LOCAL hoteliers are preparing to secure a foothold in the country’s tourism and travel market by building dedicated hotel brands to compliment the tourism department’s target of 112,921 hotel and resort rooms by 2016 to cater’ to both international and local tourists.
The Philippines is gearing up to be Asia’s top destination, targeting at least 10 million foreign tourists and 35.5 million domestic travelers by 2016, according to the Department of Tourism.
Wilbert Lee, president and chief executive ofﬁcer of the Oriental Hotels and Resorts, believes that the future is bright for entrepreneurs and hoteliers in structuring deals and developing concepts for the ever growing needs of the industry.
Lee said the Oriental Hotels and Resorts. a new brand of hotel chains, stems from a keen insight of understanding the quality of hotel brand that places a high value on service, innovative guest experiences and homey feeling for travelers in the city and resort locations across the Philippines
“It is important for us to have the brand value and service standard. Our vision is to become the premier management for the hotels in the Philippines,” Lee told the BUSINESSMIRROR.
Lee said the hotels present a medley of relaxing resorts, hotels with easy access to exciting attractions, historic settings, fun ﬁlled family programs, adventure trekking, local cultural programs, exquisite shopping, beautiful golf courses and indulgent spa services.
The company, which started to open its chain of hotels in 2011, had set a goal to build and operate 30 hotels by 2017.
At present, Oriental operates Hotel Oriental in Legazpi City, Albay; The Oriental in Leyte; Sylvia Manor Hotel in Bacolod; Swagman Hotel in Bacolod; Swagman Hotel in Manila, and three upcoming properties in Pagsanjan, Iloilo, Bataan and Palau.
Last year this new hotel brand company opened its ﬁrst hotel, the Oriental Legazpi in Albay, which overlooks the majestic Mayon Volcano and has a simple but elegant interior designs in a relaxed and homey environment for leisure and business travelers in the Bicol region. The lovely, elegant 115-room luxury hotel is the former Mayon Imperial Hotel, a premier hotel in Legazpi.
“It takes dedication and inspiration to be able to be successful in the hotel industry. The market is now booming, but consistency in high standard of service in a relaxed residential feel can be challenging,” the 43-year-old Lee said.
For Lee, the true hallmark of great hospitality is continuing the elevation of the hotel’s services and facilities and pampering of guests before, during and after their stay.
Jan Mitchel Gautier, vice president for operations of The Oriental, said aside from offering the panoramic scenic view of the Mayon Volcano, the hotel places much emphasis on being an environment-friendly place.
The Oriental Legazpi, with its white painted color, was designed to make use of available natural light featuring wide doors and windows, as well as glass ceilings to complement the breathtaking views and tasteful decor of the hotel.
Lee added that all of their hotels also use 99—percent LED or light-emitting diode and energy-saving lights. They also have their own sewage-treatment facility that ﬁlters and process waste into eCo-safe water that goes back to other bodies of water.
With the hotel’s charming serenity, dining is elegant and tasteful as it serves local specialties and international dishes.
“All we wanted is to create a ‘home away from home’ environment for our guests. I think this is what hotels are also aiming for to attract more tourists and local travelers“ in the country. And we are challenged to set that high standard at par with quality service,” Lee said.
The Oriental Hotels and Resorts operate under three distinct brands: the Oriental Hotels, the Oriental Resorts and the Oriental Express.
The Oriental Hotels and Resorts’ event facilities are perfectly complemented by stylish guest rooms, trend—setting restaurants and reliable service, while the Oriental Express represents a diversity of options that will appeal to every travel preference as they all offer delightful accommodations at an excellent value. The Oriental Express is economical but also includes amenities such as eat-all-you-can buffet breakfast and free broadband Internet connection.
When asked about tourism potential of the Philippines, Lee said. “In the Philippines everything is natural and that is what tourists enjoy. I think the country will succeed in its aim to lure 10 million tourists by 2016.”
“It’s really more fun in the Philippines. And businessmen like me and other entrepreneurs are challenged to give an enjoyable, high standard, quality service and homey environment for our guests,” Lee said.