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SUCCESS STORY

Phare, The Cambodian Circus

phare-the-cambodian-circus

Overview

Phare Circus is the most unique, authentic and socially responsible business in Siem Reap. The circus is the social business extension of Phare Ponleu Selpaknon-profit school. The school was founded by 9 young men and an art teacher from France who came together in the refugee camp during the Khmer Rouge war. Arts, education and social support are the primary missions, but some students showed tremendous talent and determination.

 

The circus was started to provide those students well-paying job opportunities that didn’t previously exist in Cambodia, while at the same time providing financial support to the non-profit school.
 
Phare Circus is the textbook definition of a social enterprise. The business is 75% owned by the non-profit school. All revenue generated from the business supports the school or other social causes. Jobs created have helped break the cycle of poverty of at-risk Cambodian youth.

 

Phare Circus is not a conventional acrobatic circus. It’s uniquely Cambodian story telling using live music, dance, drama, circus and sometimes visual arts. The artists create the stories themselves based on their life experiences. This brings a character and authenticity not often found in live performances. They share a part of their lives with guests.

 

Before Rezgo, Phare Circus did not have its own online booking platform. A link to a third-party site was provided on the ticketing page, which was the only online sales presence we had at the time. It worked, but didn’t help with credibility to send sales to another site. It limited the amount of customer information we could get and how we interacted with them. It’s also an expensive way to sell compared to a proper direct-sales mechanism.

 

Then our CEO met Rezgo at an event in Singapore. It happened to be at the same time that a bank in Cambodia first introduced online merchant accounts. We introduced Rezgo to the bank and they worked out all the programming needed to connect.
 
This kind of service has been one of the main reasons Rezgo has retained our business. There have been several competitors approaching us since then, but we feel Rezgo has been a true partner and that means something. Rezgo has been very responsive to our requests, even if they are a bit unique.

 

Results

 

With Rezgo, our website bookings have become our #1 single source of ticket sales. In 2019, ticket sales on the Phare Circus website were four times higher than the highest-selling DMC. Having more control over sales allows us to make decisions that best benefit the organization vs being at the mercy of business partners. Customer information collected during the booking process has allowed us to build relationships with guests.
 
The most important element of Rezgo for us is that customers can book, pay and receive instant confirmation from our own website. Online direct bookers don’t want to wait, and the process must be fast and easy.

 

Providing POS access to higher volume local agents took a lot of pressure off our own customer service staff too, automating the transaction rather than having them call in. Rezgo’s personal service and flexibility has helped make Phare Circus a leader in Cambodia for booking and paying online.

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