ASTANA – Local entrepreneurs have set new trends in the hospitality industry in recent years, as the Kazakh capital has become a top tourism and business destination in Central Asia.
The Room project head Ainur Nurtai and her team decided to change the approach to small business management and find a perfect business idea.
“An idea to launch a project appeared three years ago. The real estate market began to fall and preservation of assets, that is the liquidity of these assets, was a key for us. Now, it’s not real to purchase a three-room apartment for $350,000 and try to make [money] on it. This seems unrealistic in the near 10-15 years, according to our feasibility plan. At the same time, a lot of people invested in real estate and many of them have houses in Astana, Almaty, Shymkent, Atyrau and Aktau. Then, we had an idea to start a project where we could control the entire infrastructure and have access to it,” she said.
The company currently offers a range of serviced apartments with a home concept ranging from 10,000 tenge (US$30) to 25,000 tenge (US$78) per day. Rooms for rent is not a new business idea and the team decided to offer additional services including cleaning, laundry, bathrobes and change of bed linens and towels. Water, tea, coffee and some additional compliments are also available in the apartments.
“We initially did not want to provide luxury accommodations with pretentious chandeliers. We wanted to offer comfortable, convenient rooms which are specially designed for guests. Our apartments have open spaces with bright walls and furniture comfortable for those who come for a day or two. Our clients are people who come on a business trip for a couple of days,” said Nurtai.
The pricing policy is based on the competition.
“Some people tell that our rooms should be more expensive, but we know that there are hotels such as Ibis with an average price of 18,000 tenge per room (US$56). There are many other good options. We analysed the prices in the city and have set ourselves at the average price. Our customers are people who think about their budget. We have a flexible system that starts from our average cost. Sometimes, we lower the cost to 7,000-8,000 tenge (US$22-25) and increase it up to 15,000-25,000 tenge (US$47-78) if they are in a high demand according to statistics and analysis. When important events take place in the capital, we have a sales rise immediately. Our booking system offers increased costs, as it sees a lot of requests,” she added.
Apart from affordable prices, the guests can also enjoy the advantageous location of apartments situated close to financial and entertainment centres.
“We launched the project in mid-December last year. We understood that our clients liked our room design ideas and things like mirrors, perfumes and carpets. So, we are working in this direction. We are regular customers at the home design stores in Astana and Almaty. We are working on the design, depending on who is our guest. We change the chandelier, poster and set of dishes,” she said.
Despite a certain lack of advertising, the occupancy rate initially reached 70 percent.
“We have corporate clients who have signed long-term contracts with us for a fixed amount, including two Almaty companies, two Atyrau companies and a local firm. We provide accommodations according to their budgets. We rent apartments for long-term maintenance with weekly cleaning, change of linen, bathrobes and towels for 150,000 tenge (US$471) per month,” she said.
Due to rental demand, the company plans to promote services for residents of Orenburg, Yekaterinburg and Kaliningrad.
“We did an advertising campaign among our friends and colleagues in Bishkek, as we have a lot of guests from Kyrgyzstan. We are working on a strategy to find partners in Central Asia. We have received proposals to implement the project in Atyrau and Shymkent. But we do not go to large-scale companies. We do want to preserve our locality and flexibility since it is part of us,” she said.
The rooms can be booked on Airbnb.com and Booking.com. The contact number is +77755660381.