WHEN the lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, one of the industries which was greatly affected was the tourism industry with it the multitude of hotels and resorts located in the country’s tourist destinations.
Six months since the start of the lockdowns, hotels and resorts are still not allowed to accept regular guests and have instead pivoted to either offering long stay packages for businesses needing housing for their employees, or offices. For those in the provinces whose main clients were tourists who wanted to see the sights, they have had no choice but to hunker down and hope for better days ahead.
Now that restrictions are loosening up, the hotels and resorts in the country are preparing for a comeback through a sale starting Sept. 15 that offers the best deals with validity periods for up until next year.
“With the gradual lifting of quarantine restrictions around the country, Filipinos are raring to pack their suitcases and travel — although more cautiously — to once again enjoy the country’s beautiful destinations,” Christine Urbanozo-Ibarreta, president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), said in a digital conference on Sept. 9.
The HSMA is an informal gathering of directors of sales and marketing of top Metro Manila hotels. The group counts over 120 hotels and resorts in the country as member-partners.
Called the September Online Sale (SOS), the sale, which runs until Sept. 30, not only offers great deals on 89 hotels in various Philippine destinations, it is also a program that “offers hope for an estimated 5.7 million hospitality employees and workers,” said Ms. Urbanozo-Ibarreta.
“We have no illusions that life will be the same — if and when restrictions are lifted. But the public’s patronage and advanced bookings from the sale gives us hope that things will get better. It will also enable us to plan ahead in terms of manpower and other operational requirements so that we will be able to hit the ground running when the pandemic scare is over,” Ms. Urbanozo-Ibarreta said in a statement.
She added that hotels and resorts are in “survival mode,” while Benjie Martinez, vice-president of the HSMA, noted in the same conference that they see recovery starting in the second half of 2021.
And in a way, SOS is a fitting name for the sale because hotels and resorts need to have guests travelling — following proper health restrictions and requirements –in order to save the industry.
“[The sale] will be offering the best value hotel and resort packages and we hope that this will jumpstart the tourism industry. Our target market of course is our domestic market: families, couples, frontliners, corporate clients, travel tour operators, etc.,” Margie Munsayac, HSMA chairman, said in the briefing before adding that some hotels will be offering “70% off of their best available rates.”
Some of the hotel deals that can be purchased during the sale period are: three-days, two-nights packages from Paradise Garden Resort and Convention Center and Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa; and 60% off on Deluxe Room rates with breakfast for three-day, two-night stay at Bluewater Resorts in Maribago (Cebu), Panglao (Bohol), and Sumilon (Cebu), among many others. Deals and vouchers are valid from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021 though some deals have no validity clauses.
The sale will be on the HSMA website at https://hsma.org.ph/sos/. The event is done in partnership with the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, Atlantis, and iSentia. For more information and for the list of participating hotels and resorts, visit the HSMA Facebook page at facebook.com/HSMAPH.