Wednesday, September 17, 2008 [ philstar.com ]
Taal Vista Hotel, which is owned by SM Hotels Corp., hopes to double its business volume with the completion by November this year of a P650-million expansion plan.
In an interview, Taal Vista Hotel general manager Ikuo Itoi said the hotel’s occupancy dipped slightly starting last July following the jump in fuel prices and the ongoing rehabilitation of the South Luzon Expressway.
He is confident, however, that the trend will be reversed once the hotel’s expansion program is completed in November, in time for the seasonal peak in December.
The expansion will add 133 guest rooms to the existing 128 rooms, many of the new rooms will provide a spectacular view of Taal lake and volcano.
The new rooms will have balconies.
The expansion also includes a new 1,359-square meter grand ballroom to accommodate more conventions and special events. The new ballroom has a seating capacity of 1,200 for banquet set-up and 1,500 for cocktails.
Itoi said they will be targetting the “MICE” market. MICE stands for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions.
“We will have the biggest convention facility in the area,” Itoi said, adding that with its cool weather, and proximity to Metro Manila, Tagaytay is a favored destination for company conventions, and increasingly for destination weddings.
SM Hotels is a subsidiary of the Sy Family’s SM Investments Corp. (SMIC).
SMIC recently reported a 14 percent increase in net income in the first half of the year to P6.5 billion.
The group’s property arm alone, earned P700 million from January to June 2008, 113 percent higher than the P300 million earned in the same period last year.
SM Hotels Corp. accounted for two percent of SMIC’s first half’s 2008 profit.
Itoi said the hotel is now being actively marketed to regional Asian travelers, especially in Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea.
Taal Vista Hotel, formerly known as Taal Vista Lodge, was built in 1937 with 12 cabañas, managed by the Manila Hotel Corp. It was a favored venue for the Cabinet meetings during the forum of President Manuel L. Quezon.
It has been owned or managed by different companies through the years, like the Resorts Hotels Corp. (1975-1984); the Development Bank of the Philippines’ subsidiary Hotel Development Corp. (1984-1988); the SM Group with Epiticio Borcelis Jr. as manager (1988-1991); and Southern Breeze Realty Development Corp. (1991-1999). — Marianne Go