Freeman Cebu Business

Marriott Cebu to undergo renovation

- Ehda Dagooc -

CEBU, Philippines - As high-occupancy rates is expected to linger a little longer within the year, Cebu City Marriott Hotel gears up for another round of renovations to update its facilities in line with its thrust to lead in the service competency area.

In an interview with Cebu City Marriott Hotel general manager Bruce Winton, he said the hotel already submitted its proposal to the Marriott Cebu’s developer—Ayala Hotels, to start off with at least P10 million worth renovation program, that would enhance the function rooms (ballrooms and meeting rooms), upgrade the hotel’s interior design, furnishings, lighting and video equipment.

Marriott started the renovation of its business center facility to provide updated tools for its guests.

In the next seven days, the hotel is running at a high of 100 percent occupancy rate for its 299 rooms, Winton said.

This January, the hotel’s top three guests include Filipino guests of the domestic market, followed by Americans, and the Koreans.

Aside from being well-known as the premier business hotel in the City, Marriott is also incorporating its interior and service feel to attract not only the corporate and business guests, but also the growing leisure travelers.

Winton, who is also a member of the board of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said that the Queen City of the South, has huge potential to attract the international MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibits) market.

The international hotel brands in Cebu, like Marriott has been promoting the City all around the world, and their presence is helping Cebu create a name in the world.

“Cebu has a nice blend of everything. It’s a colorful place. People that do a variety of things here,” said Winton.

In attracting the international convention market, Winton said Cebu’s hotels and resorts offer world-class facilities and service, although he said that the Cebu’s huge convention facilities needs a little bit of re-investment and “clean-up.”

Last year, Cebu City hotels posted an average of 57 percent occupancy rate, as the hospitality industry was a little bit affected by several intervention factors. However, towards the fourth quarter of 2011, players noted a surge of occupancy rate performance.

Winton is confident that the strong occupancy rate performance experience by Cebu City hotels would continue for the entire year.

Even with the existence of condotels around the City, Winton said international brands like Marriott are not threatened, as customers still prefer to stay in a world-known name due to its strict company policy of corporate guests, such as corporate security audit to check the hotel’s quality and certification, among others.

After the Ayala-developed hotel spent about P300 million for the total renovation of Cebu City Marriott Hotel in 2008, the management is going to beef up its already “world-class” customer service niche, and further enhance its facilities, Winton said.

As an expatriate, he believes that if the Philippines, which he described as “colorful country” will spend more in promoting the country to the world, it can maximize its potential in tourism. “We spend money, to make money.”

Winton began his career as a culinary intern at the Farmington Marriott in Hartford, Connecticut. He has held Director of Restaurants, director of F&B and director of operations positions in eight Marriott properties including among other the London Marriott Grosvenor Square, The Boston Marriott Copley Place, the JW Marriott Washington DC, the Greenbelt Marriott in Maryland suburbs of Washington and the historic Key Bridge in Arlington Virginia. (FREEMAN)

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