Stakeholders’ dialog needed to address concerns on Airbnb — hotel exec

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz January 17,2020 - 04:38 PM

Katherine Angala, Diamond Suites and Residences general manager, shares her views on the accommodation sector in Cebu during the Sinulog celebration. | Diane Savillo

CEBU CITY— While Airbnb do have an impact on hotels occupancy, a hotel executive sees the need to come up with a win-win solution for all those offering accommodations.

Katherine Angala, general manager for Diamond Suites and Residences, admitted that bookings for the Sinulog ‘came a little bit late.’

“Other than that, we are already fully booked since last week. My take is that we have to be competitive in rates and offerings,” said Angala in an interview.

As far as Diamond Suites had been concerned, they had come up with several rate packages to meet the requirements of different market segments, she said. 

“We have different rates now. For those we gave discounts, they don’t get freebies…We gave options,” she said.

Diamond Suites also offers a Sinulog-like atmosphere through Sinulog dancers and drum beaters from Friday to Sunday.

Aside from these, those who would like to have a taste of barbecue food need not go far because they have their own Sugbahan sa Diamond Suites that will serve favorite barbecue food.

Read more: Cebu hotels report drop in Sinulog-related bookings; occupancy rate at 50-60%

She said that Sinulog season, which is Cebu’s biggest festival, is considered a peak season.

During peak seasons, rates usually increase because of the huge demand, said Angala. 

She noted that even airfares increase during peak season.

“It’s also understandable that we have this peak (season) because this is the only time that hotels are busy,” Angala said. 

“All over the world, there is always a peak and a lean (season). The (law of) supply and demand applies.”

Read more: Cebu City mayor wants DTI to investigate Cebu hotels on overpricing

Also, Diamond Suites, which cater to the corporate market such as business travelers and functions, could not get much business from this market segment during the Sinulog, she said.

Angala also explained that having accommodations other than those offered by hotels and resorts would be good for the tourism because these would give options for travelers.

Read more: While Cebu City hotels’ occupancy drops, those on Mactan are full booked

However, while there’s free trade, regulations or monitoring should be applied to all those engaged in providing accommodation, including Airbnb, Angala said.

“Hotels and resorts are being regulated. The regulations include requirements for accommodations to serve persons with disability,” she said. 

She added that for a certain number of rooms, hotels were required to have a room with facilities designed for persons with disabilities.

She then encouraged the Department of Tourism to gather all stakeholders in the accommodation sector in a dialog to address the concerns of hotels and other stakeholders and to ensure that standards would be followed.

A dialog would serve as a good venue for the participants to air their concerns and get their opinions, she added. 

Angala noted the need for a concerted effort among all stakeholders to benefit everyone concerned.

“We should help each other. It might be to regulate, probably to give us statistics on why they’re  (tourists) coming in a little bit late,” she said./dbs

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TAGS: Diamond Suites, hotel, Sinulog Festival

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