Zhirayr Martirosyan and Nadejda Sevoyan were one of the firsts to use the concept of a hostel in Goris back in 2003. They have been welcoming guests from all over the world ever since. When the opportunity arose in late 2017, the guesthouse involved in “Boosting Competitiveness of Regional SMEs” project jointly realized by SME Development National Centre of Armenia (SME DNC) and “Strategic Development Agency” (SDA) NGO amongst other members, and co-funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of RA.
The hostel stood out with comfortable amenities, delicious food prepared by the landlady using Armenian traditional recipes and only fresh ingredients, as well as unique visual art – contemporary paintings by owner Zhirayr. However, because of lack of hospitality management and internet marketing and promotion skills, the business was showing slow growth.
Within the framework of continuous business consultancy support to SMEs, SDA team tackled a few important issues hindering the business’s growth. In addition to rebranding from Goris Hostel to “Lovely Goris” to avoid confusion with Goris Hotel operating in the same area, existing issues with representation on worldwide booking platforms like Booking.com were fixed and the guesthouse started to receive online booking requests again after several months of interruption. At the second stage of business consultancy support, SDA team developed two additional services using the existing opportunities for growth. Zhirayr, who is a renowned painter, started offering art tours in the city, as well as master classes for hostel guests in his art studio located in a natural cave in old Goris. This package, developed for explorers interested in art, history and culture of Syunik region, has set this hostel aside from other hospitality businesses in the city and created a distinct niche for “Lovely Goris”.
SDA team undertook promotion measures, such as a familiarization trip of over a dozen tour agency representatives to program beneficiary businesses, which also rendered measurable outcomes. As a result, only a few months into cooperating with the project through business consultancy and MASP packages, “Lovely Goris” guesthouse has registered more than 40 bookings in April-May of 2018, as opposed to only 3 in the same period of the last year, at that showing steady increase.
“Boosting Competitiveness of regional SMEs” project is co-funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of RA. The overall objective of the Project is to boost competitiveness of regional SMEs and create sustainable employment opportunities in Lori, Syunik and Armavir regions/marzes of Armenia. The Project is implemented by the SME Development National Center of Armenia in partnership with “Strategic Development Agency” NGO, “Armavir Development Center” NGO, “Spitak-Farmer” NGO, “Syun” NGO.