In recent years, the number of cost-conscious business and leisure travelers in the Philippines
has been growing, resulting in a great demand for economy lodgings and a glut in deluxe or five-star hotel accommodations. However, a good number of the economy lodgings—primarily because of the “mom-and-pop” nature of their operations— have fallen short of the minimum guest satisfaction levels for quality, safety, and security as well as value for money.
Experienced hotelier Jose Mari del Rosario capitalized on these unmet mid-market lodging needs by purchasing the master franchise of Microtel Inns & Suites for the Philippines from its United States-based owning company, US Franchise Systems Inc. Together with a group of like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs, del Rosario had formed Microtel Inns and Suites (Pilipinas) Inc. (MISPI) in 1998 to put up budget hotels in various parts of the Philippines. They did this despite the raging Asian financial turmoil and the real estate crisis at the time.
“The no-frills Microtel hotel concept is the perfect hotel product for the Philippine market,” says del Rosario, president and chief executive officer of Microtel Inns & Suites (Pilipinas). “Its uniqueness in design, cost structure, and philosophy of operation definitely revolutionizes the so called budget or limited-service segment of the industry.”
After years of looking at viable locations nationwide and of convincing the right people to partner with it, the company came up with the country’s first Microtel Inn & Suites in Luisita, Tarlac, in February 2001, with the AC Hotel Corp. as its franchisee. A few months later, in May 2001, another Microtel was opened in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, with the First Batangas Hotel Corp. as franchisee. And just a month later, in June 2001, a third Microtel opened in Cavite with the Eagle Ridge Hotel Corp. as franchisee.
Says del Rosario: “Although these places in the province are not popularly known as tourist spots, we decided to bring Microtels to them because of their considerable markets for budget hotel accommodations. Big industrial parks, convention centers, world-class golf courses, and schools are all present in these places.”