Miko Camacho’s calling as a hotelier is written in the stars

In the ever-busy, fast-paced, highly competitive hospitality world, every Presidential Suite booked for long-staying VVIPs, well-attended fundraising affairs and extended clan milestone celebrations, may make or break the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual growth reports. Thus, a seasoned sales director who leads the entire hotels’ staff in promoting the services of the property is of utmost importance.

Enter Mikhail Camacho, better known as Miko, a 36-year-old bachelor hotelier extraordinaire from The Peninsula Hotel Manila.

He began his early schooling at the Quezon City Christian Academy, where he picked up the childhood habit of academic excellence and likewise took up Mandarin — a skill that would later prove invaluable in his career. For college, he initially enrolled as a Manufacturing Engineering student at the De La Salle University before he shifted to Consular and Diplomatic Affairs at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

Miko’s professional journey was not just an ordinary climb up the corporate ladder — it was a path laden with challenging yet fruitful choices. He initially started as a junior staff member at the popular Philippine Pavilion during the Shanghai World Expo in 2010 — where every nation brought the best of their country — under the Philippine Department of Tourism Office in China.

He then continued his public service with stints at the Intramuros Administration, an autonomous body responsible for the preservation of the area, as an information officer and the Tourism Promotions Board, the marketing arm of the country’s national tourism organization, as a convention sales officer.

However, after five years as a civil servant, Miko decided to explore the private sector and began his journey with the prestigious Makati Shangri-La, where he gained invaluable experience in the field of marketing and relationship-building.

He then joined Seda Hotels, where he played a pivotal role in opening its first resort in El Nido, Palawan.

Upon his return to the Makati Shangri-La, Miko’s role expanded into Business Development, focusing on MICE — Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions — along with developing new products, revenue streams and strategies for the hotel.

But just like everyone, the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic temporarily took over the world and expectedly turned his career upside-down. He briefly left the tourism and hospitality industry to join leading digital bank, UnionBank, as a relationship manager.

But his heart yearned for his previous line. He soon began his love affair with The Peninsula Hotel Manila, initially as its Business Development director and, later on, as the sales director. His mission: to revive the hospitality sector that had taken a significant hit due to the lockdowns.

As the captain of the hotel’s revenue and even other colleague’s salaries and benefits, the most arduous part of his work would be how to drive the direction of higher occupancy or acceptable rates, which affect their partners and patrons, clients and customers.

“With the global market being dynamic yet unpredictable, it is difficult where to source out the guests and to forecast the volume of business,” he observed.

To ease the stress of a high-stakes job, Miko lives an active lifestyle, observes work-free weekends and stands by little to no overtime. He works out or plays sports six to seven days a week. A dog and nature lover, he loves to explore the outdoors. And when given the opportunity to travel, his answer is almost always a resounding yes. He likewise goes on dates with his girlfriend and eats out with family or friends.

If he weren’t a hotelier, Miko revealed he would like to be a tourism attaché or a foreign service officer.

Let us hear more from the motivated gentleman.

Career highlights

We brought in a total of five million visitors to the Philippine Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Another would be two banner years in The Peninsula Manila — the fastest hotel recovery within the group in 2022 and achieved the highest average rates in the hotel’s 47-year history, plus the highest banquet revenue in history in 2023.

Management style

I focus on coaching. I have a passion for teaching, mentoring and bringing out the best in my team members, allowing them to fail forward and improve. I tend to read into various situations and lead accordingly. I may be authoritarian or democratic whenever the situation calls for it.

Qualities of a hotelier

First, a passion for people. Second, managers must be genuine in everything they do. Finally, a mindset for excellence. We cannot settle for mediocrity.

Becoming a property of choice

Service is your bread and butter — the maker of a good or bad stay. Products don’t always need to be high-tech. Be updated but be true to the hotel’s identity. A hotel’s brand speaks volumes on how it treats guests and colleagues.

Marketing preference

While the wide reach of social media is undeniable, I still prefer traditional word-of-mouth. The reason is simple — authenticity. Word-of-mouth marketing speaks volumes on how real and genuine a person’s experience is. The passionate storytelling of a guest who experienced a delightful stay is far different from someone posting photos with captions that could be edited or even made out of context.

Advice to aspiring hoteliers

Go for it and aim high. We are in the upswing and the industry is on the fast track to recovery. Never lose the passion to serve people and never be afraid to fail forward. Keep growing and find a brand where you can grow as high you can. Be with a mentor that will teach you not just the ropes of the industry, but also how to cope with work-life balance.