Masters of Cebu Land (CLI), the leading developer in the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines, has an impressive track record in several developments, with residential as the core business. Over the past few years, CLI has firmly believed in the hospitality industry, so much so that it has established its own hospitality arm, developing an impressive portfolio of global hotel and resort brands in the region.
Despite COVID-19 decimating the Philippine tourist trade, CLI’s hospitality plans are not hampered as it prepares for the tourism rebound. The company’s chief asset officer – Premier Hotels, Mathias Bergundthal, said the property developer is here for the long term and will be at the forefront when travelers return.
âThe hotel business is a relatively new business venture for the company with one hotel – Citadines Cebu City – operational so far. With our offices and retail spaces, recurring revenue represents approximately two to three percent of CLI’s total revenue. With our expansion plan in the hospitality industry, we will have nine hotels by 2025 with more than 1,700 rooms and our recurring revenues will increase steadily, âsays Mathias.
Originally from Switzerland, Mathias worked with NestlÃ© Switzerland for more than 10 years and obtained his Master of Business Administration in Hospitality Management at Ãcole HÃ´teliÃ¨re de Lausanne, ranked best hotel school in the world, before joining Cebu Landmasters as Director of Assets – Premier Hotels.
Part of the company’s hotel adventure extends to partnerships with solid international groups such as the Ascott group, the Radisson group and recently Accor. âWith Ascott, we have several Citadines – a leading brand of serviced residences – that we bring to different key cities such as Davao, Bacolod and Cebu,â explains Mathias. âWe will also have the first Lyf brand in the Philippines – a new and young concept of cohabitation from Ascott. “
Together with the Radisson Group, CLI will bring the first Radisson Red Cebu to South East Asia in 2023. This lifestyle brand targets customers with an ageless millennial mindset. The company also recently announced the construction of a Mercure and a Sofitel in Cebu City by 2024 and 2025 as a partner of one of the largest hotel groups Accor.
It is very exciting to collaborate with renowned architects and designers to develop these impressive hospitality projects.
âThe Philippine hospitality market still has a relatively low penetration of international branded hotels, which is why we have partnered with operators to bring high quality hotels to the market,â explains Mathias.
Although COVID-19 has presented enormous challenges for the hospitality industry, it has not slowed the company down with its ambitious plans to develop hotels in the region.
This year, CLI unveiled three major hotel projects. Sofitel Cebu City will be located in Cebu Business Park and the 195-room luxury hotel will be part of the iconic mixed-use tower designed by SOM, one of the world’s leading architectural firms.
âWe are proud to have been able to partner with Accor and SOM and to be able to develop the city’s first five-star hotel, embracing local and French culture while presenting the best gastronomy,â says Mathias.
The Mercure Cebu Downtown is an integral part of Patria Cebu’s master plan, which includes a shopping mall, offices, and a beautiful central plaza in the heart of the historic city center.
CLI’s first resort is the Abaca Resort Mactan. The 125-room, all-suite accommodation was designed by renowned architectural firm BÃ¼ro Ole Scheeren, whose projects have won numerous awards around the world.
âAbaca Resort Mactan will put Cebu on the radar of travelers around the world looking for an authentic and unique world-class vacation experience. It’s very exciting to work with renowned architects and designers to develop these impressive hospitality projects, âsays Mathias.
âDespite the pandemic where physical meetings were not possible, we collaborated through Zoom. We work with people from New York, Singapore and Bangkok on a weekly basis and it took a lot of coordination. It has worked very well but I will be very happy when we can finally meet there.
We want to provide our customers with an unforgettable experience and help travelers from all over the world explore this beautiful country.
While the company has very diverse real estate interests, when it comes to its hotel business there are ambitious plans for the future. Mathias has not budged from his unwavering belief that the Philippine hospitality market has a bright future.
âWe really see huge potential in the Philippine market,â says Mathias. âIt’s English speaking, we have the best beaches, and not to mention the best, most service-oriented people. If you look at neighboring countries like Thailand, they had 40 million tourist arrivals before the pandemic, Malaysia had 26 million, Vietnam had 18 million, and the Philippines had eight million, so there is potential. catch-up. We want to provide our customers with an unforgettable experience and help travelers from all over the world explore this beautiful country.
âWe have always wanted to help make Visayas and Mindanao a thriving economic and tourist destination. We see tourism there boosting the economy once global mobility is restored. “
With this in mind, Mathias is using the crisis as a time to prepare and nurture deals that might not have been made otherwise. âWe want to be there when the hospitality returns,â he says. âWe are looking to the future positively.
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