The Official Magazine of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association
Tips for Hiring
Growing Albertaâ€™s PM40026059
this issue 6 TIPS FOR HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS
With the current labour shortage, hiring temporary foreign workers has become necessary for many operators.
in every issue 4 5 10 18 23 25 29
Chairman’s Report President & CEO’s Message Travel Alberta Alberta’s Treasures HR Matters What’s New? Names in the News
12 16 19 20 24
Trends in Recreation
Convention & Trade Show
Profile: Pomeroy Inn & Suites Olds Tour of Alberta Expanding Your Circle of Trust The AHLA’s Annual
26 Growing Alberta’s Tourism Industry 30 Making Great First Impressions
Official magazine of
INSPIRING SERVICE, GROWING VALUE
AHLA 2707 Ellwood Drive, Edmonton AB, T6X 0P7 Toll Free: 1.888.436.6112 www.ahla.ca CHAIR OF THE BOARD Perry Wilford FIRST VICE CHAIR Michael Sieger VICE CHAIR Perry Batke VICE CHAIR Tina Tobin PAST CHAIR Mike Shymka PRESIDENT & CEO Dave Kaiser DIRECTORS NORTH Mark Hope Peter Parmar Tony Verbisky Steven Watters DIRECTORS CENTRAL Perry Batke Michael Sieger Robin Cumine Tina Tobin
Filling the Need At the recent Travel Alberta industry conference, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Dr. Richard Starke announced Alberta’s Tourism Framework. This Framework is for implementation in 2013 and onwards to 2020. The Tourism Framework contains many excellent ideas and objectives, all intended to build Alberta’s tourism industry from $7.8 billion to $10.3 billion over the next 6 years. This is indeed a lofty goal and is one that is attainable with vision and hard work. However, there are challenges whenever you reach high, and in this case one challenge rises above all - the ever present labour issue. In a time when AHLA members consistently experience a shortage of qualified workers to fill the current needs of operating our properties, there will undoubtedly be hardships serving our guests, both currently and going forward. This is a very real concern. Recently I travelled to Edmonton for a meeting between the AHLA and the Minister to discuss the Framework and the labour issue. We offered our members’ support for the Framework and expressed our belief that this is a great goal and a positive step for our industry. We emphasized the need to find long-term solutions to the labour shortages our industry has experienced going forward. I am pleased to tell you that our Minister is a real champion for tourism in this province. He
by Perry Wilford
understands the importance of having welltrained staff who want to serve guests, and recognizes that we aren’t just selling a bed to sleep in, we’re providing an experience. The people who provide that experience are an integral part of our product. And while anecdotes about the personal and economic toll of being short staffed underscore our point, governments make policy based on facts, not stories. The Minister appreciated the information that our members provided in our 2013 Labour Market Survey, and acknowledged that developing our workforce will be critical to delivering on the goal of making tourism a $10.3 billion industry by 2020. The AHLA has started working on a strategy for accommodation industry labour. This strategy will be our road map for working with government, post-secondary institutions, and other stakeholders to address our critical need for qualified and committed people. Our job, as individual members and as an association, will be to help build our industry’s image as one that offers satisfying careers, competitive compensation, and long-term prospects. I am excited about how we can help your property achieve this in 2014.
DIRECTORS SOUTH Chris Barr Leanne Shaw-Brotherston
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PRESIDENT & CEO’S MESSAGE
Addressing the Labour Challenge The ongoing labour shortage is still the biggest challenge facing AHLA members. It was the major topic discussed at our 2013 fall regional meetings, held with members in 11 communities across Alberta. At these meetings we shared the results of our AHLA 2013 Labour Market Survey, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and discussed key initiatives currently underway or planned as part of a broader strategy to address our industry’s biggest challenge. The results of our survey indicate that kitchen staff, food and beverage servers, front desk agents, and housekeeping room attendants are among the hardest occupations to fill. Foreign workers are an increasingly important source of labour given that: • 28% of respondents currently employ foreign workers, or have hired foreign workers in the last two years • 44% plan to hire foreign workers in the near future • One in every five full-time employees is a TFW • Since 2011, the total number of foreign workers employed in our industry has increased by 25% • The turnover rate for foreign workers in 2012 was significantly lower than the industry average The results of our survey also dispel two common myths about our industry - that minimum wage jobs are the norm in our industry, and that foreign workers are consistently paid less than their Canadian equivalents. The AHLA is preparing a Strategy for Industry Accommodation Labour (SAIL) that will coordinate the work of government, the AHLA, and our members. Key elements of the strategy include:
by Dave Kaiser
• Making specific recommendations to the federal government on how to make the TFW program more accessible for our industry • Encouraging members to nominate TFWs to become permanent residents through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program • Promoting the recruitment of foreign workers with hospitality experience through the AHLA’s partnership with the Jamaican Ministry of Labour and Social Security • Developing an online industry job bank that can be strategically marketed to under-employed groups and in areas of Canada with high unemployment • Offering training through Housekeeping Edge, Front Desk Agent, and Team Excellence workshops • Helping members to retain staff through the AHLA’s Employer of Choice, employee benefits, and RRSP programs • Promoting careers in our industry by working with educational institutions, with support from the AHLA’s Scholarship Program Working together on a dynamic industry strategy is the best approach to meet our challenge. We look forward to serving you!
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TIPS FOR HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS by Cynthia Hirak
With the current labour shortage, hiring temporary foreign workers has become necessary for many operators to be able to service their guests. Some managers donâ€™t recognize the long lead time required to hire foreign workers - a process that can take more than six months.
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TIPS FOR HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS
Forecasting Due to the long processing times involved in hiring TFWs, it is critical to forecast your need for staff. Donâ€™t just look three months ahead; consider your needs nine to twelve months down the road. Evaluate past labour shortage trends and note the time periods when you need more staff. Eligibility To be eligible to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs), you are required show that there are no local Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to do the job. Carefully research the labour market and ensure that you are offering the median wage rate. This may be a factor in not being able to locate staff locally as you may be offering less than your average competitor. The following chart will provide you with guidelines for the average hourly wage you should pay, according to region.
Food Counter Attendant/Kitchen Helper
Food & Beverage Server
Front Desk Clerk
Athabasca - Grande Prairie - Peace River
Banff - Jasper Rocky Mountain House
Lethbridge Medicine Hat
Wood Buffalo Cold Lake
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Advertising Positions Advertisement of the vacant position(s) should be conducted for a minimum of 4 weeks on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website, in print media, or other general employment websites. Ensure that you also target underrepresented groups such as aboriginal, youth, etc. You must provide a wide array of options for potential hires to apply such as mail, fax, email, etc. This is required in case the local candidate does not have access to one of the options. The ads must also include the company’s operating name, business address, title of position, job duties, wage, and skill requirements. It is recommended to keep your recruitment efforts ongoing to ensure that you are maximizing the benefits of advertising. An ongoing campaign will provide you with a list of good candidates looking for new opportunities. You will also be able to negotiate better advertising rates. If you come across someone that is qualified but you do not have a vacancy at that time, keep in touch with them periodically so they know you’re interested. Also, advertise within your industry as someone may be able to refer a qualified candidate. As you are in the process of recruiting, ensure that you track where you have advertised, the length of the campaign, and how many applications you received. As it is a requirement to keep resumes on file for a period of time, note each applicant’s name and whether or not they were interviewed and selected. Include why they were not selected or their start dates. Once you are ready to submit your application for TFWs, attach this information, as it will be helpful to the Foreign Worker Unit to determine whether or not you tried to locate a candidate locally.
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TIPS FOR HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS
Due to the long processing times involved in hiring TFWs, it is critical to forecast your need for staff.
Applying for TFWs Once all your recruitment efforts have been completed, it is time to apply to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. It’s recommended that you pre-register online for web service since the processing time is shorter. You don’t need to utilize the program right away when you register, but at least you will be prepared if it’s required. If you have not had a chance to select a candidate, you may apply using the unnamed method, which will again allow you to reduce processing time. You may also view the status and progress of your application online, which will save you time in not having to contact the call centre. During the process you must be able to demonstrate that you are able to provide transportation for the relocation of the candidate, and ensure they have provincial health coverage. Upon selection of the candidate, you must provide an employment contract detailing the job offer. Reducing Fees Service Canada is now charging a processing fee of $275 per vacancy that is applied for. In order to reduce your costs, partner up with an industry associate to receive a large booking discount for advertising. Join with a travel agency to ensure you’re paying the lowest rates for travel.
TIPS FOR HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS
Selecting an Applicant Do not select a candidate based on a resume alone. Conduct an interview in person or via Skype to ensure the candidate will be suitable for your company. Read their body language during the interview since it can tell you a lot more than just what they say. Keep in contact with the selected candidate periodically to provide assurance that you are investing time and effort into getting them hired, and that they will not just be an employee number after they are hired. Outsourcing The final way to reduce costs is outsourcing. It will save you time and money as consulting companies will manage all TFW recruiting activities on your behalf - providing summaries and updates as well as recommending the best options available. Most consulting companies also have the highest discount rates for advertising, and have partnered with a travel agency to get the best available travel rates. Some companies even offer a guarantee, which means that if a selected candidate does not stay with you for a certain time period; they will waive the placement fee for the next candidate. Retention Through AINP If a TFW server, room attendant, or front desk clerk has offered outstanding service and you would like to employ them permanently, you may apply to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) and provide them with a permanent job offer on company letterhead. The TFW must have been employed for at least six months and have a minimum of 3 yearsâ€™ experience in that specific occupation before you can apply.
The employing company must be incorporated, and must have a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) for that foreign worker with proof of ongoing recruitment efforts. If your TFW is on an open work permit, based on their status as a post graduate, then you do not need a LMO. The company must complete a settlement and retention plan for the candidate to ease the transition into becoming a permanent resident, and be an AHLA member in good standing. The number of foreign workers you may nominate in a calendar year is dependent on how many rooms you have in your facility, but you may only nominate one front desk clerk per calendar year. Within 30 days of submission of the application, you will receive a file number.
Assuming that your company and the candidate submitted the information together, you will receive a decision within four months. Once the certificate of nomination has been received, then the candidate must apply for their permanent residency. The processing time at Citizenship and Immigration Canada is dependent on the applicantâ€™s country of citizenship, which will be processing their background checks. During the process of nomination and application for permanent residency, you must ensure that the employee maintains their legal status as a TFW. Your company should carefully estimate the processing time and ensure you have a valid LMO for the selected employee(s).
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Highlights from the Travel Alberta Industry Conference Over 600 tourism industry professionals attended the 2013 Travel Alberta Industry Conference in October at The Fairmont Banff Springs. Under the theme “Connect & Collaborate”, the event provided inspiration, new contacts, and a few goosebump moments along the way. Keynote speakers focused on topics ranging from generational gaps to mistakes in tourism marketing; and over 25 breakout sessions gave insight into tourism trends, tools, and tactics. Here are a few highlights from two days of connecting and collaborating in Banff: Travel Alberta Annual General Meeting Each year, Travel Alberta conducts an annual general meeting during the conference so that our industry partners can participate and learn about Travel Alberta’s strategic direction. Bruce Okabe, Travel Alberta’s Chief Executive Officer, presented the organization’s 2012-2013 Annual Report while highlighting past successes and future directions. This report is now available online at industry.travelalberta.com, and features a review of Travel Alberta’s strategic objectives, scorecard, and results for 2012-2013. This was a banner year for tourism in Alberta and tourism industry metrics have shown positive results. In 2012, provincial hotel occupancy and average daily room rate revenue increased 3.4% and 5.1% respectively; traffic increased by approximately 6.6% at both Edmonton and Calgary international airports; historic site and museum visits were up 7.2%; and we’ve experienced significant increases in vehicle traffic at major border gateways, up 4.8%. This year also marks the third consecutive year that tourism levy proceeds have increased; evidence of a robust business and visitor economy. We continue to work through the fiscal year of 2013-2014 with the same strategy - to grow tourism revenue by directing consumer-driven brand marketing at youthfully-spirited travellers in high-yield markets. We will lead with breathtaking experiences that differentiate Alberta and drive visitation throughout the province.
by Shelley Grollmuss
The new Alberta Tourism Framework will maximize the potential of the tourism industry to create jobs in all regions of the province, encourage investment to further diversify Alberta’s economy, and showcase Alberta to the world and potential residents. The Tourism Framework was developed by Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation and Travel Alberta following extensive discussion with people involved in the tourism industry. The success of the Alberta Tourism Framework will be a team effort of Travel Alberta, government, and industry partners. By aligning efforts, we hope to maximize resources and make a stronger impact. The Alberta Tourism Framework document can be found at www.tpr. alberta.ca/tourism/framework/default.aspx. Alto Awards Gala Excellence in Alberta tourism was celebrated October 28 with the presentation of the 2013 Alberta Tourism Awards, known as the “Altos”, by Minister Starke. The Alto Awards recognize individuals and organizations committed to enriching Alberta’s tourism industry, and who inspire others and demonstrate what can be achieved by working together. Ten Altos were awarded in categories ranging from marketing to partnership to Alberta pride. The 2013 Alto Ambassador Award was presented to Quinton Crow Shoe of Fort Macleod. His early desire to share his culture led to a lifetime of creating authentic aboriginal experiences in Alberta for tourists from around the globe. This is truly an exceptional Albertan who has made an outstanding contribution to the Alberta tourism industry. Applications for next year’s Alto awards will be posted to industry. travelalberta.com in the spring. Save the Date
Alberta’s Tourism Framework The Honourable Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, laid out plans for Alberta’s tourism future. A new plan is in place to grow Alberta’s tourism industry from a $7.8 billion to $10.3 billion industry by 2020.
Holding this annual conference reflects one of Travel Alberta’s key business strategies: to mobilize industry. We are committed to working and succeeding together as Team Alberta in the marketplace, and this event is a key component of Travel Alberta’s strategy to provide educational opportunities and support for our Alberta industry partners. Conference delegates made the following comments about this year’s conference: “Great conference; well-structured and balanced with seminar presentations.”
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“The contacts I have made here have been the most beneficial thing for me.” “I was really inspired by the keynote speakers. [They brought] a different way to look at things.” We hope that you will join us next year at the 2014 Travel Alberta Industry Conference, to be held October 19 to 21 at The Fairmont Banff Springs. Shelley Grollmuss is Travel Alberta`s Vice-President of Industry Development.
Up to 15 Mbps dedicated in-room WiFi* *Translation: “More positive web reviews than you can shake a pillow mint at.”
Shaw Business can keep you and your guests connected with: • In-room guest WiFi • Crystal-clear phones • Ultra-fast Internet • Corporate connectivity • Tons of HD channels solutions Learn more about how WiFi impacts your business at www.shaw-business.ca/hospitality
TRENDS IN RECREATION Fitness on the Go by Carol Schram
As the global population ages, more people are looking for a health and fitness component when they travel, whether itâ€™s for business or pleasure.
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TRENDS IN RECREATION
“I see a lot of people over 50 using our treadmill to walk, and I’ve seen people using our pool area a lot more for exercise,” describes General Manager Tony Bielec of the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre in Jasper. “I actually see people swimming laps now, which I haven’t seen in the past.” Sawridge Jasper updated its in-house fitness centre in 2013 while its sister properties in Fort McMurray and Peace River have upgrades planned for 2014. “More and more guests are making use of the on-site fitness facilities we offer,” notes Assistant General Manager Robin Galloway of the Sawridge Inn Peace River. “We offer yoga mats and exercise balls for in-room use, and we’re looking to increase the size of our [fitness] room and the equipment we offer to ensure we’re meeting the changing needs of our clients.” Indoor Activities The Radisson Hotel Edmonton South offers all its guests full access to a 22,000 sq. ft. fullservice facility. Cliff Wing has managed the Terrace Fitness and Racquet Club since the hotel took over its ownership back in 1991.
Photo courtesy of Hotel Arts Group
Many properties partner with tour operators to help their guests get the most from their outdoor experiences.
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TRENDS IN RECREATION
the office tower rents it out at lunchtime and hires an instructor to teach yoga to their employees. If space permits, our members can join in for a fee. We’ve tried offering additional yoga and pilates but people didn’t want to pay the high cost.” Instead, the club’s in-house personal trainer has developed a brand-new activity that’s been a hit with the membership. “Tennis ball soccer is three-on-three, so you can play forward, defense or goalie. We have about 80 people who sign up, and it’s free for guests to come and join us. Each game is about 10 minutes long, and it can get pretty intense!” Get Outside and Wheel Around
Photo courtesy of Hotel Arts Group
The Hotel Arts Group in Calgary has introduced a free bike-share program.
“We’ve got two squash courts, a racquetball court, cardio equipment, strength machines, free weights, salt water pool, hot tub, and a men’s gym upstairs with the heavier equipment,” Wing lists. “The main floor is more of a corporate co-ed atmosphere.” Personal training and massage services are also available for an additional cost. “We primarily cater to the hotel and we limit our public membership base, so we don’t
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flood it too much when guests come down to use it,” explains Wing. “We have about 1,000 local members as well as punch-card users, then our 235 guest rooms and the workers in the eighth-floor business tower that’s attached to the property.” Wing says he’s seen plenty of trends come and go in his 22 years on the job. “We’ve recently converted our racquetball court into a multi-use space. A gaming company from
When weather permits, hosts throughout Alberta encourage guests to take their activities to the great outdoors. “We have a lot of outdoor activities in Peace Country including skiing, hunting, fishing, ice fishing, hiking, quadding, and snowmobiling,” says Galloway. “Our guests also enjoy the trails along the river in Peace River – it’s perfect for walking the dogs or taking in a bike ride.” Bikes are a big deal in Jasper, Bielec reports. “Everybody has a bike here. We have 60-feet plus of bike rack, and it’s jammed. We put in a set of bike lockers this year because we see so many people coming in with road bikes. We’re now working with a local bike shop to have bikes available for guests to rent, right on the property.” With a new spin on cycling, The Hotel Arts Group in Calgary has introduced a free bikeshare program this year to guests at Hotel Arts and its sister property, Kensington River Inn. “We wanted our guests to have a chance to get out and explore the city because we think there are lots of fun things to see and do,” says Director of Business Development
TRENDS IN RECREATION
Fraser Abbott. “We took the initiative and bought a fleet of 12 Brooklyn Cruiser Bikes - eight are at Hotel Arts and four are at the Kensington River Inn. They’re fantastic.” “The bicycles have little wooden boxes on the back, so people can fill them with picnic baskets, or raingear if the weather’s a little inclement. Last summer, we saw the bikes throughout downtown on the bike paths, at music festivals - all over. We’ve branded the boxes with the logos from the hotels and our restaurants, so they’re like movable billboards. It’s great advertising.” Partner With the Experts Many properties partner with tour operators to help their guests get the most from their outdoor experiences. In Jasper, “We have several third parties for hiking and sightseeing,” describes Bielec. “Walks and Talks Jasper does guided tours on the trail, like wildlife viewing and birding. There’s also a group that will take you on a hike to look at the glacier.” In Peace River, “We partner with Top of the Flyway Outfitters as well as Chinchaga River Hunts to provide accommodations to hunters travelling to our area,” reports Galloway.
Photo courtesy of Radisson Hotel Edmonton South
Back at Hotel Arts, guests can use the in-house fitness centre or move up to a specialty offering at one of two third-party facilities on site. “Anytime Fitness is open 24 hours, with group classes and all kinds of stuff,” says Abbott. “They’re franchised all across North America, so if you’ve got a membership in L.A. and you’re coming up for a week to do business in Calgary, your membership will let you use the gym for free. We’ve also got HotShop Hot Yoga and Spin. They offer drop-
in classes and bring in a DJ for their yoga on Friday nights, which is kind of fun. If you don’t have a membership, we have discounts for our guests.” Abbott also points out the appeal of Hotel Arts’ outdoor pool. “It might not be the greatest thing when it comes to fitness, but it’s the best place to do your post-workout relaxation. It’s a great place to unwind - and solar charge.”
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Pomeroy Inn & Suites Olds
by Megan Kopp
A self-confessed “pillow-plumper and picture-straightener,” General Manager Stephen Dodwell is not above doing whatever is needed to achieve professional service within the hospitality industry. With the new four-star plus Pomeroy Inn & Suites Olds property - which is in partnership with Olds College - under his wing, he’s excited by the possibilities.
The People Dodwell received a hotel degree from the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England, close to 30 years ago. He spent a year at The Savoy Hotel in London, England while completing his degree. Starting with Swallow Hotels after graduating, he rose to food and beverage manager. In the early 1990s, Dodwell became General Manager for the Holiday Inn Bristol. When Scott’s Hospitality pulled out of the chain, the hotel underwent a $20 million refurbishment and re-opened as the Marriott in Bristol. In 2000, Dodwell pulled back from hotel management and bought a guest lodge in Sundre with his wife Paula. Six years later, they moved to Kelowna, opening a restaurant for a year-and-a-half before heading south to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The plan was to retire, but they ended up buying, renovating, and flipping properties for the next three years.
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Returning to Canada, Dodwell was hired as General Manager at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites in Vegreville. With only 80 rooms, it was the smallest hotel he had ever managed. The Pomeroy Olds was already well past planning stages at this juncture; although it had a “rather long birth”. Dr. Tom Thompson, current president of Olds College, had been at Grande Prairie College. He formed a friendship with Bob Pomeroy, who opened the first Pomeroy Inn & Suites there in 2004. When Bob’s son Ryan took over the business in 2008, his expansion ideas turned to Olds.
Olds College, like many educational institutions, is getting less core funding from the government. According to the Vice-President of Advancement at Olds College, Jordan Cleland, “Institutions interested in ‘future-proofing’ need to maximize ancillary revenue streams.” The Tourism and Hospitality program was new to Olds College for 2013. The college became a minority investor in the Pomeroy Olds venture with a 40% stake in a blind trust.
The Property Pomeroy Olds became the seventh property in one of the fastest growing regional extendedstay brands in Western Canada. Built on one corner of the beautiful Olds College campus, it opened its doors on July 5th, 2013. The World Plowing Festival was being held at the college on opening day, which translated to 100% capacity for the duration of the festival. The base business for the property is the tertiary market, focusing on business meetings, college Stephen Dodwell, events, sport teams, and oil industry crews General Manager looking for medium- to long-term stays. There are 11 different room types to meet all needs, including two, 1200-sq. ft. family suites. Convention facilities include a 6000sq. ft. ballroom, which can be divided into three breakout rooms - as well as a small poolside party room used for team meetings, pizza parties, or birthday celebrations, which book the pool too. Thompson’s Taproom Bar and Grill opened in November 2013. A franchise working in a hotel facility, the 70-seat restaurant’s fare is described as “American comfort food”. “And no,” says Dodwell with a smile, “it’s not named for college president – that name is already on the bridal suite.” The college started a Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management diploma program with facilities located at the west end of the hotel property in September 2013 – the first program of its kind in Western Canada. There are 26 first-year students currently in the program, with another 26 coming in next September. The goal is to sell the beer brewed in the course on a cost-recovery basis in the student pub and eventually in Thompson’s Taproom once regulatory approvals from the government are received. Guests of the Pomeroy can stroll down and tour the brewery facility if they are interested in learning more.
The Promise of Partnership A hotel, a college, a working brewery, a franchise - how does this complicated set of relationships work? “It takes us getting to know each other’s worlds,” says Dodwell. Cleland agrees, adding that “there were strong relationships between the principal parties to begin with.” In order to succeed, a venture such as this requires “clarity, trust, and good faith.” The next challenge will be integrating students into the hotel for training without impacting guest visits. Dodwell hopes to start using students early in 2014. The idea of different entities working together for greater good really appeals to Dodwell. “My goals are to hopefully get students to see this as a proper career, and to make this hotel as successful as it can be.”
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Pond Hockey Tournaments Score Big There’s nothing more Canadian than heading outside with a pair of skates over your shoulder and a hockey stick in hand for a game of scrub hockey on the neighbour’s pond or backyard rink. We like it so much, in fact, that we decided to make tournaments out of this favourite winter pastime. Alberta hosts a number of pond hockey tournaments around the province every year. Usually, pond hockey is comprised of a team of three or four players competing against another team of three or four players with no goaltenders. The game is played on a natural outdoor ice surface that is approximately 150 ft. by 75 ft., or 75% of a regulation ice surface. A game is 30 minutes in length with two 15-minute halves. The Alberta Pond Hockey Association (APHA) hosted its first pond hockey event in February 2007. Between 2007 and 2011 the event continued to grow, attracting teams from all over Alberta and a few teams from Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and even Ontario. Registrations increased tremendously in five years, from 36 teams in 2007 to almost 90 in 2011. The impact of these tournaments on tourism in the Peace Region is profound and celebrated. In 2010, APHA was awarded an Alto Marketing Excellence Award from Alberta Tourism. These awards recognize creative marketing campaigns that encourage travel to, and within, Alberta. The 2010 tournament was the largest pond hockey tournament in the province to date, with 84 registered teams, 400 male and female players, 250 volunteers and 3,000 spectators coming to the Peace Region for some good Canadian fun.
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by Debbie Minke
Organizers compile resources and volunteers from six municipalities, which share the task of hosting the teams, spectators, and media in their hotels, restaurants, and stores. Community spirit is strengthened and awareness of the region is increased as media coverage highlights the various events that embody the tournament. After a year hiatus in 2012, what had quickly become northern Alberta’s favourite winter event returned to Lac Cardinal in 2013. The 2014 APHA tournament will take place on Family Day weekend, from February 14 to 16, with 4 divisions - recreational, competitive, junior, and women. Winners of the competitive division will be eligible to attend the World Pond Hockey Championships in Plaster Rock, NB later in the year. While the games are going on, family rinks are available for parents and children to skate on, and there’s a large tent onsite for participants and spectators to warm up, grab some food, buy some merchandise, and enjoy the licensed beer gardens. On Saturday evening a players and volunteer appreciation event is held with live entertainment and a silent auction. The 2014 tournament hopes to include a speed skating demonstration and some cross country skiing as well. This year’s sixth annual Kimmett Cup Pond Hockey Tournament will be held January 17-18 in Cochrane, the home of former U of A medicine student Lindsay Kimmett, who died in 2008 at the age of 26 in a tragic driving accident. The 2013 pond hockey tournament teamed up with Martin Parnell of Marathan Quest 250 and the Right to Play organization, and set a Guinness World Record for the most
Photo courtesy of Kristin Dyck, Mile Zero News
players in an exhibition hockey match. A total of 374 players participated in the tournament, which raised $100,000 for Right to Play. Every dollar fundraised was tripled, for a grand total of $400,000 that provided 8,000 children around the world with weekly sport and play programs for an entire year. The community greatly benefitted from the increased media coverage and tourism generated by the event. Other tournaments around the province include the three-on-three tournament at Camp Evergreen near Camrose, the threeon-three University of Alberta Pond Hockey Tournament in Edmonton; Lace Up Pond Hockey Tournament in Calgary; the Kinsmen On The Pond Mini Heritage Hockey Classic for 5-12 year-olds in Lac la Biche; and the Lake Louise Pond Hockey Classic in Banff National Park.
Tour of Alberta - Inaugural Race a Great Success by Debbie Minke Professional cyclists from more than 27 countries made their way to Alberta for the inaugural Tour of Alberta, Canada’s Pro Cycling Festival, held September 3-8. The race marked Canada’s first major international professional stage race, and Alberta’s first foray into the growing global sport of cycling. Ranked as a UCI 2.1 (Union Cycliste Internationale) course, the event was one of the highest-rated professional speed races in North America, and as such attracted many international athletes and their followers. The world-class Tour of Alberta was free to the public, and covered more than 800 km of urban and rural roads in the province. Over 50 communities of varying sizes were included in the course, with 10 community festivals held at each start and finish line, offering an exciting range of Alberta culture, food, and entertainment for participants and spectators alike.
Photo courtesy of Government of Alberta
Photo courtesy of Government of Alberta
The race included a prologue and five stages that took the riders around the province. The prologue took place in Edmonton, where 117 cyclists representing more than 15 teams, raced on a short 7.3 km course, on tight neighbourhood streets, ending at the Alberta legislature grounds. Festivities included musical entertainment, beer gardens and food vendors, children’s activities and bike demonstrations as well as a fundraising bike ride with the mayor and an opening night gala. The race came to an exciting finish in Calgary 5 days later, with closing festivities at the Stampede grounds. An estimated 100,000 spectators lined the route on the final leg, cheering on the riders along the 132 km from Okotoks to Calgary. The economic impact of the Tour of Alberta is being assessed by a study commissioned by the government. Preliminary estimates placed the impact on the province between $22 - $25 million, but final figures are still being confirmed.
However, the value of the Tour of Alberta extends far beyond the economic benefit experienced by every city, town, and hamlet the event covered. The race captured the world’s attention, with 41 million viewers in 162 countries tuning in and being introduced to the great landscapes of our province and lesser-known attractions. Over 16 million impressions and mentions were made online, and the Tour of Alberta website received 1.4 million page views from 47 countries. This media exposure is priceless. Not only did the race capture the world’s attention, it captured the attention of Canadians. The number of spectators exceeded the anticipated 300,000 as fans gathered in cities, towns, and along rural roads to cheer the athletes on. Parents brought their children to the race and community festivals, where cyclists mingled with the crowd. “The true value of events like these can’t be captured by economic impact alone - it’s a total package,” explains Marco De Iaco, Vice President of Sports and Major Events for Tourism Calgary. “We evaluate success in light of a number of factors. We look at community legacies beyond brick and mortar. By providing access to this world-class event, we inspired adults and children alike to take up cycling and live an active and healthy lifestyle.” alberta hospitality | 19
Expanding Your Circle of Trust by Alan E. Young
If asked to define your “Circle of Trust”, you would likely come back with a select handful of your closest family and friends - people who you probably consider your confidants. They tell it like it is, but would not have a bad word to say about you outside of this sphere. It’s a safe place.
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expanding your circle of trust
However, as a hotelier, your “Circle of Trust” is comprised of thousands of people. Most of them you don’t know personally. In fact, many of them you have never even met before. They know you and have a strong opinion of you. The people in this circle are talking about you to their neighbours, to all of their social media friends, and even telling people they have never met about you. They are writing about you; in a best case scenario they are saying very nice things. At other times, not so much. Guest feedback is growing. It’s exploding. Feedback that was once confined to an in-room survey and traditional word-ofmouth is now a billboard in the form of online reviews, social media posts, and photos for all to see. Your “Circle of Trust” is now made up of all these people, sharing stories, anecdotes, and details of their stay. If it’s all working well, this circle is a source of referrals - and powerful ones at that. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust Survey, an astonishing 92% of consumers worldwide said they trust “earned media” (word-ofmouth, friends, and family) above all other forms of advertising. This is an 18% jump since 2007! Social media and review sites have no doubt contributed to this increase as
92% of consumers worldwide said they trust “earned media”… above all other forms of advertising.
the process of sharing recommendations has become much easier, although oftentimes unsolicited (as it pops up in your Facebook stream and you think, “I should try that hotel the next time I am in Red Deer”). The bottom line is that people trust recommendations from people they know. And who they “know” is growing as you see what friends of friends have to say and suggest across social networks. On review sites you might not even know the person, yet they become a trusted source of information just by the high level of detail they have shared about a particular experience and the number of past reviews they have posted. Put this all together, and you can see how and why your hotel’s “Circle of Trust” is multiplying. You can’t stop its expansion, but you can influence it.
Increasing Reviews via Surveys Reviews and social media have an impact on booking decisions - and ultimately your bottom line. Specific to review sites, higherranking hotels earn better visibility, which lends itself to a greater appeal amongst travellers, which in turn results in more heads in beds. You can generate more reviews by using surveys. By sending a survey to past guests, you create a wealth of user content on your own website. Review sites are still very important, so you need to decide where you want the feedback and content to reside. You may send 25% to your own site, 40% to TripAdvisor, and the rest to some combination of Yelp!, Google+ and Booking. com. The more reviews, the better the score. The better the score, the higher the visibility. And best of all, you can charge more as your scores improve.
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expanding your circle of trust
68% of people say they would choose a hotel with management responses over a comparable hotel without them.
The TrustScore, a ranking based on a possible top billing of 100, is a compilation of guest feedback across all major user-generated sites, which measures how a hotel is rated in one easy-to-read score. Content from over 250 sites goes into the determination. The star-rating of your property is not taken into account, which means that three- and fourstar accommodations can compete with the once-superior five-star set, if guests are posting positive comments. Engaging with guests on social media platforms - before, after and during their stay - also helps to strengthen the bonds within your “Circle of Trust.” Monitoring Tools As the number of reviews multiplies, it’s important to have a tool that can aggregate and analyze the tremendous sea of data out there about your hotel. The AHLA has partnered with TrustYou to provide this service to members. With their semantic analysis technology, they can break down what is being said and deliver the trends and sentiment behind all of this online feedback. And this is done in over 20 languages, so you can actually understand what your international guests are saying about you. 22 | alberta hospitality
A centralized dashboard shows the number of new reviews, positive vs. negative, what guests are saying about service, location, food, beds and more. It also shows the management response rate and allows you to reply to reviews directly from the tool. You can even benchmark against your competitors to see how you are doing in review volume and responses. Replying to Reviews Responding to reviews can have a big impact on your “Circle of Trust”. Hotels that respond to online guest reviews, whether positive or negative, average 6% higher review scores than those that don’t. Management responses are so important that 68% of people say they would choose a hotel with management responses over a comparable hotel without them. Even negative reviews, which have responses, show a positive impact, with 79% of travellers saying they feel reassured by seeing that the hotel is listening. Marketing Your Success You’ve listened to your guests and made service and operational adjustments accordingly. You have received more reviews and higher scores. Highlight these accolades
on your website and post your TrustScore on your home page as a seal of approval. The AHLA and TrustYou The AHLA is a preferred partner and reseller for TrustYou, so AHLA members can sign up for the service at a preferred rate. TrustYou will deliver a data dashboard to the AHLA, listing trust and sentiment scores for each hotel in the association. The AHLA will then communicate these scores back to member properties, so they can see where they can improve. This should increase the overall trust scores of hotels in Alberta resulting in increased travel to the province. In the new national booking site checkincanada.com - an aggregate score of guest reviews from across the web will be compiled and presented in an easy-toview graph with short comments, making it quick and easy for guests to get feedback encouraging them to stay on the site and book rather than going to another review site. Alan E. Young is SVP of Strategic Partnerships for TrustYou.
Creating a Great Place to Work
by Lisa Blue
better place to work? By looking within, you can begin to identify where your organization excels as an employer, as well as where the gaps are. The inward focus is essential because the employment relationship needs to build on - and support an organization’s business strategy, culture, and talent requirements. That’s why creating a great place to work is an inside job. Do you know why your staff enjoy working for your organization? Do you know why your staff continue to work for your property? For employees to feel committed to your hotel, they need to have a stake in it. Organizations need to make it a priority to encourage a sense of ownership among staff by improving internal communication, staff feedback, and team building. Having a reliable tool to measure the results is a great opportunity to see if the efforts are effective. In today’s difficult labour market, employers have to offer more to attract the best.
Some organizations place a lot of emphasis on understanding external or industry best practices when seeking out ways to better attract and retain talent. But the employment relationship is precisely that – a relationship between the organization and individuals who work there. In this context, best practices may not even be meaningful. You wouldn’t adopt another organization’s business strategy. And for the same reasons, you’re not going to engage employees’ hearts and minds by just copying what others do from a total rewards perspective. In reality, the best road to becoming an employer of choice is one that takes you on an inward journey. It’s not about figuring out what works elsewhere or what most companies are doing. It’s about finding that special magic that propels your own organization to greatness. Consider the results on the list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, where the editors of a specialty publisher, sifted through a daunting amount of information to analyze each applicant’s operations and HR practices, and after an extensive review, the winners emerged. Publishing a detailed “reason for selection” is a distinguishing feature of the competition where it provides a transparency in the selection of winners and “raises the bar” so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well elsewhere. Some organizations emphasized opportunities for promotion and advancement. Others spoke to culture, highlighting team-oriented environments and accessible leaders. A few pointed to flexible work arrangements or focused on employee wellness. And some noted they also took time to have fun. Every organization had its own unique story to tell. More importantly, what works well in one organization may not fly at all in another. Not every company can lay claim to a family-oriented environment or entrepreneurial culture. Flexible work arrangements may not be suitable in every situation. Not every organization can deliver significant promotional opportunities. So what’s your organization’s story? How does it seek to make its mark in the world? What does it do to engage the hearts and minds of employees? Are there opportunities to make the organization an even
The AHLA’s Employer of Choice designation will advertise that you are an employer that offers more. It will help new workers to choose which employer they want to work for - and help you to keep star performers. The EOC program provides objective feedback based on documentation and surveys. In addition to the audit report ensuring that organizations are complying with applicable legislative requirements, the survey identifies the practices that employees appreciate the most. At the end of the process, organizations receive a detailed report outlining their strengths and potential areas for improvement. An Employer of Choice designation is not only recognized and valued by employees; customers recognize hotels with an Employer of Choice designation as a place that is likely to provide a better level of service than their competitor. Consider completing the Employer of Choice survey to help you become the best employer you can be. It will give you feedback on what your best HR practices are as well as how you can improve.
UPCOMING ISSUE Spring 2014
Closes February 28 Publishes April 11
• Improving Cost Ratios • Improving Accessibility • Tourism in Fort McMurray • Best Practices for Working with OTAs Extra distribution at the 2014 AHLA Convention & Trade Show
Call 1-800-667-0955 to book your ad alberta hospitality | 23
The AHLA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show
Sparking Creativity and Innovation!
Despite the many benefits of technology, there is no substitute for live, in-person conventions. Our event gives you the opportunity to watch and learn from visual cues and body language while enjoying the overall atmosphere and environment. If you have not yet had an opportunity to attend, here’s what you can expect: The AHLA convention kicks off with Alberta’s only industry-specific trade show, where you and suppliers exchange information and share all that’s new in the industry. The keynote speaker kicks off the next day inspiring and motivating everyone in attendance. Previous speakers include Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean, John Furlong, CEO of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, Hotel Rwanda’s Paul Rusesabagina, and Mary Flynn of the Disney Institute. Over the next two days, you have an opportunity to choose from a variety of informative business sessions designed to educate and enhance your skills. In the past, such topics as eliminating bed bugs, improving guest service, revenue management, environmental stewardship, technology trends, and enhanced marketing techniques have been offered. Celebration is a huge component of the AHLA’s annual event. A highlight for many attendees is the presentation of the Housekeeping Awards at a gala dinner. Others enjoy hearing the many stories shared about long-term employees/employers who receive/achieve the Gold Key Award or Employer of Choice designation. Honouring the industry’s best 24 | alberta hospitality
“...loved the networking and learning opportunities... especially the hiring of various generations…” ~ 2013 Convention Attendee
can also be witnessed with the Award of Distinction and Life Member presentations during the Chairman’s Dinner. Our chosen venue this year -The Banff Centre will be unique and spectacular, and combined with the majestic views, we anticipate much inspirational learning. Founded in 1933, this world-class facility plays host to international conferences as well as arts, music, and film festivals. Over 8,000 artists, leaders, and researchers have participated in the various programs they have to offer. Why You Should Attend Educational Opportunities - No matter how experienced we are at our businesses, we all can learn. Working in a business venture can be isolating, and without exposure to a variety of points of view, we can miss new ideas and trends that can impact future results. This aspect of our convention will expose you to new ways of conducting business and help you discover how to be more productive. Networking with Your Peers - Hoteliers from other regions of the province are valuable resources for referrals and best practices. You also have access to the presenters to ask questions, share ideas, and expand on topics. Collaboration is the way to approach networking. Most people help each other uncover ideas and spark inspiration when they get to know each other on a personal level.
Encounter New Vendors and Suppliers - Too often people shy away from trade shows for fear they will have to talk to salespeople. However, these industry suppliers are some of the best people for you to get to know, if you want to learn more and discover the current innovative products and services for your business. Plus, these vendors fully grasp what is happening inside your competition. Turn them into your friends and allies. Position Yourself As An Expert - People like to associate with the experts in the industry. When you are active in your industry, you can develop a reputation as a specialist to your peers and your clients. If your strategy is to be the best-kept secret in your business community, you will be missing a valuable opportunity to share your expertise. Refuel and Have Fun - All work and no play can get old fast. Our convention will add a layer of enjoyment when managing your career growth by mixing a social aspect into your learning. Never underestimate the power of a little fun mixed with some interesting people! Take an extra day at the beginning or end of your trip and maximize your investment. If you invest the time and money to attend, we can almost guarantee that you will return home with new tools, valuable contacts, and a renewed approach that will help you manage and grow your business better than before. Mark Your Calendars Now for April 24 to 26, 2014 at The Banff Centre - we look forward to seeing you!
WHAT’S NEW? by Debbie Minke
Electrolux Professional’s High Spin Washers (H series) that have earned the ENERGY STAR® have now increased to include washers with a capacity larger than 105 litres (up to 45lbs). The H series combines technology with green thinking and low running costs. Energy-efficient, its durable, robust construction and high technology manufacturing is built to respect the environment at every point of production usage and disposal. Kaba, provider of Saflok™ and ILCO™ electronic locks, has launched its new WiFi communications backbone for online hotel locks. The advanced online door lock system uses Zigbee communication and WiFI to secure historic properties and other difficult-to-cable hotels. Kaba’s Quantum Messenger door locks continually communicate their status across an online network that monitors the guest door for greater security. If a guestroom door is left ajar, guest services or security can be automatically notified to respond. The Messenger wireless system allows web-based monitoring of electronic door locks and keys for guestrooms and backof-the-house doors, including ballrooms, meeting rooms, service closets, employee entrances, mechanical areas, and storerooms. Chrisal Canada’s probiotic cleaning products have now been launched in Canada. Through competitive exclusion, Chrisal’s good bacteria thrive and overpower harmful bacteria, driving them from surfaces. Pathogens and odour-causing bad bacteria normally hide under the biofilm, and are unreachable by disinfectants or chemicals. Chrisal’s billions of healthy probiotics break through the biofilm, take over the space, and continue to clean for 3-5 days after each application. Visit www.chrisal.ca for more information. The RD Fresh 100% natural refrigeration dehumidifier service is a natural mineral system that contains zeolites and works by trapping and
eliminating moisture, odours, and gases released from fresh foods in your cooler. This innovative, passive, and environmentally-friendly product helps reduce organic waste, keeping food fresh up to 50% longer. Visit www.ethicalplanet.ca for more details. The Enevo ONe Collect system is a service in waste logistics that uses sonar technology to monitor the fill levels of your containers and communicate this information to a web-based server. ONe Collect then calculates optimized collection schedules and routes based on real-time data from your container, helping you save up to 40% on your waste collection costs. Go to www.enevo.com for information. FREEWAITER offers an easy-to-use mobile self-ordering service, supporting smartphones connected by any Wi-Fi or cellular network. Customers can easily order from their phones or your Facebook and web pages, pay and track their orders. Hotel guests can access hotel electronic menus by scanning the QR code labels specifying ordering locations. FREEWAITER can also automatically detect guest location with new technology using sensors connected to the Wi-Fi network. Staff can confirm the order with the guest prior to accepting it. Go to www.freewaiter.com for details. EarthBin is a new environmentally-friendly, cost-effective waste bin that looks good while being easy to maintain and service. The EarthBin’s low feed height encourages users to deposit trash or recycling. The enclosure lids hold open and then self-close, keeping pests out and odours in. Since the waste is stored in a sealed container over 1.8 metres underground, trash in the bin stays cool and odour-free, and self-compacts under the weight of new garbage or recycling dropped into the bin. When full, the EarthBin can be emptied by a standard front loader garbage truck. Find out more at www.earth-bin.com.
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Growing Albertaâ€™s Tourism Industry by Dr. Richard Starke
Tourism has huge potential to diversify our economy and build Alberta.
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Growing Alberta’s Tourism Industry
We are fortunate to live in one of the most breathtaking places on earth, as vast as it is varied in landscape and experiences. We are a four-season destination with so much to offer travellers: the iconic Rocky Mountains, the alluring Badlands, peaceful prairies, placid lakes, a diverse cultural history, and vibrant urban and rural centres. We know visitors are looking for unique and authentic experiences and Alberta delivers—from rodeos and dog sledding, to participating in an Aboriginal round dance and gazing at the stars. To grow our industry we need to create more of these compelling experiences to stand out in a competitive marketplace. The Tourism industry already employs 139,000 people, sustains more than 19,000 businesses, and it contributed $1.15 billion in tax revenue to Alberta’s economy in 2011. The Alberta government is committed to growing the industry to create more jobs and additional investment in communities across the province. On October 29th at the Travel Alberta Industry Conference, I was proud to release the Alberta Tourism Framework. The framework aligns the Government of Alberta, Travel Alberta, the Alberta Strategic Tourism Council, and industry partners under one, multi-year plan to grow the tourism industry from 7.8 to 10.3 billion dollars annually by 2020. The framework creates a common vision, and sets long-term targets, key priorities, and outcomes to guide both tourism marketing and development in a coordinated and integrated fashion. Industry told us they needed a plan to successfully grow tourism in Alberta and we have listened. The framework asks all of us to trade
competition for collaboration so we can attract even more visitors and continue to tell Alberta’s story to the world. The Alberta Tourism Framework demonstrates the Alberta government’s ongoing commitment to the sustainability, growth, and competitiveness of the industry. It will guide us on the best path to maximize the many opportunities within Alberta through five key priorities. Priority 1: Innovation and Development This means encouraging entrepreneurial investment to produce more innovative experiences for the traveller as well as new and renewed destinations. It will require industry partners with shared destinations and interests to work together to identify gaps in the tourism experience. Knowing where we can improve will help determine tourism industry needs and produce new and enhanced tourism products. Priority 2: Accessibility We want to improve visitor accessibility to Alberta and its regions. This includes increasing air access to and within Alberta from priority target markets to grow inbound travel annually. The Government of Alberta will lead discussions with key stakeholders and advocate for industry at the federal table. We also want to make sure the tourism industry has access to a motivated, educated, skilled, and professional tourism labour force. Working across ministries and with educational institutions and tourism organizations, we will develop strategic initiatives to address the labour force needs of the tourism industry.
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Growing Alberta’s Tourism Industry
execute a coordinated approach to the access and delivery of tourism development and marketing services. In addition, through Collaborative Tourism Initiatives, regional and sectoral destination management plans will be prepared that are aligned and integrated with Alberta’s Tourism Framework. Pilot projects and ongoing evaluations will identify best practices and inform future Collaborative Tourism Initiatives.
Priority 5: Research All of the above would be supported by a comprehensive, science-based research approach that drives decisions.
Priority 3: Marketing We want to ensure Alberta’s tourism brand awareness and marketing efforts are effective in international and domestic markets. This requires targeting visitors who stay the longest and spend the most. Travel Alberta has identified the following as potential high-yield markets: Alberta and Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, India, and Mexico.
Priority 4: Alignment Success will not happen without industry alignment and open communication to pursue common goals. To support collaboration, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation and Travel Alberta will lead and
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Learn more about Alberta’s Tourism Framework at www.tpr.alberta.ca.
Our journey to 2020 has just begun. In the new year, we will be meeting with stakeholders to create detailed, tactical plans. As a member of our hospitality sector, you play a vital role in the visitor experience. I look forward to your participation as we move forward with implementing the framework and growing Alberta’s tourism industry. Together, we can make Alberta a destination of choice for tourists everywhere.
Dr. Richard Starke is Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation.
NAMES IN THE NEWS
Winter 2014 Congratulations to the following new General Managers: Violet Anderson, Chateau Nova Yellowhead, Edmonton; Bonnie Brown, Best Western PLUS Mountain View Inn & Suites, Sundre; Darlene Carlson, Best Western PLUS Sun Country, Medicine Hat; Gail Chasse, The Cedars Motel, Edson; Martin Cho, Horizon Motel, St Albert; James Chung, Thriftlodge Sportsman Inn, Claresholm; Michael Chung, Super 8 Athabasca; Pierre Comeau, Stardust Motel, Pincher Creek; Ashley Cooper, EconoLodge Inn & Suites Hinton; Sumit Chowdhary, Coliseum Inn, Edmonton; Karla Cousins, Best Western Diamond Inn, Three Hills; Charlotte Cunningham, Peavine Inn & Suites, High Prairie; Aly Dhanji, Holiday Inn Express and Suites Edmonton North; Andre Fabbri, Lake Louise Inn; Sylvester Freeman, Acclaim Hotel Calgary Airport; Pratik Giri, Sundowner Inn, Edson; Lana Goldie, Best Western PLUS Red Deer Inn & Suites; Margaret Graham, Ramada Camrose; Chad Gulevich, Mountaineer Lodge, Lake Louise; Tammy Hamilton, Coast Hotel Medicine Hat; Cheryl Hardy, Ramada Cochrane; Sarah Henshaw, Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Canmore; Cheryl Herron, Canalta Oyen; Lexi Huang, Sundre Hotel; Jordan Irwin, High Country Inn, Banff; and Dale Isley, Best Western Bonnyville Inn & Suites. More new GMs include Shemina Jiwani, Grande Rockies Resort, Canmore; George Johnson, Slave Lake Inn & Conference Centre; Darren Judd, Nova Inn, Edson; Gabrielle Kim, Travellers Inn Camrose; Joe Kim, Waldorf Hotel, Leduc; Salil Kulkarni, Courtyard by Marriott, Edmonton; Brian LaBerge, Grande Mountain Lodge, Grande Cache; Gary Lad, Travelodge Brooks; Josh Lee, Foxwood Inn & Suites, Drayton Valley; Cindy Lessrud, Caledonia Motor Inn, Viking; Alex Linquist, Ponoka Stampeder Inn; Dale MacMillan, Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets, Banff; Angelo Mangatal, Executive on the Ridge, Medicine Hat; Tracy McGrath, The Bridgeport Inn, Fort McMurray; Eileen McGuire, Dee-Jay Motel, Grimshaw; Nancy Moss, Quality Inn Whitecourt; Cas Nazaire, Howard Johnson Hotel West Edmonton; James Oh, Best Western Innisfail Inn; Teresa Pacheco, Holiday Inn Canmore; Jeremy Park, Hi Valley Motor Inn, Valleyview; Bobby Randhawa, Windmill Motel, Youngstown; Rob Rollingson, Travelodge Calgary University; Luke Sunderland, The Banff Centre; Julie Whiteway, Rimbey Motor Inn; Ian Wilson, Days Inn Hinton; Tim Wolf, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Slave Lake; and Kamran Zafar, Northwest Inn, Slave Lake. Leila Grobel is the new GM at the Canalta Provost as well as the following properties in Edmonton: Bellamy Manor, Jasper Court, Plaza 101, and The Oliver Tower. Angelo Talarico is the new GM at Eastwood Manor, Marquis Apartments, and Riviera Gardens in Edmonton. Michele McKenzie, President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), has been honoured in the public sector leaders category by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: The Top 100. Congratulations!
by Debbie Minke
After a five-month worldwide search, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has named Allen Smith as its new President & CEO. Smith comes to the Canadian-based luxury hotel group after serving as CEO of Prudential Real Estate Investors since 2008. Delta Hotels & Resorts has won the Hotel Association of Canada’s 2013 Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence in the category of Green Key Environment. The company has also been recognized as one of the 50 best employers in Canada, ranking 28 out of 84 eligible organizations. This marks the 14th year that the Delta has received this recognition. Companies are ranked according to employee engagement, not just satisfaction or benefits programs. SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts will soon break ground for its new Residence Inn by Marriott Hotel in downtown Calgary. The new 360-room property will include the new 10,000 sq. ft. SilverBirch Conference Centre. Catering to business travellers looking for a long-term stay, the all-suite hotel will offer full kitchens, separate living and sleeping areas, access to in-hotel business services, and a 24/7 self-serve food and beverage pantry. The opening is scheduled for 2016. The $100-million, 33-storey hotel will be one of the largest Residence Inns in the world and the biggest in Canada. The Hôtel Le Germain in Calgary was listed as the #5 hotel in Western Canada by the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. Electrolux Professional’s T4300LE Heat Pump Dryer has won an award from the Swedish group BeBo for being the most energy-efficient, costeffective and fastest dryer in the multi-housing market. If you have any noteworthy awards or community contributions, please email the details to Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McCallum Printing Group
Alberta Hotel Safety Association 27
Alberta Laundry Systems
Jani-King of Southern Alberta
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Making Great First Impressions by David Wilson No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. In most cases it is true, but have you ever wondered why publishers spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars just getting the cover right? Likewise, guests will get their first impression of your hotel when viewing and experiencing the exterior. You want to make guests feel welcome, secure, and impressed by your property. Incredibly, you only have 10 seconds to win your customer over upon arrival. Will your hotel’s entrance drive, parking lot, and exterior make a great first impression, or are they dark, dingy, and dirty spaces where a guest will feel uncomfortable? Are the entrance mats changed daily so they’re always clean? Is there gum on the driveway that you can’t remove? Is the parking lot well lit? Are the stairwells freshly painted? Is there clear signage directing guests from the parking lot to the lobby?
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After cleaning, some of the simplest and most economical improvements can include good, efficient, and reliable lighting. If you can’t change all your lights at once, start small and replace a few lights at a time. Painting can spruce up stairwells, the parking lot, and the drop off area of your hotel. When was the last time they were painted? Is the paint still there after the winter? There are some fantastic, acrylic-based paints that
are used for highway and airfield markings that will outlast the asphalt! They can be applied in less than a day, and offer the added advantage of creating an anti-slip environment, which is essential in Canada’s winter. Make sure the exterior of your property gives a great first impression and sets up your guests for a memorable stay.
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