Hotel industry predicts better business in 2023
The Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals Association (HSMA) expects a better year going forward for the local hotel and accommodations industry after returning to prepandemic operating levels back in January, drawing optimism from the growth potential that the recovering foreign tourism will bring in 2023.
HSMA president Loleth So said they have already recorded higher occupancy rates and revenues back in January compared to 2019, the year before the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on our January numbers, we’ve already gone over prepandemic levels. So, that’s how positive it’s looking,” she told reporters late Thursday night on the sidelines of the group’s general membership meeting at the Marriott Hotel in Paranaque City.
Strong January performance
“For the month of January, hotels are already hitting 80 percent [occupancy rates]. Prepandemic, it was 60 to 70 percent. So, it’s far better now, So added.
The HSMA official said that the growth they have seen recently was fueled by local demand, hinting that there is much room for growth once the country’s international tourism industry recovers.
“Domestic tourism is very strong right now. Although inbound, I would say, is starting to come in but it’s not as strong as prepandemic levels yet. But we are hopeful,” said So.
She explained that the pandemic made hotels and travel agencies focus more on the domestic market—describing it as their “own backyard”—which helped support the industry thanks to strong local demand.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing to hit 4.8 million international visits this year after it breached the 1.7 million target it set for 2022 with 2.65 million international visitor arrivals.
The DOT said this led to $3.68 billion or P208.96 billion worth of revenues, benefitting 5.3 million Filipinos employed in the tourism industry.
Asked to identify the challenges that the hotel and accommodations industry are facing this year, the HSMA pointed first to the problem with hiring enough qualified people nowadays.
“Honestly, it’s manning—looking for the right people with the right talent,” So said.
“We lack the people. There are a lot of job openings in hotels today,” she said further, adding that sales and marketing professionals were the first to be affected when the pandemic hit.
The HSMA said that many of these professionals have since shifted to other jobs because of that, with a good number of those people going over to the business process outsourcing industry.
So also cited the work-from-home culture which emerged during the pandemic to be another challenge, saying that many people developed the preference for this job type.
“It’s so convenient to be working from home. It’s more economical because they don’t have to pay for transportation, they don’t have to dress up. They are with their families, their children but they are still able to work,” she said.
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