HOTEL WEDDINGS PHILSTAR
HOSPITALITY-INDUSTRY professionals are calling on the government to relax its restrictions on events like weddings, noting that hosting such events would help offset the poor rates the industry is currently charging.
The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) organization said facilities like hotels will need additional revenue streams to survive the lockdown.
“The occupancy rate in some hotels may be high, but this should not be interpreted as a (positive) situation. The prices extended to this market segment are well below the usual price – some are almost balanced, ”said the group in a letter to the tourism department on Saturday.
“The total revenue generated may be just enough to cover the operating costs of the hotels and pay our employees’ salaries,” said the group.
The government currently allows restaurants and other venues within the hotel premises to host such events, subject to restrictions, although stand-alone venues and hotels used as quarantine facilities may not. Venues where events are allowed to take place are limited to activities such as workshops, seminars and trade shows with a capacity of up to 30%.
Hotels are suffering from the loss of business due to the quarantine, with the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, which announced a temporary closure from this month, being the most famous victim to date.
HSMA proposed health and safety guidelines to make it easier to hold other events, including separating quarantined guests from event guests via separate access to public areas, elevators, and entrances.
HSMA also said many venues have large spaces that would allow for physical distancing.
The World Health Organization said last year that organizers of small public gatherings should advise guests of precautionary measures, choosing outdoor areas where possible, minimizing crowds by staggering arrivals, and providing toiletries.
“Canceling a planned event is an option that should always be considered, especially in the case of non-material events or when precautionary measures cannot be implemented or adequately communicated,” it said.
HSMA members represent 150 hotels. – – Jenina P. Ibañez