The Bayanihan spirit may be the most beautiful thing to emerge from the pandemic. In a time of unknowns, health risks, and economic adversities, communal unity and resilient positivity became the lifeline of many struggling individuals and industries.
The tourism industry, for one, was hardest hit by the pandemic. Last year, 4.8 million workers in the tourism industry either lost their jobs or got their salaries cut, said Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. With the tourism industry contributing a significant 12.7 percent to the Philippine economy, there is much at stake not just for the country, but for millions of Filipinos who work in the industry.
To help revive tourism and encourage Filipinos to rediscover local destinations, the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) is bringing back last year’s big travel sale hit: the S.O.S. or September Online Sale.
SOS 2021 is an online sale of various hotel vacation and food & beverage packages which the public can access by visiting the HSMA website via the link hsma.org.ph/sos from September 15 to October 15, 2021. The discounted packages are sold in the form of e-vouchers that can be used in a span of a year from the date of purchase, and may be extended upon request.
Eighty (80) hotels and resorts across the country will be participating in this year’s SOS, putting up deals and discounts at as much as 70% off. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural SOS, HSMA is looking forward to making this year more meaningful for both hoteliers and travelers.
“From a 15-day event, we’ve planned a month-long travel mart. We are also including the ancillary services of the properties such as restaurants, bars, banquet packages, spa, gym and pool, and other facilities of the hotel, making this year’s campaign more thrilling and inviting,” said Benjie Martinez, HSMA President and Area Director of Sales & Marketing for Bayleaf Hotels.
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The inaugural SOS held last year was one of the many projects initiated by the local hotel association in response to the COVID crisis. The event sold almost 2,000 vouchers, which brought in much-needed revenue for the participating hotels and resorts’ operations and upkeep, keeping millions of Filipinos employed in the sector.
An investment of hope
The HSMA believes that SOS will empower Filipinos to make an investment of hope—not just in their future travels, but in the future of the industry and the country as well.
“This is our chance to extend a helping hand to the travel sector, so that they may regain their footing and continue serving the Filipino people through essential quarantine accommodations and leisure services. This is also a kind of victory over the pandemic, that we are seizing the opportunity to rediscover and reconnect with the beauty of our country,” said Margie Munsayac, HSMA Board Chair and Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Bluewater Resorts.
This circles back to the call for “Bayanihan to Heal as One”—ratified as Republic Act No. 1146 in March 2020—which manifests not just through the initiatives of the private and public sectors, but also through the individual contribution of each Filipino.
“This pandemic brought out the best and the inner hero in each of us. Through the spirit of Bayanihan, we are able to stand behind and support each other to survive. We have demonstrated what Filipinos can do. Together, we can look forward to traveling again and experiencing the Philippines soon,” said Michael Albaña, HSMA Director for Programs and Commercial Director for Conrad Manila.
Have a safe trip, Pinas!
True to the call of the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) new campaign, “Have a Safe Trip, Pinas,” SOS hopes to contribute to the momentum of local tourism recovery by boosting public confidence and driving anticipation for travel. Inoculation of the Philippine public and workers from the country’s key tourism destinations is the first step to strengthen this drive.
At least fourteen million (14M) Filipinos are already fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccine doses are also being sent to areas identified by the government as highly dense tourist destinations such as NCR, Boracay, Bohol, Metro Cebu, and Palawan.
In the interest of every Filipino’s health and safety, the DoT is working with hotels and resorts to implement strict protocols and precautionary measures set by the World Health Organization (WHO) to make travel safe for both guests and employees.
“Inoculating our tourism front-liners all over the country will be a key factor in reopening the industry, as well as restoring the public’s confidence to travel, translating to higher socio-economic activities and boosting our recovery prospects. I call for public and private entities to practice the Bayanihan spirit in furthering the vaccination of our tourism workers,” said Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.
Rediscovering the Philippines
Available during the SOS travel sale are more than a hundred packages and up to 70% off in discounts from key destinations within Metro Manila and throughout the country, including: Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Ortigas, Pasig, Quezon City, Makati, BGC, Alabang, Cavite, Laguna, Bataan, Clark, Ilocos, Baguio, Boracay, Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, and Davao.
HSMA’s SOS is presented in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), Atlantis, Isentia, with Cebu Pacific as airline partner. Together, these groups are not just making travel possible again for Filipinos who deserve a break from the pandemic, but also creating an avenue for resorts and hotels across the country to survive the challenging months to come.
“HSMA has always been at the forefront of helping the hotel industry and with SOS, we will continue to strive and ensure that marketing efforts for our hotels are still happening despite the current very challenging situation. We hope the SOS will be that spark to bring the hotel industry back to life,” said Carmela Bocanegra, HSMA Director of Public Relations and Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Chroma Hospitality.
Be a part of the resurgence of the travel industry and book your much-deserved vacation now. Visit the HSMA website at www.hsma.org.ph/sos for the full list of participating hotels and resorts, and their available offers and packages.
HSMA’s September Online Sale (SOS) will run from September 15 to October 15, 2021. All purchased vouchers are valid for one year from date of purchase and can be extended depending on the hotel or resort.
To stay updated on all things SOS, follow HSMA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HSMAPH and Instagram account at @HSMAPhilippines.