I have not spoke of the hotel lately, but there have been a few significant events that have happened that might give you a small piece of the puzzle of how things work here. First of all, I can happily tell you that we are full most nights at the moment. It has been keeping me extremely busy but in a good way. We are filled with customers who want to be here. Some of them have discovered us through the Trip Advisor website and others through this blog. They end up here because they want to spend some time away from the tourist areas that are not a true picture of Vietnam. I enjoy spending time with these people and sometimes join them on their adventures. Ahhhhh…. What a retirement. So here are the events of the last few days
Let me start by saying that the room rates have to be approved by the government and have a defined limit at how much they can be raised. Our room rates are very low and at the moment breaking even is about the best we can do. Why.? Because we offer services to make the tourist comfortable. Many if not all budget hotels will find any way to save money. Many hotels run a pump and use ground water for showers, sinks, and toilets. It
can be a cause for concern for diarrhea and sticky showers. The staff can be paid extremely low wages and the service reflects that. Sometimes power is “browned”, TV stations are minimal, Wi-Fi can be basic, and many other things. We offer all the comforts and services you would get in a much higher star hotel. A person can have a refreshing shower with clean water, or brush their teeth without the fear of getting sick.
So here we are operating close to the edge when the government arrives to inspect out hotel. They sat interviewing our receptionist for a time, examined our computer reservation system, and our lobby décor, and then grabbed a random key to inspect a room. The end result is that the trio decided we were a higher quality hotel than registered and were assigned a star…… That’s right folks…. I have now been forced to become a 1 star hotel. I was concerned about this and brought it up with people, but I was assured that is would not affect my business in any way…… Yea right!! On to the next day.
A person shows up and questions us about our ability to serve breakfast, and
offer other services. We politely tell them the truth that we are a very basic hotel and have not reached the point yet where we are a full service hotel. Seemingly satisfied, the person leaves. I think the whole matter is over, but at 10 PM the next night, 3 government officials march into my hotel and immediately demand to see my reservations to compare to the logged entries for tax. In this case, my night receptionist had neglected to enter the booked rooms on the government website. I was caught red handed violating the tax law! Of course I was not, but the negligence of my night guy has got me in a bit of a pickle. We are told that the nest day, we were to appear in the taxation office to be assessed about out tax evasion. The next day our day receptionist appeared on our behalf (remember that I am still not legal to
work here, and Mai’s legal status regarding the hotel is still in the lawyers hands). Our receptionist returned stating that the Violation was a serious one and that we could be fined as much as 75000000 dong… about 4000 USD. I assumed this was a scare tactic and never lost any sleep over it. Today a man showed up to discuss our infringement with us. I had to appear as a hotel guest and listen to what transpired. The person that showed up was the boss of the three that had fined us. Because they trio had already judged us guilty for a simple oversight by one of our employees, he could not reverse it. The feds already had it on file. He did have the power to assign the penalty and we have been fined 3000000 dong (150.00 US) for our negligence to report taxes. The same person also said that he was impressed by what we were doing and he wants us to continue bringing tourist dollars into the neighborhood. The boss has assures us that he will give us a call when the trio decide to return. And return they will. Once flagged, you are on
Now just one thing left…… The people have not responded as to what my new tax level (if any) will be. They do not base it on how much business you do, but what they think you can generate with your business……… another tale perhaps.
Yet More Mekong Pics