New business hotel confident Mice will drive growth in hospitality sector

Business.(Business File photo)

A NEW player in the hospitality sector is capitalizing on the growing influx of meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) attendees flocking to the city to attend various events.

“We think that Cebu remains to be a value-for-money destination among leisure and business travelers,” said Vincent Charles Ong, president of Asian Best Venture International Hotel Inc.

His family recently forayed into the hospitality industry by building a 99-room City Pod Hotel, a business hotel located along Don Mariano Cui St., Cebu City.

The hotel opened in October 2023 and has since been attracting guests from neighboring islands who are either attending a conference in Cebu or preparing for licensure examinations. Additionally, the hotel is also getting a good share of leisure tourists as well as those from medical tourism.

According to Ong, their venture into the hotel space reflects the optimism surrounding the resurgence of local Mice tourism in the post-pandemic landscape.

He noted that as businesses and government entities escalate their operations and return to in-person interactions, the new hotel is well-positioned to seize upon the increasing demand for various tourism activities, including Mice.

City Pod Hotel is betting on its prime location and tailored services to attract Mice attendees seeking a seamless blend of productivity and comfort. The hotel is strategically located near government offices, schools, hospitals, convention facilities and tourist attractions.

“What we are offering to guests is the authenticity of our product. We are at the center of everything yet guests can still relish the serene ambiance amid the vibrant pulse of this bustling area,” he said.

Cebu stands to capture major Mice events with the full return of in-person events after the Covid-19 pandemic. Mice events can boost hotel occupancy levels, especially during periods that may otherwise be considered off-peak.

To fully serve this growing market, Ong said they tailored their rooms and facilities to meet the distinctive needs of their guests. One notable feature they implemented is the dual functionality of their bathrooms, enabling guests to concurrently use the toilet and shower facilities.

“The use of toilet and bath is a common concern among guests, especially those joining conferences. What we’ve noticed is that when two guests share a room and have early conference commitments, one often has to wake up earlier for them not to be late. As a new business hotel, we prioritized addressing this issue,” Ong explained.

Besides capturing the Mice attendees from all over the country, Ong said they also aim to attract leisure tourists, capitalizing on the resurgence of global travel and tourism.

In 2023, Central Visayas welcomed 6,126,477 tourists. Of the total, 3,963,680 were domestic tourists and 2,160,708 were foreign tourists.

Asked about the company’s future expansion strategies, Ong said the family owns prime properties on Mactan and Panglao (Bohol) islands, which they intend to develop into resort destinations, to be overseen by established hotel management firms.

“But nothing is final yet. We want to be successful first in this venture,” he said.

Under the Department of Tourism’s Mice Roadmap 2030, the Philippines is targeting to earn some P25 billion in revenue by 2030. It aims to position the Philippines as a leading Mice destination in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East by that year.

The roadmap also targets a rise in the gross value added (GVA) of the Mice industry to P1.4 billion; a lift in the GVA of Mice to 0.01 percent of the gross domestic product; and an improvement in the delegate expenditure per meeting to 19 percent. / KOC


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