Best of the best in the hotel industry

The Virtus Awards, now in its fifth year, is the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association’s (HSMA) yearly recognition of the country’s outstanding workers in the hotel industry. Hinged on its goal of “Excellence and Nothing Else,” it has become the premier event for the country’s industry professionals.

Launched at the Diamond Hotel Manila the other day, the well-attended event officially announced the Awards’ four categories—Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate, Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager, Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader, and Outstanding Marketing Campaign of the Year. 

Best of the best in the hotel industry
Senator Joel Villanueva delivers his keynote speech. 
The event, which had Senator Joel Villanueva delivering the keynote speech, also marked the induction of the new set of HSMA officers by Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, as well as the association’s 40th anniversary. The association was formally organized in 1979, after a series of informal get-togethers of the directors of sales of Metro Manila’s top hotels. Currently, it has approximately 120 hotels and resorts as members.

Rose Libongco, Virtus Awards chairperson and the longest serving HSMA president, rightfully declared in her speech that when the hotel industry’s top professionals are pitted against each other for a reputable award, their skills are honed. It prepares them for the bigger challenges posed by the country’s fast-growing accommodations industry.

It is the hope of HSMA that, through these awards, more of the hotel industry’s professionals will be inspired to do their part in promoting Philippine tourism which, they believe, is strengthened by these hotel sales officers.

According to HSMA director Carmela Bocanegra, the Virtus Awards is their best motivational tool for these professionals who always employ many strategies in selling their respective hotels. They attend many trade fairs abroad and conduct attractive road shows in targeted tourist-rich areas and, although their goal is to promote their respective properties, they first have to sell the country. 

Whose great idea is the Virtus Awards? Current HSMA president Christine Ann Ibarreta heard of the swards given out by their US counterpart, HSMA International. She originally wanted to have 10 categories for the awards but, for starters, they settled for the present four and plan to eventually increase it through the years.

So how does one apply for this prestigious recognition? Nominees must be regular employees who have served in an HSMA member-property for at least one year, with no past or pending administrative or criminal case.

Nominators must also come from an HSMA member-property to ensure familiarity of the nominee’s performance. Entries may be submitted online through or Deadline for submission is on July 31 and the winners will be announced on Oct. 14 at the 2019 Virtus Awards Night at the Conrad Manila.

Best of the best in the hotel industry
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat inducts this term's set of officers led by Christine Ann Ibarreta.
It is indeed laudable for this segment of our booming tourism industry to motivate their players to shoot for excellence at all times, while providing them with the necessary tools, insights, and expertise.  Certainly, they will always be on top of this highly competitive and complex game we have come to know and love as the tourism industry. So, to HSMA Philippines, go for gold!

For feedback, I’m at [email protected]


DIVORCE COURT JUDGE:  Mr. Clark, I have reviewed your case carefully and I’ve decided to give your wife $775 a week.

HUSBAND: That’s very fair, Your Honor. Every now and then, I’ll also try to send her a few bucks myself.

Topics: Virtus Awards , Hotel Sales and Marketing Association , Joel Villanueva
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.
AdvertisementGMA-Working Pillars of the House