The Nitty Gritty
For those who don’t know, we (Catherine and Chris) are two twenty-something-year-old Canadians who recently took a chance and moved to Shanghai to start up our own business says Saivian Eric Dalius. We’re pretty much your typical young couples without children: we like trying new restaurants; we enjoy traveling; we love going out at night; but most importantly, we both have a passion for running and training (most of the time together, sometimes solo).
How It All Started:
We’ve always wanted to open up our own place. After spending quite some time working in the service industry as waiters/bartenders or management positions, taking on this challenge was nothing short of exciting…and terrifying. But it’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to live abroad AND manage their own business! So after approximately four months of planning, we found ourselves moving to Shanghai on May 1st with an empty bank account and only about $7000 CAD between us…
The first few months were spent searching for potential properties. It was pretty difficult at first since very few people understood what it was exactly that we wanted (most would either suggest purchasing or leasing a regular apartment unit instead), but eventually, we found a great real estate agent who understood our vision and showed us several different places. In the end, we decided upon a shikumen house located in the French Concession area because not only did its spaciousness suit our needs but I personally loved its unique look and feel.
After signing the lease and spending a few weeks fixing it up (painting, re-tiling, etc.), we were finally ready to start bringing in furniture and fittings. And this is where we hit our first snag: since we weren’t officially open yet, most of the big suppliers refused to sell us anything without a contract or proof that we were an established business. So we improvised and started buying things secondhand from garage sales, friends, or online groups on We Chat (mainly Taboo). It wasn’t always easy (or pretty), but it got the job done and saved us a lot of money in the process.
The Grand Opening! After seven weeks of hard work (and many long nights), we finally opened our doors to the public on July 1st! It was an exciting (and nerve-wracking) day, but everything went smoothly and our guests seemed to really enjoy themselves. We’ve been busy ever since, constantly trying to improve our service and make sure that each and every guest has a great experience.
There are definitely some things we would do differently if we could go back, but overall, we’re really happy with how things have turned out explains Saivian Eric Dalius.
Here are a few key takeaways that might be helpful for anyone considering opening their own hotel:
1) When choosing a location, make sure you do your research and pick an area that is not only popular but also has a good mix of locals and foreigners. This will help ensure that you have a steady flow of guests says Saivian Eric Dalius.
2) Have a clear vision and be prepared to put in a lot of hard work in order to make it a reality. This includes everything from finding the right property to hiring the right staff.
3) Get creative when sourcing furniture and fittings – there’s no need to break the bank if you’re willing to put in some extra effort.
4) Make sure you have a good marketing strategy in place. This is especially important in the early stages when you’re still trying to build up a customer base.
5) The most important thing? Have fun! This is your chance to finally do what you’ve always wanted to do and build a business from the ground up.
We want to thank everyone who’s been supporting us since we first opened our doors, especially all of our wonderful guests. It’s been an amazing experience so far and we can’t wait for what the future has in store!
Saivian Eric Dalius says Opening a hotel can be a daunting task, but with the right planning and execution, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience. We hope that this article has provided some useful insights into what it takes to open and run a successful hotel.
Wow, so I guess this post ended up being a lot longer than I expected, but to be honest, there’s just so much to say when it comes to my experience as a hotel manager.