I’ve gotten a lot of response to my articles over the past couple of weeks, related to my recent visit to Cebu City. The response has been both through comments on the site, and also e-mails sent to me privately from people who have read the articles. It seems that these type of articles have hit on something that there is a demand for. Because of that, I’ve made a decision.
Seeing the level of acceptance and interest in seeing comparisons of different cities and regions of the Philippines, I have decided that I am going to start traveling regularly, and using those travels to bring more of this type of information to LiP readers. It is very obvious to me that there is a great deal of demand for the kind of information that I have featured over the past couple of weeks. Through communications with readers, I have also realized that there is demand for other information that can be gathered on such trips. For instance, people have e-mailed me asking things like:
How much is it to rent a house in Cebu?
And other such questions. Because of this, I have decided to come up with a list of information that I intend to gather in each location I visit. If there is certain information that you feel would be helpful to you about various places in the Philippines, please leave a comment letting me know what questions I can answer for you. Also, what cities or provinces do you have an interest in?
Now, I also have to consider, and want you as a reader to consider that doing a project like this is not something that will be inexpensive. It has great costs in terms of cash outlay and also in terms of my time. Because of the cost factor, I must consider two things:
- Ways to monetize the collection of such information.
- Ways to minimize the cost.
What do I mean when I say “ways to monetize?” Well, I mean ways to bring in a little money through the effort, at least enough to pay for the costs involved. There are many ways to do this, all of which I have in mind. At this point, I need to consider which monetization methods would be best. Firstly, which will successfully pay for the project, and secondly, which will be best for me and for the readers. One method that I feel might have merit is to publish general information about the areas I visit here on the LiP site, and then selling more detailed specific information in the form of books. This way, people can get general information for free, but those who have a real interest in researching the possibility of living in the place can spend a reasonable amount of money to get the information that they would benefit from.
When I mention that perhaps I would sell detailed information in the format of a book, what I have in mind is that I would put together a complete guide for each city. For example, let’s say that I visited Cebu. I would have a book that would include specific information about living there. How much do things cost there? What amenities are available there? What can you do there? Are there many other expats living there? A whole list of specific answers to your questions. This guide book would sell for perhaps $20 or so. Or, since I will be visiting many different cities and provinces, maybe you could get 4 guides to different places for $49, 8 different guides for $79 and so on. So, the more different guides you would purchase, the cheaper they are per guide. Now, remember, general information about each place would be available for free on the site, anybody can read those. But, for detailed information, you would be able to buy that.
Next consideration is how to minimize the cost of the project. My idea here can actually accomplish two things. What I am thinking of is trying, as much as possible, to find people who live in the places I visit who would be willing to host me at their house for a day or two when I visit. For example, if I were going to go to Baguio, perhaps I could announce it a few weeks in advance here on LiP and ask if there is anybody who can host me for a night or two. By doing that, it cuts out hotel costs, and also I feel that by staying with people who actually live in the area, I would get a better feel of how it is to live in the area, a more natural feeling than a hotel stay. So, this could have a dual edged benefit: better information, and lower cost of traveling.
So, what do you think? Firstly, is this something that would interest you in reading LiP? Would the information be interesting and valuable to you? Secondly, what information would you be looking for? Thirdly, if I did a detailed report on a place, what things are available there, what the costs were, a collection of photos of the area and such, would you be willing to spend maybe $20 or so for such detailed information? Fourth, which areas are you interested in? Fifth, if you live in the Philippines, would you be willing to host me for a night or two?
Thanks to everybody who can help me out with these questions, and help me decide on what direction to go with this idea. Without your help, I may not be going in the right direction that the readers would want to see. With your help, I can target the things that are important to readers of the site.