Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tourists to locals: Local brands innovate

ALMOST every business sector one can think of is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the health and movement restrictions, tourist arrivals are limited if not decreased to zero.

And so, it is indeed a challenge for business establishments and local brands in Davao City whose primary customers are tourists. Some of them even look forward to festivals, conferences, and any other events that bring tourists and domestic travelers to Davao City.

But with any other businesses, the only way to survive new changes is to innovate and adapt to these changes. Many tourism-based businesses in Davao City have done just that. In this article, we are going to share three of them.

From a business model catering and targeting domestic, foreign tourists, and visiting businessmen, they have shifted their focus to catering to locals and re-introducing their items to Dabawenyos.

1. Aldevinco Shopping Center

Located at the heart of Davao City and just a few steps away from Marco Polo Davao Hotel, Aldevinco Shopping Center has been the source of "pasalubong" items for tourists and visiting businessmen alike for more than 50 years now. Most of their items sold are batik clothes, bags, jewelries, and home decorations. The entire compound is filled with different tenants selling these products.

With the pandemic, the management of the shopping center, made use of their presence online and decided to promote their tenants' products on social media. They decided to re-introduce their fashion items to the locals especially the Gen Z and the Millennial market. The goal, according to Alsons Dev Marketing Manager Marga Rey-Gross, is for the locals to appreciate that they can actually find good fashion items in Aldevinco. With their stronger presence online, the younger generation will hopefully see the fashion potential of the items sold in the shopping center which they can mix and match. The good part is that they are also able to promote locally-made fabric and patterns for affordable prices.

2. Apo ni Lola Delicacies

Filipinos are known to bring home to friends and relatives "pasalubong" from an out-of-town trip. Most of the times they bring home food and other delicacies that the place they visited is known for. In the case of Davao City, it's usually durian candies, tarts, pie, and other sweet treats.

This culture of "pasalubong" among Filipinos is one of the reasons that Apo ni Lola continues to flourish. But they also felt the impact when the pandemic came and the travel restrictions were implemented.

To solve this dilemma, they decided to innovate. "We aim to reposition the Apo ni Lola brand as not just for 'pasalubong' for tourists but also for Dabawenyos who want to enjoy food at home or anywhere," said Katrina Velasco, Apo ni Lola marketing officer.

Aside from their usual durian, mangosteen, and langka treats, Apo ni Lola decided to also step up by offering combo merienda sets that can be delivered anywhere in Davao City via delivery rider. Durian House launched four combo sets: Durian cappuccino and one slice durian pie at P250; Durian shake and a box of durian piaya at P235; Durian Mocha Fudge and a pack of durian macaroons at P265; and Durian Cappuccino and a pack of durian hopia at P235.

3. Cacao City

During this rainy season, who wouldn't love sikwate or a hot chocolate drink? Recently, Davao City was declared the Cacao Capital of the Philippines by the Department of Agriculture.

Cacao City is a shop at Pasalubong Center where different brands of cacao byproducts are being displayed. All of these are made locally by Dabawenyo entrepreneurs and cacao farmers. Upon stepping inside, one would be up for a surprise especially on how there are actually so many items that can be made from cacao, not just chocolates. There are teas, vinegar, finger food, and so much more.

Recently, Cacao City announced their comeback and they will be now located on the new Davao City Investment and Promotions Center (DCIPC), still along Palma Gil St., just a few steps from their previous location.

They have also made use of the online medium to reach their customers. They have partnered with a delivery rider to deliver the orders placed online.


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