Marriott to refurbish hotel starting this year, says GM

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Monday, February 10, 2014


CEBU City Marriott Hotel is fast-tracking its renovation plans amid increased competition from new hotels in the city.

General manager Patrick Carroll announced that the Ayala-led hotel will embark on a refurbishment program starting in the fourth quarter this year until 2015 to keep up with the competition in the market.

“We are planning to extend the lounge area, improve more our food and beverage as well as renovate the 299 rooms by next year,” said Carroll.

“There is a lot of competition in the market; the need to refurbish and upgrade is (important) to keep up with new properties in terms of guest experiences and what the hotel offers,” he added. “We want to be known as a brilliant host to guests.”

Re-branding

Carroll said among those planned is the installation of environment-friendly and energy-efficient facilities in rooms. The hotel will also embark on a re-branding program. He said that product upgrade is one of the best practices in the hotel industry to ensure that the facility remains a top product.

The hotel last upgraded its facilities in 2008.
Carroll said he has yet to know the total investment needed for the renovation as planning is still ongoing.

Aside from room renovation, the hotel is also increasing its presence online.
Instead of handing out papers for customer surveys, Carroll said, they will make it available in smartphones.

“Everything is a lot newer in this young travel market. They are more-tech savvy; they are vocal and they use the social networking sites to voice out their comments. If you want to keep your shape in the market and remain competitive, then we need to adapt to these new trends to stay relevant,” he said.

The hotel ended 2013 with 70 percent occupancy driven by the domestic market, followed by Korea and the USA.

And like other players in the city, the hotel, according to Carroll is also struggling to get the occupancy back to its normalcy, after the twin calamities affected tourism last year.

“It took a dip but it slowly recovered. The influx of foreign aid volunteers and transient guests offset our losses from postponement and cancellation of confirmed guests,” he said.

Cebu and Bohol were hit by a 7.2 M earthquake in October. The north of Cebu suffered from a huge destruction by super typhoon Yolanda in November.

Market Cebu

But while the tourism sector is now slowly recovering, Carroll reiterated the call of tourism stakeholders to government to double the effort in promoting Cebu to the travel market.

“The uncertainty of travelers about the Philippines is still there. Although, Cebu isn’t that much affected compared to those hard-hit areas by the typhoon, the travel market is getting the message that the whole Philippines is affected,” said Carroll.

“We need to get the message out that not the whole of Cebu is devastated,” he said.

Carroll pointed out that they have been constantly updating with the Marriott Hotel network of the improvements in Cebu so they could re-energize and bring the market back.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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