Making it big in the hospitality industry

- Estela Banzon-De La Paz () - March 5, 2007 - 12:00am
Much of the success of any business venture hinges mostly on the right business model. It is on this strength that Club Leisure Management Corp. has made a name in the hospitality industry.

Club Leisure currently manages the 189-room first class hotel Camp John Hay Manor and Suites, CAP John Hay Trade and Cultural Center in Baguio as well as the Manila Southwoods Manor for Fil-Estate. It also operates several premier golf and sports clubs like Manila Southwoods, Camp John Hay, Sherwood Hills and Forest Hills. Manila Southwoods is considered as one of the world’s best golf clubs. It is one of the few clubs that has been given a full certification by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary outside of North America, along with Scotland and Spain.

Club Leisure chief operating officer Alberto Q. Avancena said his company’s business model is not just an accident but is a result of his extensive experience as a hotelier here in the Philippines, US and Germany. He has formed a professional team from all aspects of the industry since its inception in 1998.

"In the Philippines, there are cycles, there are highs and lows. A good business strategy must be able to weather the downs and take advantage of the highs," Avancena said.

Citing an example, he said when Baguio was hit by the meningo crisis a few years ago and occupancy rates dropped dramatically, Camp John Hay Manor did not lose a single centavo.

This, he said was due to the efficiencies that he has incorporated in his business model. Although he did not go into specific details, he cited that one of the strengths that he incorporated was the hotel’s energy efficient structure and systems. The savings generated through efficiencies in energy is a huge cut in a hotel’s expenses. Such savings translate to more profits for the company. In fact, he said The Manor won the "Asean Energy Efficiency & Conservation Best Practices Competition for Energy Efficient Buildings" in 2004.

However, such strategies can only work if the company is involved from the start of the project particularly during the planning stages. "If we can come in from the ground up — design to management, we can maximize the benefits for the owners of the property," he said.

He explained that Club Leisure has developed a business strategy that addresses certain aspects of the business that have always been considered problematic like the staff turnover due to very lucrative jobs abroad, costs, operating expenditures and electricity.

Morever, being a Filipino management company, it is able to cut down on unnecessary expenses associated with its international counterparts as well as the "feel" for the local tourism industry.

With its success in the Manor and other properties it is managing, Club Leisure’s vision of being a major player in the country is being fulfilled and with a little more time, Club Leisure might become a formidable player internationally.
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