‘Domestic guests contributing to our recovery’

Barun Jolly, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria and Holiday Inn Manila Galleria in Manila, Philippines feels positive about the future of hospitality industry

The hotel industry is on its way to recovery globally and the one in the Philippines is no different. In fact, it is witnessing recovery in all market segments though, at present, leisure and small meetings are getting a majority of business in the Southeast Asian nation. Leading the way here are twin IHG assets – Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria and Holiday Inn Manila Galleria – in the Manila Galleria Complex with a total of 545 keys. Located in the heart of Ortigas Business District, the two hotels are ideal for travellers seeking to experience the energetic life in Metro Manila, the seat of the government and one of the three defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines. 

At the helm of affairs at these two properties is General Manager Barun Jolly who says the positioning for the hotels is very different from others. “Holiday Inn is our essentials brand and one of the most recognised ones globally with features like kids eat and stay free. It is a great hotel for families and young travellers. Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, on the other hand, offers one of the largest meeting spaces in Manila and is a great destination for big corporate launches and gala weddings. With best-in-class F&B offerings, Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria is a preferred hotel for guests who want to get maximum out of their stay and enjoy efficient, uncluttered service and beautiful interiors,” says Jolly.  

Driving revenue

F&B drives a huge component of revenues at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria and Holiday Inn Manila Galleria. “With massive meeting spaces and well-recognised F&B outlets, we have a big quantum of revenue coming from restaurants and bars as well as MICE events. While the size of weddings so far has been smaller as compared to the pre-pandemic ones, we anticipate it to get back to the earlier levels by Q4. We can host weddings and events for up to 1,500 people and that drives a lot of business,” he shares.

Domestic traveller vs international guests

“There is no denying the fact that international travel has been severely impacted over last couple of years. However, we are witnessing a major uptake for staycations, especially on weekends and extended holidays. Our direct connectivity to Robinson Galleria Mall, one of the largest in the area, makes us a preferred choice for families on staycations as they can watch a movie, go to kids’ area or indulge in various salon or spa services in the mall connected to hotel,” Jolly informs. He goes on to add that the domestic travellers are contributing to recovery and always have been one of their top geo source. “However, with the opening of international flights now and no quarantine restrictions in Manila, we are anticipating bigger meetings to return. The traditional markets of USA, Canada and Australia are showing signs of recovery already for our hotels,” he says.

Significance of India market 

For Jolly and his team, India has been one of the fastest growing markets over the last four years and is in top 5 geo sources now. “A large quantum of Indian travellers are corporates working for major BPOs in Manila and we have direct contracting with Manila office. We are planning a roadshow in India this July to gain further share as we are sure Indian travellers will love Manila and the Philippines due to Filipino brand of genuine warm hospitality and ease of communication due to English being a commonly spoken language. As we serve Indian food options, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, it make us a big draw for food conscious travellers too,” says Jolly.

Changing travel priorities and recent booking statistics 

The biggest change has been the one in length of stay, shares Jolly. “The average length of stay for both leisure as well as business traveller has increased. Once at a destination or a hotel, guests want to maximise the experience at the location and hence stay longer. The business travellers want to accomplish long due tasks and catch up on as many business partners as they can and tend to stay longer as well. Hence, we ensure that guests have a great dining experience every day through our restaurants and bars, be it alfresco dining and drinking at ‘The Courtyard’ or specialty dining at Xin Tian Di. The varied spread at our all-day dining featuring global cuisines offers something for every palate. Besides this our connectivity to the mall, 24-hour fitness centre and exclusive club lounge provide ample opportunities for both leisure and corporate guests to stay, energise and unwind,” he informs.

Sustainability initiatives

“Sustainability is something that IHG as a company is very passionate about and very strongly supported by our ownership of Robinson Land Corporation. We have taken several measures to reduce our carbon footprint. We have moved to 100 per cent bulk amenities and totally stopped using single use plastic toiletries,” says Jolly. Not this alone, the two hotels have increased the sourcing to good quality local produce, upgraded the heat pumps and is investing on more energy-efficient cooling systems and all lighting is moving towards LED. “We believe we all have to do our best to reduce the carbon footprint and we are totally committed to it,” he says.

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER MAY-JUNE 2022'


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