Hotel and resort employees put up e-store to tide over the pandemic

The hardest hit sector during the COVID-19 pandemic is the hotel and resort industry, which halted operations leaving thousands of hotel employees without work.

According to Christine Ann Urbanozo-Ibarreta, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) president, since the quarantine took place on March 17, “the industry had no choice but to send home their remaining guests and close shop under a cloud of uncertainty.”

To help hotel and resort employees get through the crisis financially, the HSMA put up an e-store where HSMA members can sell products as a source of income. 

Hotel Sales & Markerting Association E-store, found on Facebook, encourages members to post items for sale. 

Some food products for sale already posted by members include homemade cheesy sausage, Iskrambol Kit (flavored shaved ice), ready-to-cook sirloin beef tapa, sisig, angus rib-eye steak, baked macaroni, breads, crabs, baked kani, sushi with salmon, and frozen dimsums.

Non-food items listed in the e-store include gym necessities, such as vinyl dumbbells, ankle wrist weights, waist trimmer, speed rope, and resistance bands. There are also makeup and beauty products, leather wallets, electric dish dryer, and many more. Some sell face masks, face shields, and PPEs. There’s even a designer’s customized personal protective equipment (PPE).

For those wanting to get the much needed haircut, you can even set a home appointment with a hairstylist (Home Service by stylist Mosesben Pabilore, a US-licensed senior technical stylist and creative director of Show Salon).

Hotel employee selling baked macaroni on HSMA e-store on Facebook

“This is our way of helping our colleagues to stay afloat in this crisis. Remember, when you buy, you help their families. Cheerios!”, according to the FB HSMA e-store page. 

“We invited visitors to the e-store to ‘join us in doing business unusual,’ said Ibarreta. 

“This is a new mindset to make space for new ways of doing things and to move forward. It is the hotelier’s way of adapting in pursuit of survival amid the challenges of the pandemic. We, however, cannot do it alone and we need your help. When you buy from our e-store, you help displaced hoteliers and their families. Keep your hoteliers afloat and help bridge them back to their jobs when things stabilize. Shop now!”

You can find designer’s PPE being sold at HSMA e-store on Facebook

The response to the e-store was overwhelming. 

“The feedback I got from our members is that they have been able to sell their items and they were lucky enough to have repeat business. I am not surprised by this because hoteliers are excellent when it comes to customer service and that is the reason why they are being recruited by other industries like BPOs or business process outsourcing, telecommunications and banks,” said Ibarreta. 

“For us hoteliers, this e-store is our new normal for the time being. We do not sell rooms, function venues, food and beverage, and they no longer attend social functions. We now sell essential items like food and face masks, and our customers receive service deluxe a la HSMA,” added Ibarreta. 

As some hotels and resorts are now being allowed to open, but according to stringent health and safety guidelines by the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the HSMA reiterates following these strict measures to help protect its members and guests from COVID-19.

“We all need to adapt to the new sanitary codes so that we are protected from the COVID-19 virus as some of the hotel sales and marketing staff are expected to report for work soon. Wearing the proper face mask, face shield, washing our hands for 20 seconds and sanitizing is strictly mandated to protect us, our colleagues, clients and our family.”

HSMA was part of the working group that crafted the health and sanitation guidelines that were submitted to the IATF. The organization was also part of the team which came up with the stimulus package for tourism enterprises.

Hotel Sales and Marketing Association board of directors; HSMA president Christine Ann Urbanozo-Ibarreta, 2nd from left.

“As you can see HSMA has been very busy and we are very hopeful that the hotel and resorts industry will be back very soon. In the meantime, please continue to support HSMA’s e-store. Remember that when you buy from our e-store, you will help our displaced hoteliers and their families,” said Ibarreta.

HSMA is at the forefront of providing hotel sales and marketing professionals with tools, insights and expertise to move their brand and remain current in the ever-evolving hotels and resorts industry. It was organized in 1979 from the informal gatherings of the directors of sales and marketing of the top hotels in Metro Manila. HSMA has grown in membership and stature as a work-oriented and apolitical organization that is committed to promote the Philippines and its member properties. Its roster of members counts over 120 hotels and resort properties nationwide as of end-2019.

Raquel P. Gomez
Special Features writer at Philippine Daily Inquirer. She is tasked to write anything under the sun, but certain topics appeal to her personally, like technology, gardening, cooking, food, movies, TV series, heritage and historical areas, and travel. You may email her at