Texts and photos by Marinel Peroy
Amidst the economic recovery from the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines has been heading toward a steady recovery. However, significant efforts of progress must have momentum in both the tourism and hospitality industries. While it is true that restaurants as well as the food and beverage sector in the hotels continue to perform greatly this 2023, the ever-evolving landscape of the industries needs to adapt to technology, sustainability, and personalized experiences for their beloved guests.
Being at the forefront of this multifaceted vision, the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) Executive Director Benito Bengzon describes their efforts as a “trailblazer, innovator, and consensus-builder” in the private sector. Encompassing plans toward building competitively-edge and sustainable growth, there is a target of having upgraded facilities and projects in the pipeline —- with around 48 new hotel projects with 15,000 rooms to be built from 2023 to 2028.
Guest-Centricity: Intersection of Innovation & Personalization
During the recent year-end industry media briefing held at the Park Inn by Radisson North EDSA in Quezon City, ED Bengzon mentioned that a new wave of transformation across hotels is being redefined for guests to experience their own preferences. Some key factors driving this change to entice more customers include the incorporation of hyper-personalization through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics, commitment to eco-friendly practices, optimization of having more open spaces as well as co-living options, availability of spaces that seamlessly integrate both work and leisure, and an increased reliance on technology for contactless and digital experiences.
Speaking with THEPHILBIZNEWS, Bengzon noted however that as hotels are leveraging with AI to provide a level of service beyond the conventional, they are still particular with handling data privacy to protect the guests.
“We will observe the provisions of the data privacy law — that’s a given already. We have to make sure that there is no leak of personal information. What is important here is that we get a sense of the kind of experience that they are looking for so that we can customize and personalize their experience,” ED Bengzon stated.
Highlighting on how they aim for the guests to create their own memorable experiences and leave a lasting impression be it by having more culturally inclusive activities or tailored food preferences, ED Bengson said that “we don’t want [the negative effects of AI] to be a deal breaker.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism shared that there were around 4.63 million international visitors from January to October 2023, generating about 404.03 billion pesos. Further to how the air connectivity can accelerate the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry in the Philippines, it is also acknowledged that the identified key markets come from these top 10 countries are South Korea, the USA, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, UK, Singapore, and Malaysia.
As consumer preferences undergo dynamic shifts, the hospitality industry in the Philippines needs to continuously adapt. Sustainable tourism, for instance, allows travelers to invest in unique and eco-conscious experiences. A heightened appreciation for local traditions and historic elements is also re-shaping the ambiance of accommodations; whereas, having wellness advocacy with outdoor activities and serving local, healthy, and organic food and beverage options reflect a more personalized and socially responsible future catering these preferences for a more holistic approach.
The PHOA Executive further noted, “The trust of PHOA strengthens its network with both the government and the private sector. We build more bridges, to strengthen our relationships, and to better explain our advocacies in the association.”
PHOA is a reputable organization representing the collective voice of hotel owners across the country. With a strong commitment to excellence and development in the hotel industry, PHOA plays a crucial role in fostering growth, supporting its members, and promoting tourism in the Philippines.
“Indeed, to make the Philippine tourism and hospitality industry more competitive, PHOA positions the country to be at the forefront of global hospitality trends whilst catering to these dynamic consumer preferences through prolific ways and strategies”, Bengzon concluded.