Imperial’s out to diversify client base-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Friday, September 14, 2012
AFTER attracting a large share of the Korean market, the management of Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa announced they have managed to reach the emerging Russian market after three years of operation.
“We are known to be strong with the Korean market. Now, we are proud to say that we have diversified within three years,” said Kristine Mangapis, reservations manager of the resort.
While Koreans used to make up 80 percent of their guest list, the figure has dropped to 70 percent to make way for a mix of Russian, Japanese and domestic guests.
Dominic Dorol, director of sales and marketing, said the Imperial Palace is popular among Korean tourists because it is a Korean brand. He added that it is their culture to patronize their own brand and the direct flights from South Korea to Cebu make it even more accessible.
However, the management is proud that they have begun to attract other markets, including high-profile domestic visitors like boxing champion Rep. Manny Pacquiao and socialite and philanthropist Tessa Prieto-Valdez. “We are making a name for ourselves in the domestic market. We get calls from different celebrities. And we did not lift a finger to get them here,” said Angela Emphasis, PR manager.
She noted that most domestic tourists seem to prefer established and more globally-known brands but they were able to book an average occupancy rate of 70 percent this year. Last year, it was 62 percent.
“This year saw an increase in the resort’s perceived value with the sudden high demand for the Palace’s functions and events services and its premium item, the lifestyle villas,” Emphasis told reporters.
Dorol said they will be developing the Imperial Palace brand with a clear and concise message: “Experience the Palace.”
They promised a unique and customer-centric sales process, supported web and mobile sites with booking capabilities, better customer relations, and a special loyalty program with rewards to show appreciation to their guests.
He also said they will be aggressive in wooing new markets, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, which is in line with the tourism department’s moves to attract new visitors to Cebu.
His meetings with tourism organizations are also making them think about attracting Australians, noting the proximity to the Philippines and an economy that has not suffered from the global economic crisis.
Events manager Emet Sendin said they began to introduce themselves as a new player for the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market by wooing associations from the medical industry, services and pharmaceutical companies seeking to hold seminars and incentives.
General manager Jonathan Nowell also said that passing the ISO 9001:2008 certification last August gives them another identity and affirms that they have been doing their job. They were also recently awarded by Rakuten Travel, a Japanese online site, and Agoda, an Asian online hotel reservation service, last February for being an “outstanding hotel partner.”
The hotel will celebrate its third anniversary this Sunday.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2012.