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Sia’s HoiAn Case Study

Sia's Homestay

Project Overview

The homestay is located in Hoi An, Vietnam and the owners needed an expert to help them with their marketing. Hoi An which translates as a peaceful meeting place is located in the Quang Nam Province in Vietnam. It is special because it is a historic district that has preserved its culture thoroughly. This is seen in the architecture, food, street plans and mannerisms of the people. It is no wonder that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This World Heritage site received 3.2 million tourists in 2017 alone and the numbers go up every year. This explains why the hotel and homestay business is booming in the province if done correctly. So the question was how Sia’s home stay would stand out in a very competitive market. The answer? With great marketing from someone who already understood the target market.


Sia’s Hoi An was fully booked within 3 weeks and after a few months, they were able to sell a profitable business to a new owner.

Challenge 1

A good job had been done initially on the website but it needed a professional brush up with well written copy in perfect English to attract Western clientele. There was also a need for professional images so as to truly show the authentic beauty of this amazing property and its idyllic location.


Charmaine rewrote and organised all the content then worked out what images and video would be needed for the branding.

Challenge 2

The owners had worked hard to take photos and write content the best way they knew how but they still needed a professional eye on it. This was to ensure the marketing foundation was just right so that they could focus on operations. The website had good English but it had to be the fluent and communicative.


All the rooms had to be dressed down to the very last detail. This included even placing a bottle of wine on the outdoor tables. It was a matter of turning the place into a home away from home. A professional photo shoot was undertaken where Charmaine undertook the role of director (in Vietnamese) since she knew in advance what images would be needed for all the marketing.

Challenge 3

Creating a space that’s more than a bed and a view so that the visitors can really have a relaxing experience. Most homestays do not integrate the element of small touches, an essential that foreigners are used to in their home countries.


Charmaine had to redo the setup. She dressed the rooms and made everything photograph and video ready.

Still in the details, Charmaine ensured the little welcome messages in the rooms were written in English. She made sure all the sun beds had towels. She worked on notifications that showed visitors where the Wi-Fi and air conditioner controls were. These are just those little things that make a huge difference.

Challenge 4

How to get bookings when you are a new home stay in a city with over 30 homestays so that your business is profitable?


She set up a page on Facebook and then went and restructured the wordings in their Airbnb account. New photos and lists were added in the Airbnb and Booking.com accounts. In the internet age where an online presence is imperative for a business to be competitive. This is what allows a business to access mass markets. Facebook, Airbnb and Booking.com are important for homestays, hotels and other types of accommodations because this is where the masses go to.

These are sites where you do the social listening, social influencing, networking and finally selling. Great copy and photos give credibility to what you post on your site which in turn gets bookings and those people leave reviews .Without them, people will scroll past and not consider your property.

Why Charmaine

For the last 6 years, Charmaine has been visiting and staying in Hoi An annually. Man, the co-owner of the homestay had initially run two business tours in conjunction with Charmaine. Trust had been built so he reached out to her for the marketing.

Their main targets were Western clients because those were the tourists who frequent Hoi An.
So Charmaine was consulted to give them a client perspective. The main elements that stood out were that Charmaine was not only a marketing expert but was well traveled and would be very objective. So as much as she would provide a Western perspective, she would also respect the Vietnamese culture. In short, Charmaine would only disrupt the necessary. So before working on the project website, Charmaine went over everything as though it were her own business.

How Charming is The Charmaine Process?

  • Assessment of the property and facilities, location, check-in, rooms, breakfast etc.
  • Introduced laundry services – to create an extra source of income.
  • Created a mini bar for the rooms and bottles of local wine (extra profit) as people want to snack at night – to create an extra source of income.
  • Noticed in the bathrooms that there was no shelf in the shower to put your shampoo on etc and suggested a solution.
  • Advised them to order soft mattress toppers as beds are hard in Vietnam and Western clients generally prefer something softer. This gave them a big point of difference over competitors in their price range (which has the most amount of places to choose from.)
  • Decorations of rooms – giving that personal touch.
  • Directed a photoshoot in Vietnamese! Dressed the rooms. A full day.
  • Directed a full day video shoot in Vietnamese and oversaw the editing.
  • Came up with the idea for a video introduction by Sia, despite being nervous and having never done anything like this before Charmaine coached her in how to present on camera.

Sia’s home stay is in a perfect location and is best suited for couples or people who want a quiet and private location but still be near the local sights and sounds.

Project turnaround time 10 days and thanks to her great mastery in speaking Vietnamese, everything flowed well.


Sia’s Hoi An was fully booked within 3 weeks and after a few months, they were able to sell a profitable business to a new owner.

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July 21, 2019