Success In Siem Reap


As Siem Reap continues to expand at a staggering rate to welcome the growing number of tourists, competition for new businesses can be tough.

The hospitality and tourism sector is becoming increasingly competitive as hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques clamour to open up shop in Temple Town. Despite a rising number of tourists to fill these new ventures, demand is changing as tourists’ expectations rise.

Philip Hogg is a seasoned Siem Reaper having owned various businesses since moving there eight years ago, including the first ice cream bus, a guesthouse and second-hand shop. He says that while competition is getting tougher, it is still possible to succeed in Siem Reap’s tough tourism environment.

“Siem Reap has come a long way in the last 10 years, and it is going to get a lot busier,” he says. “I personally think it has room to grow a lot more as there are so many opportunities out there.”

However, to survive, he says it’s vital that businesses embrace competition and come up with a unique selling point for that sets their business apart from the rest.

Hogg advises, “The main challenge of setting up a business is finding a business idea that will work in Siem Reap. Competition can be a problem but for me it’s not. Competition never bothers me, in fact it motivates me to make my business better than the rest.”

One of the key ingredients to success, according to Hogg, is to invest in providing top quality customer service to guests. This can be achieved by carrying out proper training and ensuring guests always leave satisfied.

“Excellent customer service will help you are a lot in Siem Reap,” Hogg says. “Training your staff on this will certainly be a huge benefit to your business. All staff need to be trained and I’d make sure you put a lot of effort into it and give them incentives to learn. I guarantee it will be worth your while.”

Hogg, who runs Siem Reap Rooms Tours & Guesthouse and Angkor Tours by A Local says he called on peers for recommendations for employees or recruited from several of the NGO hospitality training schools that operate in Siem Reap.

The other challenge is finding a good location at the right rental price as property rapidly runs out in prime spots of Siem Reap. While Hogg managed to find his premises himself, he recommends any newcomers to the town calling on the help of professional estate agents.

“Do lots of research and find an agent that you are comfortable with,” he recommends. “There are many people who will find properties for you but I would recommend using a licensed estate agent.

“One other tip is that an estate agent is exactly that, they’re not business advisors and remember their main purpose is to sell you a lease, property or business. So, I strongly advise you do your research before committing to anything.”

But the most important element, Hogg says, is to plan as much as possible to make sure you create a sustainable business that is not at risk of failure.

“Planning your business is very important and don’t rush into anything,” he advises. “Planning your business well can make the difference to your business succeeding or failing. I’ve seen so many people fail in business due to poor planning and poor research.”


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