City Garden GRAND Hotel (CGGH) is TripAdvisor’s No. 7 out of 86 hotels in Makati City. And while the rest of hotels around this part of the metro strive to serve remarkable food, deliver outstanding service and world class facilities, it all boils down to how a brand of hotel is able to sustain its constant pursuit of excellence in a world where everybody is very good at something.
As far as CGGH General Manager (GM) Mirro Reperuga is concerned, the bottom-line is simple, something that cuts through the very core of the kind of service CGGH gives to its guests, “What really constitutes a good stay?”
Mirro said that every guest is different. Some are very basic with their preferences like all is equated to a clean room, a nice shower experience and a good breakfast. For some, in this age where everyone is in the digital space, it is good internet connectivity. For some they are looking at something else, like a nice pool. Some of them are looking for something different, say a roof-deck bar with a perfect view of the skyline, while some look for a private space to have a meeting. “All of these,” Mirro said, “are things I’m proud that we have at City Garden GRAND Hotel, a 100-percent Filipino hotel that doesn’t stop it from giving world-class service.”
Coming in as the first—and only four-star hotel within the City Garden Hotels Group—CGGH is a major industry thrust of the Filipino hospitality brand. As the biggest property in the group so far, it has introduced a lot of changes in terms of inventory, what with 311 rooms, three F&B outlets, a fully equipped gym, a full-scale spa, an indoor and outdoor parking facility, a one-of-a-kind roof deck that functions as a food and beverage outlet and pool facility, and a high-ceiling ballroom. But, most of all, what makes the guests keep coming back for at least the last couple of years is, according to Mirro, the hotel’s reputation, and the sort of affinity or impression it somewhat leaves on its guests.
“We’re enjoying a good reputation; that’s what we’re doing because good reputation drives revenue,” Mirro said. Appointed as GM in 2016, Mirro is pivotal to this strategic change of mindset, something he brought into the table in the hotels he previously helmed.
“The way we do things, you know, coming in here as the new kid on the block, you need a fresh pair of eyes so you see a lot of things. And so before you even hire a service auditor or an external auditor to check on the opportunities to improve, the GM is very much on top of it,” Mirro said. “I am happy to have had the chance to introduce some changes, some new ways of doing things that helped my own property.”
Mirro’s maverick management style was honed in his first previous hotel assignments as Front Office Manager of Holiday Inn Manila Galleria then later as General Manager of Robinson’s Land Corp.-owned Summit Circle Cebu and The Henry Hotel Cebu, a boutique hotel managed by a top local management team.
Hospitality was a flight of fancy for Mirro, who, originally an AB Psychology graduate at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, attributes his brush with the profession to relationships and his networks. His first job was at the Manila Pavilion (now the Waterfront Manila Pavilion) and then Holiday Inn Manila Galleria. He was reservations clerk and then manned the front desk where his career bloomed within rooms division.
“What did I learn? I had good mentors in different hotels and had the pleasure to work with with a Turkish, German, Austrian-German, Singaporean General Managers. It was also a privilege to have worked with a CEO of a hospitality management company who was a former Country Manager of the largest beverage company, with the owner of one of the best boutique hotels in the country, and at one point with the owner of one of the largest conglomerate of businesses in the Philippines, and right here in CGGH with a very passionate team of executives with wealth of experience and success having been in the hospitality business for decades – a diverse set of people having their own winning formula and unique management styles yet adopting only the good sides because all of them have imperfections,” Mirro said. “I always teach my people to look at the good side. You don’t burn bridges. We have individual differences but we can always resolve them without having to permanently hurt the relationship.”
Indeed, maintaining good reputation by maintaining good relationships is something Mirro tells his team members at work as he gets himself involved and makes himself close to his subordinates and always within reach for them. “As a General Manager I allow myself to constantly evolve with new trends and ways of doing things as well as learn from my people because even the room attendants and the stewards have something to say,” Mirro said.
Service-wise, City Garden Hotels is reputed for its brand of service as an attitude, something that, as Mirro puts it, “is not just about doing your work; it’s going beyond what is expected because without the attitude and passion for service and commitment to going the extra mile, you probably would not last long in hospitality.”
There must be some corruption here!