KEEPING in mind the new business realities, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu is tapping the “work with pleasure” market to sustain the hotel business while waiting for the tourism and travel industry to rebound from the lingering whip of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu general manager Bjorn Henning Buth said this new market will temporarily offset the losses from room bookings and augment revenues of the food and beverage business.
Since it reopened in September, Buth has seen a gradual return of clients availing themselves of either the hotel’s work-from-hotel service or staycations. But the former is a new segment that is keeping the business operations alive.
Radisson has set up dedicated work-office stations at the hotel’s lobby to provide professionals a fresher environment to work in after months of being isolated and doing their work duties from their homes.
Buth said the hotel’s food and beverage, and more importantly its fast and stable internet connection are some of the reasons professionals keep going to their place. After working, guests also have the option to enjoy the hotel’s other amenities such as the pool, gym and spa.
“Given the range of amenities and services we provide, we have become flexible in what we offer to our clients,” said Buth, who arrived in Cebu in February to manage the hotel’s operations, a month before Cebu City was placed under the strictest community quarantine status.
According to Buth, Cebu’s hotel performance is no different from that of other Asian countries because they also are being battered by the halt in global travel and tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is no sustainable business as of the moment,” said Buth, referring to the hospitality industry. “For the tourism sector, it’s tough to get people to travel now.”
Buth said local restrictions are also limiting people’s travels even to nearby staycation destinations. In the Philippines, for example, only people from 15 to 65 years old are allowed to go out.
“And many hotels are family hotels like Radisson,” said Buth.
The domestic market contributes about 60 percent of Radisson Cebu’s business operations.
While waiting for big conferences and events to return, the hotel is also focusing on hosting pocket meetings.
With social distancing strictly being observed, Buth said Radisson can be their event venue as they have bigger function rooms.
The hotel also slashed its room rates to significantly help the economy. An P8,000 room rate with breakfast for two is now priced at P5,000.
Buth expects more local guests to book their Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations at Radisson.
“We expect December bookings to pick up as people look for safe environments to celebrate the holiday season,” he said.
Moving forward, Buth said the sector is pinning its hopes on the progress in containing the coronavirus.
“Now there are a lot of question marks. The question on who will give that shotgun that it’s okay to travel again. There’s a lot of shooting in the dark,” said Buth, emphasizing that there has to be a balance between health and economy. “Flights are crucial factors. But what will happen if we open up again?” (KOC)