Digitalisation, domestic travel to drive Philippine hotels’ recovery

Philippine hotels and resorts are preparing to reboot operations via an overhaul in their business processes, with a renewed focus on tapping the domestic market and advancing digitalisation for post-pandemic travel.

In a webinar run by WOFEX University, The Linden Suites general manager Celeste Romualdo said that the biggest challenge in charting business recovery plans is “what will be left of the market after the community quarantine” even as her property, one among a handful in Ortigas still allowed to open during this time as it has long-stay guests and medical frontliners, is already adopting new safety and social distancing rules.

Hotels in the Philippines will need to adapt to new safety and health protocols when travel resumes, says industry players; aerial view of sandy beach and hotels in the Boracay, Philippines pictured

Romualdo added that there will be changes in how sales call are being carried out and the way meetings are set with clients, and that there will be an emergence of more online platforms and digital transactions as opposed to human-to-human contact.

In a webinar conducted by Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Margie Munsayac, vice president sales and marketing of Bluewater Resorts in Cebu and Bohol, said that they will go after the local market, which will be their major source. “Most people are experiencing cabin fever so they will hit the beach,” she opined.

She shared that the plan going forward for hotels will be to operate on a lean management as there will be lower occupancy, in keeping with new safety measures such as social distancing. She added that properties should look at offering more flexible rates and cancellation policies.

Elpidio Beloso Jr, general manager, Holiday Inn Express at Resorts World Manila (RWM), suggested that business recovery plans should also include redirecting to digital marketing, revisiting unique selling points, as well as focusing on local markets and product enhancements.

In the aspect of ramping up digital promotions, Beloso said that RWM has launched a talent competition called Kwarto (Room) Guts Talent where they invite overseas Filipino workers who are quarantined in their properties to create a video displaying their talent, with the most creative and entertaining entries to receive vouchers for an overnight stay in one of three selected properties, and meal for two.

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