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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Accommodation industry’s crème de la crème 

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Every year, I always make it a point to attend the Virtus Awards of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) where they choose the best among the Sales and Marketing officers of the country’s various hotels and resorts.   

I have sat as a judge for the various categories many times through the years, but even during the years when I’m not part of the judging panel, I still make it a point to attend the event.   Having been a Director of Sales of an international hotel myself, I am curious to find out who the new “stars” of the Accommodation Industry are.

This year’s Virtus Awards had the theme “Beyond the Bottom Line” and recognized three winners for its individual categories. Named Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate was Charles Patrick Estupin, Sales Manager of Crimson Filinvest City Manila. The Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager Award was given to Cesar E. Villaganas, Senior Sales Manager of Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu, while the Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader award was given to Karlene M. Capunitan, Director of Sales of The Ascott Limited.

For the Outstanding Marketing Campaign award, recognition was given to Robinsons Hotels and Resorts for their “Let’s Go, Go, Go” campaign. With “relief travel” as the resounding phrase of this year’s travelers, this hospitality group set up three products that would benefit various types of travelers: the planner, the adventurer, and the chatter.   

From left: Virtus Awards Chair Rose Libongco with the winners Robinsons Hotels and Resorts’ Joy de Mesa and Nonito Cuizon, Quest Hotel Cebu’s Cesar Villaganas, Ascott’s Karlene Capunitan, and Crimson Hotel Filinvest City’s Charles Patrick Estupin

The “Go 24/7” provides the traveler with the choice to pre-book early or late arrivals without additional cost while enjoying 24 hours of stay. The “Go 365” encourages travelers to book a hotel from 15 days to a maximum of 365 days in advance while securing the rate from the day of booking. “Go (Buy) Online” enables travelers to easily book a room or purchase vouchers through a private message on FB Messenger and brand websites.

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Nonito Antonio Cuizon, Director of Marketing of Robinsons Hotels and Resorts, said that the hotel group wanted to align with the Department of Tourism’s Philippines Experience Program which encourages local travelers to discover new and not-so-popular, yet alluring destinations in the country.  This group has a vast network of hotels and resorts stretching from Tuguegarao to General Santos City, which explains their desire to maximize the use of their properties all over the country.

In her opening remarks, Loleth G. So, President of HSMA, pointed out that it was truly a night of recognition because the Virtus Awards had, for the first time, 49 nominees, the biggest number, so far, in the history of the Awards. 

In her inspirational message, Rose H. Libongco, Chair  of the 9th Virtus Awards,  pointed out that receiving the Virtus Award is not the winners’ final destination, but “a step into the journey that they embark upon to continuously hone their talent and prove their worth as they pursue their passions.”

“The world is changing rapidly, and you will be asked to go even further, reach greater heights, and delve deeper into finding solutions to disruptions, not just innovations. You will face challenges that may shake, break, and transform you. If you remain true to your values and principles, these experiences will shape you into a stronger individual than you may have never imagined possible,” she added.

HSMA conceived of the idea of the Virtus Award as a call for the Hospitality Industry to adapt to change despite being affected by all sorts of enormous challenges. This year’s theme,“Beyond the Bottom Line,” urges hospitality groups and people to be responsive to shifting preferences and be flexible in th face of future scenarios.

This year’s HSMA Virus Awards was made possible with the support of the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Atlantis, Isentia, City of Dreams Manila, Crimson Hotel Filinvest City Manila, Buoyant Industrial Systems, and Destileria Limtuaco.


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