Gearing up for the holidays

THE first Marco Polo Hotel in the Philippines found its first lady general manager (GM) in Dottie Wurgler-Cronin, a Cebuana with 15 years of hospitality experience.

She worked her way up the corporate ladder from food and beverage manager to director of operations at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel, to general manager at Alegre Hotel in Cebu before accepting her next challenge to move to Davao and manage one of the premier hotels in the city.

She’s been at the helm for more than two years now, and by the looks of it, Marco Polo has never been busier, the coming holiday season most especially.

This will be the lady GM’s third Christmas with the property.

Let’s get to know Dottie Wurgler–Cronin and what Marco Polo has in store in December.

Where do you credit this increase in activity in your hotel?

The robust growth in the business environment in Davao contributes to the increase in business activities for our hotel. Davao City is a top economic performer and has the highest Gross Domestic Product growth in the country at 9.4 percent. The city being the home of our beloved President Rodrigo R. Duterte attracts people to visit the place for various reasons ranging from political purposes to business investment agendas, leisure, and group meetings and conventions.

How is the Davao hotel culture similar to and different from Cebu’s?

The people, staff we find in Davao, are very warm and gracious and ready to please, exactly what the Filipino hospitality culture is. Evident in almost all hospitality places you go to, Cebu is becoming a more cosmopolitan metropolis and the people tend to be transactional though professional and efficient in their dealings with clients, guests and customers.

Davao has many “jewels” to sell to the outside world, as it has not been in the radar of the many tourists that got attracted to visit Cebu. It is now coming out to be a place to explore and visit for new and repeat travelers to the Philippines.

Davao is more exotic and, I believe, a destination that attracts the millennial because of the eco-tourism aspect, and it is clean and orderly for the older generation. The food is fresh and (there is an) abundance of fruits. The diverse culture and heritage of the Filipinos is so rich in Davao region. Cebu has built its name as a tourist destination for over three decades already, and combined with the success in its economic growth, it has been an easier destination to sell for the past 20 years.

Is there an edge to being a woman in the industry?

The nurturing instinct or the intuitive trait of a woman has a significant influence in her decision making, complementing her ability to be logical and firm.

In what direction did you take Marco Polo under “a woman’s leadership?”

As a woman, I lead with my heart and mind combined, like a mother to her children. I lead with a purpose to transform, to grow the business to be sustainable for the Marco Polo Davao family, our stakeholders and the community. Resilient and relentless amid adversities, we engaged our team and focus on our goals.

What would you say are the contributions of a female GM to the hotel?

The concern for details and desire for our associates’ growth to develop and improve their personal lives and professional career.

On a lighter note, Dottie is noticeably a smart and chic dresser. She wears the dark suit required of a GM by day and dons a colored one for hotel-hosted events. On themed nights, she dresses for the occasion: a cheongsam for a Chinese affair, a terno infused with the vibe of a Davao local tribe for a formal soiree or a Chanelesque pink suit accentuated with a tribal accessory for a Davao fete. Dottie does dress up for the occasion. Perhaps to be able to style oneself in the place of work is one of the perks of being a woman. (PR)
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