Peter Pahrice, an Australian businessman living in the Philippines, has a problem that most business owners would aspire for—his transient house in Baguio City is almost always fully booked. All this because he has been applying his marketing savvy online, where he credits 71 percent of his business growth for the past three years.
In fact, it’s not just Peter who is enjoying this trend. A local online direct hotel bookings company, DirectWithHotels, also cites that when combined, their hotel accommodation clients get 8,000 conversions or number of bookings per month when they used online advertising.
Filipinos are indeed becoming more tech savvy when it comes to travel. In fact, 10 percent of the 35 million online Filipinos bought their plane tickets and booked their hotels online, according to the 2012 Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Yearbook. From this trend, companies are realizing the benefits of marketing online.
Even small tourist accommodations can compete with huge hotel chains by marketing online. “We provide online marketing services for independent and hotel groups—businesses that can’t afford to host their own booking engine,” says Jose Edzel del Rosario V, DirectWithHotels Senior Manager for Data and Search Advertising. “Although these are small to medium-sized hotels, we have experienced success in marketing them, seeing the high rate of conversions.”
DirectWithHotels uses several marketing platforms, including online advertising tools like Google AdWords. Initially, they only received 10 percent of their revenues from Google AdWords but eventually it grew to contributing to 50 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Online advertising does not require small and medium-sized hotels to spend a huge budget to compete with large hotel chains. Peter, who owns Baguio Transient, an eight-apartment accommodation in Baguio City, only spends P3,000 per month on Google AdWords, which helped increase their website visits and convert these into actual bookings.
Peter has noted an approximate 20 percent annual growth in website visitors since they began using Google AdWords. Each month, he receives up to 6,000 website visitors. Filipinos have been receptive in planning their travel using the Internet that Peter considers his decision in closing his beach resort in Australia and building a transient house in Baguio City for tourists a good business move.
“Our business has definitely grown a lot. We began with keeping four apartments and now we’re keeping eight apartments, which are almost full during the peak season, from November to May. We’ve also purchased a lot of vans to service our customers from Manila to Baguio City,” says Peter. There was even a time when he had to refer customers to other transient houses as they were already full. “We have experienced significant growth and Google has contributed to it.”
Google AdWords is also instrumental in DirectWithHotels’ growth as a company. In 2007, the company only had 130 employees. But because of the ROI brought in by AdWords, it has grown so much that they are now housed in three floors of the Makati building they occupy today. The company has also several sales offices around the world like Thailand, Latin America, and Argentina.