OUTSTANDING marketing professionals from the hospitality industry were honored on Oct. 14 at Conrad Manila at the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association’s (HSMA) Virtus Awards. The organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

There were four awards given: Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate, Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager, Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader, and an award for Outstanding Marketing Campaign. The winners are as follows: Rigil Kent V. Acapulco, Event Sales Manager at The Bellevue Manila and Ian Bencio David, Sales Executive for MICE at the Conrad Manila tied for the Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate Award. Marvia Jelizha Villarin, Sales Manager at The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts, took home the award for Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager, while Evangeline A. Imperial, Director of Sales and Marketing of Solaire Resort Manila, won the award for Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader. Finally, “Passionately Pink” by Crimson Hotel Filinvest City Manila and Taal Vista’s 80th Anniversary campaign, “Here for Always,” tied for the Outstanding Marketing Campaign Award.

Rose Libongco, current chair of the Virtus Awards, told BusinessWorld what it meant for a property when their associates win at the awards. “It means that they are able to nurture their associates. Outstanding associates only come from a good, organized property.”

One might have several ideas about what it takes to run a hotel: is it excellent rooms, excellent food, or excellent staff? Ms. Libongco makes it clear: “Sales and marketing is the lifeblood of the hotel. No sales and marketing, no one to serve; no one to enjoy your facilities, or your food and beverage. Sales and marketing is the center of the hotel. Operations support it. Sales and marketing brings the people into the property. It’s up to operations and services to keep them.” — J.L. Garcia