Small Business Local Marketing The Malaysian Way
There are some interesting news in the world of local search as of lately. First, Google Boost was transformed into AdWords Express, with a few minor and insufficient changes done. Then, Google started experimenting with a Hotel Finder search tool. However, I felt there is not much to say, at least for now, for any of these, as they are still in the very beginning of their existence. Instead, I decided to share some first-hand observations on how small businesses in Malaysia are supporting their online marketing, offline.
I had the opportunity to travel to the island of Borneo – the third largest in the world, divided between 3 countries. I visited the Malaysian part, but while the east-most region is occupied predominantly by jungle, the western part is rather developed for the South-East Asian standards, with its biggest city being Kuching. I realized that Facebook is important in this part of the world, when at my first day around the town, I saw this sign:
Malaysia has currently the 16th largest Facebook population, with almost 1 of every 2 people using the social network. Moreover, Indonesia, which is just a highway away from Kuching, has almost 40 million Facebook users, second, only after USA. These statistics show that this kind of endeavors are very meaningful and an investment like that could repay well. When will one see a similar Google+ banner?
I stayed at a nice local-style built small hotel, named Berambih Lodge. The thing that made me the greatest impression, surprisingly was not the nice overall design of the interior, but a small note, hung at the entrance:
OK, I know the English is not really perfect, but this is definitely some good idea in my opinion. Actually one of the main reasons to pick exactly this hotel, were the amazingly good reviews everywhere I checked. I really hope Trip Advisor will not remove them if they happen to see this article, because I truly believe the Berambih Lodge deserves all of them.
I booked my stay through Agoda, and it was the first time I used their services. I was interested to see that 2 days after I came back in Johor Bahru (Western Malaysia), I received the following email from the bookings site:
Dear Nyagoslav Zhekov,
How was your stay at the Berambih Lodge Kuching? Please take a moment to share your experience with our 1 million members by clicking on the following link:
If you have problems accessing the link, just copy and paste the URL into your browser.
You will earn 500 Agoda Rewards Points by submitting a full review of your stay.
Guest Reviews Team
The points are giving the person who earns them the opportunity to get discounts at future bookings via Agoda. They don’t seem to have problems incentivizing reviews on their own website, and I believe the hotels don’t complain against that practice.
It seems like the local marketing in Far East Asia does not differ so much from the one in Europe or North America. But the scenery is definitely more exotic.