April 2, 2011

DigitalFilipino Talks Marketing Travel Online: Our Edge Over Dora [the Explorer]

Traveling is no longer a dream, but a hobby. Just an observation and a realization. I have a friend who is always on trip almost every month that one time the airport security has recognized him and almost complained about his presence in the airport.

Although it is a treat that we can always book for promo fares from airline companies, traveling and discovering places would not be possible without the overload of information available in the internet and social media.

DigitalFilipino Janette Toral interviewed Russell Ri, entrepreneur behind e-Philippines Adventure Travel and Destinations ( on the growth of Filipinos booking their travel online, popular destinations to check out, and tips to ensure travelers won't become victims of fraud.

When I first booked a flight online and chose the hotel to stay in for a vacation (and it was for an international flight), I was like a buyer comparing brands y and x. I checked how much I can save on booking with a travel agency versus doing my own reservations. I did the latter. It is convenient that information such as travel blogs, reviews from online booking sites, and even forum discussion help users (travelers) like me who want to save and get the best deals. It was when promo fares was not so prominent, but just the same, by digging through search engines, I had landed to the pages that helped me decide before I even entered my credit card information.

Then promo fares became so popular and everyone (as in every Juan) has started booking for flights, and subscribing to airline alerts. We were once as eager as everyone else. Facebook has been flooded with status updates and travel albums. There has been an increase in travel blog registrations. Even, I had started to share my experiences in my recent trips and reviews on hotel, restaurants and other services we have availed (with the aim of not just documenting my trips, but also to inform and share with my readers).

If there is anything good this craze has brought to the lives of Filipinos - it is promoting tourism in our country. I have discussed in my previous blog post how social media helped spread the love for the country and strengthen tourism. Domestic traveling lead to discoveries of new places in the country. Take for example the popularity of Anawangin and Potipot last year as the summer destination. It is also truly amazing that through traveling and social media, even Filipinos get surprised at new spot discoveries in our country.

My friend's comment on the album with pictures of the new tourist spot - Kapurpurawan
(White Rock Formation) in Ilocos

An Indian friend's comment regarding my picture in Coron, Palawan
Marketing Tourism is not just applicable for those who own a website,
even Facebook can be a good tool!

Promotions and demands equate to more business opportunities. Airlines, hotels and restaurants are not just the movers in tourism - new business ventures are born. From online to the actual destination - there are guest houses, tour packages and even theme parks and rides. Take for example, the Tree Top Adventure and 4x4 Ride. The attractions are gaining popularity because of online accessibility to information (and yes my friend and I were convinced, so we tried both rides!).

Travel businesses are so popular that even Group Buying Sites or Groupons offer travel packages.

Offer from

It is indeed a win-win situation for the businesses and market. Russell have mentioned the popular places to visit but there is a lot more featured in travel blogs and even tour packages. One last tip that I want to share, with all the travel information and convenience of doing an itinerary, always think and plan ahead. Do research, plan ahead and spend within your limit - the most important thing is to "respect" the places that we are visiting and exploring - we are all taking part in promoting tourist destinations and traveling, let's save the beauty of the places for the other travelers. The biggest scam is landing in a place that disappoints you and the exact opposite of a postcard-worthy picture.

Are you a traveler? How has internet help you with your travels?

This is my official entry to's Talks Blog Contest. Be part of the conversation. Visit the contest page to join. Feel free to comment on my blog post and share your views.