Industry First Travel Experience
Bliss Sanctuary For Women
Celebrates Two Years Of Success
As ‘Bliss Sanctuary for Women’ proudly celebrates its two-year anniversary this month, the creation and ongoing growth of this unique business model is a fascinating business success story.
Australian founder Zoë Watson first opened the doors to her first-of-its-kind, women’s only, completely tailored holiday experience in May 2011, and while the challenges of setting up an unproven business plan in a foreign country does not readily conjure up “blissful” thoughts, the achievements, rewards and the satisfaction of touching and helping so many women’s lives is just that. Pure Bliss.
“I am passionate about empowering women and providing space for women to follow their bliss. It’s so simple, yet so important.” Zoë Watson, Founder Bliss Sanctuary For Women
- Wellbeing Magazine – Listed as one of the Top International Retreats in the 2013 Travel and Spa Guide.
- Trip Advisor – Rated # 1 Specialty Lodgings in resort-haven Canguu, Bali in the first year of trading. Winner of Certificate of Excellence 2012.
- Business growth – Completely sold out by fourth month of trading. Twomore Sanctuaries in development to open late 2013.
- 30% guest repeat rate – with many more ready to visit our new European locations.
- Business plan – 20 sanctuaries in 12 countries in 10 years.
The catalyst for Zoë launching ‘Bliss Sanctuary forWomen’ was a serious car accident. The injuries sustained combined with the stresses of a high-powered sales and marketing career forced Zoë to take a much-needed break. Who would have thought that a quick trip to Bali could transpire into a life and career changing opportunity? One which has propelled Zoë to where and who she is today… a successful entrepreneur with heart and soul.
|November 2010||– Zoë has idea to open ‘Bliss Sanctuary for Women’
– Business and marketing plan developed over two weeks
|January 2011||– Resigned from job giving three months’ notice|
|Ferbuary 2011||– Travelled to Bali on her own to find a location
– Found Villa/location in three days
– Started renovations immediately
|March 2011||– Website goes lives|
|April 2010||– Zoë Watson moves to Bali, April 11|
|May 2011||– Bliss Sanctuary for Women opens
– First official guest, May 1
With no How-to Guide on ‘Opening a new business in foreign land’ available, Zoë jumped in feet first, learning every step of the way. Taking cues from books written by entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Donald Trump, she made her own rules, pushed boundaries and forged ahead. It seems to work for the most successful people in the world, so why not a girl from South Australia?
“It’s not focusing on ‘what happens’, it’s having the attitude of getting through each next step and being open to new perspectives, including religious, cultural and differing values of those we are doing business with. And losing the first world arrogance that we in the Western world know best! Humility is very important.”
She quickly realised that the tools required to setup an unproven business model wouldn’t be found in one place. After researching business laws in Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zoë decided to set up her business in Hong Kong allowing for international growth and her 10 year business plan.
- April 2011- Zoë + 1 Villa + 4 Balinese Staff.
- January 2013- Opened 2nd Villa as part of Bali Sanctuary, increasing rooms by 60%.
- April 2013 – Zoë + 3 Villas + 11 Staff + PR company + Hong Kong Company + Hong Kong Accountant + lots of frequent flyer points
|Jan 2012 / 2013||Revenue +58%||Occupancy +43%|
|Feb 2012 / 2013||Revenue +105%||Occupancy +78%|
|Mar 2012 / 2013||Revenue +226%||Occupancy +233%|
|Apr 2012 / 2013||Revenue +98%||Occupancy +91.5%|
Thinking outside the box is what gets Zoë’s adrenalin pumping and why ‘Bliss Sanctuary for Women’ is so unique in so many ways.
“The Bliss experience gives you everything you need to feel rejuvenated and refreshed whilst allowing the freedom to choose any other activities once you are there. It’s a yoga retreat, a spa retreat, a meditation retreat and a Balinese cultural experience, all rolled into one with no schedules, no children, no couples, no judgment.”
Zoë utilised the internet and social media to initially market her business. The website
www.blisssanctuaryforwomen.com went live in March 2011 and still remains the main hub of communication with Zoë’s blogs, media pages, information on packages and booking details.
Zoe’s Bliss Bits:
|Biggest Hurdles:||Staff – the absolute hardest part of managing a business, especially when learning a new cultural value system.|
|Biggest Mistake:||Setting up the business thinking she could train one person to run each villa as she’d been doing, then realising that she had been doing the job of six people.|
|Proudest Moments:||Trip Advisor Review (every time).
Guests leaving with tears of gratitude (every time).
Guests saying ‘this is the best holiday I have ever had’ – everyone from high profile personalities to mums, to students, to executive corporates to singles.
Guests writing to thank me for providing a safe space for women to travel alone.
|Greatest Achievements:||Giving back– to the women guests, the local staff, the community and Bali Children’s Foundation.
Setting up business for future growth and success– developing a business model not attempted before.
Being humbled – by the kindness of Balinese people and the trust and connection with all of the Bliss guests.
|Business Philosophy:||To create a best-practice experience for anybody who comes into contact with us on any level.
Work hard and smart with complete truth and transparency. It’s not about ‘IF’ we can do something, it is about ‘HOW’ we can get it done.
To celebrate its 2nd Birthday, Bliss Sanctuary For Women is offering a Bliss Birthday Special of 25%-40% off for bookings made during the month of May, so if you ever wanted to experience your ‘Bliss’, now is the time. Package, pricing and booking information are available on the website.
Zoë Watson is available for interview.
She resides between Bali and Adelaide.
Zoe is in Australia until 15th May
Zoë was a media and marketing executive in Adelaide and Sydney.
She is now the owner of Bliss Sanctuary For Women, head office in Hong Kong, currently operating in Bali,
Sanctuaries in Spain and Greece are planned to open in 2013.
For further information please contact:
Bec Brown Communications, Sydney