By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE occupancy rates in hotels are expected to surge as consumer spending increases ahead of the holiday season, according to a local industry association.   

“We’re very confident about the fourth quarter… People love to spend during Christmas. Even if they don’t have all the money in the world to spend, they will definitely stay in a hotel even for one night,” said Loleth G. So, president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) for the Philippines, in a press conference on Thursday.

“Last year, we did 82% average occupancy. We’re confident that we will even be better this year because the country is now open,” she added.   

Ms. So, also Megaworld Hotels and Resorts area director of sales and marketing, said the current hotel occupancy rate has improved compared with pre-pandemic levels.   

She added that domestic tourists account for 80% of hotel occupants, while foreigners make up the remaining 20%.   

“Pre-pandemic, occupancy was running at about 65% to 75%. Right now, our average occupancy year to date, we are already running at 72-78% occupancy. The good thing is, as compared to 2019, average rate is higher. The higher the average occupancy, the higher the revenues,” Ms. So said.   

“Because the average [hotel] rate is about 8-10% higher, automatically the impact of that revenue-wise is far larger,” she added.   

For 2023, the Tourism department is aiming to log 4.8 million international arrivals, higher than the 2.65 million foreign visitor arrivals last year.    

Ms. So said the length of stay in hotels has been prolonged, signaling the recovery of the industry.   

“The length of stay from January to March was one to two days. Now, it has actually increased to 3.2 to 3.5 days. It is now longer,” Ms. So said.    

In the same event, HSMA announced that it will have its first Hospital Summit on Oct. 12 at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City. The event will be open to HSMA members and nonmembers.   

The summit will feature topics such as recovery in the hospitality industry, developing globally competitive Filipino hoteliers, and consumer behavior and brand management in the digital age.

“We look forward to hosting this exciting summit to equip our sales and marketing leaders with the skills required to manage the demands of our constantly changing [hotel] industry,” Ms. So said.   

“As we continue on our road to recovery, it is through these kinds of events that we can gain critical insights to improve our travel, tourism, and hospitality as a whole and make it more competitive,” she added.   

HSMA, established in 1979, is an organization representing hotel sales and marketing leaders.