IN THIS ISSUE OF INNSIGHT:
Smart Travellers Book Direct TFW program – moratorium for foodservice sector Take Back Your Guests New Partnership, Fresh Opportunities TRA Special Notice
OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE ALBERTA HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION
Smart Travellers Book Direct It’s Time to Check In, Canada!
In 2012, Online Travel Agencies collected over $250 million in commissions in Canada. Roughly $39.8 million came from Alberta. The AHLA launched the Alberta pilot of Check In Canada, Canada’s official national online accommodation directory, at the 2014 convention in Banff. The program offers travellers accurate and reliable information about hotels online, including Star Quality, Green Key ratings, and consumer feedback through the TrustScore™. What we want to achieve: Help meet provincial & national targets for tourism revenue with limited marketing funds Provide advanced real time hotel and destination selection to travellers Make it easier for travellers to plan and find accommodations on destination websites
Check In Canada Offers: Book direct commission-free reservations; Quality assurance and a consumer complaints process; Consumer generated content; and Optional Green Key and Star Quality ratings. The Hotel Association of Canada endorses Check In Canada and the program is now underway, with Saskatchewan and Manitoba launching shortly. The AHLA is working with Travel Alberta and Visitor Information Centres to promote www.CheckInCanada.com to travellers.
Inspiring Service Growing Value
Message from the President & CEO TFW program – moratorium for foodservice sector On April 24, Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada, announced an immediate moratorium on the foodservices sector’s access to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. This was in response to alleged abuses of the program and was a major topic of discussion for members at the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) convention in Banff. Following the announcement, many AHLA members were panic stricken that positions they had planned to fill with TFWs would remain open – severely compromising their ability to provide service to their guests. The AHLA encouraged its members to contact their MPs about the impact of the moratorium on their business and to share their positive TFW stories. To help counterbalance some of the myths perpetuated by groups opposed to the TFW program, the AHLA provided information from our Labour Market Survey as well as positive TFW stories received from members to media outlets.
A sigh of relief went through the accommodation industry when Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) clarified that the moratorium only applied to the foodservices sector. Some confusion remained within Service Canada, creating frustration for AHLA members who inquired and received inaccurate information on the status of their Labour Market Opinions (LMOs). Undoubtedly, the TFW program is in a fragile state and significant changes are forthcoming. There are indications that ESDC may lift the moratorium but impose stricter rules to tackle abuses. Some of the ideas include higher application fees to access the program and higher wages for TFWs. Other potential changes that the AHLA supports include stronger enforcement of the current rules, and greater consideration for regional and industry sector labour market realities.
Over 225 hotels and motels attended the AHLA’s 94th Annual Convention and Tradeshow at The Banff Centre. Award photos are available online at www.ahla.ca/convention-and-trade-show/awards-presentations/photos/.
Take Back Your Guests How Check In Canada can help you Check In Canada helps your property with: Effective on-line marketing by Provincial Tourism Marketing Organizations; Low cost distribution channel with commission-freedirect bookings; No inventory management; Updated listing information, including availability and rates in real time; Industry driven distribution channel that provides hotels and consumers with an alternative to OTAs; and All properties can participate.
What You Need to Do: 1. List your property on www.CheckInCanada.com! Check your listing information and notify the AHLA of any updates at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your property must be listed on www.CheckInCanada.com to be considered for a Housekeeping Award. 2. Pay your 2014 Check In Canada invoice. There are no additional fees or commissions to participate. 3. Ensure your best rates are available on your reservation system and encourage guests to use www.CheckInCanada.com to book their rooms.
The AHLA is working with the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) on a permanent foreign worker solution. Our proposed solution borrows elements from the long-standing Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Group of Employers Pilot, industry specific initiatives that currently exist within the broader TFW program framework. It also includes requirements for industry to participate in our Labour Market Survey, Employer of Choice program, and an industry-driven recruitment strategy. These elements would better safeguard our industry against abuses and provide greater quality assurance for government. Of course, we require industry behind any solution we put on the table. We hope you will provide your support. We look forward to serving you!
Earn a reputation for being a great place to stay and work – participate in the 2015 Employer of Choice Program today! The online audit and Employee Opinion survey program opens June 2, 2014 until December 1, 2014.
New Partnership, Fresh Opportunities Take advantage of AHLA Member Value Programs BigSteelBox The AHLA is pleased to announce a new partnership with BigSteelBox. BigSteelBox offers affordable and reliable storage options to our members. Located in six locations across Alberta, BigSteelBox provides permanent and short-term storage solutions for hotels requiring additional storage for inventory or additional items. Interested in optimizing your storage solutions? Visit www.ahla.ca for more information.
Renewed Partnerships Staples Advantage – Save up to 65% discount on regular catalogue priced items! Altus Group - Premium services to deliver complete and independent tax assessments resulting in tax savings. Executive Mats & Janitorial Services –15% savings on matting and 10% off janitorial products. Learn more about the AHLA’s Member Value Programs at www.ahla.ca or contact Libby van Rossum, Coordinator, Member Value Programs at 1-888-436-6112 Ext. 232.
Inspiring Service Growing Value
TRA Special Notice Application of the tourism levy Alberta Finance Tax & Revenue Administration (TRA) recently released a Special Notice on the application of the tourism levy. This notice was in response to the AHLA’s concerns about how TRA was applying the Tourism Levy, which funds Travel Alberta and Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, to miscellaneous charges and complimentary room nights. The AHLA was pleased that TRA agreed that the tourism levy should not apply if the operator does not receive consideration of any kind when providing the accommodation. This means that the tourism levy should not be collected or paid: On promotions where a guest stays 3 nights and gets the fourth night free; On room nights donated for a prize or raffle; and Where a guest is not charged for their stay for service recovery.
TRA requires that the tourism levy be charged and paid on: Fees for smoking in non smoking rooms; Pet charges; and Microwave ovens and refrigerators. However, the tourism levy should not be charged on: Optional charges such as internet access, in room entertainment, or parking; and Additional charges for cleaning or damages where these are separate from the price of the room. The Special Notice is available online at www.finance.alberta.ca/ publications/tax_rebates/tourism_levy/tour8.html. Be sure to inform your front office and accounting staff about these changes.
The AHLA is kicking off camping season with a new iOS app just for campers. Locate, view, and filter campgrounds, features, and amenities in every region of the province. Try it out for yourself! Visit www.AlbertaCampgroundGuide.ca/mobile or download the app to your smart phone.
Manage Your Online Reputation New to the TrustYou Platform Your online reputation is a valuable asset. Like any other asset, it needs to be actively managed to maximize its impact. The AHLA and TrustYou are pleased to offer an Online Reputation Management (ORM) tool to help you analyze and improve your hotel’s guest feedback. New features include: Enhanced Social Sharing Mobile App Benchmark Timeframes Management Response Templates
With the ORM tool, you can react to, respond to and analyze your property’s guest reviews, as well as measure yourself against five of your competitors to enhance your guest experience. For more information, contact Rob Castellucci at TrustYou at 1.973.583.4225 or email@example.com.
New AHLA members Grey Eagle Resort and Casino, Calgary Holiday Inn Express Spruce Grove, Strathmore O Hotel Suites, Calgary Paradise Inn and Suites Redwater Side Trax Inn, Beaverlodge Southview Motel, Westlock Staybridge Suites West Edmonton West-View Motel, Vegreville
New Associate Members Design 21 LED Lighting,Edmonton Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels Ltd. Oaktree Carpets & Flooring Solutions, Calgary Pazzer’s Pub, Calgary