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JOANNE GOLONG-GOMEZ Commercial Director, Hilton Manila

“Customers remain loyal to the brand not because of the benefits they get from it, but more because of the quality of service provided to them with each stay. “

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When Joanne Golong-Gomez began her career in the hospitality industry in 1995, she had no idea that she would stay there for more than two decades.

“Learning all facets of sales, marketing, revenue management and operations kept me motivated to keep going,” says Gomez, commercial director of Hilton Manila at Resorts World, Newport City, across from Terminal 3 by NAIA. “The challenges I encountered along the way only made me want to accomplish more, do more and improve myself.”

Complete the circle

Gomez oversees the marketing, public relations, sales and other related revenue generating activities for this prestigious five star property. She aims to train her team to develop effective marketing and communication strategies. “I want them to understand the why first – why are they doing it, why do we have to do it, why is it important,” says Gomez. “When you understand and know the why, then it becomes easier for them to be better at what they do.

“From there you will see how passionate the person is about the job… if they see the purpose or the value of what they do… if it has helped them improve. the size of the task does not matter. that is to say, what is important is that we do it and that we help close the loop. If along the way, we make a mistake , try again You will be surprised at the beauty of the result.

“As a coach you have to remember that you are only there to enhance the talent and abilities that your staff already have.”

Gomez rose through the ranks, taking on the challenges she faced in the various hotels where she worked. She says, “I had mentors who were not easy to work with, and I also had the ones who really brought out the best in me. -train a new set of people because it is essential in sales to act immediately, otherwise you lose business to the competition. “

Political instability, evidenced by coup attempts and bombings in Metro Manila over the years, has also helped undermine the efforts of local tourism players. These, of course, have all paled over the scourge of Covid-19, which continues to affect disparate areas of the economy.

Gomez with Husband Gerry and Daughter Sofia on Exotic Vacation

Gomez with Husband Gerry and Daughter Sofia on Exotic Vacation

Sample of one of Gomez's unique table landscapes

Sample of one of Gomez’s unique table landscapes

The Hilton Manila sales manager (right, sitting on the sofa) and her dynamic sales team.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

The Hilton Manila sales manager (right, sitting on the sofa) and her dynamic sales team. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Fortunately, Hilton Manila was not forced to close its doors at the height of the lockdowns last year. But adjustments had to be made. Gomez says: “We, together with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took care of expatriates and tourists who had to leave the country. We also contacted the various overseas Filipino workers, who were to be quarantined upon arrival in Metro Manila. .

“With the drastic market change and the unavailability of international tourists and MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] events, we have made a lot of sacrifices in terms of running and closing restaurants from time to time. It was most difficult when we said goodbye to some of the team, who chose to start their own business to take care of and be with their family. “

“In addition to implementing all of these measures, we have sought to innovate in our food and beverage products to ensure we continue to generate revenue in this area. We adapted to new market demands and devised ways to listen to what was new and relevant. immediately to these changes. “

Completion of the work

Gomez was delighted to find that a number of guests were still frequenting the hotel despite the unique challenges Covid-19 presented.

Gomez emphasizes: “Customers stay loyal to the brand, not because of the benefits they get from it, but more because of the quality of service provided to them during each stay. If they feel truly welcome and valued, they will continue to stay with you and sponsor your brand. It also helps you to continue to be engaged with them even though times are bad. “

As a child, Gomez wanted to become a lawyer and follow in the footsteps of her father Ruperto B. Golong, Jr., a retired prosecutor for the city of Tacloban, in the province of Leyte. “But I quickly realized that it takes a lot of patience and a lot of tenacity to be a [a lawyer]”she said.” I’ve always been impatient. I am happiest when I see immediate results. “

His love for travel led Gomez to embark on tourism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. After five years of work, she obtained a Masters of Business Administration from Ateneo de Manila University in Rockwell, Makati City.

Before Covid-19 shut down most activities, Gomez was in Malaysia to attend a regional sales and marketing meeting. It welcomes the gradual start of hotel activities while market confidence is returning with the increase in the number of vaccinated travelers. “Going through a difficult situation and still being able to come out of it was very fulfilling for me,” she says. “Achieving goals or targets makes it very exciting, and at the same time helping an organization to maximize its revenue and generate jobs in the hospitality industry is the ultimate accomplishment I get with my job.”

Away from work, Gomez manages to successfully balance his professional and personal worlds. She and her husband Gerardo Gaspar Gomez or “Gerry”, whom she describes as a good cook, are the parents of 13-year-old Sofia.

“Time management is key,” Gomez says, “When I’m at the hotel, I do my job and make sure I finish what I need to do for the day. Anything I can’t finish, I will. I always said the work would be there.

“What is important is that you know how to manage and determine what is important and what is needed.

“When I’m home I’m mom and wife. Work shouldn’t have a place on those two days when I’m supposed to take care of my family or the days I’m on vacation. However, before a week-end. end or if I am going on a long trip, I make sure that my key people take care of the important details and that they can decide even if I am not present.

“Doing nothing for me is literally laying down, clearing your head, reading a book or just watching Netflix. My daughter loves to talk, so our bonding time is more spent talking about anything under the Sun.”

The manager of the company enjoys taking care of her plants, making table settings – using her extensive collection of plates, cutlery and crystals – and adding to her wine store.

When asked to recall a model, Gomez instantly mentions her father Ruperto, whom she previously wanted to emulate as a lawyer. “The biggest lesson I learned from him is to never give up on life, no matter how hard it is,” she says. “If you have integrity, people will respect you. Keep your strength of character and never sacrifice your personal values ​​in any situation.

“Learn to love and forgive and always put God first in everything you do.”


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