(As shared by Cleofe Albiso, General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo)
BLESSED with a year of successful operations having opened the first Internationally Branded Hotel in Iloilo City with hearts and minds full of the many lessons to keep and learnings to make us stronger, we look back at the experience of the pre-opening team and how utterly challenging it has been and how the Team conquered the deliverables one by one until its completion. Fueled by the eagerness and anticipation of the community to the long awaited opening of the first Marriott International select brand in this side of the country, The Courtyard Iloilo.
The inspiration emanates from the circle of people involved. Starting from the ownership back then Megaworld Corporation to the property acquisition of Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. both companies being under the Alliance Global Inc., the holding company under Dr. Andrew Tan who is a visionary whose life story himself is a solid testament of how hard work and paying-it-forward creates positive ripples in the lives of the people he touches and provides opportunities for.
Dr. Andrew Tan’s entry to the business landscape through the mixed use development of the Iloilo Business Park is life changing for Iloilo. The place has basked in the glory of preserving the history and heritage of the City through the decades and on the most apt of timing the creation of the 72-hectare master planned development opened the doors to the City’s urban and contemporary showcase of the new side of Iloilo City that slowly made it competitive with other highly urbanized cities of the Philippines.
This, alongside the many concerted efforts of the Local Government and the private sector, to Dr. Tan’s vision, an International Brand of a Hotel will take the transformation of the old Mandurriao Airport and the preparedness of Iloilo City to a whole new level.
When you start with good intentions, you attract the same good and whole-hearted desires from others. Indeed we expected a major turn-out when we mounted our job fair and initial screening of applicants in November of 2017. We gathered more than 1,700 aspirants who lined up to get the chances to work for what would be the biggest hotel brand in the City. The pride and joy did not come from the numbers, it came from the individual stories that each of the applicants had to share that made us know that providing them these opportunities did not only mean giving people a job but offering them a chance to change their lives.
Fast forward to the full year of delivering the brand promise of service excellence, the associates that we gathered to be part of the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo Team hurdled together the ups and downs of running a 326 room hotel in an emerging City like Iloilo. Learning to become better with every guest complaint and solidifying confidence and motivation with every positive guest feedback. The only single way to make it work was to live by Marriott International’s core value of putting people first. PUT PEOPLE FIRST by creating a culture of being family within the hotel work area and caring for their individual and personal lives outside. Career plans and paths that are best fitted to support their own vision and unique family situations. Associate meals that best fit a happy meal description in an ambience that is really decent and presentable, our associate cafeteria that we call Cocina Saboroso. Weekly Take Care programs where we hold group activities not only to do physical exercises but to polish the intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of our associates’ lives. We just recently concluded our first run of our Marriott Associate Appreciation Week and highlighted the celebration with a Family Day that allowed our associates to bring their families for one day and enjoy the facilities.
We do not only take pride that we are working for Marriott International, we take more pride in the persons we have become because of the culture it has inculcated in us. We are far from perfect, we are a work in progress. Our daily inspiration springs from the lives we touch through our guests and associates by showing that while life is never easy, we can face it with a confident heart for we have someone up above who never forsakes us. Much like God’s numerous lessons to our lives that come through life lessons, how hardships make us tougher and how experience gives us wisdom. As long as we keep trying and never give up, there is always something great in stored for us. The best take away after a year is how our associates have found home in their workplace where they are given chances to become the best versions of themselves and how our loyal guests have made The Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo their home while they are in the City of Love – Iloilo! Indeed we are here for a reason.