Have a safe thrift!
There is an assumption that man is inherently selfish, and that we have a strong nature to compete against one another. This notion, however, has been proven erroneous as people tend to come together in dire straits. In the Philippines, there is what we call bayanihan or otherwise known as communal unity. The pandemic has brought about health risks and economic ruin, challenging our very lives. And yet, the adversities we face today also prove that kindness and cooperation reign no matter what.
The travel industry, one of the hardest hit by the COVID health crisis, is a perfect example that Filipinos will always help one another. Roughly 4.8 million tourism workers have been displaced, many of whom have either had their salaries cut or lost their jobs altogether. This is an alarming fact, especially considering that the tourism sector contributes to 12.7 percent of the Philippine economy.
As their effort to revive tourism and encourage Filipinos to explore local destinations, the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) brought back one of last year’s biggest travel sales, the September Online Sale (SOS).
The inaugural SOS held in 2020 was one of the many projects initiated by the local hotel association to address the ongoing health emergency. Around 2,000 vouchers were sold last year, which brought in the much-needed revenue for the participating establishment’s operations, allowing millions of Filipinos to keep their livelihood.
This year, 80 hotels and resorts from all over the country have participated, offering discounts of as much as 70 percent off. These deals are sold in e-vouchers redeemable throughout the year from the date of the coupon’s purchase. Redemption can be extended upon request. Promos encompass more than hundreds of accommodations and/or food and beverage packages from key destinations within Metro Manila and everywhere in the Philippines, including Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Ortigas, Pasig, Quezon City, Makati, BGC, Alabang, Cavite, Laguna, Bataan, Clark, Ilocos, Baguio, Boracay, Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, and Davao.
‘This is our chance to extend a helping hand to the travel sector, so that they may regain their footing and continue serving the Filipino people through essential quarantine accommodations and leisure services’
“From a 15-day event, we’ve planned a month-long travel mart,” says HSMA president and area director of sales and marketing for Bayleaf Hotels, Benjie Martinez. He discloses that ancillary services of the properties, such as restaurants, bars, banquet packages, spa, gym and pool, and other facilities of the hotel, are also included in this year’s campaign, making SOS more thrilling and inviting.
“This is our chance to extend a helping hand to the travel sector, so that they may regain their footing and continue serving the Filipino people through essential quarantine accommodations and leisure services,” says the HSMA board chair and vice president of sales and marketing for Bluewater Resorts, Margie Munsayac. “This is also a kind of victory over the pandemic, that we are seizing the opportunity to rediscover and reconnect with the beauty of our country.”
By boosting public confidence and driving travel anticipation, SOS aims to contribute to the momentum of local tourism recovery. Inoculation of the Philippine public and workers from the country’s key tourism destinations is the first step to strengthen this drive. In line with this, it is worth noting that HSMA has achieved 98 percent compliance with approximately 15,354 hotel employees from 125 member hotels and resorts around the Philippines.
DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat stressed how inoculation of tourism frontliners would be a key factor in reopening the industry and restoring the public’s confidence to travel, translating to higher socio-economic activities and boosting our recovery prospects. “I call for public and private entities to practice the bayanihan spirit in furthering the vaccination of our tourism workers,” she says.
HSMA vice president Loleth So affirms that their collaboration with local government leaders, the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) led by the Metro Manila Council, would lead to the association’s member-properties to achieve 100-percent vaccination rate in the coming months.
The annual sale also adheres to the DOT’s campaign “Have a Safe Trip, Pinas,” which reminds tourists and travel workers alike to follow health protocols.
HSMA director for programs and commercial director for Conrad Manila Michael Albaña adds that the pandemic has brought out the best and the inner hero in each of us. “Through the spirit of bayanihan, we are able to stand behind and support each other to survive. We have demonstrated what Filipinos can do. Together, we can look forward to traveling again and experiencing the Philippines soon,” he says.
“HSMA has always been at the forefront of helping the hotel industry and with SOS, we will continue to strive and ensure that marketing efforts for our hotels are still happening despite the current very challenging situation,” explains HSMA director of public relations and vice president for sales and marketing of Chroma Hospitality Carmela Bocanegra.
SOS is presented in partnership with the DOT, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), Atlantis, Isentia, with Cebu Pacific as airline partner. Together, these groups are not just making travel possible again for Filipinos who deserve a break from the pandemic, but also creating an avenue for resorts and hotels across the country to survive the challenging months to come.
Check out HSMA’s website via hsma.org.ph/sos, for the promos. Hurry, because the sale is until Oct. 15, Friday, only. facebook.com/HSMAPH | @HSMAPhilippines