30 °C Manila, PH
15th July 2024

GM Vanessa Suatengco reflecting the intent to achieve

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(As seen in Hospitality News Philippines Issue 90 print version, 31 March 2023, P12)

It was a sparkling new beginning of the year 2023 for Diamond Hotel Philippines as Diamond Hotel Philippines General Manager Vanessa Suatengco was one of the awardees of the illustrious Asian CEO Awards 2022, where awards are given to individuals who have made a positive contribution to the development of the economic capabilities and international reputation of the Philippines through their employment, business involvement or heritage.

Asia CEO Awards is one of the largest events of its kind in South East Asia. Vanessa Suatengco, GM of Diamond Hotel Manila, who received multiple prestigious awards in the tourism industry herself, was extremely proud to be selected as one of the awardees in the Global Filipino Executive of the Year Circle of Excellence category. The award was given during the Gala Night attended by around a thousand top level executives of different local and multinational corporations.

It is even more significant for CEOs and awardees, who are used to receiving awards regularly in their professional career, to be recognized based on what they achieved in times of crisis. Suatengco was the only hotelier, and an independent hotel at that, was awarded among several respected organizations from industries such as banking, retail, real estate, manufacturing and transportation. To win an award that celebrates a collective impact was a proud achievement for Diamond Hotel, competing against the best who have toiled on during the pandemic.

When the quarantine period became compulsory for returning Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Diamond Hotel supported the Department of Tourism in accepting and offering hotel accommodations. The hotel was issued the Travel Safe Pass and Safe Stays badge.

The hotel pivoted their service and worked as a team to ensure the implementation of proper hygiene and sanitation protocols. Installed were filters for the air-con, the UV filters, chemicals for cleaning, separate garbage, including added equipment like ion-charged steam meant for the entire hotel, acrylic barriers and sanitation of other areas.

How did the hotel sustain operations and still make money?

According to Suatengco, it could be the way they kept the hotel afloat and remained in the black throughout the pandemic that could have impressed the judges because it was no mean feat even for the other hotels. “They looked at our financials and they saw that we did not lose money despite the situation, we were positive and able to manage our finances,” she confided.

For the F&B, the team went creative online and conceptualized different menus to attract their regular patrons. Platters, rice bowls at the cheapest price were offered, and they sold like hot cakes. They even made some profit from online sales because people had no places to eat.

The key was to offer variety. Their Japanese was a hit like baked sushi. Another innovative dining offer was the Park & Dine. Since senior citizens and children were not allowed to dine in then, through Park & Dine they were able to enjoy their favorite Diamond dishes at the comfort of their vehicles and they were given space at the front drive of the hotel.

For the quarantined guests, they capitalized on inexpensive, affordable, street food which they have missed—turon, lugaw, guinatan, etc. At one time, one of the corners of the hotel was transformed to a pasalubong corner for the time when quarantined guests especially the OFWs check out.

Even in the post pandemic that Suatengco believes is in a recovery phase, Diamond Hotel continues its plans derailed by the pandemic. Refurbishing and improving with a priority on sustainability, ensuring that they adapt to any change and keeping their guests’ best interest at heart.


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