I am planning to deliver a service name Vietnam Home Dinning . In short description, the tourists come to have meal (Dinner) with a local Vietnamese family, they will learn about Vietnamese culture through the talks with members of that host family. Well, it is pretty cool because our culture cherish family as one the the most important thing, but not every visitors can see and feel it through the tours.
Something I want to ask you guys is. If you are offered such a service, haveing a meal with a local family, they will cook and welcome you as a long lost friend, they will teach you how to cook the food, therefore you will understand more about their life and culture....then, what price is ok for you to take a Dinner like that?
I would be grateful if you can give me a number that you think it is nice
I don't think this is something that can be surveyed as "what price do you think is nice" per se. If it's up to young (and probably on tight-budget) backpackers, we would like nothing but something as cheap as possible. If it's up to more affluent and comfortable-level travellers, they probably wouldn't mind paying for such an experience.
Importantly, it needs to correlate with the quality of the food and the kind of food provided (one won't be expecting to pay lobster-level price for eating chicken, for example), although the cultural side to this idea is very commendable. Otherwise no matter how much money is paid for the experience, it's going to leave a bitter taste at the end.
At the same time you'll need to balance it with the costs associated so you're not running it at a lost, or that the family actually end up seeing very little money for the effort that they've put in. Have you run the cost analysis and determine what kind of mark-up in profit margin that you'd like to ideally have, and how much wiggle room you'll have if you need to lower the price? Is there any sort of minimum number of people that need to be booked in to make the event worth-while and profitable?
By the way, dining is spelling with one N and not two, despite dinner having two N's in it. Unless that is a deliberate decision to write it with two N's.
Thank you for correcting my spelling...it is funny, because an American guy corrected me before and made me change to "Dining" with double Ns ...lol... see, we non-native speakers have disadvantage in arguing whether you natives speak right or wrong...but I think you are right, Dining should be written with one N ...at least my dictionary says so....(^_^)....
Ok, move on....
I have my figure actually, but that is just supplier's perspective (host fee, food expense, transportation, translator, ect). So I think I should survey if it is suitable price for customers. But it seems impossible to give a reasoning answer if they don't see what the product looks like huh? no idea about service quality, no conclusion about what people would pay for it.
I think I will need to give it a try and make some changes if necessary.
If I change the question to.....
If you pay $40 for a Dinner at a local Host family, what will you expect to see or experience from that?[/b
Just say " forget it"...(^_^)...if it does not interest you really .
sorry if this question is stupid again ....asking costs nothing, huh?....(^_^)....
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Dec-2009, at 07:48 by 7coloriris ]
At $40, that sounds like you're pretty much geared to target for US/European travellers then, and not quite for travellers from, say, South East Asia.
For that price, I'd expect this to be an at least 1/2 day event, perhaps start with a visit to the local market with guides and tips on how to pick the right ingredients to make Vietnamese food, then attending a cooking demo (I'd prefer hands-on cooking, but you've said on the first post that the host will cook while giving guides on how to cook the food), and finally of course eating them. There should be a variety of dishes of course, and maybe accompanied with local drinks? What will a nice touch would be to get recipes for the dishes at the end of the event. (I love cooking and eating, hence why the preference on hands-on cooking and wanting the recipe)
Another thought - have you check if there are other companies offering such service where you are, and if so what kind of prices are they charging? As a start-up, if you want to build your brand, you may need to consider charging slightly less than your competitors in the initial period in order to attract travellers who are doing price comparison.
Additionally, as part of the market survey, you may also attend some of these courses yourself and see what is realistically expected from such an event, and from there you can also figure out if the prices they charge met their clients expectations. Then you can adjust your business plan accordingly.
Ps: it's not a stupid question. Just that sometimes certain questions are hard to answer when there's a lot of ambiguity.
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Dec-2009, at 06:06 by lil_lil ]
I'd say that would be a great way to have dinner. kinda expensive if you will be alone though. but, if it were accommodation for a night plus meals, I'd say it will be a great chance to learn more about on not just their cooking but their culture and their way of life.
That sounds like a pretty good idea. I don't know if everyone would want to learn how to cook the meal - maybe you could have that feature as an option. I would think 335,000VND would be about right if this were in Hanoi or Saigon, but maybe a little less in smaller towns. I don't know about health codes or restrictions, but wouldn't the government classify this an a restaurant? I know in the USA I would not be permitted to open something like that without a slew of permits and such.
[ Edit: Edited on 20-Dec-2009, at 23:41 by Daawgon ]
Many thanks to lil_lil for your helpful advice. I know that some people would love to join cooking with the host family, well, most of female customers, I think. But for males, they seem just go around kitchen for fun, take picture and then enjoy the meal and other stuffs. So, I will design some different options for them to chose. One option will be going to market, picking up ingredients, cooking and having meal; some other maybe just visiting family with already-served meals, eating, talking, taking pix around...and so on. Different options go with different prices which is ok for customers to buy.
I think I really need to re-calculate the price, it in order to meet travellers' budget and expectation. I must re-discuss with those host families, coz host fee takes the most part in building the price. This is a new service, then setting the first price isn't an easy thing to do. Some families just make a fine host, such as 3 generations living together, retired Hanoian chief, cultural and language teachers, or some artists ....but the hard part is persuading them to be the host.......
I think this service is a bit different from HomeStay, like Dnilchoson said. I just make it within the Dinner, or relate to dinner. At least this is what I am happy to do now as a start. Moreover, homestaying in countryside area or mountain town like Sapa would be more interesting.
Tet holiday, the most important holiday of Vietnam is coming. I think I should add some special option like "Tet touring" or something like that, visitors come to family, preparing things for Tet like making Banh Chung (special holiday cuisine), going around to pick up peach blossom, preparing the altar, ect... that would be one day service to experience our holiday and culture.
There are alot of things I have to do , hope it will work fine.....
Well, what Daawagon said made me thinking...I am not sure if I need some government approval for this service or not. I need to search for law. I think this service is similar to Homestay, I will ask someone to deliver this service if they have to get permission. if yes, I hope it is not too complicated to implement.
[ Edit: Edited on 21-Dec-2009, at 07:28 by 7coloriris ]
I would imagine you'll need a licence/permit for something like this. Afterall, there's food preparation involved and therefore, there's health and safety implications to it. Already a very different food style may or may not suit the stomach of a traveller, but if this is not a registered enterprise, you can end up running into a lot of legal problem, say, if someone get food poisoning or the likes.
It pays to check out on the regulations for matter like this. Besides, for any business enterprise, legally a registration of the business is required for taxation. A fly-by-night operation is not going to instill a lot of trust for building up a large customer base.
I think this sounds wonderful.. but as Lil said, for that price, it should be a long event, not just a quick dinner. I would have LOVED to see VN through the local perspective.. you just don't get that when you're backpacking on your own, as an outsider. And I saw SO many unpermitted sidewalk food stalls in VN, I can't imagine you'd need an extensive permit for entertaining tourists in your home every so often.
However, I thought I was on the higher end of the backpacker budget in Vietnam ($30 USD/day) whereas alot of the people I met were on much lower budgets.. and $40USD would be a tight stretch even for me. But when I think of the times I've been lucky enough to be invited into a local home in different countries, those have been my favorite experiences... I just don't know if enjoying local family company would be the same if you had to pay for it. I personally would enjoy the learning experience, and I missed my family so much during the time I was travelling, that it would be so nice for lonely travellers to be able to enjoy the warmth of family company.
Depending on exactly what the service offered, and also depending on if I knew it was SAFE (to go into a stranger's home), I would pay probably $25 USD, $40 for 2 people.
That's a number coming from a genuine young adult backpacker in Vietnam, which I think is your target audience.
Great idea overall... put some more thought into the specifics (permits, what's included, advertising, etc.) and you could have a nice little business for yourself!