PH hotels, resorts send out an SOS | Inquirer Business

PH hotels, resorts send out an SOS

To survive pandemic, tourism players get creative
By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 05:20 AM September 13, 2020

Discounts in over 80 hotels, including the Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and The Bayleaf Cavite, await travelers at the September Online Sale, hosted by the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association Philippines on its website —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Creative, contactless and online.

When it comes to hotel sales and marketing strategies, these elements should be kept in mind to survive, as the Philippine tourism industry is still reeling from the heavy economic blow dealt by COVID-19, says the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) Philippines.


“A lot of our engagements are done online, and it’s a strategy that we’re employing not just in HSMA, as a lot of the hotel and resort properties are applying this already when it comes to clients and other stakeholders,” says Marco Polo Davao’s Pearl Maclang, HSMA public relations director.

HSMA is the Philippines’ premier organization of hotels and resorts, established in 1979, which provides hotel sales and marketing professionals with tools, insights and expertise to continually grow their brand and remain relevant in the dynamic tourism industry.


“Our sales meetings have actually increased, because they [can be done] back-to-back-to-back now,” adds Christine Ann Ibarreta, HSMA president. “We get to be virtually intimate now [with clients], because it’s not just the handshake that’s important; what matters is that we’re safe.”

Carmela Bocanegra, HSMA treasurer, adds that digital marketing has become stronger than ever. “There was always social media, but people have more time now to spend on their gadgets, and that has given us more opportunities to engage [customers] to look at our brands, and inspire future business,” she says.

For its next sale event, HSMA makes good on its online strategy, hosting it on their website,, on Sept. 15 to 30. The event aims to throw the industry they love a lifeline—and it’s aptly called SOS, or September Online Sale. With the support of the Tourism Promotions Board and the Department of Tourism as well as Atlantis and iSentia, SOS offers travelers the chance to purchase vouchers for hotel accommodation, dining, or celebration promos from 89 properties, with some offering discounts of up to 70 percent on regular rates.

“SOS is really meant to support the national government’s call to encourage local tourism,” says HSMA chair Margarita Munsayac of Bluewater Resorts. “It’s also an initiative of HSMA to help the hotel and resorts industry in these very trying times.”

According to Maclang, many of the promos are valid for up to a year, while some even have no expiration on their validity. She adds that the SOS is a sale event which helps both domestic travelers—who are raring to once again wake up in other parts of the country—and tourism industry workers not just in hotel and resort properties, but also the informal workers, such as boatmen conducting island tours. As for health and safety concerns, Munsayac assures travelers that hotels and resorts in the Philippines are “well-prepared” to open their doors to leisure guests again.

“Most hotels and resorts are ready with all health, safety, sanitation protocols,” Munsayac says. “Months of quarantine have enabled these properties to plan carefully and in detail all these protocols, as prescribed by government, to ensure safety of guests as well as employees.”


Hotels and resorts participating in SOS will be grouped according to eight destinations: Boracay, Visayas, Palawan/Mindanao, North of Metro Manila, South of Metro Manila, Manila/Pasay, Makati/Bonifacio Global City, and Ortigas/Quezon City. Some of the offers travelers can look forward to are:

Huge discounts on deluxe rooms (with breakfast or spa deals) at the Belmont Hotel Boracay; buy one, take one massage offers at The Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay; buy now, travel later promo at Discovery Shores Boracay; three days, two nights packages at the Paradise Garden Resort and Convention Center, and at Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa; and a free night at The Lind Boracay if you book a two-night stay, up to 60 percent off on deluxe room rates (with breakfast) for a three-day, two-night stay at Bluewater Resorts Maribago, Panglao and Sumilon, up to 40 percent off in AUM Spa at Crimson Resort and Spa. Club Paradise Palawan is also offering “Break Free” vouchers for three-day, two-night stays, inclusive of P6,000 resort credits for use in restaurants, spa, gift shop and select island tours; El Nido Resorts Miniloc’s deals on four-day, three-night stays, with daily full-board meals; Seda Lio’s overnight stay for two, with P4,000 worth of food and beverage credits; Best Western The Ivywall’s overnight and three-day, two-night stay deals, with discounts on local cocktails; Aziza Paradise Hotel’s overnight stay with half-board meals promo and Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort’s discounted room rates with Day Experience and set lunch.

HSMA is positive that through SOS, the recovery of the Philippines’ tourism industry will be quicker, despite having undergone what Bocanegra calls their “worst nightmare.”

HSMA vice president Benjie Martinez of The Bayleaf Hotels echoes this optimism.

“We believe we will see the opening of domestic travel corridors by October, and more by December,” he says. “Come summer of 2021, we can expect the hospitality sector to be in a fairly better situation, as more people find ways to wake up in different parts of the Philippines.”

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TAGS: Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), hotels and resorts, September Online Sale
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