SERVICED residences is a new concept in the Cebu hospitality trade. This is what Citadines is all about and managing it is Nanette Moreno, a newcomer to Cebu but an old hand in the concept of serviced residences.
Moreno, from Las Piñas, finished Hotel and Restaurant Management at St. Scholastica’s College and afterward, worked with Century Park Hotel at its business center and then moved on to Heritage Hotel as a front office associate. For the past 13 or so years, she has been with Ascott as guest service officer, then guest service manager. She moved up to operations manager, handling guest service and housekeeping and finally she became assistant residence manager. To move up to where she is now, she had to take a one year course—Service Residence Management Training Program—in Ascott in Singapore, which exposed her to all facets of “residences” operation.
A serviced residence, Moreno described, is a serviced apartment which has most of the facilities and services of a hotel. She said: “Most of our clients are long-term. And this becomes their home away from home. We offer them tours. We tell them where to find their special needs like halal food or where to find an Indian grocery in the community if that’s what they need. In the apartment, you can cook your own food and even do your own laundry.“
In Metro Manila, Ascott manages several serviced residences and so Moreno said that every time she was assigned to a different property, it meant for her: “a new environment, new challenge; You never get bored. Every time you move, you can always say yes or no. It keeps me excited to have a new assignment. You learn a lot. Customers are different. For me, it’s always a challenge to work with people you can grow with.”
“[Being assigned to Cebu was] difficult at first because I have a son I had to leave behind. I do have someone to look after him. Fortunately, current technology makes it possible for us to chat every day. It was hard at first but the staff is very friendly. I have been here since February and have been to places. I want to go to all the weekend destinations and look forward to going to Bantayan. I also understand some Cebuano because my roots are from Iloilo and some words are similar.”
Some of the challenges for her in Citadines Cebu?
“Making the people understand the concept of serviced residences and making Cebuanos know that they can get more and be more comfortable in Citadines than being in a hotel.” The difficulty is, of course, maintaining the property and, above all, “delivering the numbers,“ that is, to achieve the target revenues.
Asked why she has continued to be in the hospitality industry, Nanette replied: “I started as a front liner. I meet a lot of people. I interact with different people, different cultures. It’s a continuous learning for me. I enjoy meeting other people who sometimes become my friends.” (S)