Philippines’ stakeholders ready to meet new Chinese needs

Island properties with a good mix of meeting facilities and leisure opportunities are expected to be a hit with the Chinese; El Nido in Palawan pictured

Island properties that front the sand and sea, and have ample meeting spaces with highly-digitalised facilities will be the order of the day when Chinese and regional corporate groups return to Philippines, predict stakeholders in the destination’s business events sector.

Brian Connelly, general manager of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, told TTGmice: “The islands will be first to benefit from the initial inbound (wave of) regional corporates, particularly those which (corporates know about and have had good experiences at).”

Resorts with a good mix of meeting facilities and leisure opportunities are expected to be a hit with the Chinese; El Nido in Palawan pictured

Connelly added that “planners will also look for venues with outdoor spaces” to ensure that the daily programme will not be confined to an “enclosed function room”. He also opined that most meetings will have a “digital component” tagged to it.

In anticipation, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu has updated its digital systems, spruced up its outdoor venues, and renovated its premier rooms.

Similarly predicting that the Chinese will be interested in resort environments with digitalised meeting facilities, the Bluewater Sumilon Resort in Oslob, south of Cebu, “has repurposed an area where meetings can be held in its natural settings”, shared Bluewater Resorts’ vice president sales and marketing, Margie F Munsayac.

Other trends she has noticed include smaller group sizes due to health and safety protocols, as well as the mixing of business with leisure when travelling in the future.

Munsayac also revealed some “very promising MICE prospects”, where companies are exploring staff incentives that benefit the whole family.

“After a long hiatus (of being stuck indoors), people want to get out (and head to) the best beaches in destinations such as Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan,” pointed out Carmela Bocanegra, Chroma Hospitality vice president sales and marketing.

Chroma’s properties, she said, have “strong and stable telecommunications and internet access to conduct MICE events”. Chroma also has rolled out a Sales Travel Concierge that can assist confirmed guests with additional pandemic requirements such as a Covid-19 swab test and QR codes for health certificates.

Meanwhile, Mike Perez, operations manager of 365 Wonders Booking Reservations Service, is pitching the white sands of Calatagan in Batangas to corporate groups from China.

“They love the beach and Calatagan, just a few hours drive from Manila, is a mini-Boracay with ample choice of resorts for bleisure,” he said.

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