While some say that a great logo and killer tag line are key to creating the kind of branding that lands your company on the beachfront property of your consumers’ minds, all such efforts are rendered nil without an effective follow-through.

This is a tactic that Resorts World Manila (RWM) understands to a tee. With properties that include top-tier hotels Maxims Tower, Marriot Hotel and The Remington; the Newport Mall with its luxury retail outlets and world-class cinemas and theater; on top of housing the biggest gaming facility in the country, RWM lives and breathes its well thought-out tagline, “the place to play.”

Not bad for a two-year-old compound.

“We equate foot traffic to business because when you come here, you’ll either eat, shop, watch a play/movie or do something that’ll generate revenue for us,” shares veteran ad man Martin Paz, RWM’s new vice president for Marketing Communications.

“Last year, foot traffic was averaging at 10,000 to 12,000 per day,” informs Paz, “and this is understandable because the shops weren’t complete. Today, however, we are averaging 18,000 foot traffic a day, and we peaked at 32,000 during the Pacquaio-Marquez fight because we were showing it everywhere—all the cinemas, the theater, at the VIP Genting Club for high rollers, the casino, 360 Bar, everywhere. That’s a good number for two years.”

The beauty about RWM is that it offers a fun experience. “In essence, that’s the real product of RWM if you want to put a product into the mix,” Paz says. “That’s also why it’s an easy product to sell if you think about it,” he adds, “because there is no direct competition yet. There will be one very soon, maybe in a couple of years. But there is no total entertainment complex or integrated tourist destination in the country that incorporates malls, shows, hotels and gaming in one venue.”

Staying on top

In the Philippines, it is commonplace to see competitors replicating a business model that’s proven successful—especially if they have investors with money to burn. How, then, will a pioneer like RWM sustain the lead and stay on top of its game?

“I think there is no surefire way to sustain anything, but the fact that RWM has been doing this for only two years—and we feel like we’re still growing, we’re not yet at our peak—I think this bodes well for the business,” shares Paz.

Zeroing in on Republiq and Opus, RWM’s current most popular club destinations, Paz asserts that the key is to change with the times. “If anything new comes up, it’s cool if you’re the first to know. You have to be attuned to what is hot out there,” he says, adding that their “secret vision for RWM is to push everything that’s Filipino. We can be world-class. Today when people come here, people say that it’s like they’re not in the Philippines because the place has a Vegas feel to it. But one day we hope to see people going to Las Vegas say, ‘oh, this place is just like Manila,’ because we believe we can do what they do here in the Philippines.”

It also helps that the company has commissioned Paz to streamline its marketing communications. “RWM being a new place—and two years is still the pioneering stage if you’re a company running an operation this big—there needs to be a process in place,” he says. “Our marketing communication is just like an advertising agency inside the whole company wherein you have different stakeholders asking for requirements they needed yesterday. That being said, a clear-cut system needs to be in place. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but I’m lucky that what I’m doing here is related to what I’ve been doing for the past 18 years,” he adds.

RWM also intends to get a chunk of the budget traveler market with the recent launch of its third lodging brand, Remington Hotel. The nine-storey Remington Hotel caters to budget travelers, offering value-for-money accommodations right across RWM. “We currently get 60 percent of our market from locals and 40 percent from tourists, the majority of which is from mainland China,” shares Paz, “but we expect more tourist occupancy because of our proximity to the airport. With the NAIA-3 further developed moving forward, that’s going to help us a lot. It’s why we built the Remington in the first place—we discovered that a lot of tourists just go here, park their stuff and go somewhere else like Boracay. We want to capture that market as well.”

Celebrating Pinoy Pride

In keeping with promoting Philippine tourism, RWM once again launches its Grand Fiesta Manila, a lavish showcase of Philippine art, cuisine, music, festivals and Filipino talent.

“It’s an annual thing we do every December but this time we’re extending it to a month,” informs Paz. “We’re coming up with different activities for the Genting Club, the VIPs, the mall, and we’re starting with a tree lighting ceremony followed by a gala dinner for the VIPs at the Marriott. And we have a whole slew of different pocket activities coming after that. We have a Christmas cake design contest, actual magicians on stage at the plaza, jeepney art, a fashion show…the entire month is going to be festive in that sense,” he adds.

With a lot of exciting events lined up for the coming years, which includes eventually moving out of the Newport City complex to build yet another integrated tourism destination a couple of times bigger than the latter, RWM is proving to be quite the game changer in both Philippine tourism and real estate industries.

“Our president, Kingson Sian, said that if we’re going to divide our development into three phases, we’re still at phase two,” shares Paz. “That’s only 40 percent of the total development. We’re still growing so maaga pa. Two years is nothing,” he says, “but I’m amazed that in two years’ time they already achieved this much. That’s a testament to how they are as a developer and I’m glad I got to join them and help out in my own way.”

This article was published in the December 5, 2011 issue of the Manila Bulletin.

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