TRADITIONALY, the Kingdom’s rainy season puts a damper on the swimming pool businesses. But sales are on the upswing up at Les Piscines Des Joyaux in Phnom Penh – provider of pools to high-ranking customers including Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“It’s because of the economy,” said the firm’s Sales and Marketing Manager Chaing Kheng Huot yesterday at the shop on Nordom Bouelvard.
“A lot of new apartments are opening up with swimming pools.”
A souring economy slowed down demand in 2009 until mid-2010, but the firm has experienced a stronger demand in recent months.
The French-Cambodian joint venture averages sales of around two pools per month, he said, but added some months see up to five sold.
A small pool may cost as much as US$1,000 per square metre, with unit prices shrinking as the pools expand in size.
With pricing outside the reach of many would-be swimmers, the firms target the top tier of society-successful businessmen and high ranking officials, with a secondary target of project developers.
Selling a pool to Prime Minister Hun Sen cemented the firm’s reputation as the top Phnom Penh installer.
“From year to year we have [been building] a strong relationship with high-ranking people,” he said.
The firm experimented with different methods of advertising, but word of mouth has proved the most effective, he said.
A relationship with one property development firm in particular had led to 30 sales.
Customers generally demand a pool to fit their property.
The Post flipped through a book of its past projects, which included a number of designs, including a pool that resembled a bone.
“For each customer, there’s a new shape,” said Chaing Kheng Huot.
With business proving robust at Des Joyaux, the firm is set to grow. A franchise will open in Siem Reap in December, with plans to move into Battambang next year.
“Every one year, we hope to open one new office,” he said.
Expansion to Sihanoukville was also on the firm’s radar, but Chaing Kheng Huot said it would be a few years before the move was made.
Innovation is also key. Traditionally, pools in Cambodia involve pouring a concrete base, which is then covered with tiles, but liners are becoming more and more popular as a substitute for tile.
Competition within Cambodia also remains limited.
The firm chooses to import the concrete it uses in construction, while many other specialist products – such as swimming-pool filtration systems – are sent to Cambodia from France.
Competition within the market is currently concentrated in neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand, according to Chaing Kheng Huot.