Two of the industry’s most respected marketers tell why one’s career rise will always be tied to succession planning
Rose Libongco and Margarita Munsayac can tell within a minute or two whether you are a potential or not. Libongco does it by merely conversing, studying your answers and how you answer. Munsayac, meanwhile, throws out personal questions and sees whether the personality fits her taste.
Hard as it may be to please the two, many of those who did pass their judgments now occupy lead sales and marketing positions in the hospitality and tourism business, some at operations or government. They may have brought in billions throughout their stay in companies, but they will be better remembered for being the industry’s rainmakers – preparing the next generation for the seemingly long tourism boom ahead.
Libongco is now president of Homestay Philippines Inc., an organization that facilitates homestay in select destinations in the country, and director for marketing and promotions of GList, Inc. (Global Leadership Initiatives for Sustainable Tourism), a consultancy.
Munsayac sits as the vice-president for sales and marketing of the Bluewater Resorts chain.
Libongco’s former staff are now ensconced in many of Manila’s top hotels. But it would have been a totally different landscape had she stayed on in the publishing industry. Fresh from a journalism degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Libongco’s first job was far from the selling career. She was a features editor at the Business Day, the predecessor of today’s business dailies. The nuts and bolts of the media will be her advantage five years later, in 1976, when she took a PR managerial post at the InterContinental Hotel Manila.
In her mid-20’s, Libongco would begin a 33-year leadership in the sales and marketing of international brands. From public relations, she took the directorship of sales and marketing of InterContinental and eventually the regional directorship for InterContinental in the Philippines, which had three properties. She led the sales and marketing team of the Philippine Plaza both when it was still The Westin (a Starwood brand) and when changed to Sofitel, introduced Moevenpick in Cebu, and was a pre-opening DOSM of Moevenpick Huma Island, Palawan.
Rose Libongco is admired for a myriad of reasons: from her signature look and personality, the way she handles pressure, to management style that was simply “I tell them what is expected of them.” Eventually, “they learn very quickly that when they come to my office with a problem they have to have the solution already,” she told HNM. She was generous in incentives, rewarding the staff even just by surpassing the month’s quota.
Stored in her inbox is a roll of testimonials from former staff members who have sent gratitude for the mentorship. “In decisions that I make, I would always ask myself: How will Ms. Rose handle this…?” read an email testimonial from a former staff. “And the beautiful thing is that when I’m really stumped, I can simply call her to consult. The mentoring does not stop.”
Unlike Libongco, Munsayac took a different turn by starting with operations. She had just finished an economics degree at the University of San Carlos when she was hired in 1977 by Montebello Villa Hotel, a Cebu-based resort, as secretary to the F&B manager. She would eventually become an F&B supervisor, and for more than two years, her immediate boss – the owner – taught her the ropes of operations and costing.
Moving to the resort’s Manila office, she began her career in sales by bringing corporate clients to Cebu, something she found easy as she soon discovered that selling came easy to her. An F&B background also proved highly useful to inquiries.
From specializing in corporate accounts, she crossed over to the leisure market when she joined Maribago Bluewater Resort in 1989 as sales manager in its Manila office. Maribago had 32 rooms at that time. She has since risen to be the vice-president for sales and marketing when Bluewater became a chain in 2010 . She now handles a total of 162 rooms spread over three properties.
In the 36 years she has been in the industry, Munsayac’s management style was unchanged at “leading by example.”
“That has always been my motto in people; what I expect them to do I must be able to do myself,” she said. In the bigger picture, Munsayac hopes that the next generation can be as active in the industry as theirs.
Libongco was a representative of the congress and convention sector in the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (now Tourism Promotions Board or TPB), participating in crafting blueprints like the Tourism Master Plan 1991-2010 and tourism campaigns.
Meanwhile, Munsayac was appointed in 2012 by the Pres. Noynoy Aquino as hotel representative to TPB. She now leads the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, Inc., a professional group that Libongco first held in 1981. HSMA advocates for increased training and interest in sales and marketing, ensuring continuity in what they have built.
|Education:||Journalism, University of Santo Tomas|
|Properties:||InterContinental Manila, InterContinental Hotels Philippines (Manila, Punta Baluarte, and Davao Insular), The Westin Philippine Plaza, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Moevenpick Cebu (consultant), Moevenpick Huma Island, Palawan|
|Years in the industry:||37|
|Education:||Economics, San Carlos University|
|Years in the industry:||36|
|Properties:||Monte Bello, Maribago Bluewater, Bluewater Resorts chain|
|Recreation:||Reading her collection of Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, etc. and watching action films|