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  1. #126
    The Familyman Dillinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoganInParasite View Post
    Luigi will be a little more difficult, but not necessarily impossible, I'm sure he's posted pictures of his knees and lower legs
    Be wary of a pint-sized balding Peter Andre lookalike with a high pitched Irish accent and a crab-like left foot asking if he has to pay a joiners fee




















  2. #127
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    BoganInParasite's Avatar
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    Hosted a northern Thailand TDer and his wife and two friends last night. Went well. They selected the English style breakfast so for the first time we managed to have our own organically grown papaya, passionfruit and tomatoes in the same meal. The papaya is sensational.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_6826-jpg

  3. #128
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    With the high season winding down here we finally had the time to add guest review scores to our database. To date we've had 98 stays and they have generated 39 reviews on Booking.com, Agoda, TripAdvisor and Google. Twenty six (26) of the reviews are top scores, either 10/10 or 5/5. (We've scaled up the out of 5 scores to be out of 10 for the database.) Our current average score since opening in August is 9.4.

    Teaching the wife how to use the Excel chart tool proved too hard when it came to adding a line for rolling average so we didn't. But we've ended up with a nice little chart.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-guest-reviews-png

  4. #129
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    BiP
    What happened on the 13th october on TripAdvisor that you scored a 2.
    Did you kick their dog?
    Aside from that you should be proud of your customer focus.

  5. #130
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    BoganInParasite's Avatar
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    It's a malicious review ootai. They never stayed with us. At best, we think they posted against the wrong homestay. They made three comments...said we were too expensive (in October we were near the cheapest in Pua), said the owner was nosy (we never pry), referred to the owner as a 'he' (it's the wife who is a somewhat obvious female). We tried to have it removed but TA says it doesn't breech their review guidelines. We read all of their other reviews and concluded it is someone living in Bangkok, posting in English, a non-Thai but pretending to be Thai. It looks like they do it to other businesses as well. BTW, they didn't post the review till mid-December but as they said it was for an October stay we assigned a mid-October date in the database.

    We'll get these from time to time on both Google and TA. Less so on Booking and Agoda because you have to tie your review to a completed booking.

    Quote Originally Posted by ootai View Post
    BiP
    What happened on the 13th october on TripAdvisor that you scored a 2.
    Did you kick their dog?
    Aside from that you should be proud of your customer focus.

  6. #131
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    BoganInParasite's Avatar
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    We hosted a youngish Thai gent a few weeks back. I was sitting out the front of the house when I saw a guy on a motor bike stop, turn-around, look at our sign and reach for his phone. I got the wife to come out and ask him if he would like to look around. He did and stayed. Turns out he is a travel blogger with a very popular YouTube channel...246,000 subscribers. He released this video nine hours ago and it has already had 13,000 views. We had no idea he was going to feature our homestay as much as he has. In the late afternoon we took him down to the rice fields in the valley below our homestay for the sunset shots. We also gave him a simple (and free) dim sum dinner as he didn't want to go out again. He had a pretty sophisticated drone.


  7. #132
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    This afternoon two guests arrived...our 100th stay since we opened in August. We've been experimenting with alternates to brownies and ice cream based afternoon teas and today we served an afternoon tea with glace ginger cookies with cream and tea.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_6873-jpg

  8. #133
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    Looks nice but if I had booked knowing you serve brownies I would have been very disappointed. We chocoholics do not adapt to change easily.

  9. #134
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    Has been predominantly brownies to date but we changed our descriptions a few weeks back on the various online sites that it is either brownies or cookies. The cookies to date have been dried cranberry and choc chip but I've got a number of satchels of glace ginger I want to use up. Plus I'm going to add some powdered ginger to the next batch to give it a lift. I'm not into subtle flavours.

    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Looks nice but if I had booked knowing you serve brownies I would have been very disappointed. We chocoholics do not adapt to change easily.

  10. #135
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    Six different fruits on the platter for our 100th stay guests this morning including our own organically grown papaya and passionfruit.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_6890-jpg

  11. #136
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    Rather happy here this morning. A booked group of six male Muslim big bike riders from Singapore came in last night and they've just asked us to stay tonight as well. Love the place and will do a clockwise loop of the 101, 1081 and 1256 today. Have to do a shopping trip to Nan Makro today as we are now out of beef sausages for the breakfast. We put on a light complimentary dinner for them last night since they has miscalculated their ride and arrived late and not having stopped for dinner. They enjoyed the brownies and cream for dessert as well.

    Over the past week they've ridden from Singapore, through all of Malaysia and up to the top of Thailand. Now slowly making their way south but have decided to linger in Pua an extra day. They described the view from our balcony as being like a postcard.

    With this unexpected extension this month February has now exceeded October and November in revenue terms. As far as I can see if the high season really does start in August up here, then we consider that at least for our business it is seven months long and includes February.

    We've got another group of six on the 24th and that looks like the season is over for us. No bookings till mid-April, but we're not complaining. Has been an amazing success to date and an enjoyable learning journey.

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoganInParasite View Post
    Rather happy here this morning. A booked group of six male Muslim big bike riders from Singapore came in last night and they've just asked us to stay tonight as well. Love the place and will do a clockwise loop of the 101, 1081 and 1256 today. Have to do a shopping trip to Nan Makro today as we are now out of beef sausages for the breakfast. We put on a light complimentary dinner for them last night since they has miscalculated their ride and arrived late and not having stopped for dinner. They enjoyed the brownies and cream for dessert as well.

    Over the past week they've ridden from Singapore, through all of Malaysia and up to the top of Thailand. Now slowly making their way south but have decided to linger in Pua an extra day. They described the view from our balcony as being like a postcard.

    With this unexpected extension this month February has now exceeded October and November in revenue terms. As far as I can see if the high season really does start in August up here, then we consider that at least for our business it is seven months long and includes February.

    We've got another group of six on the 24th and that looks like the season is over for us. No bookings till mid-April, but we're not complaining. Has been an amazing success to date and an enjoyable learning journey.



    Sorry did you post any photos somewhere ? Can we see the view from your balcony please.
    Thank you for the report, I have read all !

  13. #138
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    Noticed we had two bottle of Chili Sauce getting a bit low so got out another new one and decided to decant one of the low ones into the other. No patience, so set this up and left it for a while. Then it occurred to me I was becoming as tight as a boarding house proprietor. I can't recall the actual saying but there is something about nothing being as thin as the butter spread on a piece of toast in a boarding house. Perhaps I'm becoming BiP the Scrooge.

    On a more serious note, we got another late February booking and this month is now our second best after December. Who would have thought it?

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_6896-jpg

  14. #139
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    Put on a simple dinner for our six Muslim big bikers who got back totally exhausted from the 101, 1081 and 1256 loop. Took 50 minutes to prepare, the rice prep and cooking set the timeframe. The guys left this morning and were very very happy. Think we'll be getting some Facebook recommendations in various motor bike forums they belong and they agreed to do a TripAdvisor and Google review for us. Fingers crossed for 5's.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_6899-jpg

  15. #140
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    We were quietly contemplating an amazing first seven months of business yesterday late afternoon and thinking our first high-season and February were done when a group of four Thai big bikers turned up at our front door. They had come down from Luang Prabang and the two young female pillion passengers were feeling a bit saddle-sore. They were already ten kilometers past Pua but after using Booking.com to find somewhere, decided to ride back to check us out given our photos and reviews. This morning three of them rode up into the mountains to the 1715 Viewpoint before returning for breakfast. They are still in-house and have asked for a late check-out because they would like some more rest before starting home in Ayutthaya.

    Had a chuckle at the decoration the lone rider had added to his bike when he returned from the mountains.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_6970-jpg

  16. #141
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    "We also gave him a simple (and free) dim sum dinner as he didn't want to go out again. He had a pretty sophisticated drone."

    Years ago I wanted to do a similar venue. Chill, drink and watch the sunsets. I must say though as time tells all, my drone, although worldly is not that sophisticated. But she is a hell of a preper so we may have a chance yet.

    Cheers, fish.

  17. #142
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    Well February ended up being our second biggest month. Being new to the business we had understood it was the start of the off-season up here and considered August-January the on/high-season and February-July the off-season. We've now adjusted our thinking and added February to the on/high-season. Watching our competitors it does appear we had a much better month than any of them. Lots of discounting and hardly any days where we saw they had nothing available. We had many days fully booked and even increased our prices and still got bookings.

    We had three same day bookings and three ride-ins. Three big bike groups rode to our place unannounced to have a look and all decided to stay. Luckily on those days we had rooms available.

    So we've ended our first seven months of business at 105 guest stays, comprising 366 guests and 423 guest revenue nights. Total revenue was 174K baht. We served 406 breakfasts...45% Thai breakfasts and 55% English style breakfasts.

    We got about 25K baht of forward bookings including one in 2021 already. We expect to be very quiet over the off-season with maybe 2-5 bookings per month. We will discount during most of the off-season, the exception being around the public holiday periods.

    We are now doing a deep dive analyzing our costs and factoring in end of season inventory and personal consumption of some of the homestay meal ingredients. The end result will be an updated net profit figure and some metrics of water and electricity consumption. We're also going to practice preparing the Thai breakfasts that are currently outsourced. Should for any reason that restaurant be unable to deliver, and we cannot switch the guests to an English style breakfast, we need to be able to produce our own Asian breakfast, and at short notice.

  18. #143
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    We have three guests arriving today, our only March booking at the moment. Decided that afternoon tea on arrival will be cookies with dried cranberries, preserved chopped orange and lemon peel and chocolate chips. The wife and I have already tried one each and they are very good. We serve them with cream and a dollop of blackberry jam together with their tea or coffee of choice.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_7009-jpg

  19. #144
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    ^ Can I have the bottom right one?
    Black diamonds? I shit 'em.

  20. #145
    'ello 'ello 'ello Luigi's Avatar
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    Can I have the oven dish?

  21. #146
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    All but one gone Bogon, and the wife has her dibs on it. They were great.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogon View Post
    ^ Can I have the bottom right one?

  22. #147
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    God! Another thing to hide if you ever turn up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    Can I have the oven dish?

  23. #148
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    May have missed a payment on the mountain view fee. Another indoors day today, and with the forecast temp at 39. On the worst two days last year the ridge was not visible so still room for deterioration. Laughingly the weather app says the local visibility is 8.1 kilometers.

    Starting a Business in Nan Province-img_7112-jpg

  24. #149
    Thailand Expat cyrille's Avatar
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    Yep...Chiang Mai was world #1 yesterday.


  25. #150
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    Had our first virus related cancellation last night. A four day stay mid next month for a German/Thai couple living in Germany. Knew it was coming.

    Yesterday we closed sales down on Booking and Agoda for stays today to end April. If someone wants to stay they have to email or more likely call the wife. That will allow us to vet the potential guest/s. Might reduce the odds of someone coming when infected but who knows. Given the virus situation plus it is hot, dry, less green and smokey up here now, would be neither surprised nor disappointed if there were no inquiries. We had a great first high-season.

    We've had a surprising four stays this month and have one more Thai couple booked for a night later in the month and another Thai couple for three days mid next month. The later was probably timed for the Songkran holiday so likely will cancel or reschedule.

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