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A destination beyond compare

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 05:31 AM April 13, 2019

Manila Marriott was likewise designed for the MICE industry

It bested more than 700 other hotels under the Marriott International brand in the Asia Pacific region to bag the prestigious, most coveted “Hotel of the Year” Award 2018.

A well deserved award indeed as Manila Marriott Hotel, even after a decade of operating in the Philippines, proves that it has remained on top of its game, winning over and retaining a fiercely loyal clientele not only from the domestic market, but also among foreign travelers as well.

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“We’re exceptionally honored and proud to be selected among our peer group from the different countries in Asia. Our company’s getting bigger here and we have more brands (coming in). The fact, perhaps, that Manila Marriott stood the test of time over the last 10 years is a testament to the efforts and to the talent that we have here in the Philippines,” Manila Marriott cluster general manager Bruce Winton said in an interview.

“The team’s been able to innovate, do new things, and grow the business, to the point wherein our company was recognized once again. This is the second time we won the Hotel of the Year Award—the first time was for 2010,” he added.

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Balanced scorecard

Manila Marriott Hotel was conferred the said award during the Marriott Asia Pacific General Managers’ Summit held late last month at the W Shanghai- The Bund. The annual awarding is an internal recognition among the Marriott International hospitality brands in the region that have stood out, based on a set criteria that consider the hotel’s revenues, guest satisfaction, and associate engagement and development, among other factors.

“It’s definitely a combination of results. We have an important measurement called the balanced scorecard that (considers) several factors and not just sales,” Winton explained. “They will also look as to what you have done to innovate, what you have done to serve your community, and so on. There’s a lot of criteria but basically, it also comes down to a nomination placed on your behalf by a nominating body which is your regional team.”

Although this is an internal recognition, it is reportedly a fierce competition, a tight race among the more than 700 hotels in the region, each vying for a substantial share in their respective markets. In the case of Manila Marriott, there had been several distinct factors that allowed it to clinch a win.

Destination of choice

For one, Manila Marriott has remained a destination of choice among the local market and foreign travelers for the past decade, as it pulled out all stops to remain relevant.

Its location is highly strategic as it’s located within Resorts World Manila, the country’s first one-stop, nonstop entertainment and leisure destination that is right across the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 3.

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Marriot also made sure to innovate in terms of its offerings—from the addition of convention facilities, a new wing, refurbishment of existing rooms, more dining establishments to satisfy the increasingly discerning palates of its customers, among others.

From the Manila Marriott Hotel, Winton said they’ve added the Marriott Grand Ballroom, reportedly the Philippines’ largest hotel convention facility with 28 multifunctional rooms spread across some 8,000 sqm of space, and the West Wing, which houses 228 additional rooms, two premium restaurants, an executive lounge and a roof-top infinity pool.

“The tourism market is growing and expectations are changing so we’ve updated our property. We’re not the same hotel as we were 10 years ago. We’ve renovated our rooms, we added technology, improved our wifi, and we’re constantly reinvesting in the property. We plan well and we’ve been able to invest in our products and on innovations to keep moving forward,” Winton explained.

And these additional rooms, according to Winton, are being filled up not only by foreign travelers but also by the locals who go for a weekend “staycation” wherein families and friends get to enjoy the choice amenities and features that Marriott has to offer.

The Marriott Grand Ballroom meanwhile has been a favorite venue among locals celebrating milestones that include birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, baptism, among others; companies holding seminars, product launches, workshops and parties; as well as industry organizations and state agencies holding local and international forums. These events, along with food and beverage, had been the biggest growth drivers for Marriott’s revenue last year.

MICE destination

“We are also always looking for new business ideas. We are looking beyond borders. For instance, the Philippines has elevated itself on the international map and the government has been promoting the country as a MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events) destination. (Manila Marriott) was designed for the MICE industry so what we’re trying to do is elevate the MICE industry in the Philippines, not only to be just at par with international standards, but also to become one of the best places to be in, in the future,” Winton explained.

He disclosed that they are looking to put up other convention facilities—similar to the Grand Ballroom but not as big in terms of scale—in other centers outside Metro Manila.

In Davao, Marriott International signed a deal for two hotels with convention facilities while in Caticlan, there’s also a deal being worked on. Marriott Clark also has meeting facilities, although these are not as large scale as the Grand Ballroom within the Resorts World Complex.

There is no mistaking the fact that Manila Marriott Hotel has more than cemented its foothold in the market given its innovative offerings in food, services and accommodation—it more importantly won over the hearts of its local customers.

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