Discovery Leisure Company boosts distribution to tap international markets

HAVING already cultivated a strong base of local guests, Filipino hotel group The Discovery Leisure Company is ready to make waves in international markets as part of its next phase of growth, with plans to adopt a suite of GDS, booking engine, and RFP solutions by 1Q2015.

By then, it would have also signed a hotel representation company to help it drum up awareness abroad, shared group director of sales & marketing, Odette Huang.

Formerly from Royal Plaza on Scotts Singapore for nine years, Huang joined Discovery five months ago and has since built up a small digital team, which will support her in the area of e-commerce and marketing, as well as data analytics.

With a collection of five hotels and resorts spanning mid- to upscale, Discovery caters for both regular and extended stays. In Manila, it has the 220-room Discovery Suites in Ortigas and will open the 140-key Discovery Primea in Makati early next year.

Discovery’s three other properties are also new or undergoing renovation – the B&B-style, seven-key Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay near Manila will reopen next month, the 88-key Discovery Shores Boracay is adding 12 villas, and the 55-key Club Paradise in Coron, Palawan was acquired last September, with the island destination undergoing refurbishment in stages.

“Without proper distribution we would be dependent on wholesale travel. But now we know that places like Boracay and Palawan are becoming repeat destinations. Many have booked their initial trips through wholesalers but afterwards, they are more than happy to book on their own,” explained Huang, adding that almost a quarter of Discovery’s guests are repeats.

About 30-40 per cent of Discovery’s resort bookings come from wholesale, although she sees this share shifting in future. A loyalty programme for consumers was also launched in June.

“(With all these new initiatives), we’re looking at 20 per cent growth in revenue for 2015, and that’s modest. This year, we grew 12 per cent,” she said.

While nearly half of resort business is local, overseas markets that are coming include Russia, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, the US, and Europe.

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