idiot boxThe idiot box still has a power unmatched by the internet. So says Hichame Assi, Chief Operating Officer of HotelsCombined, which is now running TV and cable ads in eight disparate markets – from Korea to Brazil, Australia to Russia.

“TV says ‘these guys are serious’!” he said.

Which accommodation search engine HotelsCombined surely is: 41 local language sites, 300 million visits last year, $1 billion in bookings for its online partners and annual growth running somewhere between 60% to 70%.

They’re doing something right – and some things they are not entirely comfortable with such as TV.

“We’re doing it cautiously,” said Hichame. “Performance marketing is in our DNA.”

Which is code for – “we analyse everything” to makes sure it meets Return on Investment targets.

And clearly TV, despite its high cost, stacks up.

The company’s decision to diversify away from 100% digital marketing results from its belief that brand awareness is key, now and into the future.

Despite its initial reticence, HC has moved very quickly in this space, which it entered in Australia 15 months ago.

Once testing was complete- and demonstrated that the higher cost of TV was worth the effort – campaign was rapidly rolled out internationally.

“Each market is completely different,” said Hichame, who said the advertising is localised to suit local tastes.

“We believe in glocalisation – thinking global and acting local.”

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