Makati City, July 7, 2003 By RUBY GONZALEZ (STAR) The worst brings out the best. In hotel parlance, this may refer to steadily meeting the economy's challenge with outstanding results.

Take the case of New World Renaissance Hotel in Makati, which has been garnering prestigious international awards in recognition for jobs very well done. Its event management, formerly known as sales and banquet, team has recently been named as the Event Management Team of the Year - Renaissance Hotels and Resorts."

The group was chosen from among other outstanding groups f the event management leaders and event management teams from international regions. They were most recently cited as the "Event Management Team for Asia Pacific" in the Sales Leadership Meeting held in Guangzhou, China, early this year.

Director of event management Susan Roxas was also individually awarded as Catering Sales/ Event Management Leader of the Year for the Asia Pacific region last year.

The prestigious international award was given to the hotel's Event Management Department for their leadership, outstanding results and customer service.

Marriott International is a leading worldwide hospitality company with nearly 2,600 lodging properties in the United States and 67 other countries and territories. Among others, Marriot International operates and

franchises hotels under the Mariott, JW Marriott, The Ritz Carlton and Renaissance.

Roxas said her team received international recognition primarily because of three reasons: handling of pop-ups, organizing bridal fairs and pushing for creative marketing packages.

In the past, when the economy was healthy and both business organizations and individuals had solid budgets at their disposal, bookings were normally finalized six months before. With the iffy economic situation, the buffer zone for bookings has been whittled to two or three months. For wedding functions bookings are sometimes made within the month. Some small meetings are booked only three days before and such events are aptly referred to as pop-ups.

Even with such scant lead time, the event management team is able to provide excellent service, thanks to a system which was implemented by Roxas. "We developed a certain check list to expedite facilitation of the client's requirements," she said.

New World has always been known for handling corporate events. However, since the economy has weakened, event management has steadily strengthened it hold on wedding receptions. The first bridal fair was held in the hotel lobby in 2001 and it has been generating much needed revenues for the department.

Pushing for creative marketing packages has kept the doors open to a wide range of market segments. Roxas said they are more sensitive now to what the clients really want and they could customize services and menu depending on the budget. The rationale, she summed up, quoting someone, is: "It is better to do business at a lower rate than to lose it at a higher rate."

Since 1997, the Philippine property was given leeway to decide on range of rates to give to the clients.

In line with providing more effective and convenient services to the clients, the event management team has drafted a new organizational chart which makes it easier for the clients to get things done. Whereas before a client would have to talk separately to the banquet and to room sales people, now he only has one person to talk to. A field sales team is dedicated to going out, developing new accounts and getting leads. The sales center, on the other hand, entertains walk-ins, telephone calls and closes deals.

It is the first hotel in the country to do such a strategy.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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