BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
THIS year marks another milestone for local entrepreneurs and couple owners of DD Holiday Inn John Deve and his wife Nester.
After almost a year in business, and almost four years from the actual time of planning and putting things together, DD Holiday Inn finally launched its official website. Anyone can access it at https://www.ddholidayinn.sb
John and Nester are the proud owners of the DD Holiday Inn, located at Mbumburu, Lengakiki in west Honiara.
Thanks to the Arietech, a locally owned private Information Technology (IT) Company for creating the website.
For Mr. and Mrs. Deve, it is a milestone achievement, adding that it will contribute a lot to marketing their product – in this case, DD Holiday Inn.
“I am very thankful to the Arietech Company for creating and designing the website.
“It would help to promote the Inn as a genuine accommodation for people can see it, especially those living outside of the country,” DD Holiday Inn Director John Deve said.
Arietech’s Eric Arifanata Junior said the launch of the website is an achievement for the DD Holiday Inn to promote their accommodation so that people outside can see.
“It is just a soft launch, which means it needs a further final touch up before it is complete and other features like online booking will be included as we go along.
“But this is a big achievement for them,” Eric said.
Having an official website is an essential part of the marketing strategy for any hotel business or accommodation in the current technology era.
Digital marketing for hotels and accommodation services has the key to continue sustaining the Solomon Islands tourism businesses in 2020 and beyond.
Mr. and Mrs. Deve were both former public servants who overtime decided on quitting their jobs and becoming full-time entrepreneurs.
John, a former police officer has been an entrepreneur since he was a lad and has been jumping from one business to another along the way.
Nonetheless, he said nothing beats being in the tourism business.
“Ever since I’ve ventured into this industry, this is the best business apart from other businesses that I have been established.
“It is environmentally friendly and causes no damage to the ecosystem,” he optimistically said with a smile.
DD Holiday Inn for sure is surrounded by what nature has to offer.
Nester Deve, on the other hand, is very supportive of his husband’s motives and business career paths.
“This is a family matter so I, including everyone in our family, are obliged to support my husband, our dad through thick or thin.
“We all work together to make this happen where we have witnessed this year (Friday 14th February) the launching of the website,” she said.
Catering and hosting workshops are the two main income drivers for the business since accommodation is not a marketable commodity this time of the year.
If the business meets all the minimum standards required by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and with the help of the website, for sure, it will be meet their specific current market demand.
With her cooking skills, Mrs. Deve is in charge of the kitchen.
“My profession is teaching and I was once a Home Economics (HOME-CO) Teacher.
“I quit my teaching career eleven years ago.
“By venturing into this business and especially in food and pastry catering services, it forced me to recollect all my cooking books and kitchen utensil from the cupboard.
“It also motivated me to utilize my cooking knowledge and skills, which I had (left eleven years ago) from the classroom,” Nester Deve said.
The launch of the website, for them, is just icing on the cake.
The actual happenings, the sufferings, hustling and making things to reach this far started thirty years ago.
“I started my first business straight after I left school and that was in 1990 in Marau Sound, in the far eastern tip of Guadalcanal.
“With only $100 in my pocket, I manage to buy a drum of petrol which costs $97 per drum (44 gallons),” Mr. Deve recounted.
Deve’s petrol sales continued smoothly despite facing criticism from his customers for not selling mixed petrol, however, his next sell was perfect – he now can afford a mix from the profits he earned his previous sales.
He left to join the Police force in 1993 by leaving behind his business to his dad and siblings.
His petrol business thereafter reached a dead end when militants ransacked it during the height of the ethnic tension.
Still in the Force, he then ventures into other small businesses.
From running a fish market to hire, and then taxi services to chattering ships. He even owned a trade shop, DD shop used to be at the Kukum Highway.
He also owned a second-hand clothing at china town and was hit rock bottom as he competes alongside other Asian businesses.
He then sold the entire second-hand shop and invested on a Lucas Sawmill instead, which he started building his properties.
In 2016, with the help of his cousin, Francis Deve, one of the local tourism operators and a long-time staff of Mendana hotel John Deve turned his home into an accommodation unit.
Two years ago, Mr. Deve received Solar, Water panels and generators from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism through the Tourism Division.
70 – 80 percent of the project and operation were from his pocket.
DD Holiday Inn launched its website last year in July, and the officials from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism witness the event.
John Deve who is part Takwa (Father) in Malaita province and Marau (Mother) in east Guadalcanal was supported by his wife Nester Deve also from Malaita (West Kwaio and South Malaita) and their three beautiful daughters.