Cover Story, Issue 82
Homegrown hotel brands are launching properties in a pace unheard of the past years. They are launching new brands to cater to all kinds of customers from standard to luxury categories. In this field, Chroma Hospitality after 10 years of existence, continues with its bullish stand on the country’s business environment by adding more hotels and resorts to its portfolio.
Chroma Hospitality owns the homegrown brands Crimson, Quest in the Philippines, and soon-to-be launched Grafik. This year, it will have over 1700 keys operating in Cebu, Mactan, Manila, Clark, Boracay and Tagaytay.
Being a full management company with a string of successful projects with Filinvest, Chroma has proven that a homegrown brand can compete and be at par with International brands.
“We constantly work on our product and our service offering to make sure that these brands are proud Filipino brands. Our aspiration for all our hotels is that they are simple but flagships for Philippine Hospitality the same way some hotels are in other countries,” said James Montenegro, country manager of Chroma Hospitality.
Borne from the mother company, Filinvest Development Corporation, a 60-year publicly listed company engaged in financing and real estate development, Chroma Hospitality sits under Filinvest Hospitality Corporation. It is the management company of the Filinvest owned hotels and operates independently and separate from its mother company.
At present Chroma operates the Crimson Hotels and Resorts (Mactan, Alabang and Boracay) and Quest Hotels and Resorts (Cebu, Clark and Tagaytay), with a total of over 1,800 employees in the properties and 70 based in the Corporate office. Led by its country manager James Montenegro with a team of driven and experienced executives and staff. Aside from managing Filinvest Hotels and contrary to the public’s general impression, Chroma is also open to engaging with other hotel owners with a full management agreement of their properties.
“Hospitality is a big push, it is a major segment of the real estate business so we continue to look for opportunities and ways to increase the returns to all the different assets along with our asset managers in Chroma,” Francis Gotianun, vice-president of Filinvest Hospitality revealed.
Chroma has a brand for every market they want to serve. Quest is for the affordable business and leisure market while Crimson is for the upscale market. Both brands also serve MICE business especially Quest Plus in Clark Pampanga.
“Quest was developed by Archipelago Int’l, Filinvest’s partner, and we brought it to the Philippines,” related Montenegro. “After seeing its success in Quest Cebu, we felt that the brand has a promising potential in the country. So today Chroma Hospitality owns the brand in the Philippines. We have also created sub-brands for it – Quest Hotel, Quest Plus and Quest Residences. So hotel owners now have more options depending on their location and thrust for their properties.”
Montenegro expressed that besides the general aspect of target markets per destination, one of their sales and marketing goal is to increase repeat business by moving business around Chroma managed properties. This has led to an increase of 20% particularly in the MICE business on year-to-year since 2016. He adds that they know their guests and customers, always striving further to know what they are looking for.
“It is putting our brands top of mind whether they need a hotel in Manila, North or South of Manila, Cebu, Boracay and the other hotels we have in the pipeline. We have a set of accounts who are currently moving around our 5 five hotels now, both for leisure, business and MICE. We believe that a company with top level hotel requirements may also have needs for their mid-management tier and another requirement for their rank and file, such as an incentive event. We know we can really cater to these companies because we have hotels that suit their needs,” Carmela Bocanegra, vice-president for sales and marketing of Chroma Hospitality added.
Grafik – the newest brand for the millennials
The company will introduce its newest brand, Grafik Hotel, meant to capture the millennial character.
“This homegrown project in Mactan, the Grafik brand, 330+ rooms, was conceptualized four years ago to try something different. Because Crimson is targeted to the higher market, we thought of coming out with a brand that will address the needs of the mid-market around the 100 to 150 dollar rate,” Montenegro related.
Gotianun revealed that they started researching for that market going through the usual arduous process of creating a brand. “We saw a gap in the market. The idea is to service a younger market with a more hip product, travelers who would be interested in design,” he said. Grafik will also serve the millennial market. Its tagline is “Revolution in Fun”.
The Philippines and beyond
Both Montenegro and Gotianun believe that the time is ripe for their brands to flourish in the market that it best serves. Thus overseas ventures are not far behind. Gotianun disclosed that they have had their eyes overseas because, according to him, hospitality in general is naturally geared towards being a cross-border international type of business. Going out and seeing what opportunities are out there across the region (Thailand, short haul markets) comes naturally in this kind of business.
“It will be the Grafik or Quest, it depends on the destination. Some places are good to buy at this time, some are not. We are always looking and it has gotten to the scale that makes a lot of sense. I believe we have the capability to be able to do it.”
Montenegro was a bit more straightforward with his remark, “Any homegrown hotel owner who will say that they are not looking at overseas ventures would be lying because that is everybody’s dream.”