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Firm Sees RP as Hub for Outsourced Search Engine Jobs

 A British Isle company that has been hiring Filipinos to do search engine marketing jobs for a consortium of small- to medium-sized hotels worldwide said the Philippines can become the hub for offshore search engine marketing jobs.
Search engine marketing is a relatively new field that converts web traffic into revenues for companies. It uses search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to increase visibility of websites and blogs in popular search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN.

Directwithhotels.com has established a representative office in the Philippines on November 2004, pouring in about 1.5 million dollars in capital investment, according to Emiliano Zulberti, chief executive officer of this relatively new outsourcing service company.

Hiring more than 30 Filipinos to develop a "holistic approach" to search engine marketing, Zulberti said that Directwithhotels.com expects to double its headcount in the country with new deals coming in from Europe this year.

"In the area of creativity, the Philippines is way ahead of other countries in the region," he said, noting the reasons why Directwithhotels.com has decided to put its back office operations in the country.

Directwithhotels.com currently uses search engine marketing to lure people to a consortium of small- and medium-sized hotels with which they have signed agreements. Zulberti said they expect to sign up
20 to 30 hotels a month as they expand their services to other countries.

Search engine marketing uses various methods
to make sure people "convert" upon their visit to websites they find in search engines like Google. In the case of Directwithhotels.com, converting visits means people would eventually book one of the hotels being pushed or marketed to them.

"Not all people who visit websites for the first time will convert. So we analyze how they behave using search engine marketing techniques," said Jonathan Casuncad, lead of quality traffic service at Directwithhotels.com

Directwithhotels.com treats each member-hotel as a "store" that offers unique services for a specific group of travelers.

The online travel booking service is now a huge industry in the US. Figures vary depending on whose talking but Zulberti said that the rate of online travel bookings is increasing by 20 to 25 percent every year.

"With more people buying PCs, going online with broadband Internet access and more suppliers providing online services, the demand will increase," he added.

Directwithhotels.com is currently building a "guest loyalty management system" that would allow small and medium-sized hotels to keep tab on their clients.

The company, however, faces the challenge of finding more people to man their growing operations in the Philippines. They are currently looking for copywriters, software engineers, web designers and SEO experts, Zulberti said.

The company is also torn between the idea of recruiting experienced search engine marketing professionals who are currently "freelancing" for local and foreign companies or training fresh college graduates.

"Most of the college graduates with good communications skills are funneled to call centers. We're looking to hire fresh graduates," Zulberti added.

India and Eastern European countries are also involved in outsourced search engine marketing contract jobs. In the case of Directwithhotels.com, it now earns 7,500 dollars to 15,000 dollars a month doing contract work, according to the executive.

The Philippines is however still a small market for such services, he said.
 
By Erwin Lemuel Oliva
First posted 10:19pm (Mla time) April 04, 2006
Source: INQ7.net


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