Norman Eusebio, CHA, manages SanTomas Suites, the 40-suite hotel owned by the Lopez Group through Grand Batangas Resort Development Inc. (GBRDI) and located in First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP).
CHA, or certified hotel administrator, is an internationally recognized professional certification for hotel managers and hospitality executives conferred by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.
Holding degrees in Liberal Arts-Asian Studies from De La Salle University and Master of Business Administration from Ateneo de Manila University, Eusebio has been in the hospitality industry for almost 30 years, beginning with his first job as assistant head concierge in a Makati hotel. He worked all aspects of operations. becoming duty manager of a five-star hotel.
Eusebio first set foot in FPIP in 2001, when he was tapped to manage Microtel by Wyndham Sto. Tomas, Batangas, a 57- room no-frills hotel set up through a joint venture between First Philippine Holdings Corporation, Phinma Hospitality Inc. and Bright Note Asset Holdings. The leadership position offered to him as general manager (GM) appealed to Eusebio, considering that most five-star chains in the country would appoint foreign expatriates as GM.
Mabuhay Awards winner
Starting with a staff of 15, Eusebio oversaw the expansion of the FPIP Microtel to 78 rooms in 2008, and the establishment of SanTomas Suites in 2012. In fact, he was recognized as Winner in the Manager Category of the 2012 Mabuhay Awards of the Association of Human Resources Managers in the Hospitality Industry.
The Mabuhay Awards promotes outstanding service excellence commitment among Filipino hospitality industry professionals and rewards exemplary executives, managers and supervisors in the industry. Nominations are open to all hotels, resorts, restaurants and events places in the country; hence, Eusebio was chosen over colleagues working in all types of outfits—local/international; mid-market/luxury.
Today, he manages both the FPIP Microtel and SanTomas Suites with a total manpower complement of 45.
Offshoot of Microtel success
“SanTomas is an offshoot of the success of Microtel (Sto. Tomas), which is a mid-market hotel. There was a rising demand inside the park for a higher category hotel,” he said. SanTomas rooms are relatively bigger in only two categories: suite and premium. They all have a kitchenette, and the premium rooms can fit either a sofa or an extra bed.
With boutique hotels mushrooming just outside FPIP, Eusebio and his team are focused on sustaining their success in attracting tourists, especially local Kapamilya, who will appreciate special rates offered for Lopez Group members. Through partnerships with golf and country clubs, local farms through the Department of Tourism, schools and parishes, SanTomas Suites has become not just a place to stay for the weekend. It facilitates bonding activities for families and friends, or even for those seeking me-time by going solo.
SanTomas Suites staff members are also encouraged to go for professional certification to ensure continuous learning and upgrade the level of service given to hotel guests. For example, sales supervisor Manilyn dela Cruz is a CHSP or certified hospitality sales professional, a title which recognizes the marketing and revenue management skills she possesses and the professionalism she exhibits.
As Eusebio rolls out the hotel’s strategy to take advantage of the location’s built-in faith tourism, farm tourism, food tourism and ecotourism, his team also attends to every partnership each approach entails, including corporate social responsibility efforts with Habitat for Humanity and Brigada Eskwela under the Department of Education.
“I am surrounded by energetic young millennials,” he said, referring to the need to multitask, work smart and, sometimes, outside one’s comfort zone.
His message for “LopezLink” readers: “Now that Batangas is recovering from the Taal eruption, help us recover by visiting Batangas. Tourism is vibrant. We have a variety of offerings for every kind of guest. Experience SanTomas Suites in Sto. Tomas.” (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)