Hotel group prexy cites growing ‘hotelversities’ trend in PH

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |June 18,2018 - 10:15 PM

Christin Urbanozo-Ibarreta, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association president, discusses new trends in the hospitality industry during June 14’s Tourism Innovation Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

ACADEME, hoteliers and people involved in the tourism industry are trying to come up with efficient ways to deliver premium hospitality.

Christin Ibarreta, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) president, said this as she cited the growth of “hotelversities” in the country.

“The academe is one of the driving forces for bringing about development. We now have ‘hotelversities’ which is a combination of a hotel and an university. It is a trend we see growing in the next few years,” said Ibarreta during last Thursday;s Tourism Innovation Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

She cited as an example the Dusit Hospitality Management in Manila which is the first hotel integrated school in the country.

As to whether or not these hotelversities are better than traditional hospitality schools, she said it still remains to be seen.

Other technology-borne innovations in the hospitality industry, according to Ibarreta, are hotel and travel apps, robots in front desks, online booking, and artificial intelligence among others.

Ibarreta, who is also the director of sales and marketing of Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila, said the industry had been seeing a rising number of silver-haired tourists who, she said, had the money and time to spend.

These tourists come mostly from countries like Japan, China, India, and the United States.

At the same time, she said the younger tourists, who are more tech savvy and have growing spending capacities, would also be a market that the hospitality industry could take advantage of.

As to robotics, she cited a partnership between IBM and Hilton which developed a robot named “Connie” which stays at the front desk and answers some frequently asked questions by guests.

She, however, emphasized that even with technological advancements it would be important to train people in the industry.

She said gadgets and technology are just there to enhance the experience.

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