View Full Version : The "Niche"

02-19-2014, 08:48 AM
This topic has been lightly touched upon in several threads here, and I wanted to expound upon it.

This also relates to other topics in threads here about expats moving to Costa Rica and trying to open or run a business in which they have no experience.

I post this in the "Hotels" thread, because 90% of the time, this issue involves a hotel, bar, or some combination of those involving working girls and/or an MP.

OK... There are several hotels and bars in the "Gulch" area. Some of those have been around for years and have a stable business model that still does well. The majority have tanked very quickly. We've discussed in other threads -- at length -- what these venues and owners have aspired to be. Now I'd like to address what they SHOULD aspire to be. Keep in mind, although I do have a successful business in Costa Rica, I am not an expert in running a hotel or other service establishments, although I do have some experience in running bars. But I don't have enough experience to get into detail about exactly how to be successful. However, it's pretty easy to see what goes wrong most of the time.

I know I'm starting to ramble. Sorry. Here's the issue... There is only ONE Del Rey and there is only ONE Key Largo in San Jose. They're not perfect, but they are what they are, and they are good at it. All the establishments that I am talking about are either in much smaller buildings or occupy a large building and don't have the cash to support it (you KNOW who you are). But here's what has happened almost every time:

Some owner (or group of owners) all full of piss and vinegar and Red Bull comes down and either opens a new venue or takes over an old one, and says "We're gonna have hourly rooms and regular nightly rooms and a casino and 3 bars and an awesome restaurant and live entertainment and hundreds of girls and a gym and a game room and an internet café and..."

I'm like "WHOA! Back the truck up for a second there, Mr. Barnum, Mr. Trump, or whatever your name is. You need to just stop trying to be the MGM Grand Las Vegas, and just build around a theme that can be yours. You know, something that is unique to your place that is cool that will make the guys want to go there. You need to find YOUR NICHE!" Whew, I finally got around to working the title to this thread in there. :)

These small places cannot be the best of everything, nor should they want to be. And these large places need to quit doing shit that makes half of their lobby look like a vacant lot. Don't try to be the Del Rey, don't try to be the SL, don't try to be the Cocal -- be YOU. It will work. Well, if you know what you're doing, it will work. But trying to build the Taj Mahal in 2000 square feet of floor space or with a $2000 investment will never work.