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LodgingNews June 2016 | Vol. 13 | No. 5
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Wyndham signs Canadian agreements for Ramada, Wingate, Hawthorn Suites
DISRUPTORS RULE! CHOICE TO OFFER VACATION RENTALS
A GUIDE TO PURCHASING ORGANIZATIONS
LAUNDRY SYSTEMS ARE GETTING SMARTER
CATERING TO THE UBER RICH
At the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference, from left: Chip Ohlsson, Cam Christianson and Joe Daly.
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TORONTO — Wyndham Hotel Group is all set for Canadian expansion of three of its brands after signing master franchise agreements with Canalta and Phi Hotel Group last month. Cam Christianson, president and CEO of Canalta Hotels, was all smiles at the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference as he inked a deal to become master franchisor for the Ramada brand in Eastern Canada. The choice of Canalta to expand Ramada’s presence makes sense, since the Drumheller, Alta.-based company al-
ready has 39 Ramadas in Western Canada. “Canalta has been such a great partner in the West,” said Chip Ohlsson, chief development officer, Wyndham Hotel Group. “The company is growing at a tremendous pace, and now we’re expanding the relationship with Eastern Canada. They plan to do 20 Ramadas in 15 years.” “The Ramadas will be both new construction and conversions in higher RevPAR marketplaces,” said Joe Daly, regional vice-president franchise sales and development for Wyndham
Worldwide. “Having a strategic partner like Canalta has been a great asset for Western Canada.” Christianson, whose sons Brooke and Blair are also involved in the company, said they signed their first agreement with Wyndham for Ramada on Aug. 2, 2004 for a new build in Grande Prairie, Alta. “We just had the rights for Alberta at that time, but on Jan. 3, 2006, we got the rights for Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba.” Continued on page 3
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#hotelNEXT: Students pitch hotel ideas
Briefs Respondents shun Trump hotels NEW YORK — A recent survey suggests that Donald Trump’s bid for the U.S. presidency may be harming his hotel brand. In a survey conducted May 14-17 by Skift, administered to 2,028 members of the U.S. adult Internet population through Google Consumer Surveys, nearly 57 per cent of respondents said they were less likely to stay in a Trump hotel because of Trump the candidate. A little more than 23 per cent said they were more likely to stay, a small bump above the nearly 20 per cent who didn’t know Trump was in the hotel business.
U.S. revenue growth slowing
Above: #hotelNEXT participants await the judges’ verdict. Below: Team Laurie with Aaron (left) and Willam. TORONTO — An airport à la carte concept, a cultural tribute to Emily Carr on Vancouver Island, and an immersive wine experience in the Annapolis Valley all competed at the CHIC 20th anniversary conference on May 17. Based on the original idea shared by Charles Suddaby and produced by Big Picture Conferences, a small group of industry representatives got together to create a national contest titled #hotelNEXT, where teams of aspiring hotel developers could pitch their concepts to a panel of Canadian investors and owners in front of a live audience. Judges were Paul Waddell of B.L.T. Construction Services Inc., David Humphrey of FRHI Hotels & Resorts and Natasha Kassam, vice chair, Jubilee Hospitality Association Canada. The winners were Aaron and Willam Laurie, who told the audience their à la carte hotel was inspired by their parents, whose obsession with getting things cheap provided the idea for
the property, to be located at Toronto Airport. Aaron attends University of Guelph, while Willam goes to McMaster in Hamilton, Ont. At opshinns by Laurie Hotels, guests can purchase from a list of amenities. This would help distinguish the guests who use the pool, the fitness centre, and eat way too much food at the breakfast table, from those who go to bed at 8 p.m., don’t have time to eat breakfast, and want to purchase their Starbucks offsite. The target market is medium- to high-income frequent travellers who are value-conscious, tech savvy, free-spirited, contemporary, sophisticated and worldly. They identified Alt Hotel YYZ, run by Hugo Germain, coincidentally the panel moderator, as their closest competitor. Hotel Vino Vina, created by Sarah O’Connor and Evangeline Sing of Mount Saint Vincent University, came second; and The Hotel of All Sorts, by Colleen Black, Queenie Lai and Kelsey Perra of Thompson Rivers Univer-
sity, came third. The three finalists were chosen from seven submissions to the competition. #hotelNEXT was held at the 20th Annual Canadian Hotel Investment Conference, which attracted a record 550 attendees May 16 and 17. This could well be the first of an annual event.
NightSwapping popular in Europe
Ramada, Wingate, Hawthorn to expand Continued from page 1 “We will be working with Peter Lee [senior director, franchise sales and development, Wyndham Hotel Group],” Christianson noted. They have also hired Constantin Nassif, who is based in Montreal and will be responsible for asset management and development. “We have all our bases covered and have set up infrastructure for the East.”
Sukhi Rai, PHI Hotel Group.
Wingate and Hawthorn Suites Last week, Wyndham announced that it had signed a master franchise agreement with Sukhi Rai of PHI Hotel Group to be master franchisor for Wingate by Wyndham and Hawthorn Suites in Canada. Since 2002, Surrey, B.C.-based PHI Hotel Group has specialized in the ownership, management and development of hotels and related commercial real estate. They have also worked with many affiliates who own and operate hotels in British Columbia and Alberta. The company offers hotel management operations, fiscal and accounting services, new hotel development, hotel sales and marketing, advertising, feasibility studies, asset management, and consulting — the full spectrum from the initial design of the project to the property’s opening and subsequent management, the company’s website says. “Because PHI is a construction company, they have been building two or three hotels per year,” said Ohlsson. “We’re so very excited to have someone that aggressive with connections and sites all across Canada.” There are currently six Wingates in Canada: Calgary Airport, Edmonton Airport, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Airdrie, Alta., which just opened. A Kamloops, B.C., Wingate is cur-
ATLANTA — U.S. hotel revenue growth is slowing down, while expenses are on the rise. According to CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research’s 2016 edition of Trends in the Hotel Industry, 2016 operating performance continued to improve in 2015, but at a much slower pace. Trends is the firm’s annual survey of operating statements from thousands of hotels across the nation. The data for the 2016 survey was processed in accordance with the new 11th edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry. “After five years of strong increases in occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and profits, U.S. hotels reached the top of the current business cycle in 2015,” said R. Mark Woodworth, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research, in a release.
rently under construction, and one in Dieppe, just outside of Moncton, N.B., just broke ground. Wyndham expects to announce two more sites in the next 90 to 120 days. The goal is to have PHI open 25 Wingates in 25 years. Wingate is a mid-market, mostly new construction brand, that plays in the same competitive set as Hampton, Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn. They work best in urban or airport locations in primary or secondary tier markets. Designed for both business and families, waterparks are a possibility in the right locations. The goal for Hawthorn Suites, a midscale extended-stay brand that is a mix of new construction and conversion, is 15 hotels in as many years. Locations include business parks, corporate parks, and areas near family resorts for longer-term leisure travellers. The comp set includes Homewood Suites, Residence Inn, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, in the extended-stay sector, which Ohlsson says is still underserviced in Canada. Canada’s first Hawthorn Suites hotels will be near Calgary Airport and in Thunder Bay, Ont. Wyndham is now considering dual branded Wingate/Hawthorn hotels. “We’ve got 511 hotels in Canada, and 40 Canadian projects for all of Wyndham,” said Ohlsson.
LYON, FRANCE — After a year of development, NightSwapping has enabled over 10,000 couples, friends and families to travel throughout Europe and the rest of the world. NightSwapping is a true sharing-economy travel startup whereby residents host travellers in their guestroom or entire home and earn travel credits, called Nights, which they use to stay at other members’ homes. No money changes hands between members. The Lyonbased startup has partnered with insurance company Allianz to provide worldwide coverage, of up to 450,000 Euros, at every NightSwapping home, covering property, tangible and intangible damages, including physical injuries and the costs of medical evacuation and repatriation.
Miramichi’s Broads with Rods MIRAMICHI, N.B. — With a salmon fishing river and expansive untouched wilderness, Miramichi, N.B. offers a variety of summer activities for outdoor lovers. Women looking for a girlfriends getaway on the river are invited to experience the Broads with Rods fly-fishing school for women at Ponds Resort on the Miramichi. Available for groups of six or more, Broads with Rods custom stay packages can be tailored to each group to include lodging, food, fly-fishing instructional program and smoked salmon martinis. At Storeytown Cottages, guests can experience a new way to paddle along the river with the Stand Up Paddle Board Adventure package. The package includes two nights in a cottage, stand-up paddleboard equipment and safety gear, and brief lesson and safety overview.
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Profiting from purchasing programs People either seem to love to negotiate or abhor doing so. Some are quite good at it, and some just think they are. Everyone is a buyer of goods, but many who take on the Jason Cheskes task in their hotels do not understand how to get the best out of supplier relationships and associated purchases. Why work with established purchasing programs? The first reason is the market. As suppliers face increased pressure from chains and groups to decrease costs (including pressures due to consolidation), unaffiliated and non-contracted market pricing and margins must increase to balance the equation and keep suppliers profitable. The operational factors may not be as immediately obvious. It takes time to understand a supplier and for them to understand you. Without this, you probably won’t get the most out of the relationship. Ask yourself: Do you or your general manager really have the specific knowledge about the suppliers’ business models and the skills required to negotiate each purchase you make effectively? Could that time not be better used focused on generating business and running your hotel? Group purchasing in the hotel industry, whether affiliated with hotel brands or otherwise, is meant to address these issues. Ideally, utilizing these established relationships should
save money in several specific areas of your business, and in some cases, even for the largest of entities. There are a host of reasons why hotels overpay, even when aligned to these available pricing programs. The most common reason is that the hotel owner/manager doesn’t take the time to get to know the programs and vendors available to them. Some just like to do their own shopping and make their own deals. Some believe they are better at buying than those arranging agreements for potentially hundreds or thousands of properties, or may have had bad experiences in the past with a brand or organization. There is a misconception, as well, that the relationship between supplier and hotel will not be as strong if operating in conjunction with an established program. Hotel operators often don’t know that the lower price they receive is a result of the purchasing group arranging such on their behalf already. Conversely in some cases, hoteliers mistakenly assume that they will get the same arrangements, even when they deal with different people at the supplier’s company or through third parties. While not every purchasing agreement made by others may be right for your situation, invest the time to understand what is available to you and ensure that any of your management and staff who may be involved in ordering are aware of those programs as well. It will likely be one of the
best long-term ROIs you can get for a half hour of your time. Common purchasing mistakes: • See vendors as adversaries to be ‘beaten’; • Assume all offerings are equal and focus only on price; • Request quotes without having discussions about your needs and options that may be available; • Belief that you are getting the best pricing because of the length of your relationship with a company; • Lack of awareness of procedures in place when dealing with a vendor to ensure they get the right answers (and pricing); • Having a mentality of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”; and • Not knowing what you do not know. My advice? • Talk to the people that are there to help you. You don’t need to follow their advice, but if you’re working with the right group, it will always be worth the time. • Read all the materials sent to you and ask questions if you don’t understand elements. • Manage your buying reputation. You may be surprised to hear so, but you likely have one and it undoubtedly affects how suppliers work with you. Jason Cheskes has been both an operator and a vendor. He is president of Above The Line Solutions, and is considered an authority on group purchasing organizations in Canada. Jason@abovethelinesolutions.com
The evolution of hospitality payments The hospitality industry was an early adopter of book ahead, pay later systems. With the growth of the Internet and online reservation systems, travellers have been using more tools for trip planning than ever before. Since credit cards and online booking go hand-in-hand, electronic credit card acceptance within the hospitality industry is table stakes. Credit cards are the most popular form of payment. A credit card benefits both guests and hotel operators — room charges can remain on the credit card used for booking, and hotel operators can use credit card information on file to charge for hotel amenities and in-room services, or as a hold in case of damage. For these reasons, guests who pay for their stays via debit, cash or cheque are still asked to furnish a credit card at the time of check-in. Due to the nature of their business and advance booking authorizations, hotel operators are still making the transition to integrated check-out systems that combine online authorization with the face-to-face benefit customers receive when they arrive and present their card. EMV (chip and PIN) and contactless (tap) cards at check-in and check-out, options for foreign travellers to pay in their own currency, the tokenization of stored card data and the end-to-end encryption of moving card data, can help to ensure that transactions hap-
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pen smoothly and securely. Fortunately, there are more options available in market today to make this happen. Over the last three years, contactless card payments have grown significantly in popularity. Today, nearly 25 per cent of all transactions processed by Moneris are via contactless cards or devices a number that is expected to grow with the continued arrival of mobile wallets such as Apple Pay. Apple Pay recently launched in Canada with support from all major issuers. With iOS accounting for 38 per cent of the smartphone market, this will have a marked impact on consumer adoption rates and further drive up contactless payments. Most payment terminals in Canada are contactless-enabled today, which means they are ready to accept tap payments via a card or device. With a contactless-enabled card, customers only have to tap to pay for purchases that are less than or equal to $100. All purchase amounts over $100 require an additional cardholder verification method, such as a card insertion or customer signature. There is a transition occurring in market for contactless on two fronts: The first is ensuring restaurant terminals can insert a tip when a guest taps, and the second is allowing merchants to accept contactless payments over $100 while still providing the same protection against chargebacks. No restaurant wants to give up a tip, and if someone taps over $100, there needs to be an answer if all the customer
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EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD JASON CHESKES Above The Line Solutions VITO CURALLI Hilton Worldwide PHILIPPE GADBOIS Atlific Hotels & Resorts MARK HOPE Coast Hotels
S U P P LY L I N E S By Karen Cox, VP, Payment and Retail Solutions, Moneris
is carrying is a phone. The use case for making mobile wallet payments available in quick service venues such as convenience stores and coffee shops — in hotels or standalone establishments — is well understood. Speed of throughput and protection from chargebacks make this easy to support. Technology and mobile application development are enhancing capabilities. Restaurants can now run pay-at-the-table terminals integrated into their restaurant management system, take bookings online, allow foreign cardholders to pay in their home currency, check-out with card on file from their seat or in-app payments, and balance all of this easily by server and chain at the end of day. Restaurant chains are experimenting with self-serve kiosks where customers order and pay for their food at a kiosk, and pick up their order at a designated express lane. Technology will continue to change customer attitudes and behaviours, and the hospitality industry needs to keep a close watch on what these changes mean for their business. Customers are demanding the convenience, ease and immediacy of portable technology. Giving time back to the customer, especially the well-travelled one, is of utmost importance. Credit card payments are the backbone of the hospitality industry, and the industry will continue to integrate security and compliance with the innovation and new customer experience standards that the technology has afforded us.
ELIZABETH HUESTON Sysco Guest Supply Canada Inc. BRIAN LEON Choice Hotels Canada Inc. ROBIN MCLUSKIE Colliers International Hotels BRIAN STANFORD CBRE DR. DAVID MARTIN Ted Rogers School of Hospitality CHRISTINE PELLA Serta Mattress Company TONY POLLARD Hotel Association of Canada ANDREW CHLEBUS LG Electronics CANADIAN LODGING NEWS VOLUME 13 · NO. 5 · JUNE 2016 Canadian Lodging News (www.canadianlodgingnews.com) is published 10 times a year by Ishcom Publications Ltd., 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ont. L4X 2W1 T: (905) 206-0150 · F: (905) 206-9972 · Toll Free: 1(800)201-8596 Other publications include the Canadian Chains and Buyers’ Directory as well as: P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E
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Even award-winning websites change with the times
Dorothy Dowling (right) with TIAC’s Charlotte Bell at the BW Leisure Travel Summit.
PHOENIX — Even award-winning websites must change, and even though it recently won the Dynatrace Best of the Web experience Top Performer award for the fifth time, Best Western decided it had to invest in new architecture for an entirely new bestwestern.com. “It’s quite extraordinary,” Best Western SVP and chief marketing officer told CLN, adding that the company’s new web and mobile design has a ticket booth approach that aims for ease of information and simplicity. “We make it easy to make a purchase, and have design supporting the user experience,” she said. “Simplification is much more difficult, and we’re thrilled to get that.” As of August 2015, the brand launched new property websites for more than 2,000
properties across North America; then in late September, it announced the launch of its mobile website. The third phase is Best Western’s new fully responsive bestwestern.com, coming this fall. Sweepstakes have always been Best Western’s strength, and the company’s Where’s Your Whatever program went well earlier this year. The recent sweepstakes aimed to fully globalize the next generation’s loyalty, Dowling said. “They have a bucket list — they want to travel and they’re getting points, whether they go to Shanghai, Rome, Seoul, Tokyo or Rio.” Dowling also said Best Western’s virtual reality hotel tours will launch this summer. Best Western launched Google Street Views
of its hotels two years ago. “Virtual reality is one up on this. Today’s Best Western is an immersive experience,” Dowling said, adding that they also partnered with Google on this. Looking at the Best Western app on their phone through the viewers, people can get a 3D experience of the hotel; when they look up, they see the ceiling and when they look down, they see the floor.
BW Leisure Summit: Summer travel is looking good TORONTO — If the travel plans of the five panellists at the 11th Best Western Leisure Travel Summit are an indicator, then Canada appears to be batting 1000 when attracting summer visitors. Dorothy Dowling, SVP and chief marketing officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts will be coming back to see friends and family in Toronto, a vacation that must include a Jays game, plus trips to the Shaw and Stratford theatre festivals. Tony Pollard, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, always goes to his cottage. Brian Payea, head of industry relations at TripAdvisor, who lives in Boston, plans a week in Montreal and Lake Champlain, his old stomping ground. Char-
lotte Bell, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) will travel to the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where she plans to eat great food and taste great wines. And David Goldstein, president and CEO of Destination Canada, who lives in Vancouver, plans to holiday in Muskoka, Ont., where his little one goes to summer camp. Pollard told the audience of travel writers at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on May 9 that he is sorry the situation in parts of Alberta has gone from bad to worse, but Van-
couver’s forecast leaves him breathless, and Toronto looks fabulous this summer. Payea has a unique perspective at TripAdvisor, and noted that views of Canadian properties are 36 per cent higher this year over last. Bell noted the low Canadian dollar is not the only factor attracting people to the country. “Destination Canada has been getting the word out. Numbers are already up 20 per cent from the U.S., and it’s not even high season.” Destination Canada’s Goldstein sees great growth as well. He said 2002 to 2012 was the
lost decade, where domestic demand grew and but U.S. travel compressed. “Hoteliers did a good job at growing rate, which made us even less attractive.” Now, he sees a demand surge everywhere, with growth coming from Japan and France as well as the U.S. “It’s not just seasonal — there’s winter business, shoulder business and soft spots.” Dowling said this summer will be another blockbuster, but noted that the look to book ratio now has become quite short, with guests booking two weeks prior.
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June 2016 | 5
Choice: Opportunity among disruptors
Steve Joyce of Choice Hotels International takes the stage at the company’s Las Vegas Convention last month. By Colleen Isherwood, Editor LAS VEGAS — Many in the hotel business view the Marriott-Starwood acquisition, Airbnb and Uber as disruptors, but Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels International, sees them as opportunities. Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood is great news for Choice, he told delegates to the 62nd Annual Choice Hotels International convention, because it means that Marriott will be distracted for the next two or three years. While they are figuring things out, “we’ll be moving forward, to build or convert more properties to Choice branded hotels, to invest in improving your operations, to maximize rate and to drive millennials, mid-week business, and just more travellers to your door,” Joyce said. Two years ago at a media round table at the conference, Joyce was one of the first hotel
brand leaders to say that Airbnb must be taken seriously. Now, Choice is embracing the online sharing economy concept. “Airbnb now captures 60 million guests to its more than one million listings. And Expedia now owns HomeAway, which it purchased for almost $4 billion. Vacation rentals are big business. But we can own that and benefit by jumping into the online vacation rental market. We have the opportunity to expose more consumers to Choice and capture more loyal customers,” said Joyce. “We call it Vacation Rentals by Choice. Clever, isn’t it?” he added. “This initiative will reinforce the Choice brand and ultimately drive more customers and new customers to your hotels,” he told the assembled owners and managers. This doesn’t mean individual homeowners can call up Choice and get their spare bedroom
listed. Instead, Choice is now offering its powerful distribution platform to a select number of vacation rental management companies and introducing them to Choice Privileges, now the first rewards program to embrace the vacation rental industry. “We will have professionals to check guests in and out and deal with any problems. There will be 24-hour availability. Sometimes [Airbnb] can be awesome, but 40 per cent of renters said the place was scary, or the guy was a creep and they didn’t feel safe,” said Joyce during a media round table. “We will hire the best management companies in each area.” For example, the Delaware Beaches have regulations at the town level. “We’ll work with people who have figured that out,” said Pat Pacious, who is now president and chief operating officer, adding that companies with 200 to 500 units would be ideal.
Promoting Microtel to developers
Speakers at the Microtel Development Seminar, from left: Eric Watson, COO, MasterBUILT, Aodhan Sheahan, VP operations, MasterBUILT, Chip Ohlsson, chief development officer, Wyndham Worldwide and Aly El-Bassuni, brand leader, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham. TORONTO — Connectivity, comfort and consistency are what sets Microtel apart from the crowd, Eric Watson, COO of MasterBUILT told a development seminar held in advance of the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference that attracted 70 people. “Microtel has a smart, prototypical design that has lower development and operations costs, and the best guest satisfaction scores in
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the midscale sector,” he said. The reason development costs are so low is that there are 11 to 39 per cent less buildable square feet per room than other midscale hotel rooms. Construction times are about two months shorter too, said Watson. “You can reduce development cost charges by as much as $5,000 per door.” The smaller footprint translates into lower
operating costs, including property tax, utilities and labour. Aly El-Bassuni, vice-president of brand operations for Microtel, noted the prototype includes wall-hung furniture, which not only takes up less space in the room, but is also easy to clean. Other features include communal tables in the lobby with lots of charging units, a convenience store, business centre, gym and full hot breakfast. Microtel also has the Common Ground program, aimed at making a difference in the hotel’s community. Rather than just writing a cheque, Microtel uses social media. Based on nominations from the community, they have partnered with groups that have demonstrated outstanding passion for the community and the people who live there. They ask residents to fill out the information shown on their website and vote for the program that means the most to them; the organization with the most votes wins the total donation amount. The program has been run successfully in three communities with Microtels: Kitimat and Fort St. John in B.C., and Bonnyville in Alberta. “Kitimat, B.C. only has 10,000 residents, and over a 30 day period, 40 per cent of the entire town voted,” Watson said. At the development seminar, they unveiled a new mascot for the brand in Canada, a cute, furry creature called “Justin Beaver.”
A toast to The Ascend Collection TORONTO — Immediately following the Choice Hotels International Brand Session for The Ascend Collection, owners, managers and Choice executives all raised a glass of champagne to celebrate the brand’s success. The collection of historic buildings and upscale properties that are “ridiculously local,” had a banner year last year with 43 openings, and there are now more than 200 hotels in the collection across the globe. Canada contributed to that success. “We have 13 properties and we’re growing fast,” said Brian Leon, managing partner for Choice Hotels Canada. “Worldwide, as operators, we’re learning more about Ascend. “There are no Ascends in Western Canada yet — it’s just a matter of time.” Leon added that the brand has shown good growth in revenue, and that 58 per cent of reservation delivery to Ascend is through the Choice reservation system. “The benefits are broad — reservation delivery, access to Choice resources and tools, and Choice Privileges as loyalty becomes more important.” Canadians just love loyalty programs, and it is hard for independent hotels to get access to robust programs like Choice Privileges. Access to Choice’s revenue management programs also provide “a pretty big opportunity to drive revenue and be efficient in distribution, and in avoiding OTA fees,” Leon said. Some Ascend Collection properties, such as the St. James in Toronto or the Le Grande Allée in Quebec City, are in city centres, “which makes sense for us because our brands are under-represented in downtown urban cores. We’re stronger in secondary and tertiary markets,” said Leon. “We’ve got pent up demand in our reservation system for downtown properties in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton. The St. James has had very high reservation delivery and is an upscale, boutique hotel,” he added. Upscale suburban, secondary or tertiary market locations are also good candidates for The Ascend Collection, Leon said. “The Chateaux out east index really well in their markets, leading in guest satisfaction and rate performance.” There are three Chateau properties in Atlantic Canada: Chateau Moncton, Chateau Saint John and Chateau Bedford in Halifax. Resorts such as Hidden Valley Huntsville are the third category of Ascend Collection property, and Leon would like to see Ascend Collection hotels in centres such as Whistler or Banff. Leon told CLN that Choice Hotels will be rolling out its Smart Rates revenue management system in the third quarter of this year. “Smart Rates adds a whole new dimension to revenue management. It scrapes the Internet to find the rates of competitors. Every day, Smart Rates is updated with a whole set of recommendations. “A hotelier can accept, override or decline those rates. It’s really user friendly and a really good, thoughtful program based on data and complex algorithms,” he said.
Locking the door the very last time
Patricia Morrison By Colleen Isherwood, Editor FORT MCMURRAY, BONNYVILLE, Alta. — For Patricia Morrison, regional general manager for MasterBUILT, the Fort McMurray fire story began on Sunday, May 1, when their Super 8 was in one of the first areas of town to receive the evacuation order. At 10:30 that night, she locked the doors to the Super 8, which she had managed for eight years before her recent promotion. “I didn’t know then that it would be the last time I walked through those doors,” she told CLN in an interview. That Super 8, which had recently undergone extensive renovations, burned to the ground, its sign and the one for Denny’s underneath it among the charred ruins, was one of the enduring images of the fire.
On Monday, the city announced that the evacuation was still in effect, but that no more areas were affected. It wasn’t until she and her husband, Jeff, were in downtown Fort Mac doing their shopping the morning of Tuesday, May 3 that things changed. As she walked out of the Canadian Tire, Morrison took some photos of the fire, noting that it didn’t look too good. They continued on to Save On Foods, where they found out at the check-out that the whole city had been evacuated. They dashed home and packed up clothes, dogs and dog food, thinking they would drive to Gregoire Lake, just south of the city, then meet up with Jeff ’s two children. They took her Journey rather than the truck, because it had more gas. The Super 8 was still standing as they drove by. Morrison tried to take a picture, but just got smoke. “It was scary,” said Morrison. “I was driving down the road I had travelled for the past eight years. It was stopped with traffic and the hills to the right were on fire.” Then, further down the road, blue skies and sun. It took three hours for the kids to reach them in Gregoire Lake because traffic was wall to wall. “Once reunited, nothing matters,” Morrison said. “If the house goes, we can always rebuild. If we don’t have our photos, at least we are alive to remember them.” The convoy composed of Morrison, her husband and two dogs, and the kids in
another car, stopped at Anzac to get gas. “But there were at least 50 cars in the lineup. We had to leave the kids’ car in Anzac,” Morrison said. Texting and glued to social media, Morrison heard that MasterBUILT was housing evacuees in Bonnyville and Whitecourt for free. They headed to the Microtel in Bonnyville, one of the properties that falls under Morrison’s regional managership. That night, the place was full, including several staff members from the Super 8 Fort Mac. “It was organized chaos, but Raul [Wiens], the general manager, and the night auditor had keys to let us in,” said Morrison. “The place had turned into an evacuation centre — there were people with water and clothing. The staff at the Microtel were amazing to take this on at no notice. “There were smiles, in spite of the horrible news. The town of Bonnyville itself was tremendous. Every day, a different organization or company would provide lunch or dinner. A church group gave us homemade meals; there was always a barbecue outside or lunch in the main lobby.” Morrison’s house survived the fire. “It was hard to lose the hotel because just a year ago April, we had finished renovations, making it beautiful,” she said. “It was our year of awards, too. We thought is was going to be a good year, even with the downturn and decrease in occupancy. “MasterBUILT really stepped up. I am proud to be part of the organization.”
Of fires, ferrets and a favourite fish
Sharon Lewis LEDUC, Alta. — Among all the evacuees who came to the Super 8 Leduc, near Edmonton airport, general manager Sharon Lewis noticed one little girl who seemed to be faring poorly. From the time she walked in the door, with her mom, dad, brother, their dog and their cat, Lewis could tell she was distraught. It turns out she still thought they could go back to Fort Mac to get her fish. Lewis called the local Pet Valu and told them about the situation, and that night at 7 p.m., a woman walked in the door of the hotel with a goldfish. “The little girl came out, and I have never seen so many tears and smiles. She was a whole new person. She talked to that fish and told it all about her big adventure,”
Lewis said. The family’s fish, dog and cat were not the only pets to be found in the crush of guests that descended on the hotel starting just hours after the mandatory evacuation order. “I had 38 pet rooms — instantly,” said Lewis. “We had dogs, cats, ferrets and birds. Usually I have one floor of pet rooms — about 10 rooms. Even the Jacuzzi suite had pets.” The people who started arriving on May 3 had spent hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. “I had so much compassion for them. When I said I had a room for them, they would burst into tears. It really makes you think about what’s important. I will never complain about the colour of my living room again.” Unfortunately, by 10 a.m. May 4, Lewis had to start turning people away. She knew that if Leduc was full, Edmonton was full too. She had a staff member determine what was available in Camrose, Alta., three quarters of an hour’s drive to the southeast, and sent the evacuees there. “The communities so came together,” said Lewis. “There were donation stations everywhere — we had one in our lobby. Pet Valu came through with cat food, dog food, litter and carrier cases.” While Microtel offers complimentary continental breakfast, the breakfast area
only seats 13 people. “We had to get some emergency supplies,” Lewis said. At press time in late May, the local A&W was still offering a free meal to those who could show Fort McMurray I.D. Tish’s fashions and finery in Camrose offered free dresses on Mother’s Day. And another group gathered and sorted grad dresses so the students from Fort Mac would have something to wear to their graduation. “We are an airport location, and we were basically housing people until flights were available to take them somewhere else. The guests weren’t long term, but we did have evacuees for a good two weeks,” Lewis said. She added that her staff responded very, very well. If a guest left on a 9 p.m. flight, the cleaning staff would come in and make up the room so that they could resell it. “The staff was incredible, working every day without days off to make it happen.” At press time, there were still a few guests waiting to go back to Fort Mac. “It’s almost over now,” Lewis said. “One of our other properties in Fort Mac, the Best Canadian Motor Inn, received a call saying they could go back.” But as the evacuees return, they still face a daunting task, dealing with buildings that have been without power or hydro for weeks, the smoke damage, rancid refrigerators and coolers and more.
Hoteliers respond to Fort Mac fire FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The web ad for Super 8 Fort McMurray, Alberta’s oil sands community of 80,000, has a red banner that states, “Permanently Closed.” The Super 8, the Microtel owned by the same company, and the Chateau Nova near the airport are among the buildings that burned to the ground in the enormous wildfire that forced citizens to evacuate in early May. Travelodge Canada announced a $10,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross to assist aid efforts for the victims and evacuees of the Fort McMurray and area fire. “This is a terrible tragedy for the residents of Fort McMurray and surrounding communities, and with thousands of people displaced, Travelodge Canada wants to support the aid efforts,” said Trevor Hagel, vice-president of operations for Travelodge Canada. In addition to the cash donation, Travelodge Canada franchised-owned hotel properties in Edmonton, Leduc, Red Deer and Calgary offered various discounted/compassion rates. The Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites Calgary Airport North property donated $5 from every guestroom to the Canadian Red Cross as part of the property’s continuing efforts to assist those affected by the ongoing forest fires in Fort McMurray. The Hampton Inn Calgary North Airport also offered complimentary breakfast for evacuees who needed a break from the long drive as well as any community members who would like to support the Red Cross fundraising efforts while having a bite to eat. Best Western Hotels & Resorts announced that its charity arm, Best Western for a Better World, would be donating to the Canadian Red Cross to assist those affected by the devastating wildfire in Fort McMurray. In addition to the donation to the Canadian Red Cross, Canadian members of Best Western Rewards, the company’s loyalty program, could also support the cause by donating their BWR points, which Best Western would then convert to cash. Those funds were also to be given to the Canadian Red Cross, providing even more resources to aid in the relief effort. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have been impacted by this devastating fire,” said president and CEO David Kong. “We are committed to supporting our Canadian hoteliers, employees, guests and their families as they recover from this tragic event.” Eric Watson, chief operating officer for MasterBUILT Hotels Ltd., the company that owns the destroyed Microtel and Super 8, is devastated by what is happening in Fort McMurray, He told the Calgary Metro News that both the Super 8 and the Microtel development in Fort McMurray’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood burned to a crisp on Wednesday, May 4. The Super 8 had just done a $3 million renovation. And it was the second fire for the Microtel, which was under construction. Workers had just started reframing following a fire last winter. “It’s so astoundingly beautiful to see an entire country come together to help a small community in need,” tweeted Kamil Karamali, CBC TV and radio reporter based in Vancouver. “As someone who immigrated here, I can tell you it’s not standard practice everywhere. Something special about Canadians.”
Super 8 Fort McMurray was destroyed in the fire.
June 2016 | 7
PUrCHASING OrGANIZATIONS FOr HOTELS By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
here are several types of hotel-focused Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) in Canada: brand-affiliated programs such as those of Hilton, Superior Lodging, Best Western and IHG, provincial association programs, third party unaffiliated groups, hybrids like Avendra owned by brands but extending their programs to others, and even a religious affiliated group. All have one thing in common The more they can influence member purchasing decisions, the greater clout they have with vendors to negotiate on behalf of those members. If the groups fail to deliver value to the vendors, then vendors will withdraw from the program. Similarly, vendors whose products, pricing or service are not well accepted by the hotels, may be terminated by the group running the program. And finally, purchasing groups that fail to deliver real value to the hotels will see properties purchasing through other sources. These programs contain a number of categories in the areas of FF&E, OS&E, services such as insurance, payment processing, financing, and in at least one case, various employee purchasing benefit programs.
is owned by) my competition? While independents can often benefit from alignment with third party programs, most hotel companies offer levels of support and pricing with the best pricing options for their properties. Many of these groups may have part of their program tied to another organization’s procurement program, especially for food service. This allows them to gain purchasing power through affiliation with some of the largest contract feeders, including Compass and Sodexo, to provide lower pricing to the hotels than they could achieve on their own.
As the industry becomes more competitive, and things like a lower Canadian dollar contribute to increased costs, how does a hotel achieve the best pricing with vendors? Economies of scale are the name of the game and the reason why many turn to purchasing programs and organizations.
tionships, typically are most effective if you can find one great partner and commit to them, as long as the right synergies exist.”
Hotel brand & affiliated purchasing programs
Many hoteliers believe that a brand affiliated program is the most logical model. In theory, purchasing well and providing cost savings to franchisees should be part of the brand’s overall value. The company negotiates well with vendors and provides products that are a good fit for their business model. Unaffiliated or hybrid organizations compete with brands’ value propositions in terms of procurement and also can have hoteliers asking “Do I want to work with a company that supports (or
Some groups have only one key vendor in most categories — the choice preferred by the vendors — others endorse multiple vendors in most areas. While having multiple vendors can cause confusion for the hotel, it does provide some options. In some cases, having several competing vendors involved in a program may be intended to leverage vendors against each other in the belief that it will improve pricing. Another school of thought is that having several vendors does little to improve pricing or service, and may be motivated, at least in part, by a desire to capture rebates or other funds (marketing and tradeshow dollars) from many different sources. Jason Cheskes, president of Above The Line Solutions, who created and runs the vendor program for Superior Lodging & MasterBUILT’s over 200 affiliated hotels, states, “There are arguments that can be made for both approaches; however my belief, having been on all sides, as an operator, a vendor, and involved in strategic sourcing for several companies, is that relationships with vendors, as with other types of rela-
If your property is branded, chances are that the parent company operates a procurement program/process that is available to you as part of their franchise system. “Work with your brand in order to get the most out of the QV (Qualified Vendor) program,” advises Brendan Gibney, director, franchise services at Choice Hotels Canada. “Many franchisees are surprised by the scope of services available and how it can save them money in comparison to self-directed procurement.” Canadian companies with U.S. parents sometime use another approach. The Canadian hotels can access the parent company procurement programs, but local brand operators or developers such as Superior Lodging and Realstar augment this and provide a Canadian specific approach. This provides Canadian hotels with local support and vendors. Several things differentiate Best Western Hotels and Resorts when it comes to sourcing products the company says. They prepare sourcing guides for hotels reflecting suitable items for each category, and rate them according to a good, better, best scale. They also test the products prior to approval, and even host tradeshows so that members can feel and touch the products so that they know exactly what they will be getting. Marc Staniloff, of Superior Lodging and MasterBUILT, explains that, “For a long time we believed that our hotels could benefit in terms of pricing and support by having agreements and relationships specific to the Canadian market based on an intimate knowledge of the landscape
Best Western Supply Canada
Choice Canada Qualified Vendor Program
Superior Lodging Endorsed Vendor Program
Location: Phoenix; Mississauga, ON Summary: Specifically for Best Western branded hotels. Canadian suppliers are approved separately. Suppliers must sell in Canadian dollars and preferably ship from Canada. BWSC does work very closely with its U.S. purchasing department and roughly 15 per cent of its vendor relationships relate to the U.S. parent. Best Western endorses major Canadian distribution companies — Guest Supply, Unisource, Canadian/American Hotel Registry/Supply, True North, and HD.
Location: Mississauga, ON Summary: Choice Hotels International (CHI) executes Choice Hotels Canada’s qualified vendor program so they are able to leverage the buying power of more than 5,000 hotels in the U.S. Sixty per cent of vendor relationships are related to Choice’s U.S. parent, while the remaining 40 per cent are based on recommendations from Choice Hotels Canada. The number of vendors ranges per category and demand for service, but the maximum is three.
Location: Calgary, AB & Thornhill, ON Summary: Serving over 200 Superior Lodging-affiliated Microtel, Super 8 and Travelodge properties, SLEVP provides hotels with access to the best possible suppliers in Canada at the lowest possible price, with personalized support and service. All properties under these brands are entitled to take advantage of pricing and support at no cost. The SLEVP program guarantees savings to their affiliated hotels and operates to help the properties increase profitability.
Contact: Priscilla Nesbitt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Brendan Gibney, Brendan_Gibney@Choicehotels.ca
Contact: Jason Cheskes, SLEVP@AboveTheLineSolutions.com
Which is best for your property?
8 | Canadian Lodging News
Just one vendor per category?
and the vendors in it. Last year we established the Superior Lodging Endorsed Vendor Program (SLEVP) and today we can deliver pricing that is lower in cost and higher in value than they could have achieved otherwise.” Sharon Lewis, general manager of the Super 8 Edmonton International Airport, enthusiastically agrees “The program saves us money every week. Thank You!” A common complaint from hoteliers is that brands/parents set certain standards and dictate PIPs, and then attempt to coerce the hotels to buy those specific items from particular vendors, even when there may be alternatives which could offer equal or better quality and cost. There may be situations where this is needed, such as when the brand is marketing a key element as a specific part of its identity to the public (i.e. Westin’s Heavenly Bed), but most other items a hotel purchases, from OS&E to design elements, may be found through alternative sources and at times, at equal or better quality and/or price. In some cases, the brands challenge the use of alternative supplied items, sometimes requiring brand field support people to check supplier sources when visiting properties. Aside from trying to enforce consistency, the approach also ensures that the brands capture revenue on as much transaction volume as possible. Most hoteliers believe that the standards a brand puts forward should be treated as the ‘minimum acceptable’ and they should be able to source things from other suppliers as long as they meet or exceed the required standards. Over the past years this practice has been raised in a number of legal challenges regarding procurement programs run by brands. According to Robert Purvin, chairman and CEO of the American Association of Franchisees and Deal-
Avendra Location: Rockville, MD Summary: Avendra partners with management companies that are interested in strategically managing their supply chain. They work with 580 clients representing more than 7,000 properties. These properties represent a wide range of hotel types and brands ranging from luxury to economy. Avendra has many partnerships in Canada with hotel distribution companies. Some examples include: Unisource, Canadian Hotel Supply, GFS Canada, HD Supply & Acklands Grainger, and Grand & Toy. Contact: Mara Radis, email@example.com
ers (AAFD), “Today by far the most frequent complaints received at the AAFD deal in some fashion with a franchisor abusing its ability to dictate suppliers to the franchisee’s significant detriment.” While it makes sense that a company’s procurement support function would be self-funding, its prime mission should be to support the franchisees through lower pricing and better terms, ultimately making the hotels more profitable and competitive. In some cases, especially when programs are run by a huge international entity, these programs can become profit centres with significant impact on the company’s P&L. The programs frequently also serve to fund other areas of the business, such as golf events, summits and particularly conferences. A booth/sponsorship at a major conference can cost a vendor upwards of USD$100,000. When these costs become significant to the supplier, they can impede their ability to provide better pricing on their purchases.
Hybrid GPO Avendra launched in Canada initially to serve their shareholders or as they are referred to, “founders” — Marriott, Hyatt, Fairmont, IHG, and in the U.S., Club Corp. Profits and ownership are shared based on each brand’s volume contribution, encouraging each to drive compliance at their properties. The company has evolved significantly over the years. Participation has been expanded to other groups of hotels, specifically hotel management companies. Unlike most other groups, Avendra expects a specific level of compliance with their programs as a condition of participation, and there are often financial penalties/rewards associated with compliance levels. “As the leading procurement service provider, we hear many reasons for why clients choose Avendra. Often, those reasons are unique to our company,” said Mara Radis, director, corporate brand strategy and channel marketing at Avendra. “For instance, clients understand that our work does not stop once the contract with a supplier is selected. We proactively manage the suppliers to ensure they are performing at a high level for our customers. We track several components of a supplier’s performance: from fill rates to quality assurance inspections to the time it takes to close a customer complaint. We share the feedback with suppliers and expect them to continuously improve their performance.” The choice of working Avendra (and potential savings) will often relate to your food and beverage needs, your willingness to accept their slate
of suppliers, and how much personalized support you require.
Association Programs The B.C. Hotel Association (BCHA), Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) are a few of the provincial hotel associations that provide members with access to discounted pricing in various areas and advantageous credit card rates. The service helps reinforce value of membership and to provide some funding for the organization. “BCHA leverages the buying power of our entire membership,” says James Chase, president and CEO. “A single hotel in theory and in reality will not have the same leverage or purchasing power. Thus the vendor offering should always be better than what can be achieved by the hotel on its own.” BCHA also selects high recurring cost products and services for its programs, such as merchant services, food purchasing, insurance and group benefit insurance. “ORHMA is not a purchasing organization,” president and CEO Tony Elenis stresses. “We are a non-profit, industry owned organization. Our focus is to maximize savings directly to operators supported by quality brand products. Supporting ORHMA programs, including group buying, provides ORHMA with stronger leverage in buying power and savings that we are able to pass on directly to the operator. “This strengthens our voice as operators on a buying level and strengthens our voice as an industry at the government level.” There is no doubt that historically the associations have been able to negotiate some very well received programs in areas such as credit card processing and business insurance. They can offer help, particularly to independents, and revenue gained from these programs is used to support government lobbying for benefit of the industry.
Tips on how to be a good vendor partner from Serta and LG Andrew Chlebus is director of sales, business solutions division, hospitality at LG Electronics Canada, which claims a 70 per cent market share in lodging in Canada, and Christine Pella is national account manager with Serta, the largest national mattress brand in the industry. Both have been asked to be vendors for almost every purchasing organization in the country. Both have strong ideas on what makes an effective purchasing organization. “Good partners are those that help us understand their hotel’s needs and then can understand and convey outwardly Christine Pella, Serta. why we are the right market choice,” says Chlebus. “They also have reasonable expectations about what it should cost us to be a vendor working with them, including the additional costs of things like tradeshows, which is critical in a business with small margins. Some groups have chosen LG as their only television solution partner, and this will always result in a better relationship.” Pella agrees. “Companies that make a commitment to us as their sole partner and help us gain business through mutual understanding and co-operation are the best partners. Those that list more than one supplier in a category, less so, as the relationship and clarity to the hotels is diluted and often confused,” Pella added. Some purchasing organizations just don’t measure up. “We have cancelled or opted out of a few,” says Pella. “They didn’t provide value for the expense required. They didn’t help the properties save any money and they created extra unnecessary costs for us.” “My philosophy is to try to work with anyone who can put forward a reasonable value proposition and help affect buying Andrew Chlebus, LG. decisions at a reasonable cost to us,” says Chlebus.
liers “maintain an active buying program with a source that you can trust. Buying the lowest price item doesn’t always save you money, and [hoteliers should] keep dealing with vendors that are well known to the hospitality industry and provide commercial, not retail, supplies and equipment.” Other third-party organizations, including those historically focused on food service, are working to expand into the lodging market, too.
Well-run programs benefit you
Unique to the Canadian lodging market in terms of operating for the support of members of a specific religious or cultural group, Jubilee Hospitality Association of Canada (JHAC) is an organization whose members are Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, generally known as Ismailis. Marketing and operating as a non-profit organization with proceeds going to community causes, they appeal to members of their group to support the programs they create and gain ben-
A well run purchasing program/organization can almost certainly save your hotel money if you engage in working with them and understanding how to best make use of what they can offer. As in any other relationship, you’ll likely see increased attention and support the more you work with them. Feel free to check pricing/value against other vendors and tell the group if you believe you have found a better alternative. While you may be correct, you may also not have all the information to make the best decision. The groups will tell you, and it’s true, that the more they can have you work with their vendors, the better their ability to negotiate on your behalf in the future.
Third party unaffiliated groups These groups ignore brand affiliations and are of greater interest to independent properties. Preferred Alliance Group (PAG) is a good example. Evolving from its past ties with several hotel brands, they act to market on behalf of the vendors to as many hotels as possible, regardless of brand or other affiliation. They have 24 vendors, and their strategy is not to overlap those vendors and provide marketing support for those vendors to their database of hotels. Glen Blake of PAG recommends that hote-
efit from organizing together. Their website states “All Canadian Ismaili hoteliers are eligible to become members in the organization.”
Religion specific purchasing group
Preferred Alliance Group (P.A.G.)
Jubilee Hospitality Association (JHAC)
Location: Vancouver, BC Summary: All programs are strictly for BCHA members only and thus provincially focused. BCHA does all the heavy lifting that would normally fall to the hotel GM, CFO, procurement manager or even the owner. They vet vendors in a competitive bid process and select the best option for members with the hopes of maximum usage. Currently, they only have one preferred vendor per category, but this is not a hard and fast rule. They have only one program with a GPO, Foodbuy Canada, a Compass Group Company. Contact: Altaf Ebrahim, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: ORHMA headquarters is located in Mississauga, ON Summary: ORHMA’s focus is to add value to Ontario’s hospitality industry but many of its programs provided are very strong and available across Canada. ORHMA works with one vendor under each category to have higher leverage and provide best value to end users. In cases such as credit card processing, they allow all providers to bid for the business — this provides higher savings due to their leverage.
Location: Oakville ON Summary: PAG is a 100 per cent electronic based program working with 24 Canadian vendors to over 2,500 inns and hotels, mainly comprised of independents. They do not overlap vendors to make it easier for their members and they provide approved vendors an opportunity to extend their sales and marketing approach by means of electronic communication to a membership group that looks forward to receiving the communication. There is no fee to join.
Location: Vancouver, BC Summary: A non-profit organization, the association is managed by a volunteer board. Inspired by His Highness the Aga Khan’s encouragement for businesses and organizations to work together in their respective sectors, JHAC works to benefit members of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community through advocacy, collaboration, education and leveraging of the group’s capacity.
Contact: Christina DiRocco, CDiRocco@orhma.com
Contact: Glen Blake, email@example.com
Contact: Zahir Karim, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 2016 | 9
Smarter Laundry Hotel laundry hardware hasn’t changed all that much over the past decade or so. What has changed is control systems that help save on labour, energy, water and linen costs.
By Colleen Isherwood, Editor Commercial hotel laundry machines haven’t made radical changes to their appearance or mechanics over the past several years, but they are getting a lot smarter and more efficient. And hotel operators are changing their tune too. “They are understanding the benefits of more efficient machines,” says Steve Hietpas, senior sales manager, Maytag & Whirlpool Commercial Laundry.
Washers: all about G-force Many of the new soft-mounted washing machines boast a high extraction or final spin speed measuring 350 to 450 G-force. “This means you can spin out more water, that linens spend less time in the dryer,” says Hietpas, “and it saves time because the wash cycle is just 25 minutes, not 40 to 45 minutes. It also saves natural gas because the washer is not running as long.”
Less dead water Electrolux and Wascomat say their
Mike Pilolli, VP ops./commercial laundry, Coinamatic.
1 0 | Canadian Lodging News
washers use 97 per cent less dead water, says Dan Goldman of Electrolux/ Laundrylux. “It is amazing how a simple thing such as a drain could make so much of a difference in water consumption,” explains Goldman. “All front load washers come with a normally opened drain valve trap which traps the water when powered to close and subsequently fills the washer. By engineering a drain valve that does not have a neck and allows it to be mounted flush with the cylinder all water is put into play. “The water that is trapped in the lines of other machines and in the neck of the valve adds up to pints of water with every fill. The standard OPL wash formula will have a number of fills and with every fill, more dead water is produced that never touches the linen that needs to be washed.”
A shower instead of a bath Unimac washers save water using OPTISpray, says North American sales manager Bill Brooks, who likens the feature to giving the laundry a
Malcolm Caldwell, vicepresident, sales, Harco.
shower rinse instead of a bath rinse on part of the laundry cycle. “Most washers do three rinses per cycle, while we do a combination of two. We reduce water by 39 per cent, speed cycle time by 12 per cent and improve residuals by 22 per cent.” This means there is a 22 per cent cleaner rinse, with fewer chemicals left in there. “After a bath, you have a bath ring around the tub. Similarly, residuals resettle on a spinning basket, while spraying sends them down the drain.” He adds the utility savings in a busy laundry doing 10 loads a day can be $2,100 per year.
Dryers: controlling moisture In the dryer, the name of the game is residual moisture control (RMC). The dryer senses the amount of moisture left in sheets or towels and knows when to shut down. This avoids overdrying. If the dryer is smart, then you don’t overdry, which saves on labour, wear and tear on linens, and energy. The sensors that measure the mois-
Steve Hietpas, senior sales manager, Whirlpool & Maytag.
ture in the load save energy and save the linen. “That’s the lint you see going out of the linens,” says Malcolm Caldwell, vice-president of sales and Harco. “Sensors can reduce linen replacement by up to 30 per cent.” Unimac’s Brooks says the costs and damage toll of overdrying is way understated. “You’re harming linens and reducing their life, making them brittle and stiff,” not to mention utility and labour costs.
Ozone and FOG Mike Pilolli, vice-president of operations and commercial laundry at Coinamatic, says his company is seeing ozone system growth of 12 per cent each year since 2009. In Ontario, both Union Gas and Enbridge continue to support ozone programs. “We’re still growing. As we introduce the product to the field, we are getting more and more attention from mid-size hotels. We recently signed a portfolio of 22 hotels,” he says, adding that the system is suitable for hotels with 120-160 rooms, as the economics are not as appealing for smaller hotels.
Dan Goldman, Electrolux/ Laundrylux
“You need a minimum of one eight-hour shift with 9 to 10 cycles per day” for ozone to make sense. One of the keys to success with the ozone system is careful management of soiled linen. “Before we go in, we train representatives to understand where the opportunities for savings are in the laundry room,” says Pilolli. “Highly soiled linens such as kitchen towels, staff uniforms and table laundry, usually a small percentage of the total, should be washed in hot water. These have what we call FOG — fats, oils and greases. “Cold water and the ozone system can be used for the bulk of laundry, including lightly soiled linens and bath towels. You can optimize — say 20 per cent hot water [washes] and 80 per cent cold,” Pilolli says. For the 80 per cent that is washed using ozone and cold water, operators can achieve 40 per cent savings in linen life, electricity, hot water and labour, he notes.
Tide’s Coldwater System Procter & Gamble is promoting the
Bill Brooks, North American Sales Manager, Unimac.
Tide Professional Coldwater Laundry System, which includes four products – a near-neutral pH detergent, fabric softener, bleach and whiteness enhancer. “Tide Professional Coldwater features an advanced system using unique enzymes that are specially designed for wash temperatures as low as 32˚C, which help effectively break down stains without the need for higher water temperatures,” explains Chad Isackson, marketing and operations manager at Procter and Gamble Professional Canada. “The new wash process reduces the number of fills and water used per wash to help cut washing machine energy costs by up to 75 per cent and washing machine water costs by up to 40 per cent when you switch from the standard hot water systems.” P&G calculates that the Tide Professional Coldwater System helps save as much as $6,300 per year (for a 150-room hotel) based on water, energy and linen replacement cost savings. This breaks down as follows: $3,696 in linen replacement (based on an annual linen replacement budget of $24,638); $3,401 in water cost (based on water cost per cubic metre of $2.112); and $1,664 in energy cost (based on energy cost per gigajoule of $3.5077).
Sophisticated reporting Brooks calls Unimac’s TotalVue cloudbased reporting system “the biggest most exciting new development. It goes with our Unilinc control and captures 100 different measurements on each load.” It’s on the network, reports to the cloud, to the manager of the hotel or the manager of the laundry. It can help identify problems with water usage, gas, running time — everything that can cost owners money in a laundry, says Brooks. Hietpas says Maytag has a system called Connect 360, geared for commercial or multi-unit housing. They are looking at application of some of that system’s sophisticated
controls to help hotel laundry operators be more efficient. It’s all about eliminating the possibility of human error.
Guest laundry in demand Both Hietpas and Malcolm Caldwell of Harco have noticed an uptick in demand for guest-facing laundry facilities as new extended stay properties are built in Canada or older hotels add guest laundries to their establishments. “Traditionally, these consisted of top loading machines, but more and more hotel laundries are switching to front loading, giving the guest a little larger capacity machine,” notes
Whirlpool and Maytag’s Hietpas. Stacked machines are also an option, especially for older hotels with a limited amount of space that were not designed to include guest laundries. New-construction hotels, with their emphasis on minimal footprints, often take advantage of stacked units.
Operators are changing “We really have noticed over the last five years that there is so much wider acceptance of more efficient machines. Operators are now asking manufacturers and distributors for the most efficient laundry machines, not just the lowest cost,” Hietpas says.
Total Care for customers Coinamatic has received a lot of uptake on its Total Care rental program, available for all machines. “We absorb the full capital costs including service, maintenance and parts at a monthly rate. Hotels see the impact of savings immediately by renting. If they buy the machines, there is generally a seven- to 12-month return on investment,” says Pilolli.
Wild about wet cleaning Brian Hatt, dry cleaning specialist with Harco, is looking at wet cleaning as an environmentally friendly way to enhance revenue, provide faster turnaround for onsite dry cleaning, and prolong fabric life. In the future, it will enable hotels to achieve the dry cleaning status required for a five-star rating at a much lower entry cost. “A new dry cleaning machine costs $75,000, and with the other equipment, etc., can cost up to $150,000, while a small press and a wet cleaning machine costs just $35,000. Wet cleaning will certainly enhance the industry, especially for premium or long-term stay hotels.” Governments are also pushing for wet cleaning. The Muskoka area of Ontario has gone solvent free, and the City of Toronto is looking at banning dry cleaning. California and New Jersey are phasing out the use of per chlorethylene (PERC), a chemical used in dry cleaning, by 2023. Wascomat also offers wet cleaning, says Goldman, from Laundrylux. “Many hotels provide uniforms for their complete staff. In the past a small dry cleaningdmachine would be used as well as self contained finishing equipment such as a lay down press and small shirt unit. “The beauty of Wascomat Wetcleaning machines is that water will never be banned and the smell and finish is superior to anything immersed or sprayed with a dry solvent,” says Goldman, adding that major universities such as Notre Dame and some larger hotels have also made the switch.
Broad-Midscale New Construction Boutique Prototype Innovative • Fresh • Flexible
Building Success • Cost effective, suit to site build strategy • Ideal for secondary downtown and urban markets, business parks and highway locations • Flexible construction for various sites
Prototype • Minimal 9770 sq. ft. footprint • Multi-use public space design; lobby flow into breakfast that includes concealable displays • Guestrooms – streamlined design maximizes space • Center loaded bathroom provides space savings with no hall entry
Xeros polymer beads One of the newer systems on the market is Xeros bead cleaning using special polymer beads that enhance the washing process by reducing water consumption by 80 per cent. The beads increase the surface area of the agitation. ‘The Xeros package includes specialty detergents, service and parts, and custom programming,” says Caldwell, adding that Harco is a Xeros distributor. “It’s most suitable for high-water-cost areas such as California, Arizona and New York,” he adds. “It’s still a new technology, but hotels that have installations in the U.S. have added or expanded. There are plenty of U.S. success stories,” Caldwell says.
QUEEN 287 sq. ft.
KING 249 sq. ft.
bestwesterndevelopers.com | 800.847.2429 Each Best Western® branded hotel is independently owned and operated. Best Western and Best Western marks are service marks or registered service marks of Best Western International, Inc. ©2016 Best Western International, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Paradigm Shift Hotel property management system technology continues to adapt to hoteliers’ increasingly specialized and comprehensive needs, and create streamlined, easy-to-manage processes.
BY DON DOULOff
t’s interesting times for hotel property management systems (PMS) as suppliers’ technology works hard to adapt to hoteliers’ increasingly specialized and comprehensive needs, and create streamlined, easy-tomanage processes. “Hospitality technology is still very fragmented between traditional IT specialists, global technology providers and in-house developments,” said Lee Horgan, CEO, Newmarket, an Amadeus company. “The hospitality industry has not kept pace with other industries, primarily due to the high total cost of ownership associated with the current systems, point-topoint interfaces and siloed legacy systems built on closed architecture.” Consequently, this “imposes a set of challenges that we need to tackle, such as duplication of data; fragmentation of inventory; complex synchronization; limited functional evolution; lack of central perspective; and difficulty in guest recognition and personalization,” he noted.
CLOUD-BASED PMS Not surprisingly, there has been a move towards Internet-hosted cloud-based PMS systems, which eliminate the ongoing headaches of managing on-premises server-based systems; are easy to update; and offer the convenience of third-party management. Indeed, the number of hotels moving to cloud-based PMS is growing by 40 per cent, according to the 2015 Lodging Technology Study by Hospitality Technology. Despite the “buzz about cloud technology, open systems, and the integration of big data and social media, the fact remains that there is data fragmentation, and guest-centric views are not yet answered for,” said Horgan. Among these “currently fragmented systems — like a PMS or Central Reservation System (CRS) — there’s a fairly large percentage of the functionality that’s the same: the guest profile, rates, inventory and availability.” Amadeus is working to bring all of these technologies together in a modular, componentbased platform to eliminate the issues associated
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with interfaces and integration of multiple systems, so hoteliers can focus on creating stellar guest experiences. Early this year, Oracle introduced its comprehensive, next-generation cloud-based management system, a mobile-enabled suite designed to “improve the guest experience,” according to Dr. Peter Agel, Oracle’s global segment leader, hotels.
MAESTRO PMS Warren Dehan, president of Markham, Ont.-based Maestro PMS, is also seeing increased hotel interest in the cloud, along with interest in mobile tablets (concierge tablets, for example) as well as guest-facing requirements such as mobile check-in. Dehan also reports increased guest demand to communicate with hotels via text messaging “and for hotels to receive those messages and act on them — more towels in the room, for example.” In fact, two-way communications via text “is overriding the in-room phone and overriding interaction with the concierge and front desk,” he said, adding that these types of third-party services will have to integrate with PMS. Dehan said many hoteliers’ PMS “perform basic stuff,” but operators are also looking for systems offering other functions such as online booking engines and the ability to book theatre tickets, and are also seeking integration with third-party revenue management. At June’s HITEC hospitality technology trade show, the company is demonstrating its Mobile Maestro online booking, registration and check-in, and showing its Analytics Business Intelligence and PMS Integration to multiple third-party systems for real-time property operations. Brandon Zdenek, director of guest services at Taboo Muskoka Resort & Golf, praises Maestro PMS for its ease of use; the company’s “outstanding support” whenever making backend modifications; informative webinars outlining new Maestro features and updates; and e-learning modules available for each Maestro function. At Taboo, Maestro PMS manages online booking, sales/catering, yield management,
housekeeping, retail/recreation and front desk. Are hotels favouring enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that manage a more comprehensive set of processes? Though they’re powerful and comprehensive, ERP “are more useful for larger five-star hotels with multiple restaurants, bars and a number of other POS terminals to manage,” said Aditya Sanghi, CEO and co-founder, Hotelogix. “These properties also need extensive inventory management, employ well over 100 staff members, and have a number of other highly specific requirements around which they would need to independently design the optimal PMS. An ERP would be a much simpler and quicker alternative in this case.” As Sanghi pointed out, smaller properties “do not require such a comprehensive level of management, as they usually have fewer points of sale and don’t normally exceed a few hundred rooms at most. In such a scenario, a PMS is still considered the more efficient option.” Large properties, Sanghi noted, cater to a much bigger audience and therefore have to invest in specialized software for detailed management of many areas like accounting, HR and payroll, and customer relationship management. They also usually have a dedicated team to handle IT operations. “Rather than integrating so many third-party systems and ending up with something that looks like a patchwork, these larger brands may find more value in developing their own custom PMS.” Hotelogix offers Premium and Enterprise PMS plans. Both include a comprehensive frontdesk management system with in-built modules for handling housekeeping operations and an unlimited number of POS terminals. The company also offers connectivity to premium online travel agencies and major global distribution system (GDS) portals through integration to channel managers and the GDS network. Both systems have tools capable of generating over 100 types of reports. Integration to TripAdvisor through Review Express helps boost hotel reviews and encourages direct bookings.
MIGRATING SYSTEMS “The general trend with hotel management
systems is two-fold: migrating on-premises systems to the cloud, and building integrations between multiple systems to provide a seamless experience for managing hotel operations,” said Larry Gorman, chief technology evangelist at SkyTouch Technology. “Best-of-breed property management systems are as popular as ever, and their ability to integrate with other best-ofbreed hospitality systems is crucial for delivering on the promise of an ERP.” As Gorman pointed out, “some big companies are building out what they are calling an ERP by buying companies that sell various components, such as a PMS, CRM, POS, CRS and other systems. There are advantages to having one throat to choke, but there is still work that needs to be done to integrate these components into a unified, seamless user experience. Other companies may be more interested in building out an ERP organically, but that is a time-consuming and expensive process. If these vendors are not able to offer best-of-breed solutions for each component in the ERP, hotels will often have better success with buying integrated best-of-breed systems from multiple vendors.” SkyTouch Technology offers a cloud-based hotel PMS that also includes rate management and distribution management, enabling hotel companies to more efficiently manage their onproperty and distribution operations. Also trending in a significant way is customer relationship management, as hoteliers look to communicate with guests before, during and after their stay. Expedia PartnerCentral’s new Conversations tool encourages direct dialogue and engagement between hoteliers and booked guests, providing a more personalized experience for guests and enabling them to reach out directly to hotels to inquire about additional amenities and services. Via a message centre, guests can start a conversation by asking a question or submitting a special request at time of booking. Alternatively, the hoteliers can reach out directly to the guest, providing a welcome message, share check-in details or an FYI telling guests their rooms are ready. Hoteliers can also confirm and manage special requests and provide information about the property’s services.
Catering to the über rich “Significantly, all furniture except for bedding was made on the island, further reinforcing Shorefast’s goals.”
PHOTO: ALEX FRADKIN
By Larry Mogelonsky If you want to experience Canada – I mean, really, truly, authentically experience the heart of our great ‘northern’ nation – Fogo Island Inn is one of the few places you must visit. Opened three years ago along the windswept coast of Newfoundland, this 29-room independent property already has more than its share of accolades, all driven by its improbable architecture, fantastic F&B, remarkable interior design, and prearranged activities that immerse you with the barren landscape and its people. Looking at the photo of this contemporary box of a hotel sitting on stilts over jagged rocks, you are probably asking yourself: Why? How was this even funded? The story of Fogo begins with Zita Cobb, a local who made her fortune in the tech industry then decided to reinvest it back into her hometown. Warm and friendly, the community of some 2,607 fishermen and related occupations has for centuries eked a living out of this hardscrabble…but that was about to change. Zita established the Shorefast Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with the sole goal of reinvigorating the economic fortunes of this small island. Through Shorefast, Fogo Island Inn was built and is managed to this day, with all proceeds from the hotel channelled back into the community. Much has been written about the architecture of the Inn. Todd Saunders, the principal architect and designer, opted for a minimalist structure that at first glance looks completely out of place in juxtaposition with the surrounding neighbourhood of saltbox bungalow cabins. But look closer and the elements of design perfectly mirror the desolate environment. Taking all elements together, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.
Hotels are rarely just about their architecture, though. The design must enhance the guest experience beyond something that’s nice to look at from afar. And here, too, Fogo Island Inn excels, beginning with the preplanned daily itineraries, with activities that include iceberg watching, in-house cooking classes, personalized art lessons and guided wildlife excursions. Jutting out from the edge of the building and with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, our room was literally embalmed in light, even though the weather was perpetually overcast. Significantly, all furniture except for bedding was made on the island, further reinforcing Shorefast’s goals. Wi-Fi was free (of course!), but to complete the rugged experience, electronics were kept at a minimum.
Here are some takeaway ideas for hoteliers: •
Daybreak box: like a wooden carpenter’s box, this is delivered to your door every morning at 6AM with a few fresh-baked items and a coffee thermos. Thank you keepsakes: small, hand-knotted keychains or luggage tag holders left on your desk with a goodbye note the night before checkout. Fireplace: more like a wood stove, a team starts a fire in your room while you’re having dinner so that it’s roaring by the time you get back. Activity director: the concierge who seems to know what everyone is doing and who crafts the daily itineraries, all customized according to weather and season. Chef mingling: all the top chefs came out to discuss the meals and ingredients with the guests as well as offer suggestions for home cooking. Personalized bartender: one who not only remembers your last aperitif, but also makes suggestions based upon your chosen
activities and the upcoming dinner. • Small library: read, borrow or take with you at anytime throughout the day. • Art gallery: provocative and local-only in focus. • Gift shop: everything made by craftsmen living on the island For most associates at Fogo Island Inn, this is their first job in hospitality. All inn employees share a bonus pool that is created by 15 per cent of the Inn’s top line. In addition to this, all surpluses from the inn are reinvested back into the community through the activities of the foundation. When tallying the staff experience with what the hotel offers its guests in terms of unique experiences, Fogo Island Inn defies every rule of hospitality marketing. They don’t believe in yield management – rates are set by season, end of conversation. Further still, the hotel abstains from the OTAs. You can’t even book direct on the website; only a phone call with the reservations team will suffice. Guestroom prices are not for the faint of pocketbook, mind you. Nor is getting there easy. You fly to Gander or St. John’s, Newfoundland, which is then followed by a car drive (about one hour from Gander), a 45-minute ferryboat and another 20-minute drive. It can consume a full day each way, unless you charter a private helicopter, that is. Maybe Theodore Roosevelt was thinking of places like Fogo Island Inn when he said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty.” This is certainly how I felt, and I invite you to explore the earth’s many far-off cracks and crevices like this isolated Newfoundland property to find the true art of modern hospitality. Larry Mogelonsky is the founder of LMA Communications Inc. (www.lma. ca). His work includes three books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama, Llamas Rule” and “Hotel Llama”. Email: email@example.com.
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A taste of place at Fishers’ Loft Inn, Port Rexton, N.L. By Kristen Smith Associate Editor PORT REXTON, N.L. — Sometimes the guests at Fishers’ Loft Inn take days to figure out who owns the 33-room property because its staff don’t hesitate to make decisions. “That was I think the greatest compliment I ever heard about Fishers’ Loft Inn,” said John Fisher, who owns inn with his wife Peggy. Heading into the 4.5-star inn’s 20th season, the Fishers run their inn as a social enterprise. “Anybody who isn’t probably shouldn’t be running a business,” John said. After falling in love with the province, the couple moved to Newfoundland from Ontario. The Fishers got into the hospitality business with a four-room B&B in 1997 and within two years saw the need to expand. Two additional buildings were built with eight suites and rooms along with the dining room, kitchen, bar, living room and library, complemented by a kitchen garden and greenhouse. “After a couple of years we were turning away more people than we could accommodate so we added another 12 rooms and it’s just gone on from there,” Peggy said. The Fishers’ two sons, Luke and Gabe, live nearby with their families after moving back to the east coast of the province. “Both sons work in the business, they’re just sort of gradually taking over from us,” said Peggy, adding their spouses are also quite involved in running the business. The inn now has 33 rooms and a staff of about 20, many of whom have worked at the property for more than 15 years.
From left: Gabe Fisher, Rhiannon Morgan, Molly Sexton, Luke Fisher, Maia Fisher, Peggy Fisher, Charlie Fisher, John Fisher. (Gabe and Rhiannon’s daughter Nora Fisher is missing from the photo.) “We’re part of an economic renaissance that’s going on in rural Newfoundland and a big part of what we’re about is attempting to provide jobs, good paying jobs, in a healthy, positive environment,” said John, adding they try to stretch the season — which runs from May into October and sometimes into November for conferences — as far as they can. He said it was important that the inn’s employees could survive on their seasonal wages in case there were ever a disruption or reduction in employment insurance. “They are paid well, there are lots of gratuities, it’s a very healthy situation for them economically and we felt very
strongly about that,” said John. The staff are given license to make suggestions about improving the business as well as empowered to make decisions, which means they get made more quickly. “Our view is that a happy, enfranchised, involved, engaged staff is the secret to keeping guests happy,” John said. “We’ve just really believed in enfranchising our workers and everybody, in a sense, is a manager, we have a minimum of committees, we don’t have a vertical structure, we probably have a horizontal and open structure,” John said. “We’ve got an incredibly motivated, intel-
ligent and decision-making staff.” In the kitchen, local women learn from consulting chefs, the likes of whom have included Todd Perrin, Bob Arniel, David Tombs and the Fishers’ niece, Laura Duchow. With a focus on skills transfer, the chefs provide recipes for the daily changing menu, which highlights local seafood and produce from the on-site garden and greenhouse. “All these people left recipes behind them and left elements of kitchen management and prep,” John said. “There’s this huge repository of knowledge from all these people over the years.”
Starwood Tribute to debut in Quebec City next year By Don Douloff, Assistant Editor QUEBEC CITY — Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced on March 24 that its Tribute Portfolio will make its Canadian debut at the recently signed Hotel PUR Quebec, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, owned by Hotel PUR Quebec LP and managed by Crescent Hotels and Resorts Canada Company. Located in Quebec City’s burgeoning Saint
Roch neighbourhood, Hotel PUR Quebec will undergo a full renovation of all 242 guestrooms and suites before joining the Tribute Portfolio system in early 2017. Until then, the hotel will run as a Starwood affiliate property. “Tribute Portfolio hotels are typically in neighbourhoods that exhibit a true indie vibe,” Dave Marr, global brand leader for Tribute Portfolio, told CLN. “Hotel PUR is located in the Saint Roch
Guestroom at Hotel PUR Quebec, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel.
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area of Quebec City, and the neighborhood has recently undergone a revitalization, seeing an impressive influx of new restaurants, boutiques and innovative businesses, making it an ideal place for a Tribute Portfolio hotel. Furthermore, Tribute Portfolio hotels have unique design aesthetics. Hotel PUR has a wide array of independent design touches and dining options that underscore the essence of Tribute Portfolio.” The brand is a collection of independent hotels and resorts, with a firm focus on upper upscale properties, said Marr. “Built for and by our SPG members, Tribute Portfolio simply focuses on providing our members more access to great hotels in great places, enabling them to earn and redeem SPG points more frequently.” Tribute Portfolio is comprised of independent, upper upscale hotels, with an average size of 150 to 400 rooms, typically located in urban or resort locations. They are typically known for their distinct guest experiences, amenity offerings, neighbourhoods, history and ‘wow’ factor. Guests are a mix of leisure travellers interested in weekend getaways, as well as business travellers seeking an enriching hotel experience while travelling for work. The brand allows Starwood “to capture more high-end guests in more destinations, therefore strengthening our base while delivering returns to our owners,” Marr added.
“There are many independent hotels out there that just don’t fit into one of our other nine brands. “At Starwood, we try not to force a hotel into one of our existing brands for the sake of footprint. We have a long history with The Luxury Collection, the industry’s original ‘collection brand.’ A curated group of 100 luxury hotels in iconic global locations, The Luxury Collection offers a five-star experience and product. “However, there is a white space for great high-end independent hotels that sit between The Luxury Collection and Design Hotels, and that space is where Tribute Portfolio plays.” Entering its sixth country just a month ahead of its first anniversary, Tribute Portfolio is experiencing the fastest takeoff of any Starwood hotel brand, ever. The portfolio debuted in April 2015 at the Royal Palm South Beach Miami and in April 2016, announced 20 hotel openings worldwide. In addition to Miami and now Paris, Tribute Portfolio properties operate in London, U.K.; Las Vegas; Palm Springs, Ca.; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Hokkaido, Japan. The brand will soon open new hotels in Ft. Lauderdale and Sarasota Fla.; Costa Mesa, Ca.; Asheville, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Savannah, Ga.; and Charleston, S.C. In Canada, “we’re taking a look at markets such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver,” said Marr.
OPENINGS, SALES AND RENOS
Alt Hotel Ottawa front desk.
Alt Hotel opens in Ottawa OTTAWA — Groupe Germain Hotels launched its first property in the nation’s capital with the opening of Alt Hotel Ottawa May 3. Located on Slater Street in the business district, the 14-floor, 148-room property offers inroom amenities such as spa-inspired bathrooms and ultra-comfortable beds. Amenities include a fully equipped fitness room and almost 4,000 square feet of meeting space furnished with large format televisions, projection screens and equipment featuring the latest technology. Alt Hotel Ottawa also features eco-responsible components such as geothermal heating and cooling, energy-efficient lighting in all rooms, and a heat recovery system. Plans call for the company to open a Le Germain property in Ottawa in 2017.
Days Inn — Victoria Uptown guestroom. to Richard Danziger, who lent his extensive knowledge as a former development director with the City of Kawartha Lakes to the hotel development project. “We wanted to do something to showcase what makes Lindsay and the city of Kawartha Lakes unique,” said hotel general manager Candace Buckley in a release. “The wall plaques outside the rooms add a nice touch and share a brief story about each one’s history.”
Four Points completes reno MISSISSAUGA — Four Points Mississauga Meadowvale announced in early May the completion of a renovation to the hotel’s 205 guestrooms and suites, meeting space, lobby, indoor pool and Taza Grill and Bar.
Located near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the property offers 7,400 square feet of flexible meeting space, divided among 13 rooms equipped with new audio-visual technology and ergonomic chairs. Redesigned Taza Grill offers a new food and beverage experience featuring Four Points’ signature Best Brews and BBQ , including local beers and seasonal BBQ-style appetizers.
HNA Tourism buys Carlson BEIJING, MINNEAPOLIS, MN — HNA Tourism Group Co. and Carlson Hospitality Group have entered into an agreement for the acquisition of Carlson Hotels, which owns Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blue, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson,
Country Inns & Suites by Carlson brands and the Club Carlson Global hotel rewards program, it was announced in late April. “Carlson Hotels’ global success and strong, sustainable growth potential is a testament to their world-class brands, continuous innovation, excellent management, and unique employeefocused culture, all of which we will build upon as part of this combination to establish our presence in the U.S. market and expand our footprint in hospitality internationally,” said Haibo Bai, HNA Hospitality Group chairman and CEO, in a release. Under terms of the agreement, HNA tourism will acquire all of Carlson Hotels, including its approximately 51.3 per cent majority stake in Rezidor Hotel Group AB, Carlson Hotels’ master licensee based in Brussels.
Days Inn — Victoria Uptown TORONTO — Realstar Hospitality announced May 3 the opening of a Days Inn in Victoria, B.C. The conversion property features 73 guestrooms outfitted with flat-screen HDTV, free wireless Internet and mini-fridge. Suites with kitchenette are also available. Days Inn — Victoria Uptown is located in the heart of Victoria’s Upper Harbour District with scenic views of the Gorge Waterway. The pet-friendly hotel includes an onsite restaurant and sports lounge, an indoor pool, saunas, fitness centre, free guest parking, meeting and event space and a business centre located in the lobby. “Days Inn is one of Canada’s strongest hotel brands and we’re excited to be joining their family,” said Darryl Wilson, hotel general manager, in a release. “We’re confident that the brand will add an exciting new element to Victoria’s Uptown.”
Honouring Lindsay citizens LINDSAY, Ont. — To commemorate those who helped to shape Lindsay, Ont.’s history and culture, Days Inn & Suites — Lindsay announced on May 3 that all on-site meeting rooms have been named after former noteworthy Lindsay residents. The Ross Room was named for businessman James Leveson Ross; the Frost Room honours Leslie M. Frost, who, decades ago, served as Ontario’s premier; and the Hart Room pays tribute to flamboyant criminal Pearl Taylor Hart. Suite 121 has been named and dedicated
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PEOPLE and marketing. Schreifels’ resume includes a 29-year career with Four Seasons, most recently as director of sales at Four Seasons New York. He has worked in Palm Beach, Fla., Newport Beach, Ca., the Caribbean Island of Nevis, Bora Bora, and in Toronto to open the flagship Four Seasons Hotel.
Indu Brar, general manager, The Fairmont Empress.
Seamus Dooley, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Guy Boivin, technical representative, Harco, in Quebec.
Data and analytics specialist STR has named Jon Timmons the company’s new chief operations officer, it was announced in early May. Timmons joins STR after a four-year stint at eviCore health care. Pat Pacious will keep his COO title and has been promoted to president of Choice Hotels International. In his expanded position, Pacious will assume a greater role in operational and strategic leadership of the company as well as global development, according to Choice. Choice has also promoted Scott
Anne Létourneau, head of sales, InterCon Montreal.
Mike Macklem, MasterBUILT business development.
Jon Timmons, STR’s new chief operations officer.
Oaksmith to SVP, finance and chief accounting officer. Tourism Sun Peaks announced May 19 that Arlene Schieven will become president and chief executive in July. Schieven, who is currently president and chief marketing officer of the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance, in Idaho, replaces Christopher Nicolson, who recently joined the Canada West Ski Areas Association as president and CEO. Ed Romanowski is now chief operating officer at Arlington Street Investments, a Calgary-based boutique urban developer. He comes to Arlington Street after serving as an instructor at Haskayne School of Business and working with Brookfield Residential and Albi Homes, but is best known for his role as CEO of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts, which he founded in 2003.
MICHAEL BECKLEY JOINS CBRE
the sales development manager for Ecolab Canada. He started his career with Ecolab in 2001 and holds a Tourist & Hotel Management degree from ITHQ.
Pat Pacious, COO/ president, Choice Hotels International. Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C., announced on May 19 that it has named Indu Brar general manager, overseeing the hotel’s two-phase, $30-plus million renovation scheduled to be completed in June 2017. Brar’s career has included stints as director of rooms at what is now Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, in Edmonton, and general manager of Fairmont Winnipeg. In 2010, she moved to New York, to take up the position of hotel manager at the Fairmont-managed Plaza Hotel, where she stayed for 18 months before heading to Boston’s Fairmont Battery Wharf to become general manager. In 2013, Brar moved to the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, where she oversaw the hotel’s renovation. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise sommelier Seamus Dooley will represent Canada at La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs International’s Jeunes Sommeliers competition, which will be held Aug. 25-26 in Vaduz, Liech-
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Ed Romanowski, COO, Arlington Street Investments. tenstein. Dooley won a national competition held across Canada on April 2. Dooley joined the hotel industry in 2014, with previous experience in boutique and high-volume retail wine sales, bars, restaurants and event planning. b4checkin Inc., a developer and provider of cloud-based hospitality software, announced on May 3 the appointment of Peter J. Rogers, Jr. as chairman of the board. Rogers’ extensive experience working with hospitality software includes time as executive vice-president at MICROS Systems, Inc. In addition to b4checkin, Rogers is a board member of two other hospitality software companies. Guy Boivin has joined Harco as a technical representative, part of the company’s Quebec team of laundry professionals. He is responsible for serving the hospitality and healthcare markets in the southern and eastern townships. Boivin was most recently
The Intercontinental Montreal announced in early May that Anne Létourneau has been named head of sales and commercial performance director. Létourneau has more than 15 years experience in management in the air transport and hotel industries. She has worked as a reservations agent with Air Canada; director of service centre at Canada 3000; reservations director at Omni Mont-Royal Hotel; and sales director at Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel. In mid-May, MasterBUILT Hotels announced the appointment of Michael Macklem as director of business development. Macklem’s eclectic background includes building and operating a helicopter-accessed backcountry skiing and hiking lodge, and running and then selling a successful vacation rental management company. A licensed B.C. mortgage broker with Whistler-based Garibaldi Mortgage, Macklem has lived and worked in Europe for hospitalitybased companies such as Butterfield & Robinson, Trek Travel and Backroads International. For four years as Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s real estate sales manager, he succeeded at kickstarting the post-2008 resale market. Don Schreifels joins the Park Hyatt Hotel Toronto as director, sales
Bill Marriott (left) and Michael Beckley. TORONTO — Bill Marriott, executive chairman and chairman of the board for Marriott Hotels International, had talked Michael Beckley, former Marriott SVP of Development, out of retiring a couple of times before. This time, it was Bill Stone, executive vice-president of CBRE Hotels. Beckley joins CBRE as director, CBRE Hotels, the company announced recently. Marriott, who is 84, provides a great role model for Beckley, who is a decade younger. “It took me nine months to realize that retirement was a state of mind and not the ultimate goal for everybody,” said Beckley, who retired from Marriott in the middle of last year. “After 50-plus-years in the industry, I missed the people and the action, and you can’t play golf in Canada in the winter.” He added that he needed work that he would enjoy doing and where he could add value. “Bill and I go back 34 or 35 years. I was motivated because all the people who work around Bill are friends, and I will also be adding value. I can add a strategic approach to hotel real estate, a view from the other side of the fence, having done 150 hotel deals in 14 and a half years with Marriott. “This is a good fit — there were other opportunities, but CBRE is so connected to the industry. The CBRE business card will certainly open doors for me.” “We’re delighted to have Michael with us. He will help us round out certain relationships and open up new doors,” said Stone. “He’s also a great sounding board, our own small board of directors, looking at opportunities and approaches to new business.” Beckley will have an office at CBRE in downtown Toronto, but will also have the flexibility to work from his home office. One of the first places he handed out his new business cards was at the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference, held May 16-17 at the Royal York Hotel and Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
S U P P LY L I N E S Federal investment spurs HCN tablet business OTTAWA — The Hotel Communication Network (HCN) is making significant inroads into the U.S. hotel market with its in-room tablet guest information system, spurred by the federal government’s investment in the company. Comprised of an interest-free loan of $525,000 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, coupled with $3 million raised by HCN through investors, the funds began flowing in December 2014 and continued until March 2016. That investment allowed the Ottawa-based company to hire software developers to build out a complete tablet-based content set for San Francisco, including such components as restaurants and attractions, said HCN chief operating officer Barry Brisco. Over an eight-month period, the HCN team developed an Android software component “plus complicated monitoring,” he said. All of that resulted in the installation, between late 2014 and mid-2015, of HCN inroom guest-communication tablets in seven San Francisco hotels, including the Fairmont, Palmer House, Nikko and Marriott Marquis. At each hotel, at the point of installation, servers are modified and systems customized. Typically, HCN finances, owns, controls and
maintains the tablets and software, and hotels pay for the service. HCN tablets provide in-room communication such as guest service requests; dynamic guest messaging; safety and security; information on local attractions; simultaneous broadcasting/ publishing to event groups; and guest satisfaction forms completed before check-out. As some large, full-service hotels phase out room service, which can be a money-loser for properties, HCN is contracting with local restaurants to deliver food to guests’ rooms. HCN’s in-room technology is also offering live concierge chat. This year’s plans call for the installation, in Q2 and Q3, of HCN tablets in 6,000 guestrooms in Chicago and San Francisco, with another 6,000 guestrooms in those cities “in the pipeline” and expected to be installed by Q4, said Brisco. The focus is on big convention hotels. The five-year plan has HCN targeting tablet installation in 250,000 rooms in 18 regions, including Toronto and Vancouver and U.S. markets such as Orlando, Fla., Washington D.C., New Orleans, San Diego, Ca., New York City, Las Vegas, Dallas and Phoenix. The focus will continue to be on big convention hotels, said Brisco, “but we could go to smaller hotels, too.” Beginning in 2018, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia will be on HCN’s radar.
Sheraton Gateway serves more than 100 meals to sick children’s families TORONTO — Sheraton Gateway Hotel, at Toronto Pearson International Airport, on May 10 served more than 100 meals to families with seriously ill children in hopes that a warm comforting meal would distract them for a few moments while they came together at the dinner table. Established in 1981, Ronald McDonald
House Charities Toronto provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families to heal better together. The organization operates a house for 81 families in downtown Toronto and family rooms in hospitals across the Greater Toronto Area. More than a dozen leadership and front-line associates volunteered for the event.
Milnor has a solution for mid-sized hotels and hotel compounds looking to save both time and money. Milnor’s five-module “short” tunnel washers can have a significant effect on your water and energy consumption, without compromising linen quality your guests deserve. We’re talking about using as little as 0.3 gallons of fresh water per pound of room linen instead of 2 or more gallons in a large washer-extractor. No matter how dirty your sheets, towels, or tablecloths are, hotel laundries across the country have seen remarkable improvement in wash quality with a dramatic reduction in water usage and energy. And now, if your facility washes 1,000 pounds of linens an hour or more, you can take advantage of PulseFlow technology in a new, smaller five-module tunnel. Contact an authorized Milnor distributor or call 504-712-7656 to find out more about getting big savings with a modest footprint.
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June 2016 | 1 7
D E S I G N F E AT U R E
Trendsetting in competitive Winnipeg By Don Douloff
Eno Bar WINNIPEG — A $4.5 million renovation has breathed new life into the Holiday Inn Winnipeg South, modernizing and brightening the property’s guestrooms, function rooms, public spaces and restaurant. “It’s been a complete transformation,” said Mike Gore, general manager and area director. Spurring the renovation, he said, was the need to keep pace in a competitive Winnipeg hotel market, where a number of new properties have recently launched. Holiday Inn Winnipeg South opened in 1980 on Pembina Highway, near McGillivray Boulevard, close to downtown and a 20-minute drive from the airport. Taking place over a 20-month period, the three-stage refurbishment, completed in early April, sought to “make the hotel look more contemporary, open it up, and make the spaces more inviting,” said Gore. A top-to-bottom refurbishment of the 170 guestrooms added new carpet and
wall vinyl in a bold, contemporary palette of grey, orange and earth tones; brought in new softgoods and casegoods; and outfitted rooms with today’s must-have amenities — microwave ovens, fridges, free Wi-Fi, 42inch flat-screen HDTVs and, in desks and bedside tables, extra outlets. Large, greyfabric padded headboards and artwork adorn feature walls. Renovated guestroom bathrooms now sport tub surrounds and new vanities and mirrors, and white-marble countertops and floors. The guestroom lineup now includes eight accessible rooms (with queen beds), including one room with roll-in shower. New carpets and wallcoverings in revamped corridors also reflect the shift to contemporary colours. Modernized fixtures such as wall sconces and pot lights add visual pizzazz, as the hotel has transitioned to energy efficient LED halogen lights.
The project’s phase two substantially refurbished the second-floor function spaces — seven meeting rooms plus a conference theatre seating 65, classroom-style — installing new carpeting, lighting, seating and audiovisual technology, and upgraded the lobby-level ballroom and pre-function area. Also receiving a makeover was the fitness room (new equipment), pool area (Jacuzzi and furniture upgrades) and secondfloor public washrooms. But perhaps the most dramatic change occurred in the lobby/restaurant/lounge area that has been reconfigured to provide a communal zone for weekday business travellers that encourages interaction, said Gore. Functionality meets design in the lobby, which has been reimagined as a series of smaller, more purposeful areas that include two check-in pods, a communal-table business centre and a 24/7 market area selling sundries, beverages and microwaveable meals. Lobby design accents include marble floors, creative lighting, resurfaced fireplace, and seating pods (chaise lounges, padded benches, ottomans). Neon green, red and gold rule. Newly branded 120-seat EnoBAR +Kitchen boasts a fresh look (carpet and wood floors; a striking palette of red, gold, orange, grey), logo and menu (burgers, sandwiches and a fresh board of apps, pizza and main courses). Lounge chairs, round booths and divisible private dining spaces accommodating 40 people provide stylishly varied seating options, while up-to-the-minute lighting (in a circular metal design, and white acrylic lamp shades) changes according to the time of day. The lounge features a 20-seat marble bar, wood floors, moveable tub chairs and eight TVs. “The lounge and restaurant flow together, and are used interchangeably,” said Gore. Already, the hotel’s renovation investment is reaping rewards. “The guests have had an absolutely ‘wow’ reaction,” said Gore. “This renovation is such a massive departure from anything we’d done before. We wanted it to look like a brand new hotel — and it is.”
COMING EVENTS June 20-23: HITEC. Ernest M. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans. Contact: Frank Garza. Telephone: 512-220-4034. E-mail: frank. firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.hftp. org/hitec Sept. 6-8: Hotel Data Conference. The Omni Nashville Hotel, Nashville, Tenn. Telephone: 615-824-8664. Email: email@example.com. Website: hoteldataconference.com
Sept. 13-14: Canadian Resort Conference. Hilton Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ont. Website: www.canadianresortconference.com Sept. 26-29: The Lodging Conference. The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, Phoenix, AZ. Brent Tinter, conference manager. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.lodgingconference.com October 4-5: Western Canadian
1 8 | Canadian Lodging News
Lodging Conference. Vancouver Convention Centre. Contact: Orie Berlasso, Big Picture Conferences. Telephone: 416-924-2002, ext. 229. E-mail: email@example.com. Website: www.resortinvest.ca Oct. 25: Manitoba Hotel Association 2016 Tradeshow. Victoria Inn Hotel — Winnipeg. Contact: Jerry Weir or Warren Nerby. Telephone: 204-9420671. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: mhashow.ca
TOp 15 LIST Anne Larcade’s Top 15 Predictions for 2036
Twenty years ago Anne Larcade was working for CHIP REIT and as regional director based out of Toronto. Today she is president & CEO at Sequel Hotels and Resorts; CEO Sequel Hospitality Investments. Anne was asked what she expected to change in the hotel business by the year 2036. Here are her answers...
*** We now have women beginning to achieve the ranks of senior C-suite roles within our industry and the financial industry. Boutique Hotels are a brand by themselves and everyone wants in! Technology and design will be driven by guest demand. 1. Airbnb isn’t going away and social experience economies will grow. 2. Hotels will become social experience hubs with changing design innovations and technology. 3. RevPAR will grow faster in the next 20 years as demand and positioning for Toronto and Canada grows in the world. 4. Someone will invent a great Zoomba so housekeepers can focus on dust and beds and not vacuuming. 5. As women enter the senior ranks of leadership there will be more balanced culture in hotels and representation of the interests of the team members. Therefore, benefits such as day care centres and yoga, will enhance company cultures and result in better employee attraction and retention. Most women I know talk softly about these matters and how they impact their roles and the industry. #becauseits2016. 6. Service standards will continue to increase. 7. Digital in-room mirrors with smart screen capabilities — think Star Trek and the end of TVs. 8. Spa-like bathrooms and smaller bedroom areas. 9. Green hotels — touch screens for lighting and HVAC, green roofs and living walls, with access to hotel services provided through your own device. 10. Focus on quality bedding. Duvet covers and curtains will disappear. 11. Lobbies will become high-tech multi-use spaces. 12. Hotels will integrate more natural elements and materials into design, including the use of light. Biophilia, the bond between human beings and other living systems, will be adopted, meaning there will be a blurred line between indoor and outdoors because people instinctively feel more at ease in natural surroundings. 13. There will be more local flavour to give guests a more genuine memorable experience and to showcase local pride and artisans. 14. Virtuality will enter hotels for guest use and design. Use of a fingerprint/retina scan for room entry will grow — it’s already at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston. 15. Healthy sourcing and eating will be driven by guest demand and become something that is expected. Contact: email@example.com
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What if you could reduce your energy, water and linen replacement costs up to $6,300 a year for a 150-room property††? You can with the Tide® Professional Coldwater System. It features an innovative wash process that reduces the number of fills, and uses an advanced formula with enzymes that help break down stains in colder water.§ So you get the soft, white linens you expect from Tide® –– plus savings you probably wouldn’t expect from your on-premise laundry. For more information contact P&G Professional representative Sandeep Majumdar by email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or phone 416-318-9117.
* When you switch to the Tide® Professional Coldwater System from a standard hot system. For guest room linens only. Applies to energy used to heat water in your washing machine only. **When you switch to the Tide® Professional Coldwater System from a standard hot system. For guest room linens only. Applies to water used in your washing machine only. †vs. leading alkaline system in 50-cycle test. ††Annual savings based on switching from a standard alkaline system to the Tide® Professional Coldwater System. Assume Canada national average water and gas costs according to Canada West Foundation "Water, Water Use & Water Pricing Around the World" report (figure 8), September 2011 and the National Energy Board of Canada "Short-2014-2016- Energy Market Assessment". Must have fully programmable washing machines to qualify for savings. Linen savings based on a 50-cycle test vs. the leading alkaline system. Savings assumes the standard competitive system is priced parity with Tide Professional Everyday system (Tide® Detergent, Clorox® and Downy®) and uses linen replacement cost data based on a study among Hospitality key decision makers in April 2014. §As low as 32°C compared to regular Tide® Professional. Clorox is a trademark of The Clorox Co., used under license by P&G. © 2016 P&G
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