tiles and water tanks show careful consideration the owner has put into enhance the convenience of the guests and durability of the facilities in the corrosive sea wind. The community room on the top floor holds as many as 200 people, frequently booked for wedding and other large events. Domene Kaw holds a quiet beauty that distinguishes itself from the flamboyant hotels in the cities.
View from the balcony, hotel corridor, and lobby tiles
Our major goal for the first week of the project was to review the financial and guest booking records of the business. After reviewing the income statements and tax forms for the past 6 quarters, we have noticed a few peculiarities and made suggestions:
- The expenses for Q1, 2 and 3 already exceed the expenses recorded on the annual income statement, indicating that the yearly report overestimates profit. Major assets such as refrigerator is also not properly depreciating, suggesting further expenses that were omitted. Properly reflecting the expenses can both reduce tax and offer insights into the performance of the business.
- The sales record is not specified for each type of sales (e.g. food, room type). By recording the expenses and revenue from each category distinctly, Domene Kaw can advertise the business more effectively and make optimal business decisions (e.g. promoting the food item with the greatest profit margin).
- Much of the business is unstandardized. The recorded price for the same room is different from the booking records, Trip Advisor page, and the old website. To give a sense of credibility and acquire a predictable income, such information should standardized.
- Expenses like laundry and utility were significantly higher for some periods, although the visitors were not necessarily greater in number. Watch these costs closely and make sure no unnecessary costs are incurred.
- The sales depended greatly on group reservations, especially like mission groups and medical volunteer groups. To better attract such high-value bookings, advertise group discounts and actively promote online.
Along with the financial statement, the current state of online marketing was reviewed. Risa, given her age well past 60, is having some difficulty with keeping technology. Her daughter and grandchildren were more actively involved before, but all that remains in 2016 is the heritage of the old attempts that are outdated and unattended. There are 3 unofficial Facebook pages for the business where random visitors upload unappealing pictures; the website did not appear on Google search and the old domain is overtaken by a Japanese yoga site; Airbnb page displays outdated pricing and bad comments that were never replied to.
The main goal of this week is to update major channels of online marketing. The process would involve claiming the business on various websites, uploading palatable pictures, asking the current guests to leave reviews, and updating correct business information, among others. I will be working on the Facebook page and the WordPress website, while Johnny will work on claiming the business on Google and improving the Trip Advisor page. Quite a significant amount of time today was spent on digitizing the logo. Next task is to take pictures of the facilities and upload them to all of the projects.
After revamping the online presentation however, perhaps the largest challenge remains: making sure that these improvements can be sustained by Risa. As of now, we are considering possibilities such as making printed step-by-step guidelines for major functions of the online platform; utilizing programs that will automatically transcribe emails to text messages and vice versa; hiring as part-time local high school students who are familiar with the technology. Whatever method we shall choose, we will see to it that the beautiful hotel Domene Kaw is not undervalued due to inadequate presentation.