Delivering a grand guest experience

When the time is right. For Grand Benedicto, diversifying into hospitality was an ideal next step, after succeeding in furniture and cement. (SunStar Photo/Arni Aclao)

SUCCESSFUL hotel owners love creating positive experiences for their guests.

One of the local hotel brands that remains one of Cebu’s favorites is Be, which is owned by the Benedictos, a familiar name in Cebu’s diplomatic corps.

The newly renovated Be Resort Mactan stands tall, competing alongside international hotel chains along the Punta Engaño stretch in Mactan Island. It has also carved a name for itself in the high-end resort segment in Panglao Island, Bohol through Be Grand Resorts.

Instrumental to Be’s success in hospitality is Grand Benedicto, the eldest child of Enrique Benedicto. He is the president of Enrison Holdings Inc. and the honorary consul of Romania.

Benedicto said entering the hospitality industry was a decision that made sense, since they were already into furniture and cement.

“The hotel was like a culmination of all the industries we are in,” he said. Besides Be Resorts, the Benedictos also own Mabuhay Towers in Cebu IT Park, Mabuhay Filcement and Berben Wood Industries Inc.

Benedicto earned a business administration degree from the University of San Carlos. But even without a background in hospitality management, his leadership and business acumen, earned while working for the family’s businesses, made Be a sought-after second home of local and foreign tourists while they are in Cebu and Bohol.

What was your first job?

My first job was with Berben Wood Industries Inc., a furniture export company. I joined the family business right away. The decision to join the family business came naturally. It wasn’t something that I was obliged to do and not something that I didn’t want to do, but it was something that was there already. It was something I expected to do right after college, and maybe something that (my parents) expected, too.

Berben Wood was a good training ground because it was an export-driven company. I was exposed to the complete cycle of business. I practically learned everything there.

Who inspired you to get into business?

I can’t recall if there was one because at that time, we were just thinking about what to do with our properties. It was just a flow of events. We had a beach house back then where the family spent weekends.

Be Resorts Mactan was established 10 years ago. In 2015, we expanded to Bohol and set up the Be Grand Resort in Panglao.

When did you realize this was what you were meant to do?

I think it was not a realization. It’s more of grabbing opportunities. I think it is a good industry to be in, considering how it has grown over the years. I won’t say we came in late, nor did we come too early. I believe we came just right in time, when Cebu’s tourism industry was flourishing and that Cebu and Bohol needed more rooms to accommodate visitors.

I think it is all about timing. Everything has to come into play. The right people have to come in, the property has to be there and the infrastructure should be in place.

Why did you pick this type of business or industry?

Tourism opportunities in Bohol and Cebu are astounding. They both offer different guest experiences. It was a good business move to diversify into hospitality when the family had already carved a name in furniture and cement.

Our venture into tourism was a bit difficult because it was our first. It was a bigger leap, but after learning how to do it, run and operate the hotel, the expansion in Bohol came easier.

Where did you get the training you needed to succeed?

Tourism is a dynamic industry, so we constantly update ourselves with the evolving demands of our guests. Working for the different business units of the family helped me run the resort business well. From time to time, we also participated in tourism shows and exhibitions to capture more of the market and broaden our network. These are important avenues for us to learn and upgrade the things that are new in the industry.

How many times did you fail before you succeeded?

It is not about failing but about rising up after you fail. Failure is relevant; it is part of every entrepreneurial journey. It is part of learning.


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