Ready, Seat Sale, Go! “Nakakaloka! (It’s crazy!)” says Anne, a customer center representative working in Makati. “Once the promo fare is on, I feel like I’m in a running competition, battling against thousands of people for promo tickets. I book my friends without asking them. There’s no time to do that. I call them after I have secured tickets for all of us. They would freak out at first, and then feel worried, but in the end, we all become very excited! Hahaha!”

“I book for the cheapest destination I could find…even if I had no sufficient information about the place. Kyeme! There would be more than enough time to research later” adds Warren, a call center operations manager who works in Clark. “The rule of the game is to buy the promo tickets before anyone else does. Once you find one, you book it. If you don’t, chances are, it would disappear right in front of your eyes in just a matter of minutes!”

Reports show that “AirPhil Express more than doubled its domestic passenger to 2.71 million, from 1.122 million it carried last year; Zest Airways followed Airphils path posting healthy gains of 75%, all in the first nine months as domestic passengers it carried rose from 902,935 in the same period of last year to 1.58 million this year; Cebu Pacific (CEB), the country’s biggest LCC, saw leveling of its market share as it registered increase of only 3% or a rise of 6.17 million passengers from 6 million in the same nine-month period.” But even without statistics, one would know that more and more Filipinos have been travelling domestically, and even outside of the country for the past couple of years. All he/she needs to do is to log in to Facebook and look at the numerous travel pictures being posted daily.

A week ago, I posted a quick survey on my Facebook travel page and asked my contacts what’s really pushing them to pack their travel bags and set off for a trip. To make it easier, I gave them the following choices: 1. DOT’s Latest Tourism Campaign 2. Travel Blogs 3. Family and Friends 4. Promo Fares 5. Facebook and 6. Twitter. A few more were added such as travel books and magazines, travel channels and shows like Living Asia Channel and Trip na Trip, and personal desire for challenge. After a week with almost 200 votes, promo fares came out on top. Lagging slightly behind was family and friends, and third was the travel blogs.

In response to the survey, Venus, a former student of mine said, “Of course I love to go on trips with my family and friends. Who wouldn’t? And while I get jealous of the travel pictures being posted by my friends in Facebook, fare still is the number 1 factor for me when I travel. Other places can wait. I would go to destinations under promo airfares for the meantime. The travel blogs, on the other hand, help me with honest to goodness feedback and prepare me for what to expect or not.”

Surprisingly, DOT’s latest campaigns came out last. I’m not discounting the fact though, that it is because of their efforts, especially the local tourism, that we get to enjoy more and much-improved tourist spots in the country . But ultimately, kudos to all the low cost airlines for offering promo fares all year round. It’s because of them that more and more people get to see and experience the beautiful Boracay, along with so many other beautiful destinations in the Philippines.

How about you? What’s your promo fare story?

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