Costabella executive optimistic of hotel industry’s growth

By Victor Anthony V. Silva July 17,2017

AS the hospitality sector in Lapu-Lapu City continues to enjoy tremendous growth, to the point of attracting foreign investors, local players such as Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel are unfazed.

Marita Alvarez-Arambulo, Costabella general manager, said prospects of having international properties built in the city do not bother them.

“It is good for the destination. International properties building in Cebu gives us a stamp of approval, meaning Cebu is a great market. What benefits them also benefits us,” she said during the hotel’s 36th anniversary celebration last week.

Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Chief Hembler Mendoza, in a separate interview, confirmed to Cebu Daily News that there were indeed two international properties that will soon rise in the city, although he was not at the liberty to reveal which companies are behind them yet.

Mendoza said local players will not be affected once these foreign players come in because there is a need for more fast-moving or affordable rooms in Lapu-Lapu City, being positioned as destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (Mice).

Higher-category rooms are not much in demand because of budget constraints among tourists, particularly those who come in large tour groups or are individual tourists, he said.

Two to three years from now, he said the number of rooms in the city was projected to increase by 2,500 to 3,000. The city’s inventory currently stands at 5,000 rooms per night.

For Arambulo, these developments are a sign that things will continue to look up for the city’s tourism industry.

“The last three years were amazing for Cebu. I think everyone in the hospitality industry is very happy with the results. It’s been quite good. We continue to see that there’s really going to be a lot of improvement,” she said.

The same goes for Costabella, which recently celebrated its 36th year last week, honoring its valued partners including CDN as its best media partner for this year.

Arambulo said what makes them different from other properties on Mactan Island is that they are a family-owned and managed hotel.

“The way we run Costabella is the way we would a family. All the employees, we consider a special member of the family. When we welcome our guests, it is like welcoming them to our home,” she said when asked what their secret was to lasting this long in the industry.

More than three decades ago, Costabella started with only 16 rooms, which went up to 32, then 54, and now 156 rooms in total.

The general manager said they started with one pool, but now they have two and have recently added a gym, which was something their guests had always wanted to have at the hotel.

Today, the Japanese dominate Costabella’s market, followed by the Koreans, and then Filipinos, while there are also some Europeans who come every now and then.

Most of their guests are families or couples, while some are individual travelers.

“We noticed that there are a lot more Filipinos that come here, so I guess it shows that our economy is better,” said Arambulo.

In 2016, the hotel enjoyed an 89 percent occupancy rate, which was higher than the average of the whole city at 80 to 86 percent. The average length of stay for guests was two to three nights.

Arambulo said that since they had no available land to expand to, they will, “expand,” in terms of upgrading the facilities and amenities they are offering.

Costabella has set aside P30 million to renovate 60 premier deluxe rooms, which are housed by a nine-year-old high-rise building within the resort.

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