Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Avenue Plaza Hotel temporary site already up

Given the desire and intention of G7Holdings Corp*, developer of the Avenue Plaza Hotel (APH), and of those of the hotel's management, the official APH website is being reviewed to make sure that everything is running as planned. As I shared in my August 30 post related to this (item no. 2), in the place of the soon-to-be-launched official website, Mobius Strip Studios owned of my buddy and former fellow instructor in the Ateneo Magno Edilberto R. Conag III aka Dude and the one commissioned by G7Holdings to create the said web page, is setting up a temporary site.

Click here to go there, please, as it is already up and ready.

In addition to what the site says about APH which, by the way, is located along the historic Naga River, it will also, as my fellow business communicator, G7Holdings colleague, executive assistant par excellence to the chairman Mr. Zandro Babol puts it:

"...complement the lifestyle center (Avenue Square) and convention plaza, and feature facilities and amenities for the cosmopolitan traveler and the chic Bicolano: 68 pleasantly appointed rooms and suites, infinity pool and activity park, wellness center and fitness gym, business center and café, meeting and function rooms, manicured gardens and wide parking bays."

Not to mention all the hard work, the vision, the passion, and the love poured into it personally by the Cu family, especially the chairman himself, visionary Bicolano businessman Mr. Fidel "Totoy" Cu; the conglomerate's young, progressive, and dynamic president Mr. Allan S. Cu whose management prowess and magnetic personality will, in my opinion, cinch a continued success for the flourishing FLC Group of Companies; and ASC's talented and lovely wife Ms. Gwen L. Cu whose aesthetic and strategic skills have been so handy during its construction having been educated/trained as an Interior Designer and having been assigned to many executive positions in various companies owned by the family over the years, that make APH a very special aggregate-cum-product of an enormous gusto for the realization of a dream, of noble intentions, and of a great love for an unmistakable purpose. Boy, I personally see how vigorously they labor everyday, being the very hands-on owners themselves, for the said project which they describe, aptly enough, as a "gift" to Bicol and their fellow Bicolanos.

Now before I call it a day, may I go back to the website, and offer my own, humble thoughts about it vis-a-vis the hotel, the road to take to achieve its targets, and marketing in general.

A great website - which among other many benefits makes transactions faster and more efficient; or affirms and supports your company's positioning or branding, the latter is my fancy, if I may share it, being a brand/branding enthusiast myself - for a hotel like the APH that caters to mostly discriminating, broadband-connecting, and internet-loving businessmen,tourists,and locals, should be a big boost to its campaign to attain desired business goals.

Case in point, the website of Cebu Pacific (CEB) - the "low fare, great value" local aviation industry leader - which is the country's first real-time, online booking engine. Something I hope the APH website would be capable of. Since its inception last January 2006, it has become the Philippine's top travel website and largest e-commerce website as of May 2007 - greatly helping Cebu Pacific beat Philippine Airlines for Passengers domestically the first half of this year. This was announced to us by Candice Alabanza-Iyog, VP for Marketing and Product of the Gokongwei-owned airline company and also a 2007 Young Market Masters (YMM) awardee, during one of the latest marketing conferences I attended in Manila recently. One more thing that makes CEB's website highly effective is its deployment of an "easy-to-use, Web-based booking service", as highlighted by this month's edition of the Entrepreneur magazine (whose leadership in the business magazine category is being threatened by the SME Insight, a newcomer but owned by the formidable Inquirer group that also has a enormous presence in the internet) aside from its cheaper rates, of course.

But then again, given the aforementioned, why do we still hear a lot of complaints about CEB and its services (which were also raised during the open forum after Ms. Iyog's talk, and which were answered calmly and adequately by her)? Or see something like this? (Talking about the internet being either a boon or bane for a company eh?)

Well for one, I believe the website, no matter how greatly advanced, impressively designed, user-friendly, or real-time it may be, at the end of the day, can not stand alone in the fierce battle for the customer 's preference and loyalty. It should always be complemented, foremost as the case may be, by real-life, honest-to-goodness customer service that tells us as customers, we are truly appreciated. Because, in Marketing, while the 'Price' directly brings home the income; the 'Place' can give you an upper hand; the 'Promotion' does a lot of wonders; or perception is reality - like what Dondi Gomez, a newly promoted Managing Director of Unilever, another YMM awardee for this year, and a favorite speaker of mine (and whose marketing genius, great/inspiring personality, and admirable programs in Unilever would be sure subjects of a future post), emphasized during the same conference - the 'Product' (which also includes the variety, quality, design, features, brand name, brand equity, packaging, and services) can not be overlooked anytime and should validate what the company promises, or projects to give/deliver, or purports for the same Product.

Here, Corporate Social Responsibility comes into the picture. But that is one for another post.

Good night Naga.

*Golden 7 Holdings (G7Holdings) Corp is the investment arm of the FLC Group of Companies. The FLC Group is a Bicolano conglomerate with interests in rural banking, real estate development and management, as well as food service.

Also, please watch for the relaunch of the new Avenue Square website soon, if initial plans do materialize.


Joie said...

Hi there!

Hope you can share your travel experiences, or could recommend a travel destination in the Philippines. Please share your stories here:

Let's promote Philippine Tourism!


Anonymous said...

coNGRAts to the Cu family and G7 for this hotel! Congrats also to Mayor Jesse and the entire local government unit! Sosyal na talaga ang Naga!

Madalas kami sa Shakeys at Max sa Avenue Square.

Dela Cruz Family, Camarines Sur/Naga City