Hotel exec sees favorable year

By: Boboi Costas July 03,2015 - 12:56 PM

Hotel executive Julie Najar looks forward to a favorable year for Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and the entire hotel industry.

Cebu will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings starting August and the International Eucharistic Congress next year.

“This year looks good. So many things are happening for Cebu. Because of that, there’s lots of travel. There’s lots of opportunities for Cebu,” said Najar, Marco Polo general manager.

She said the international meetings will highlight the Cebuanos’ hospitality and showcase Cebu’s product offerings.

Marco Polo is preparing for the events by upgrading its ballroom and renovating 101 rooms and  suites.

Najar doesn’t want to rest her laurels on the hotel’s award-winning culinary reputation.

“We always bring out the best from our kitchen,” she said.

The hotel holds in-house competitions “to give the chefs space to innovate.”

Najar has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree from St. Paul College, Quezon City and trained in Cornell University New York and Nanyang Singapore.

She has been with Marco Polo for nine years, but took the helm only last December.

As president of the 60-member Hotel and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC), Najar is lobbying for other hotels to adopt the business model that Marco Polo developed in 2012.

The green business model, developed with the help of the German Development Services (GTZ) and the Department of Trade and Industry, involves initiatives in waste management, water conservation and energy conservation.

“It saves money and we want to help conserve the resources in Cebu. By recycling our waste, by helping segregate at source, we are helping the city government as well,” she said.

The innovation extends to the hotel’s brand, reputation management, operations and the challenges that the hotel industry faces.

“Cebu is the same community. Cebuanos go around. So there must be something new for them,” she said.

As a hotel industry veteran, Najar listens to and observes the market.

“Flexibility is a big word we always have here,” she said. To attract the millenials, for instance, Marco Polo developed an app and created a team that addresses queries on Facebook 24/7, she added.
On AirBnB, a website for people to rent out lodging, Najar said this is an opportunity rather than a threat.

“This is a trend. They may not get a hundred percent booking, but people will look at it. It’s for us to study to see how it is received by the market. We will be there and that will be under the microscope,” she said.

Cebu will also come under scrutiny when it holds international events. Can Cebu meet the expectations of discerning travelers?

“Cebu is so diversified. It has everything to offer. We have direct flights. It is easier to go around. There’s accommodation, plenty of things to do and there’s conference space. You can run a business efficiently while here. It is relaxing, soothing, and I feel safer here,” she said.

“That’s why I’m positive for 2015,” she added.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Hotel exec sees favorable year, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.