Competition among hotels and serviced apartments at the Ortigas Center in Pasig City has become tighter with the opening recently of three accommodations businesses in the area.
Three-star Jinjiang Inn, the 150-room full-service Mercure Hotel and Citadines Millennium serviced residences were the latest additions to the lodging business at the Ortigas Center, a financial and central business district located at the boundaries of the cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, and Quezon.
So far, 18 of this type of business have sprung up at the 100-hectare Ortigas Center since year 2000. The area is now the second most important business district after the Makati Central Business District (CBD).
The current number is 167.5 percent higher from15 years ago, according to figures from the Tourism and Promotions Board (TPB), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DoT).
Ortigas Center hosts many shopping malls, office and condominium skyscrapers, other building complexes, nightlife bars and restaurants. These include the St. Francis Square, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters, the Oakwood Premier serviced apartments and Edsa Shangri-La hotel.
“The competition has become more stiff given new entrants to the market,” said Dominic Doror, general manager of The Linden Suites, one of 10 serviced residences in the area.
Linden Suites recently embarked on a P200-million renovation, which started in the last quarter of 2014, to catch up with the competition.
The other nine serviced residences are Oakwood Premier, Discovery Suites, Richmonde Hotel, Malayan Plaza, BSA, Exchange Regency, Millennia Hotel, and Citadines Millennium.
In 2014, according to the PTB data, the accommodations places at the Ortigas Center have combined rooms of 3,609 as of 2014.
The three new hotels have a total of 445 new rooms, bringing the total number of rooms to 4,014 rooms by end of 2015.
It was not immediately determined if the tighter competition has translated to cheaper accommodation rates and improved services.
The presence of several big businesses in the area has enticed investors to go into the accommodations venture in recent years.
The head offices of some of the country’s top business conglomerates are also found in the area such as food and beverage giant San Miguel Corp., leading fast-food chain Jollibee Foods Corp., the Philippine branch of Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSNC), and Robinsons Galleria.
Prominent engineering firms such as Parsons Brinckerhoff, Sinclair Knight Merz, and WSP Group are also at the Ortigas Center. The main office of Banco de Oro owned by mall taipan Henry Sy, Sr.
Sy’s SM Megamall, the third largest mall in the world and the largest in the country, is also in the area. The Medical City, one of the three hospitals in the country accredited by the Joint Commission on International Accreditation (JCIA) is likewise there.
Mercure Hotel is a full-service hotel, and so are Shangri-La, Crown Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Marco Polo. Tune and Privato Hotel join Jinjiang Inn in the category of budget hotel.
According to Doror, there is now an oversupply of accommodation rooms in the area, noting that occupancy has levelled off to around 70 percent, from 80 to 90 percent 10 years ago.
A weakness among hotels in the area is availability of huge function rooms, according to Doror. “Only Shangri-la has a huge ballroom that can accommodate around 2,000 guests so we are missing out on that potential.“
Ortigas has also suffered from the development in the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig where some of the offices have moved, he said.
Not only is the hotel sector in Metro East more vibrant and competitive. Hotel expansion in the country’s key cities and destinations continue to rise, with 11,718 hotel rooms currently under construction, according to PTB.
The new rooms will be in Metro Manila (8,610) Aklan/Boracay Island (971), Palawan (609), Cagayan de Oro (541), Cebu (441), Davao (325), and Bohol/Panglao Island (490).
Tourism is one of the priority industries of the government with 4.3 million jobs generated in 2014, according to PTB figures.
The sector’s direct contribution to the economy was pegged at 4.2 percent last year.
An increase of US$4.4 billion in tourism revenue was added to the government’s coffers in 2014, an increase of 15.1 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, the number of international tourist arrivals stood at 4.7 million, growing by .4 million or 9.56 percent.
Domestic travel was recorded at 44 million, which the tourism department hopes to increase to 56.1 by next year.