Philippines’ resilience champions for tourism honored in Virtus Awards 

Philippines resilience champions Virtus Awards 2020
Seven individuals and institutional teams were named the industry’s Champions of Resilience amid the pandemic.

The Philippines’ resilience champions for tourism were honored in the prestigious Virtus Awards 2020 by the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines in a bid to highlight the tourism and hospitality industry’s overcoming the worst of times when Covid-19 put traveling to a halt.

In a virtual presser on December 18, 2020, the HSMA presented to media the industry’s individuals and institutional teams they considered pros in Tourism and Hospitality who were creative, productive, and proactive in the face of a pandemic. The winners were earlier virtually awarded successfully on December 10.

Virtus Awards chair Rose Libongco said it was highly important for the HSMA to continue with this tradition because, despite all the hurdles they encountered these past few months, the organization has also continued to be active and to make itself available to its customers and stakeholders.

“Anyone can imagine that it was easy to give in to despair and frustration when travel had stopped, governments imposed quarantines, new standards of hygiene and customer care were imposed, and no cure was in sight. But thankfully, sales and marketing people are endowed with an indomitable spirit. When down and out, Sales & Marketing get up and roll in, when pushed against a wall, they break the wall; when down in the dumps, they dig for the gold. Sales and Marketing continue to be the lifeblood for the company -always working, thinking, creating, never giving up,” said Libongco.

The Champions of Resilience Awards were named as follows:

Individual, Ma. Elena Cecille M. Daugdaug
Sales Manager of Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu

HSMA chair Margarita Munsayac said Daugdug was chosen out of seven other nominees because of her remarkable dedication, perseverance, business agility, and incredible resilience during the pandemic.

“Not only did our winner protect the business, but our winner also grew the business that contributed to the retention of a sizable percentage of hotel staff,” said Munsayac.

Team, Luxent Hotel
Led by Melanie Pagkalinawan, General Manager

Luxent Hotel was recognized for its team’s holistic approach toward mitigating the effects of the pandemic. “By ensuring the safety and well-being of its employees and their families, which included mental health awareness and providing alternative platforms to earn money as partner-providers of the hotel, the employees were fully engaged in proactively increasing revenue streams of the hotel while reducing its expenses during this time of adversity,” shared Munsayac.

Marketing Communications, Chroma Hospitality
Led by Carmela Bocanegra, Vice President for Sales and Marketing

Chroma Hospitality was credited for its marketing campaign titled “Safely Apart, Closer at Heart,” which was chosen for being the most comprehensive and well-planned campaign among four others, and for its clear messaging. It was also voted the “most digi-centric,” shifting strategies and priorities in the online sphere not only to thrive amid today’s unusual challenges but also to bounce back stronger.

Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate, Erika Denice S. Patajo
Events Executive of Okada Manila

Erika Patajo was awarded for her ability to tackle challenges with a joyful and positive outlook, deliver quality service despite limitations, and maintain a harmonious working relationship with colleagues.

Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager, Pio A. Sanchez 
Senior Sales Manager of El Nido Resorts

Pio Sanchez was recognized for his genuine pride of purpose and successful out-of-the-box programs that were both innovative and adherent to the company’s core values and business propositions.

Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leaders, Eun Joo Bae 
Director of Sales – FIT at Conrad Manila

Eun Joo Bae bested six others because of her ability to create positive, defining moments for high-level protocol-sensitive clients that paved the way for a niche service for the hotel.

Outstanding Marketing Campaign
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

Sofitel represented by Dave Pimentel, Director of Marketing and Communications, Margot, and for their “Bid to Forever” campaign, which generated excellent buzz, was well-defined and concise, and an innovative approach for sourcing new markets.

HSMA president Christine Ann Ibarreta lauded the fact that many hotel sales and marketing professionals still participated in this year’s Virtus Awards despite difficulties, saying, the annual event is “a timely reminder of the determination, innovation, and commitment of hotel sales and marketing professionals across the country.”

“They have all been working extremely hard to reopen, to welcome guests back safely, and to continue to provide excellent service. The Virtus is our humble way of giving them the recognition they truly deserve,” Ibarreta added.

Philippines resilience champions Virtus Awards 2020

The HSMA also announced in the virtual presser its new board of directors who will lead the organization for 2021-2022.

The HSMA, in coordination with the Philippine Department of Tourism, stepped in to help arrivals and hotel bookings to showcase Filipino hospitality as the country hosted the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

The Philippines has received the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp of approval from the World Tourism Council.

Check out this Travel Philippines app that features the latest travel news and safety guides for tourism during the pandemic.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the Philippines’ resilience champions for tourism feted in the 2020 Virtus Awards!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.