The ‘innovision’ behind some of Manila’s most loved concept hotels and serviced residences - Tuesday, 05 May 2015
Pacquiao praised by Palace, Binay despite loss, but disappointed Pinoys cry foul - Monday, 04 May 2015
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 00:00 Published in Life Style
When one talks about the hospitality industry, big name players are the first to come to mind. They dominate the scene not just in terms of location of their properties but also in terms of numbers of their rooms and staff. But a group of concept hotels and serviced residences are making waves lately, and are slowly gaining recognition for the distinct experiences and more personalized service they offer.
Behind these new players is a hotel and property management company with a vision to break new ground in the industry — Hospitality Innovators Inc. or HII. Founded only 15 years ago but already a leading figure in the field, HII produces design and experience-grounded properties that rely on their unique character and top-class service to deliver unforgettable and delightful stays.
At the core of HII is its drive to transform ordinary properties into concept spaces that distinguish them in the market. With the expertise brought by its team of seasoned industry folks, HII is able to fully tap into each property’s potential and, combined by its service and operations know-how, make profitable businesses for its partners and create exciting destinations for guests.
“The big property players are now getting into the hospitality space and the reality is that there are smaller guys who also want in. What HII does is partner with these small independents and equips them with our “innovision” to help create distinct concepts that delight guests and make them want to come back,” says HII founder and chief executive officer Luis Monserrat. “The one-of-kind appeal and first-rate services that we develop for them, lead to each property’s unique and satisfactory brand of experience which allows them to ably compete.”
According to Monserrat, the idea of banking on creating distinct personalities for the properties stems from the fact that they are going against the “Goliaths” and should carry a clear differentiation for the market to take notice.
“This is what we offer hotel and property developers who want to get into the lodging space — the impressive combination of a unique concept and great service, which can enhance the value of assets and create attractive returns,” he says.
Leading the HII roster is The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences in Salcedo Village, Makati, which flourishes with its creative and classy design fitting its namesake artist. According to Monserrat, Picasso was transformed into the spacious and stylish serviced residence that it is now after he reimagined it with architect Dom Galicia.
“We got Picasso after it was entrusted to us by a partner who liked what we did with their first property. Picasso was initially an apartment building but we reconceptualized it to become a serviced residence with walls and rooms that speak of art. When it was time to think of a name for the property, we went back to its core, what it was about, which is transformation. Dom suggested that no other artist better embodies transformation than Pablo Picasso. And that’s how the property got its name,” Monserrat shares.
HII also manages both branches of The Henry Hotel: The Henry Cebu, which features 38 rooms each uniquely filled with art collectibles around the world, including those of French designer Delphine de Lorme; and the newly-opened The Henry Manila, which exhibits a nostalgic appeal with its five post-war style houses with rooms adorned with modern vintage furnishings.
Also in HII’s portfolio are two new properties in Makati: the Y2 Residence Hotel which offers a zen-like feel with its Oriental design that epitomizes balance and harmony, and the KL Tower Serviced Residences which is characterized by clean architectural lines that exude modern and sophisticated style. It is also noteworthy that the company pioneered the concept of condormitels, an idea that’s currently gaining ground. The company presently operates two such properties in the University Belt Manila area and is currently exploring similar other properties.
HII also takes great pride in the exceptional service it extends to guests, which Monserrat believes is crucial to their properties’ success.
“Having attractive and interesting properties is one thing, but what really marks the HII brand is the bespoke hospitality we give each of our guests. We go beyond the standard by making all guests feel that they are truly looked after and cared for, so they feel right at home every time,” Monserrat stresses.
This approach has allowed HII properties to consistently generate higher occupancy rates than the industry average. It is also the recipe behind all the awards that its properties have received from major travel websites, where HII properties have reaped glowing reviews and feedback from impressed guests. Among these are Picasso’s TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014, and consistent rank, along with Y2 Residence Hotel, in TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Hotels in Makati. Also in the winners’ mix is The Exchange Regency Residence Hotel in Ortigas, Winner in the Agoda Gold Circle Awards 2014, the Azumi Boutique Hotel and Parque España Residence Hotel, which are both in Alabang and were given the 2014 Award of Excellence by Booking.com. HII has also established its solid repute in the South as The Henry Cebu consistently ranks among the top three hotels in Cebu according to TripAdvisor.
Monserrat adds that HII will continue to commit to consistency and a high standard for its concepts and services to keep guests, partners, and employees satisfied.
“We want HII to stand for exceptional creativity and a distinct brand of hospitality. HII is just beginning to redefine the industry, and we’ll continue to do so with concepts that entice and excite and by extending service that guests will want to come back to,” Monserrat concludes.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) plans to revive the money ban this time with the required legislative measure to back it up after the Supreme Court shot down the restriction saying it needed an enacting law.
Acting Comelec Chairman Christian Robert Lim said the reintroduction of the measure is among the efforts the poll body is pur-suing to counter vote-buying and vote-selling in the elections next year.
The Comelec introduced the “money ban” before the 2013 midterm polls but the high court disallowed it.
“The SC said in its ruling that it (money ban) needs an act of the legislature,” he said.
Under Comelec Resolution 9688, can-didates were prohi-bited from withdrawing over P100,000 per day as well as transfer more than P500,000 six days prior to election day.
Lim said that the problem of vote-buying and vote-selling is a cultural issue which can be stopped through the cooperation of the public.
“The issue of vote-selling and vote-buying is not just an issue of enforcement. It is really a cultural issue. If the public refuses to sell their votes, there would be no vote-buying,” Lim said.
Lim said the Comelec will also depend on other stakeholders during the polls such as the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), to help them in their effort to fight the culture of vote-buying and vote-selling.
“It should also be from a (voter’s) education level and the PPCRV can help educate the people about the evils of vote-buying,” Lim said.
Earlier, the group launched the One Good Vote (OGV) campaign, a “community-based” voters’ education program against vote-buying and vote-selling.
PPCRV is a poll watchdog group backed by the Catholic Church. It has been accredited citizens’ arm for the May 2016 polls by the Comelec.
The Comelec is also looking at two options to automate the 2016 national and local elections.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the Commission en banc is considering to hold a public bidding for the refurbishment of the 81,000 PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines or to conduct public bidding for new Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines.
“The Comelec is considering to bid out the refurbishment contract, but at the same time we are also looking at the possibility of just procuring new machines,” he said.
“We just narrowed it down to these two major options that would require a bidding either way,” he said.
He noted that there is still enough time to hold an auction for the repair and refurbishment of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
“The bidding will take a little over a month or almost two months,” he said.
On the other hand, Jimenez said that in case the Comelec decides to bid for new machines, they are looking to acquire some 63,000 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines.
“It will be 23,000 on the bidding that is ongoing plus a new bidding for 63,000... I think we are still within budget coming from our savings,” he said.
The Comelec bids and awards committee (BAC) is conducting post-qualification evaluation of the bid for the lease of the 23,000 OMR machines for the 2016 polls with Smartmatic-TIM.
However, Jimenez cannot give a date on when the commission will come up with a final decision since they are still deliberating on the issue.
With this, the Comelec has discarded the possibility of conducting manual elections next year.
“The commission en banc specifically said that we will automate. The Comelec is determined to automate the elections and the manual elections is not being considered for now,” he said.
The poll body has to come up with alternative plans after the Supreme Court (SC) junked the extended warranty deal for the refurbishment of the PCOS machines between the Comelec and Smartmatic–TIM.
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