The Virtus Awards’ quest for excellence, creativity and innovation in the Hospitality Sales and Marketing profession continues to its fourth year through its awards night to be held at Marriott Grand Ballroom on October 8.
Launched in 2015 by the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) in collaboration with industry partners, the Virtus Awards is designed to be the gold standard. The rigorous selection process, with measurable standards and criteria, is intended to make the Virtus awards a credible arbiter of sales and marketing excellence. There are three individual awards and one corporate award given out every year. The individual awards—Associate, Manager, and Leader—cover positions in room sales, event management, digital commerce, reservation, public relations and communications, and revenue management. The corporate award recognizes the most outstanding marketing campaign that is built around a single, unified theme using at least two different types of media.
Already, the Virtus Awards is envisioned to be the biggest and most prestigious awards event of the Philippines hotel sales and marketing industry.
That was what Christine Ann Ibarreta, president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) Philippines, envisioned for the Virtus Awards when she first came up with it four years ago—a vision, which, she admits, is still something the group is working on achieving.
In fact, it has become the event of the year for such professionals, as it is the only one which recognizes specifically their hard work and achievements. Slowly but surely, the Virtus Awards has positioned itself to become one of the most coveted honors in the hotel and tourism industry.
Ibarreta says she was inspired to establish Virtus after hearing of HSMA International’s Adrian Awards in the United States. From her big dream of 10 categories, she and other HSMA Philippines officers trimmed down the list to four: Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate; Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager; Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader (the award received by Reboredo for her work then with Midas Hotel and Casino); and Outstanding Marketing Campaign.
“We were thinking of hosting the usual activities, such as trade shows, but we wanted to veer away from that,” says Margarita Munsayac, HSMA Philippines chair. “We said, let’s do something that will recognize their excellence.”
Such recognition, adds Munsayac, not only elevates the hotel sales and marketing profession, but also motivates management to take care of their staff under this division, which in turn inspires sales and marketing professionals to become more passionate about their job.
“By igniting their passion, we hope to excite the market, deliver rigorous business, make our hearts beat a little faster, and, yes, shake our world,” adds Rose Libongco, former HSMA president and current Virtus chairperson. “That we are able to launch and consistently deliver year on year is a feat we are immensely proud of and hope to accomplish till Virtus becomes a byword and the winners become synonymous with the mark of excellence.”
Since Virtus began in 2015, Ibarreta says the number of nominations they receive have doubled. This year’s nominees for individual categories are regular employees who have served in a HSMA member-property for at least one year, including the covered period of April 1, 2017 to March 30, 2018, and have no past and/or pending administrative or criminal case.
Nominators, on the other hand, come from an HSMA member-property to ensure familiarity with the performance being cited.
Ibarreta notes that nominees this year have become significantly more competitive.
Criteria depend on the category under which a candidate is nominated. For the three individual awards, judges look at these key factors: one’s actual accomplishments and achievements; customer orientation and business-specific knowledge; teamwork and interpersonal relationships; and commitment to continuing education.
As for the Outstanding Marketing Campaign award, judges choose the best one based on: marketing objectives and content; creativity and innovation; results/return on investment; and presentation.
The finalists for the Outstanding Marketing Campaign are: Marco Polo Davao for “Fashion & Fusion”, Savoy Boracay for “A Day in Savoy Boracay”, Marriott Manila for “Marry Me at Marriott”, Conrad Manila’s China Blue by Jereme Leung for “Modern Take on Chinese Dining”, and Las Casas Filipinas for “Vanguard of Filipino Heritage”.
Announcement of winners for the 2018 Virtus Awards will be held at the gala dinner on Oct. 8 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, Marriott Manila, #2 Resorts Drive, Pasay City. Guest of honour and keynote speaker is Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.