Resilient hotel industry properties, professionals named inspiring Virtus Awardees

Resilient hotel industry properties Virtus Awardees
Okada Manila and Chroma Hospitality Group lead the 2021 HSMA Virtus Awards winners.

The Philippines’ most resilient hotel industry properties and professionals have been named this year’s inspiring Virtus Awardees for being the beacons of resiliency in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Okada Manila and Chroma Hospitality Group led the 2021 Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) Virtus Awards winners who highlight the travel and tourism industry’s strategies to thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the second straight year resilience champions are being recognized after it was introduced in 2020.

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Luxury integrated resort Okada Manila earned the prestigious Virtus Award for Most Resilient Business – Property with its creative ART (Adapt. Restrategize. Thrive.) business approach after being hit hard by the pandemic.

Part of this approach was also to effectively maximize its participation in e-commerce channels through special monthly online sales on Lazada and Shopee, which served to supplement its direct and OTA bookings.

These efforts, plus their proactive approach in enforcing strict safety standards, have also earned Okada Manila official verification under the Forbes Travel Guide/Sharecare Certification as compliant with all safety requirements. At the time of certification, only 134 properties worldwide were certified, with 17 based in Asia, and only three in the Philippines.

The second special award went to the Chroma Hospitality Group, which was honored the Most Resilient – Hospitality Group Award because of their ability to keep occupancy rate up with their bubble initiatives: first, in Boracay where their tourist bubble provided livelihood to the tourism-dependent island; and in Clark, where their impressive athlete bubble became home to the PBA in September 2020. They were even able to cater to the dietary needs of their clientele, like serving kosher meals for an Israeli team.

The traditional individual awards were handed to Ericka Joy Calamba, Hotel 101 Group’s Sales Executive for MICE, as Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate; Robinsons Hotels and Resorts Group Director of Sales and Marketing Joy de Mesa, Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader; and Alexis John Aquino, former Marketing and Communications Manager of JPark Island Resort & Waterpark Mactan, Cebu, Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager.

The Conrad Hotel Manila was awarded Outstanding Marketing Campaign for their Meetings To Go/Signature Takeaway campaign, which went beyond creating an effective marketing campaign that drove sales and brand equity and became a true innovation that pushed boundaries and helped move the industry forward—all within a limited budget.

Now in its seventh year, the Virtus Awards is organized and given by the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) Philippines to recognize the country’s most outstanding hotel sales and marketing professionals. This year, HSMA decided to roll out special awards to highlight the resiliency of its member properties.

HSMA’s official partners for the Virtus Awards are the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, as well as Atlantis Asia, Conrad Manila, Isentia, Cebu Pacific, Emperador Distillers Inc., Barefoot Wine, and PikNik.

“The Virtus Awards have allowed the HSMA and its outstanding members to move on with a renewed confidence that the light is now getting brighter,” said Rose Libongco, HSMA chair. “Encouraged by the upbeat outcome of HSMA projects, we are conscious of the next steps to keep going and building on achievements. We see it best to remain united and be ahead of the game, be strong and keep the momentum towards developing an emerging future.”

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.