Philippine hotels slash staycation rates to rev up demand

LAS CASAS Filipinas de Acuzar, Estero de Binondo

In hopes of jumpstarting domestic tourism, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) will hold a two-week sale offering up to 70 per cent discount and flexible terms on hotels and resorts across the Philippines.

Slated to take place from September 15-30, the September Online Sale (SOS) will be held virtually on HSMA’s website. Customers can also book directly each of the 89 participating hotels and resorts. Half of them are in metro Manila, while the rest are in Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Boracay, Visayas, and Palawan/Mindanao.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, one of the 89 properties participating in HSMA’s September Online Sale

Some promotions are valid for up to a year, while others have no expiration on their validity, said HSMA spokesperson Pearl Maclang during a recent Zoom press conference.

HSMA chair Margie Munsayac said the e-vouchers have very flexible terms, and though not refundable, are rebookable. Up for grabs during the sale are high-value packages inclusive of meals and airfares, with at least three hotels also offering packages that include Covid-19 tests.

The sale bodes well for Philippine tourism, which screeched to a halt since mid-March, but is gradually reopening with most destinations including Boracay, El Nido, Tagaytay, and Cebu easing to modified general community quarantine (MGCC), the lowest quarantine category that allows limited tourism.

Places like metro Manila remain on general community quarantine (GCC), the second lowest quarantine category, subject to review month-end.

Munsayac assured potential buyers that all the properties to be featured during the SOS have passed stringent safety and sanitation protocols as prescribed by the government.

“We have no illusions that life will be the same, after restrictions are lifted. But the public’s patronage and advanced bookings from the sale give us hope that things will get better. It will also enable us to plan ahead in terms of manpower and other operational requirements so that we will be able to hit the ground running when the pandemic scare is over,” said HSMA president Christine Ibarreta.

Maclang said targeted markets are leisure travellers like couples and families, corporate clients, tourism workers, travel agents and tour operators. She said that most hoteliers are positive they will start getting bookings during the sale, with some already receiving advanced reservations for stays this Christmas through the New Year, traditionally peak season in the Philippines.

Family-oriented Filipinos would want a change in scenery during their reunions after being cooped up for six months, she said, adding that since overseas travel is still off the cards, they will opt for staycations instead.

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