Going beyond hotel service-A A +A
Sunday, September 16, 2012
OMNIBUS clouds may have loomed over the Waterfront Insular Hotel in the past years but not overpowering the silver lining in the management's eyes.
With optimism brightly lit, general manager Rouel Guanzon believes the volatile economic situation is merely a matter of perspective. He is pulling out all the stops to kick up a magical storm at Davao's landmark hotel.
A popular favorite by Dabawenyos and travelers since it was established by a group of investors led by the Ayalas on Sept. 1, 1961, the hotel was originally named Islandia Hotel. In 1962, its name was changed to Ej Davao Insular Hotel by Don Enrique and Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala. The name Davao Insular Hotel Inter-Continental Inn was adopted in 1980. When the owners took over the management in 1991 from the Intercon Management, its hotel name was changed to Insular Hotel Davao. It later became Insular Century Davao when the Century Hotel took over the management from 1994 to 1998, before the Gatchalians took ownership of the property.
Guanzon, who took the helm of the Gatchalian-owned hotel in late 2011, is a man with a vision - "to relive and reclaim the grandeur of Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao as a hotel of choice and the pioneering hotel in Davao City which is an icon of rich and cultural heritage."
Bucking the trend of the hotel industry, Guanzon, true to his entrepreneurial management spirit, cites innovation as the current key strategy for the hotel.
The need for innovations is driven by the ideals of hard work and keeping customers and clients satisfied and happy, he said.
Notably, there has been an upgrading of menu in all the hotel food outlets like Cafe Uno, La Parilla Grill, Pirata Bar, Pizzaiolo and Vinta Bar.
"Guests will surely savor in the new entries like our very own yogurts that will be part of our new breakfast servings," he added.
The once "dull" lobby has lighted up with a grand piano that provides entertainment to guests from 3 to 6 pm daily.
The crowd-drawer Pizzaiolo, which serves one of the best pizzas in town, is now the venue of "English Afternoon Treats" -- an afternoon merienda buffet from 3 to 5 p.m. Soon, Guanzon said, Pizzaiolo will have new flavors plus burgers, and nearby residents can have their favorite pizza delivered right to their doorsteps.
The newly launched Chef Grill's Best Barbeque Buffet by the poolside has attracted weekenders from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
"With the reinvention of Vinta Bar yet to come, we have so far been receiving good reviews for the many innovations and `firsts' that we have introduced," said Guanzon, whose career in the hotel industry spans more than two decades.
Speaking of firsts, the hotel has instituted what they call Waterfront Recipe Guide System (WRGS), a software on flat screen monitor at the hotel's main kitchen that provides standard menu info for all its chefs to ensure that the taste of all foods served by all Waterfront property hotels are the same.
With the hotel's branding, Waterfront isn't one that is lost in the tower of its growth. It has vigorously implemented social responsibility projects and partnerships with non-government organizations like the House of Hope--a center at the Southern Philippines Medical Center that houses kids with cancer. Apart from the annual joy giving to children fighting against the Big C, Guanzon said they have put up a wishing "well" at the al fresco area between the lobby and Vinta Bar. Coin(s) dropped in exchange for a wish will go to the beneficiaries of House of Hope.
Passion drives Guanzon's way and his team to make Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao rise high.
With the hotel's tranquil location amidst a well-manicured landscape and serene blue waters of Davao, breathtaking view of Davao Gulf and Samal Island, it will continue to be a second home not only to tourists and Dabawenyos and their families, but also a choice for business travelers.
"We are not a resort but we have a beach, a choice for special celebrations," he said.
The hotel's offerings to guests go beyond service, it is also taking pride in creating opportunities and strategies to understand their needs and tastes, and focus on them.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 17, 2012.