Philippine hotels answer demand for workations, on-site medical services

Philippine hotels and resorts are evolving their products and services to adapt to changing demands and lifestyles during the pandemic, including pushing out packages with work, study and health components.

Andrea Mastellone, senior group general manager, Ayala Hotels and Resorts – Seda Hotels, noted an increase in demand for workations, with people now looking to work from hotels for a change of scenery, with recent surveys showing that working from home isn’t exactly a bed of roses.

Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria is among a growing number of Philippines hotels offering work from hotel packages

Workations is a growing market that can fill the hotel room void left by returning overseas Filipino workers, business process outsourcing staff, and health frontliners, Mastellone said in a webinar. However, he noted, while the workation trend may “give life to hotels” during the pandemic, it is “not sustainable” and “would be extinguished in the short-term”.

Hotel Sales and Marketing Association spokesperson Pearl Peralta Maclang agreed that workation is a new trend that many properties are hopping on, including Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria and Dusit D2 Davao.

The shift to distance learning for Philippine schools has also birthed a growing trend of hotels and resorts becoming alternative spaces for children to play and study, said Margie Munsayac, Bluewater Resorts vice president sales and marketing, in an HSMA online press briefing.

“People want to go on staycations on weekends and even on weekdays, and hotels are assuring them of stable Wi-Fi connection because children can study anywhere as long as there is stable Wi-Fi connection. People would love to go to hotels for a different environment and atmosphere,” she said.

Workation packages would be embraced by internationally travelling millennials, who are looking to explore destinations where they can mix work and leisure, Munsayac added.

As the populace becomes more health-conscious, another trend is hotels providing on-site medical consultations. Discovery Hospitality has partnered with Cardinal Santos Medical Center to have doctors on stand-by at its property Discovery Suites Ortigas. The Farm at San Benito also offers similar programmes.

Nathan Boublil, co-founder and CEO, Zen Hospitality Solutions, said that heightened hygiene standards adopted by hotels and resorts will give them an edge over serviced apartments and Airbnb, the latter now suffering due to an “amateur level of service”.

Also working in tech-savvy hotels’ favour amid the pandemic are technologies like smart room controls, mobile concierge and keyless check-ins that helps with social distancing, Boublil said.

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