Real estate consultant Colliers recently urged hotel and leisure operators to continue tweaking their marketing strategies to maximize the sector’s recovery, while pushing the Department of Tourism (DOT) to open reopen more local destinations in the country, especially for fully vaccinated individuals.
In its Q2 2021 Philippine property market reports, the firm highlighted its recommendations that will help fast-track the hotel and hospitality sector’s recovery.
Domestic travel will stoke leisure sector first
According to Colliers, a slow recovery is expected for the leisure sector, especially with domestic and international travel restrictions still in place and new COVID-19 variants dampening sentiment and travel.
“But domestic travel will stoke the leisure sector first, particularly with the Philippine government’s thrust to improve hotel occupancies and revive local jobs,” the report said. “This is also in line with its goal of raising tourism’s contribution to the economy.”
The DOT projects domestic tourism to reach 36.5 million in 2021 and 84.8 million in 2022. Although this will still be lower than the record-high of 110 million in 2019, Colliers is optimistic that the rise in local travelers should help push occupancies of selected hotels across the country.
Tourism workers are front-liners
The report also noted that hotel establishments operating as isolation or quarantine facilities should maximize the inclusion of tourism workers alongside medical front-liners in the A1 priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine. Tourism workers employed under the transport, food, restaurant, and accommodation industries should likewise fall under the A4 priority group.
In 2020, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that Filipinos employed in tourism-related industries cover 11.6% of total employment, down from 13.6% in 2019.
Training and refresher courses
The report also called on hotel operators who plan on reopening their facilities, to implement training and refresher programs for their existing staff to provide efficient hotel experience for guests post-pandemic.
Trainings may include familiarization with new guidelines and cleaning practices in common areas and hotel rooms, and proper food and beverage (F&B) etiquette (e.g., how to sanitize tables, cutlery, and glasses, maintain sanitary food preparation).
This will allow hotel operators to safely operate while maintaining hospitality and adhering to social distancing protocols and will encourage more people to travel.
Flexibility in bookings
Colliers encouraged hotel operators to provide flexibility on their guest’s bookings to generate loyalty. These may include free cancellations, flexibility in check-in and check-out times and room upgrades, and booking modifications 24 hours before arrival.
“In our view, hotel operators should consider adopting the multiple-use model where they can accommodate both quarantine and leisure guests.,” the report recommended.