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LodgingNews November 2016 | Vol. 13 | No. 9





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Best Western: 70 years and a new dawn tion (midscale soft brand). Kong said there are many reasons for hotels to join the SureStay brands. By joining, they can access the resources Best Western offers, and instead of paying 18-22 per cent on OTA fees, they can benefit from Best Western’s favourable fee structure. And SureStay hotels don’t have to have a property improvement program (PIP). Gus Genetti, who has an independent hotel in Williamsport, Penn., with his name on the hotel and a TripAdvisor rating of 4.5, is the first hotelier to join the SureStay brand, it was announced at the conference.

choice fall conference 2016 strong year for choice canada








The Hotel of the Future Jasmine Mosher, GM of Best Western Plus Hotel & Suites, Saint John, N.B. and a winner of Best Western’s Got Talent, entertains delegates at the company’s North American Convention in Phoenix last month. By Colleen Isherwood, Editor

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PHOENIX, Ariz. — As Best Western marked its 70th birthday in Phoenix last month, the prevailing theme was that the only constant is change and the septuagenarian company is working hard to lead and adapt. “I love the theme of our convention, It’s a New Dawn,” president and CEO David Kong told 2,500 attendees from around the world. “It’s peaceful, it’s quiet and it’s also full of promise. ... The possibilities are limitless. And the same is true of Best Western. As we celebrate our 70th birthday, I know our greatest times are still ahead of us. It’s up to us to seize each day and make it extraordinary.” He asked those members who had been with the brand for 25 or more years to stand, and then those who had been with the brand for more than 50 years. All together, Best Western has 600 members who have been with them for

25 years or more, and 50 who have been with them for more than half a century.

SureStay — white label approach Best Western’s latest move has been to launch SureStay, what Kong calls a white label approach to the economy sector. SureStay will operate as a separate subsidiary while plugging hotel owners into the company’s infrastructure and distribution channels. Hotels will not carry the Best Western name, and their website will be separate from Best Western’s. “The economy and lower midscale sectors are of great interest to us. It’s a huge market with 17,000 branded and 12,000 independent hotels. But we are always hesitant to compromise our brand image — people don’t relate to Best Western as an economy brand.” There are three distinctive brands – SureStay Hotel (premium economy), SureStay Plus Hotel (lower midscale) and SureStay Signature Collec-

Ron Pohl, senior vice-president of brand management, painted a picture of what hotels will be like just four years from now, where guests arrive in driverless cars and avatars assist them with check-in. “Guests may not come into contact with hotel staff unless it is in the lobby or breakfast rooms. And everything I talked about is available today. There’s even Rosie, a vacuum cleaner programmed to vacuum the guestrooms without bumping into furniture.” In her presentation, Dorothy Dowling, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, challenged delegates to maintain emotional relevance and connection, since the emotional connection people have to a brand plays a large part in decision-making. Having technology replace customer service functions and maintaining connections with guests are not mutually exclusive; instead they necessitate a new approach to communications. “We need to make the user experience fantastic — make it as easy to do business as possible,” said Kong, citing the check-in text as an example. Continued on page 3

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Strong year for Choice Hotels Canada

Briefs Canada No. 1 country to visit LONDON — Canada has been named the number one country in the world to visit next year, according to Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017, the collection of the world’s hottest trends, destinations and experiences for the year ahead, it was announced on Oct. 25. Following Canada on the list are Colombia and Finland, while Bordeaux tops the cities list, beating Cape Town and Los Angeles. Best in Travel 2017 declares Choquequirao, Peru the number one must-see region in the coming year, with New Zealand’s Taranaki and The Azores also making the top three.

Pinball Clemons (left) and Brian Leon greet each other, then do 50 pushups at the Choice Fall Conference.

Mere Hotel earns 5 Key rating By Colleen Isherwood, Editor TORONTO — It’s been a strong year for Choice Hotels Canada despite hardships in Western Canada, said managing director Brian Leon at CHC’s Fall Conference, held Oct. 12-14 at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. And talk about strong! Who knew the head of one of Canada’s largest hotel companies could do 50 pushups along with guest speaker Michael “Pinball” Clemons! In a wide-ranging and well-received speech on leadership that emphasized accountability, discipline and humility, Pinball asked for a volunteer from the audience to come up on stage and work out with him. Leon, who swears he had no prior knowledge, was chosen. This year’s fall conference for Canadian franchisees had record turnout with 250 delegates, Leon told CLN at the conference. “We’ve opened 10 hotels right across the country so far this year — in Yellowknife, Grand Prairie, Collingwood, Fredericton and Quispamsis [near Saint John, N.B.],” he said, adding that eight new openings are expected by the end of the year. “Development activity has been very, very strong in spite of Western Canada, where new builds have slowed down. Overall, it was a very solid year — near record territory in terms of deal activity.” Choice Hotels Canada now has 325 hotels with 26,219 rooms. New-build Comforts in Ontario are one of the most exciting developments, Leon said. “It’s been close to 15 years since we had a new-build

Comfort in the province, thanks in part to the old Journey’s End properties. Part of our strategy was to drive strength in the brand by rejuvenating existing properties, but we’re also pushing for more development of new builds.” The three Ontario new-build Comforts are in Goderich, Napanee and Bowmanville, Ont. Loyalty was a big focus for Choice last year, with the Choice Privileges Program rising from No. 11 to No. 2 in the U.S. News and World Report Best Hotel Rewards Program ranking. “Changes to the program have been wellreceived, including Choice Privileges Member Rates, which are a big benefit, offering better rates than booking through the OTAs.” CHC is focusing on the revenue management area as well, by creating a director of revenue management position, hiring Tamer Dalati, whose 22-year hotel revenue management career includes work with both Delta Hotels and SilverBirch. Choice’s SmartRates program rolled out across the country in CHC’s midscale hotels just before the conference, and is coming to its economy brands as well. “This industry-leading revenue management technology will help general managers enhance their performance and save time. Before, they spent a lot of time searching to see what their competitors were doing,” said Leon. CHC is also looking for a director of development for the Ascend Collection in Canada, in addition to its three franchise development directors, who will now be called directors of development as well. “Ascend is a different type

of property, a different value proposition. There are huge opportunities for Ascend in Canada,” he said, adding that Marc St-Gelais, who has brought a number of Ascend properties into the collection of 13 hotels, will continue to sell Ascend in Eastern Canada. Choice has also made positive progress in terms of likelihood to recommend (LTR) scores and its RevPAR index is up 6 per cent over last year. “That’s huge for us,” Leon commented. “It’s a reflection of all the things we are doing to drive investments in hotels, and better rate channel management. Clearly, we are having an impact and gaining big ground.” More CHC Conference coverage on page 14.

Best Western’s 70th celebration

TIAPEI unhappy with ferry service

David Kong Continued from page 1 “We need to be efficient. Ultimately, what we have versus the OTAs is that these people are actually at our hotels, in our lobbies, and breakfast rooms. That gives us opportunities to talk to them. Housekeepers can say good morning. And the texting trend leads to a whole new level of scripting. Hoteliers can actually write the scripts.” “Communication won’t be text based; it will be voice-based,” predicted Dowling. “Typing and writing will not be part of the future. I am already using [Amazon Echo’s] Alexa — there’s very little you can’t do.”

The only constant is change

Brian Leon in front of a slide showing devastation in Fort McMurray earlier this year. Quality Inn Fort Mac was one of the first properties to reopen, and offered a safe haven for first responders.

OTTAWA — Green Key Global announced in mid-October that the Mere Hotel Winnipeg has earned a 5 Key rating with the new GSTC Recognized Green Key Eco-Rating Program. A 5 Green Key rating demonstrates that the property exemplifies the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility throughout all of its operations. The hotel employs cutting-edge technologies, policies and programs that set the international standard for sustainable hotel operators. “We’ve been striving for a 5 Green Key rating for a while and have been able to achieve it with the recent initiatives we have implemented at the property,” said Amber McCorrister, housekeeping manager, in a release. “The new mandatory questions, along with additional bonus options, result in a superior, more dynamic Green Key Eco-Rating Program.”

Said Kong, “I am blessed with three grandchildren. The girls are adorable. Sometimes, when I play with them, I would wonder: Will they need to learn to drive? What will their phones be able to do? What will shopping be like when they grow up. Our world is changing so fast!”

CHARLOTTETOWN — The Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI) is dissatisfied with the reduction of ferry services to and from Prince Edward Island, it was announced in late September. During the 2016 tourism season, Northumberland Ferries Limited (NFL) has been reduced to one ship, which has affected travel, since mechanical issues forced it to cancel some crossings. “Tourism industry as well as other sectors, NFL and all levels of government must work collaboratively to put a long-term plan in place before next year for the long term. We need a proactive, long term, sustainable strategy to maintain and enhance ferry service between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia,” said Kevin Mouflier, CEO, TIAPEI.

Digital art installed at Sofitel LA SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco-based Daylighted has installed a Digital Art Gallery in the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, it was announced Sept. 20. Through Daylighted’s SmArtGallery, an interactive digital canvas, the hotel can change their art exhibition on a daily basis to offer guests customized experiences. This allows guests to engage with new art every time they visit, discover local talent, interact with artists and purchase art using the touch interaction. The installation consists of three 55-inch digital screens in the hotel’s library. Daylighted curated works from several Los Angeles art galleries that reflect the hotel’s aesthetic, including DNJ Gallery, a fine art organization located in Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station.

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Rehearsing the Great B.C. ShakeOut My father, Thomas McCavour, is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel titled, The Power of Ten, which will come out in 2017. Its subject is a tremendous earthquake and tsunami with its epicentre in the Straight of Georgia, which destroys much of Vancouver Island and B.C.’s Lower Mainland. It’s fiction, but it’s not far fetched. reported that there were 490 earthquakes in B.C. in the past year of magnitude 1.5 or greater. In the past year, there have been four earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or more off the coast of Vancouver Island. It was those recent earthquakes that prompted Kara Van Der Vlugt, social media and marketing manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton Victoria, to call friends who worked at ShakeOut B.C. to ask about earthquake preparedness, and then approach the hotel’s management to set up an earthquake drill. That drill took place on Oct. 18, a couple of days before ShakeOut B.C.’s province-

wide earthquake drill on Oct. 20. The DoubleTree event included training of housekeeping, engineering and front-ofhouse staff based on information from ShakeOut B.C. The training included “drop, cover and hold on,” how to assist guests in doing this too, and use of the intercom system to let staff and guests know if it was necessary to evacuate or stay put. Three people from ShakeOut B.C. assisted in the drill. “The ShakeOut people were great at explaining to guests how to drop, cover and hold on,” said Van Der Vlugt. “We also had a letter in each room explaining the drill.” The earthquake drill came in two parts. The first involved a rumbling sound throughout the whole building, signalling the drill for staff. They reacted quickly, taking shelter under desks and tables. The second part was a fire drill, in which the Victoria Fire Department and building maintenance staff provided a rapid assessment, and evacuated participants to their muster stations. “The guest reactions were really positive,” said Van Der Vlugt. “A few guests wanted to

participate. They were thrilled that hotel staff had the knowledge of how to react.” ShakeOut B.C. also offers a tsunami evacuation drill. “You have 76 minutes to get to higher ground. If the higher floors of our building were structurally sound, we would evacuate guests there; if not, we would send them further away,” said Van Der Vlugt. Other B.C. hotels were among the 800,000 people in the province who participated in The Great British Columbia ShakeOut. Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, Middle Beach Lodge and Tofino Hostel in Tofino, Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa and Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria; and Listel Hotel and Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver were listed on the Great British Columbia ShakeOut website as participants. Eleven hotels with 835 participants were registered in Canada. The worldwide total is almost 55 million people registered in 2016 Great ShakeOut drills as of Oct. 31.


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Travel trends for Canadian Rockies By Larry Mogelonsky Tourism to the Rocky Mountain regions of Alberta and B.C. has long attracted people to visit our great nation. While downhill skiing is still the leading attraction, there are fascinating developments that may cause a tremendous upswing in travel throughout the calendar year. Nothing brought this into focus until my most recent visit to the area, staying at St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, a 125room property just outside of Cranbrook, B.C. The purpose of my summer trip was to see firsthand how the Kootenays – the easternmost valleys to the west of the Rockies – were developing their seasonal tourism prowess and to shed some light on two important trends.

Adventure Tourism Gone Global We no longer want to simply visit; we want to do! While the urban markets will always be able to lure prospective guests with their proximity to convention centres, great attractions, shopping, nightlife, museums and historic sites, rural or resort properties must now offer experiential activities to set themselves apart. Indeed, we are already seeing this to a great extent with the ‘sun destinations,’ where it’s no longer just about snoozing on the beach, but what the territory has to offer and how activities can be packaged into halfday or full-day experiences. What I learned from my trip to the Kootenays is that this trend is already worldwide and will soon be

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an expectation rather than a value-add. Everyone from the young family on a budget to the eloping wedding party or business group on a corporate retreat wants to be active while travelling. This echoes the conversations I had with DMO and CVB operators at ITB Berlin way back in March. The general consensus among this largely European crowd was, “Yeah, we’ve seen Manhattan and we’ve been to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We aren’t coming to you for culture or history. My hometown has more of both than your entire continent. We want forests, camping, untouched lakes, kayaking, bear sightseeing – we want nature!” Your property as just the beginning of the guest’s journey. Undoubtedly your region has exceptional, authentic and interactive experiences to offer, and it’s your responsibility to bring them to your customer’s attention. You might want to consider building a few of these activities onsite so guests never, ever have an inkling of boredom while on property. If you don’t, travellers will inevitably migrate to other hotels or territories where these adventures are available and marketed.

Birch is the New Maple As every hotelier knows, a successful hotel must marry great experiences with exceptional food. As maple and peameal bacon have long been the stereotypes of Canadian cuisine, it’s about time we reinvented the wheel slightly. St. Eugene’s executive chef, Ronny Belkin, infuses just about everything on the menu with Canada’s next claim to fame – birch syrup. Like its maple counterpart, birch syrup comes in a spectrum of colors, with amber

and amber gold suitable for direct application to foods in the form of salad vinaigrettes or a sandwich glaze, while the dark grade has a flavour somewhere between black molasses and cough syrup. Not nearly as sweet as maple syrup, this offers a reasonable explanation for why birch has yet to take North American foodies by storm. But mix the dark grade with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and spices (otherwise known as barbecue sauce) and you’re in flavour country, my friend. It’s also expensive. Chef Belkin was brought aboard last autumn to help rebrand St. Eugene’s previously fine dining establishment into a barbecue smokehouse. Plunking down for a meal of smoked and charred meats, it only took one bite for me to realize why he slathers everything from elk steaks to bison ribs in his patented birch barbecue sauce. All told, it’s a taste that’s wholly unique to Interior BC. If St. Eugene has any say in it, then birch syrup will indeed become the next bastion of Canadiana and economies of scale will alleviate any birch-related supply issues. This is yet another example of why you shouldn’t micromanage your culinary team. You have to give them the resources, both in budget and in time, to tinker with their chosen craft in order to devise something that is ostensibly one-of-a-kind. I’m a diehard believer that great F&B is essential to overall guest satisfaction, so do yourself a favour and see what can be done in this regard in tandem with your pursuit for other local authentic experiences. Larry Mogelonsky is the founder of LMA Communications Inc. ( His work includes three books Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?, Llamas Rule and Hotel Llama. Email:

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Earthquake drill at DoubleTree Victoria VICTORIA — In preparation for the Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites demonstrated its commitment to keeping its staff and guests safe by leading a building-wide earthquake drill planned in partnership with ShakeOut B.C. This was the first drill of its kind in the tourism and accommodation industry. The drill took place on Oct. 18 at 1:00 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites Victoria, two days before the province-wide ShakeOut B.C. earthquake drill. The drill involved hotel staff members, hotel restaurants,

ShakeOut team members and the Victoria Fire Department. “It went really well, it was a great training experience for our staff,” Kara Van Der Vlugt, social media and marketing manager, told CLN. “We wanted to participate in a drill such as this so our staff could be fully trained in a natural disaster scenario, especially with our location being in a seismic zone,” Van Der Vlugt added. During the drill, staff demonstrated the recommended “drop, cover and hold on” protec-

tive action to take during an earthquake and then evacuated the property once they initiated the fire aspect of the drill. Two team members also acted as guests in a rescue scenario with the Victoria Fire Department and were removed from the building via a fourth-floor balcony and a fire truck crane. After the drill, hotel team members responded by evacuating the building and conducting a simulated rapid damage assessment to test their emergency procedures. The Victoria Fire Department supported this exercise by responding to the event.

General manager Francis Mairet demonstrates drop, cover and hold on.

More than meets the eye Ashley Fritter and Connie Robertson, guest services managers and Andy Wilson, director of engineering.

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Sign at the front of the hotel advises guests of the ShakeOut B.C. drill.

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Victoria firefighters participated by responding to the event.

November 2016 | 5


WCLC: Airbnb’s impact may be bigger than you think

Ken Lambert (left) and Chris Gibbs. By Colleen Isherwood, Editor VANCOUVER — The real impact of Airbnb may be bigger than you think it is, according to Chris Gibbs of Ryerson University and Ken Lambert of HLT Advisory, reporting at the Western Canadian Lodging Conference, held Oct. 4-5 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. A great deal has changed since their last presentation at the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference in May, Gibbs said. “The biggest is-

sue in the world is the owner. How do I make some revenue out of my house or my car? And then there’s the whole municipal issue.” Airbnb has been growing exponentially. In early 2014, Airbnb founder Brian Chesky tweeted that he would add 30,000 guestrooms every few weeks in 2014 — or 780,000 listings. “He only fell short by about 200,000, adding 500,000 in 2014 and 500,000 in 2015,” said Gibbs. And Airbnb plans to grow revenue from $900 million in 2015 to $10 billion in 2020, ac-

cording to Fortune 2015. In Vancouver, Airbnb has 1,777 average active listings available. In Calgary, that number is 241, in Toronto, 2,280, and Ottawa, 239. To put that in perspective, the Toronto listings are about equal to the room count of the Sheraton Centre and the Westin Harbour Castle — numbers that should make hoteliers sit up and pay attention. Contrary to the image of a homeowner renting out a room, entire places account for 60 to 70 per cent of Airbnb listings and 75 to 80 per cent of their revenue. Phocuswright’s recent report on why people choose Airbnb notes that convenient location, overall value for money and homelike feeling were the three most prevalent reasons for travellers to select Airbnb. Surprisingly, “lowest price” ranked 10th on the list. Business travellers are starting to chose Airbnb. Gibbs gave an example of a woman from Barrie, Ont., who travels on business about 12 times a year. She has a per diem rate that includes $140 for a hotel and $60 for food, but if she can book on Airbnb for $90, she can pocket the extra money. But the real growth is in the condo market, in places like Liberty Village and CityPlace in Toronto and similar neighbourhoods in other cities, said Gibbs. It’s particularly suitable for intergenerational travel, since a family can rent an entire house. “Airbnb enables that,” said Gibbs. A number of cities have been enacting laws

to license and control Airbnb rentals. Vancouver, for example, is experiencing a shortage of affordable accommodation. They recently announced a proposal to tax empty or vacant homes. Only principal residents will be able to get a license to rent. Basement suites and laneway homes would not be able to get licenses. Tenants of sub-leases would only be able to get a license with the permission of the landlord. This legislation was recently discussed by Vancouver city council, with draft regulations anticipated in early 2017. Enforcement is the problem. In Montreal, where licenses and legislation were introduced in April 2015, only 41 of 10,000 listings in that city have paid the license fee. Inspections have been carried out on 267 files, but only two have been prosecuted. “Hotels can’t just sit back,” said James Chase, chief executive officer of the British Columbia Hotel Association, who was in the audience. “Numbers are increasing, there’s not enough affordable housing, and it’s changing the whole labour supply and accommodation. B.C. has chosen the license approach, but where they’re struggling is catching you. In Quebec, if you rented your place for just two weeks a year, you didn’t have to register. Ontario blew it with their Airbnb pilot project. “You’ve got to be active and get local government to get involved.” For a copy of the report, contact Ken Lambert,

Nova Hotel experiences highs and lows in 2016

Exterior of Chateau Nova Yellowknife. EDMONTON — For Nova Hotels, 2016 has seen its shares of highs and lows, as the company opened a property in Yellowknife, NWT, and suffered a devastating blow when its hotel in Fort McMurray, Alta., burned down during the spring wildfires. In September, Chateau Nova Yellowknife launched in the northeast part of town, offering 141 guestrooms; conference and meeting rooms, including a banquet room accommodating 400; steam room, sauna, fitness centre; and Quarry Restaurant & Lounge. This marks Nova Hotels’ return to Yellowknife. In 2000, the company opened a property in the city, but sold it in 2007. “The north is a good market now, since it’s economically more stable than other markets,

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and offers a good mix of government, corporate and tourism (clientele),” company president Aleksa Mrdjenovich told CLN. This opening brings the company to four properties in its fullservice Chateau Nova banner (two operate Edmonton and one operates in Peace River, Alta.). In the limited-service Nova Inn banner, six hotels operate, in Alberta, Kindersley, Sask., and Inuvik, NWT. In addition, Nova Hotels owns a Ramada Inn and Chateau Lacombe, both in Edmonton, and Kindersley Inn, in Saskatchewan. Plans call for the construction of 73 extended-stay suites connected to Chateau Nova Yellowknife. Those rooms are expected to open in fall 2017, said Mrdjenovich. Beyond that, “there’s nothing on the books until we decide what to do with Fort McMurray,” she added. “We’re working with our insurance company to see what our options are.” After the Chateau Nova Fort McMurray was lost, Nova Hotels’ five Edmonton-area properties housed, for five weeks, hotel guests displaced

by the fire, as well as the Fort McMurray hotel’s ning on updating the rooms slowly as we go.” Chateau Lacombe Hotel was purchased in staff and families. The Edmonton properties also offered deep discounts to displaced Fort 2013 (it was previously the Crowne Plaza ChaMcMurray residents. In all, those hotels pro- teau Lacombe Hotel). “We have renovated the lounge, restaurant, vided food, water and shelter to 600 people. With the exception of Kindersley Inn, Nova lobby, banquet areas and fully redid 69 rooms Inn Kindersley, Ramada Edmonton and Cha- into Concierge Rooms. We will continue to teau Lacombe, which were all bought by Nova slowly update the balance of the rooms over the Hotels, the company typically builds, manages next few years.” Being a family business allows the flexibility and operates its properties. Kindersley Inn was a 90-room full-service to tailor each hotel to its local market, and also hotel purchased in 2007. Nova Hotels subse- provides the stability to be competitive on room quently added 125 new rooms, bringing the rates and adapt quickly to market conditions, said Mrdjenovich. total to 215. Each market offers a different clientele, such Nova Inn Kindersley was purchased in 2007 (it was previously a Best Western). Within six as a resource-based demographic in certain Almonths of purchase, the hotel was rebranded to berta markets, and, in bigger cities, more govNova Inn. Upgrades over the years have includ- ernment or corporate, she noted. ed all new beds, bedding and TVs. Ramada Edmonton Hotel & Conference Centre was purchased in 2014. “We are continually renovating and updating. We have fully renovated the large ballroom, and have updated the lobby and common areas. We are plan- Quarry Lounge at Chateau Nova Yelllowknife.

Pacini eyes hotels for steady restaurant growth By Don Douloff, Assistant Editor MONTREAL — Pacini Canada Inc. is eyeing new-builds and conversions inside Canadian hotels for sustained growth of its casual Italian restaurant concept. In the next two to three years, the company is targeting 15 to 20 locations, part of a larger plan to reach 200 restaurants within 10 years, Lafleche Francoeur, vice-president of business development, told CLN. Thirty restaurants operate, 28 in Quebec and the balance in Alberta. Four hotel locations operate, in the Acclaim Hotel, near Calgary airport; Hotel Universel, in Alma, Que.; the Moose Hotel & Suites, in Banff, Alta., opened in July; and Auberge Gouverneur Shawinigan, in Shawinigan, Que., opened in spring. A site is under construction in Hotel Le Navigateur, in Rimouski, Que., and is expected to open in December, according to Francoeur. A deal has been signed for a freestanding Pacini to open in front of the Courtyard Toronto/ Mississauga West property that’s due to open in the early part of Q2, 2017. The restaurant is expected to begin construction by year’s end, targeting an opening by March, 2017, said Francoeur. The first hotel location opened in the Acclaim property in 2011 as a test of the Pacini concept outside Quebec. That site “has done very, very well,” said Francoeur. Although Francoeur will consider freestanding, non-hotel restaurants, “90 per cent of franchising requests are coming from hotels.” Going forward, all provinces will be considered for hotel locations, but Alberta and Ontario will be the focus, he said. Since the brand is established in Alberta, it’s a natural fit for growth, he added, and Atlantic Canada represents a “natural evolution” for Pacini. “We’re in negotiation with 25 to 30 hotels in every region.” Larger cities are preferred.

Pacini restaurant in Trois Rivières, Que. In Quebec, Pacini will consider smaller markets, and indeed, situating inside hotels enables Pacini to locate in smaller population areas, since hotel guests provide a built-in customer base. Restaurants also draw from locals, said Francoeur.

New builds and conversions New builds and conversions will be considered equally. In hotels that converted their restaurants to the Pacini concept, room occupancy rose by 2 to 3 per cent, and an onsite Pacini drives guests’ decision to stay at those properties, said Francoeur. When a Pacini site opens,

hotel restaurant revenues rise, he added. Hotel sites require at least 4,500 square feet. Ground-floor locations offering good external exposure and a separate entrance are required. Mid-scale to higher-end hotels will be considered. Up front, hotels pay $1.5 million, which covers the franchise fee and construction costs. Once the restaurant opens, hotels pay a royalty of 4 per cent of gross sales, and an additional 4 per cent of gross sales that is pooled in a national marketing fund. Restaurants serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with weekend brunch. Menus are

themed casual Italian — pastas, pizzas, appetizers and main courses — and offer an all-youcan-eat bar where guests grill bread slices and top them with spreads and jams. Gluten-free options are available, as are allergen-free dishes made and sealed offsite by a third party. Locations feature a dining room, lounge and a market area, dubbed a ‘piazza,’ selling Italian oils, pasta sauces, dry pastas, chocolates, etc. In addition, Pacini provides all onsite event catering for its host hotels. “This cuts operational costs and helps hoteliers maximize efficiencies,” said Francoeur. Catering menus are adapted locally.

Digital marketing strategies for independent hotels This is where a well thought out and properly executed digital marketing strategy comes in and why it is critical to the success of small regional brands and standalone hotels.

What is digital marketing strategy? Simply put, a Digital Strategy is a plan that serves as a foundation for all the key online marketing activities a property should undertake on an ongoing basis. This includes things like website design, website analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media strategy and paid advertising.

By Jeremy Kitson, Pixel Science

Why is it critical to have a digital marketing strategy?

Few things are as challenging for an independent hotel as competing for online business in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Between the big brands and the OTA/TPI (third party intermediary) providers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for unbranded hotels and independent regional brands to connect, engage and convert lookers into bookers through their own Internet channels.

The short answer…To be able to compete. The big brands and TPIs invest millions of dollars annually to market their product and services online. Their focus is on marketing brand awareness and ultimately getting customers to book through their websites. Standalone hotels don’t have the luxury of letting the “mothership” do the selling. In many cases they rely on TPIs to drive online sales, but this typically comes at a much

higher cost per booking than if a hotel is able to realize the booking through their own reservations system. Through a well-defined digital strategy, it is possible to position your digital presence where and when your customers are looking and steal that booking at a much lower cost.

Can I do this myself? Each one of these disciplines involves a specific set of skills, and as with all things on the Internet, things change often. Gone are the days that an internal sales team or revenue management department can be tasked with running a paid advertising campaign or maintaining a website. Trends change quickly and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of things on a part-time basis. It is usually best to work with a digital strategist to put a plan together and then determine the best way to execute the plan. Often things like content development, social media management and promotional ideas can be done in-house, while the highly specialized activities like website analytics, SEO/SEM services and paid advertising management is best left to a specialized agency to complete. A good agency will work with you to define your

goals and determine the best things to do with the budget you have.

Can I afford this? Well, you certainly can’t afford not to do it. Leaving your online fate in the hands of unknown third parties is a risky maneuver. Ultimately a proper strategy will save you money and/or increase your profit, while at the same time it will have the positive side effect of building your brand online. A proper digital strategy will involve frequent meetings to review progress and make adjustments along the way. It will proactively allow you to plan where you are going and the tools you need to get there. At Pixel Science we always say that you should treat your digital presence like it is your most important salesperson. It works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Like a great salesperson, you need to invest into providing it with the tools and resources it needs to do its job. This is even more important in times of economic uncertainty when you need to find ways of bringing in business at the lowest possible cost. Is your digital strategy doing all it can for you? Contact: Jeremy Kitson, Phone: (403) 2167720. Email:

November 2016 | 7

SAHIC ‘16: What the majors are doing in South America

From left: Roland Mouly, Carlson Rezidor; Philippe Trapp, Accor; Stephanie Ricca, Hotel News Now (moderator); Camilo Bolanos, Hyatt and Craig Mueller, IHG. By Colleen Isherwood, Editor GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador — Major worldwide hotel brands are working with local partners, they’re in the South American hotel business for the long run, and they’re working hard to round out their portfolios in this exciting market. Representatives from seven major hotel companies outlined their companies’ plans in two View from the Top sessions at the South American Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (SAHIC), held Sept. 25-27 in Guayaquil Ecuador, and attracting approximately 400 investors.

Accor AccorHotels has had a South American presence almost 40 years, and now has 248 hotels in Brazil alone, Philippe Trapp, executive VP operations, luxury and upscale South America, told a panel moderated by Stephanie Ricca of Hotel News Now. The company has 290 hotels with more than 46,000 rooms in the Latin American region overall. Brands represented include Ibis, Mercure, Novotel and Adagio. Accor also has what Trapp called “the new kid on the block,” a Mama Shelter hotel in Rio de Janeiro, which is more of a restaurant with rooms; and they just launched a new brand during SAHIC, called Jo and Joe and aimed at the hostel market. The new brand blends the best of privaterental, hostel and hotel formats, Accor announced. The goal is to have 50 properties by 2020, with locations ranging Paris and Bordeaux in 2018, as well as Warsaw, Budapest, Rio and São Paulo. “The economic outlook is not the best,” said Trapp, “but there are opportunities. When everything goes bad, it’s not bad for everyone.”

that there is a need for a strong presence in Latin America, where the company operates primarily on a franchise model. “We have the feeder markets,” he said. “We have a strong relationship with a local operator in Brazil, but outside Brazil, we need another strong operator.”

Hyatt Hyatt has a good base in South America, with 30 hotels open and 20 more planned by the end of 2018, said Camilo Bolanos, VP development and real estate, Latin America. All 10 Hyatt brands are available on the continent. He added that the Hyatt Centric in Montevideo, Uruguay had just won SAHIC’s Best New Hotel of the Year Award. While Carlson franchises in South America, Bolanos said Hyatt manages every single hotel outside of the U.S. They are starting to look at third party operators in Mexico and Colombia, and beyond 2017/18, the pipeline starts to include more franchising.

IHG Craig Mueller of IHG, who won SAHIC’s Hotelier of the Year Award, told the delegates that IHG has been in the region for a long time, recently celebrating their 70th anniversary. IHG has 220 hotels with 40,000 rooms, with most of their brands represented. Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are the core, mature brands, while Crowne Plaza is also well represented. There are 25 InterContinental Hotels, but Hotel Indigo and Kimpton haven’t come to to South America yet. Mueller said there’s a burgeoning middle class, and brands are important to consumers in South America. “There are so many different countries — it’s a matter of staying focused, staying long-term.”

Carlson Rezidor


Carlson Rezidor Hotel Grouphas been in Latin America for 20 years, and has more than 50 hotels signed and open, said Roland Mouly, VP development for Latin America. Radisson is well-positioned in the area. Radisson Blu hotels are open in Santiago, Chile; and Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The first South American Radisson Red should open in the next couple of months in Campinas, Brazil. Mouly said Carlson Rezidor has a strong presence in North America and Europe and

In another panel discussion moderated by Jonathan Worsely of Bench Events, Ted Middleton, SVP development, Latin America and the Caribbean for Hilton, said they have 93 hotels with 16,000 rooms open and a pipeline of 55 hotels and 7,880 rooms. Hilton expects to open its 100th hotel in the region soon. Ten of Hilton’s 13 brands are currently in Latin America, with 78 per cent in the focused service sector, usually a Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn by Hilton. New countries include Bolivia, where

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From left: Jonathan Worsley, Bench Events (moderator); Ted Middleton, Hilton; Laurent De Kousemaeker, Marriott and Paulo Pena, Wyndham Hotel Group. they have their first Hampton, and Guatemala, which has its first Hilton Garden Inn. In the past 12 months, they have added their first DoubleTree in Colombia. Middleton added that Hilton’s major market int he area is Mexico, with 44 hotels and 15 under construction. In Colombia, they had two hotels three years ago, an now they have 12 with six more under construction. The robust Colombian pipeline is driven by government tax incentives, which will end next year. Hilton plans to open seven new hotels in Peru over the next several years — encouraged by President Pedro Pablo Kaczynski’s economic policies. Brazil continues to go through a difficult time, by Hilton is working with strategic partner Atlantica. “We feel very good about that relationship,” said Middleton.

Wyndham Paulo Pena, Wyndham Hotel Groups’ president and managing director for Caribbean and Latin America, said the company has 165 hotels, including 16 brands in 18 countries. New markets include Wyndham hotels in Argentina and Brazil; Baymont and Tryp by Wyndham in Mexico, Paraguay and Chile. Pena identified their six key markets as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Chile. They also recently opened a Wyndham at Quito Airport. Wyndham has 29 hotels in Mexico, 35 in Argentina (including 33 Howard Johnsons). They just built their 30th hotel in Brazil “with very

good local partners. “As the economy faces challenges, nonbranded hotels under construction are looking for conversion opportunities,” Pena said. Wyndham is 100 per cent franchised in the region.

Marriott “As of Friday, we had 5,700 hotels in 100 countries and 1.1 million rooms,” said Laurent De Kousemaeker, chief development officer Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott, referring to the recent deal to take over Starwood. The pipeline now includes 330,000 rooms globally over the next two to three years. Marriott has 100 hotels South America now, with a pipeline that could bring it to 208 hotels in the region. Starwood had a head start, having been there since 1962, while Marriott came in 1990. In South America, Starwood added 74 hotels to the existing total of 29, giving Marriott access to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. In the Caribbean, Starwood has already signed a deal for three hotels with Cuba, the first U.S. hotel group to do so in many years. De Kousemaeker said the Starwood acquisition has economies of scale, and that the company will save $250 million at the corporate level. Asked if Marriott will keep all 30 brands, De Kousemaeker said contracts don’t allow them to rebrand. “Ten years ago we had 10 brands. Just last year, we had 20 brands, but were still not in certain segments. Even now, with 30 brands, we are missing [presence in] the leisure space.

SAHIC president and CEO, Arturo Garcia Rosa.

SPECIAL REPORT: Ecuador as a golf destination

ALL YOU NEED IS ECUADOR MANABI PROVINCE, Ecuador — Ecuador offers four worlds in one country: the Galapagos, the Rainforest, the Andes and the Coast. Even though it straddles the equator, the weather on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast is moderate year round and boasts 300 days of sunshine — which makes it ideal for golf. Already named the No. 1 place to retire by International Living in 2015 (No. 2 this year), the country is working hard to become a golf destination, with three major projects under construction on the coast near Manta. Montecristi, Las Olas and Costa Jama all aim to attract wealthy Ecuadorians and retirees from Canada and the U.S. I had the opportunity to tour these resorts as a guest of the country’s Ministry of Tourism. Shown above is Minister of Tourism Fernando Alvarado Espinel (left) with Arturo Garcia Rosa at SAHIC.

Las Olas “There used to be a 120-foot hill here. It took nine months to move it,” David Maksymuik, told our group of journalists in late September as we overlooked the Pacific Ocean and the emerging site of Las Olas golf resort and equestrian centre following a harrowing uphill ride in an 11-passenger van. The view is magnificent, even though it’s fall on the equatorial coast, leaves have fallen and the landscape is dry. “That’s the golf course,” he said, pointing to a patch of green near the ocean. “And that’s the equestrian centre,” he added, pointing at a prime spot overlooking the Pacific. “People ask me why the horses have the best view.” He pulled out his cell phone and showed us a picture of the same view in January, a lush forest in varying hues of green. “When the rainy season starts, it looks verdant and green. On January 15, the rain starts and by January 30, it looks

beautiful. And it only rains every second to third day around 4 p.m. “The acoustics are fantastic. You can hear the ocean up here,” he said. The community will be car-free, with a parking garage near the main entrance. Golf carts will shuttle residents up the hill. The property’s Ceibo Valley Golf Course course is designed by Jerry Pierman. “Jerry has been involved in the construction or renovation of some of the best golf courses on the planet like Muirfield Village, PGA National, Glen Abbey and more than 45 others,” Maksymuik explained. “Let me show you where the hotels will be built,” he said, as he drove us along the beach at breakneck speed in a four-wheel drive vehicle, dodging rocks with the confidence of someone who has done this drive often. “Our ultimate goal is four resort hotels with access to great golf

From left at Las Olas: Dean Rosenberg, director of sales, founder David Maksymuik and Pascal Laflamme, director of marketing — overlook where the hill used to be.

courses, so people can travel Ecuador to see all it has to offer. “The beach stretches from Bahia to Manta. I used to live in Bahia and would ride to work along the beach on my motorcycle.” When completed, Las Olas will include more than 1,600 residences, a championship 18-hole golf course, equestrian centre, 300-hectare nature preserve, tennis club, plus shops and hotels. The homes will be built on terraces, so every home will have a view. Eighty per cent will have a view of the golf course and all of them will have a sea view. Since the area is earthquake-prone, residences will be constructed using Hormi2, a modern, reinforced concrete construction that offers protection in an earthquake, “like a box where all the elements of walls and slabs support the quake,” explained Maksymuik. Las Olas is billed as a luxury eco resort — which makes sense since Maksymuik, a Canadian from Oakville, Ont., spent 14 years as vice-president of finance for Ameresco Canada Ltd., a company specializing in conservation and renewable energy. Solar power generation is part of the mix. Las Olas has its own sustainable wastewater treatment facility. Treated water is recycled and used for watering the grounds; furthermore, the sewage sludge is used as compost for the gardens throughout the community. There’s also a 300-hectare nature preserve for hiking and bicycling on the property.

Montecristi Panama hats don’t come from Panama — they come from Montecristi, Ecuador. Dario Herrera explained this to us, handing out what should be called Montecristi hats as he escorted us to the club house of Montecristi Golf Club and Villas. The club house used to be the owner’s home, he added. More than 460 lots, villas and condos have been sold in the last three years, in a development that includes an 18-hole, par-72 golf course designed by Kris Savignac Golf Architects. The club house complex has been in operation for more than a year with three restaurants, golf school, 19th hole, driving range, tennis and lawn bowling and several other facilities and areas for events. Plans call for a 55-key hotel next to the club house, with 22 owned condos and 84 independently owned. They are currently looking for a

brand and an operator. In addition, there will be a 700-square-metre spa, next to the club house. Cost of homes plus land will be $180,000 to $200,000 USD. At a second location nearby on the beach, there will be a clubhouse, a 35-key hotel, beach villas, with 50 villas and condos, a restaurant at the pier and a sailboat marina to consolidate the project as a whole and turn it into an international golf and tourism destination.

Costa Jama “Pardon my Spanglish,” said Glenn Goldhagen, founder of Costa Jama Beach and Golf Resort, as he served us ceviche and beer, and started a presentation that mixed Spanish and English. Goldhagen, who hails from the U.S. and has lived in Ecuador for many years, says his resort is a four-hour drive from Quito, Ecuador’s capital, and two hours from Manta. The development, which has been underway for three-plus years, will include a four-storey apartment building, beach club, golf course and residences, tennis, soccer, scuba and whale watching. Prices range from $150,000 for a condo to $250,000 and up for houses with lots. Highlights include 1,000 acres of virgin tropical forest reserve and abundant fresh water. They have 13 fresh water wells. “We pump the water uphill. It’s clean and potable and will be available for decades into the future,” said Goldhagen. The water is also used to irrigate the golf course. The course was designed by Steve Smyers Golf Architects, who have done many projects in Florida. This is their first in South America. As an avid golfer, Goldhagen noted that there is a PGA event in Ecuador once a year. “In three years, maybe they will hold it here,” he said.

Hotel and spa to be built at Montecristi.

Glenn Goldhagen shows off the golf course that is under construction at Costa Jama in Manabi province.

November 2016 | 9

Mobile Access changes the way hotels do business by Colleen Isherwood, Editor

Demand for mobile access More than two-thirds of American adults owned smartphones in 2015, using them to check the weather, read the news, get airline tickets, watch movies and keep in touch with friends via text and social media. As phones become smarter, we rely on them more. This trend is especially apparent in hotels, as the past decade has seen the transition to keycards and now to mobile access. “Lost keycards will become a thing of the past as guests rarely put down their phones,” says Richard Portuguese, Canadian sales manager at ASSA ABLOY Hospitality. “Guests can book their rooms and receive their key right on their smartphone/watch. This also gives guests the option to bypass the front desk, where there may be long lines to check-in with front desk staff, and go directly to their room.” Through Mobile Access, guests are able to collect room keys via a secure app on their smart devices which allows the check-in process to be much faster and more efficient. “Mobile Access gives guests the mobile and technological solutions they prefer when travelling while giving more autonomous access to individual guestrooms.” ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s Mobile Access, powered by Seos technology, has become very prevalent in the hotel industry. A few recently announced installs are the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre, Winnipeg; The Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg; and Fairmont Royal York, Toronto.

Enriching guest experiences “Millennials’ interest in technology is pushing the hospitality industry to redefine services,” says Joey Yanire, assistant vice-president, mobile access lodging systems for dormakaba. More and more Internet traffic is generated from smartphones. “Millennials prefer to use their smartphones to manage their loyalty programs. Mobile minded travellers are using their smartphones to book trips, make dining reservations, board a plane, make room reservations, check-in and check-out, and access their rooms without going to the front desk. “Bypassing the front desk and going straight to room is more efficient for the guest and improves the hotel operational efficiency.” dormakaba’s Mobile Access Solution is a secure open service, which can be adapted to meet the business objectives of hoteliers and enhance the guest experience. All dormakaba RFID locks manufactured today are compatible with IOS and Android BLE.

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“Guests can obtain a key on their mobile device from anywhere in the world,” said dormakaba’s Yanire. “Their mobile device, be it an Apple or Android smartphone or Apple watch, is now their key permitting them to bypass the front desk and go straight to room when they arrive at the property. “Guests can also go freely about the property using their mobile device to access any public area in the hotel requiring access credentials. “Any access that requires an RFID keycard can be upgraded to mobile access: guest-room doors, perimeter access, common areas, elevators, back-of-house, parking structures.” Yanire gives some examples of hotels that have adopted dormakaba’s safety and security systems. Valcartier Hotel in Quebec, opening in December, will be equipped with Saflok mobileready Quantum RFID locks from dormakaba. The property can easily activate BLE, which will allow guests to use their mobile device to gain access to their room and common areas.

dormakaba locks dormakaba RFID locks are offered with the following options: BLE-ready or BLE-enabled. With BLE-ready locks, hoteliers choose the option to upgrade their guestroom access to mobile whenever they decide, BLE-enabled RFID locks are ready to be used for mobile access as soon as the hotel installs them, explains Yanire. “However, to complete the mobile access process, properties need to integrate dormakaba’s secure software development kit (SDK) in their hotel app. dormakaba works with preferred app integrators or directly with hotel chain’s development team to facilitate and optimize mobile access throughout the properties.” With ILCO and Saflok line of electronic locks, dormakaba covers the needs of the entire hospitality industry in terms of access control, from economy to luxury segments and from small to very large properties, says Yanire. The Ilco product brand is committed to providing affordable solutions that are durable, reliable and simple to manage. The Saflok product brand has built a solid reputation as an innovation leader within the hotel and lodging sector through a state-of-the art range of advanced technology electronic locks and access control systems. Saflok Messenger Lens wireless online system offers a two-way communication between the front desk and the hotel’s electronic locks. Alerts are sent to the hotel server while staff is notified by email or text message. The system

can also communicate events that occur at the locks to third-party devices or systems. “Combined with Messenger Lens, Saflok locks offer a personalized in-room experience for guests,” says Yanire. “As soon as they open their door, Saflok Messenger Lens communicates via Zigbee network with the electronics installed by a third-party smart-room automation system: the lights and the radio are switched on, room temperature stabilizes according to the guest preferences, curtains open automatically.”

Implementation options There are three options for implementing ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access, says Portuguese. It can be integrated with existing guest-facing property apps or work as a standalone app. ASSA ABLOY Hospitality also offers third-party certified partner solutions ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s Mobile Access supports Android and iOS platforms – smart phones and smart watches, says Portuguese. Mobile Access works by placing a digital room key in a secure key vault within the app that is only accessible by authorized users and only works when presented to the correct door. Hotel guests are able to use this to unlock their guestroom doors in place of traditional plastic keycards. Once the guest enters their room, an alert can be sent to the front desk informing the hotel staff that the guest has arrived. Guests or properties that desire face to face interaction with the clients can still issue secure, encrypted RFID keycards issued at the desk, issue a mobile key right at the desk, or a combination of both.

VingCard Essence solution ASSA ABLOY Hospitality has recently unveiled a new VingCard Essence smart locking solution. With a minimalist design that houses the electronics inside guestroom doors, the new VingCard Essence allows hoteliers to create a more design-led feel in their hallways and room interiors, without compromising on security. The product is now also compatible with Mobile Access, powered by

secure Seos technology. This means guests can skip the front desk lines and unlock their room using their own smartphone or watch. It also boasts improved reading distance on the RFID reader, and wireless online capabilities. The new VingCard Essence offers more advanced technologies to meet the growing demands of guests’ digital and mobile-oriented lifestyles.

Integrating the PMS Integrating the PMS system with the keycard system eliminates the need for front desk staff to enter information into multiple systems, thus slowing down the check-in process, says ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s Portuguese. With PMS integration, all the guest information is entered into one system. The PMS systems, in turn, communicate with the keycard system, instructing it to create a keycard for a specific room with a specific expiration date. Without PMS integration, the guest folio is created on one system and then the room assignment and key programming is done from the keycard system. Integration eliminates the need to manually create the keycard. Beyond that, it reduces the possibility of accidently checking a guest into a room that may be occupied.

Saving energy, time, money “Energy management systems (and smart room systems) can also be integrated with the locking system to provide several functions,” Portuguese points out. 1 – The door lock acts as a door position indicator for the EMS system, letting it know the room is occupied. 2 – EMS systems adjust the temperature set back levels in rooms based on sold, unsold, occupied and unoccupied statuses; 3 – This saves the hotels dollars on heat and cooling when the room is unsold or unoccupied. “The average technology cycle for smart phones is every six months, as such, it is difficult to predict which technological innovation will catch on next,” says Portuguese. “To be ready for whatever comes next, ASSA ABLOY Hospitality locking systems use modular components and many are ‘flash’ upgradable, meaning that wherever technology takes us, we will be ready. “ASSA ABLOY Hospitality is always working to create and implement next generation technologies based on customer feedback and growing trends. Stay tuned!” says Portuguese.

Changing face of B2B marketing ATLANTA — Julie Squires of Softscribe can pinpoint the day business to business marketing started to change. It was June 29, 2007, the day the iPhone was introduced and people were able to operate using a small device held in the palm of their hand. “That was the birth of the Micro + Visual marketing approach — six to eight words and an image. We now have the attention span of a goldfish — and we now have to entertain people with a beautiful font or image.” If you can only use six to eight words, you have to choose them carefully, Squires said. Founded two years ago, Softscribe Inc. is a branding, market consulting and technology public relations firm. Softscribe helps technology companies that provide enterprise-wide solutions achieve substantial business growth. “We solve hoteliers’ operational and performance challenges, offering the whole [marketing] portfolio, and measure everything using Google Analytics,” Squires said. The most popular tool in the portfolio is customer stories. Next is white papers. One of Squires’ clients is Kaba, which has mobile access systems. “The new guest base is millennials who use mobile and pivot with it. The white paper teaches them how to get from key cards to opening doors with mobile devices. The RFID lock is the first step... “The white paper has to clarify something undisclosed or explore something below the radar. It’s a big technology pivot — the how to white paper is very valuable.” B2B marketers should keep the following in mind: — Find out requirements in terms of technology, for example, something that is mandated at brand level.

— Market technology benefits that address the need. — Provide references that demonstrate credibility. — Keep the message simple and consistent. — Identify the need. — The message needs to show delivery of a solution to meet that need. — The content is 80 per cent of the effort. They layer it with search and then use social media. — Use Twitter to communicate information tied to your business goal. — To maintain brand integrity you need to have something valuable to say. This formula has worked very well for her clients, Squires said. Twitter combines content and search — each tweet has its own URL — that helps your search and references a link to your website. Newsletters are also useful. Squires had one recently, with a business intelligence and forecasting theme. She says newsletters are a great way to gather ideas in one place — to recap a conference, or give information in a chart. It’s important to measure impact a week out, to see exactly what has been clicked, read and opened. “It’s a good way to repurpose content,” she said. In the last couple of months, Squires has noted a more Micro + Visual look, using different fonts and pictures. She gives as an example, the Northwest Arkansas double-page spread announcing the top 40 under 40. It’s got fonts, colours and bicycle images and clip art with six to eight word descriptions. It’s mobile-formatted. “It has to look good and has to be fun for millennials,” she said. Then you can use the white papers as a deep dive to explain something that is misunderstood or needs to be clarified — for example mobile tech-


CONFERENCE Julie Squires nology and how much infrastructure is in place. Asked where B2B marketing is heading next, Squires said there will probably be more platform consolidation; more mobile for sure; more short videos of 1 to 3 minutes; and more visuals. “I believe B2B marketing is moving toward short form video (the micro visual trend in motion). That’s what we’ll see by 2018 or 2020,” Squires said. With over 25 years in tech PR, Squires knows what it takes to build lasting professional relationships. “Integrity comes from knowing yourself and doing what’s right,” explains Squires. “We strive to innovate solutions that exceed our clients’ expectations and help them reach their business goals.” The firm is known for creating effective deliverables that deliver results. “We also endeavour to create an environment in which our associates can realize their wildest dreams,” she said. “Each person’s gifts and aspirations are unique; we cultivate those gifts.” Softscribe knows the markets they serve and said that is the main reason for their success. “We call new ideas fiddleheads,” Squires added. “New ideas rock.”

Accor announces it is moving FRHI head office to Paris

Kevin Frid attended the Oct. 5 event.


TORONTO — AccorHotels will be moving the FRHI head office to France and moving its regional office, overseeing North & Central America, to Toronto from Miami, according to Kevin Frid, chief operating officer, North & Central America, speaking at an Oct. 5 cocktail event in the Library Bar at Royal York Hotel, in Toronto. With the FRHI office move, the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands will now be headquartered in Paris. The office consolidation follows Accor’s purchase, in summer, of FRHI Hotels & Resorts and its three luxury brands. Frid also announced that Fairmont will be celebrating its 150th anniversary next year, and added that properties are planning a series of events to mark the milestone. In addition, Fairmont has introduced a luxury gel fibre pillow as part of its Fairmont Collection.



Tony Chapman, one of the youngest to be inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends, will share his plan on how any hotel, large or small, value priced or premium, local or global can compete based on emotion versus simply promotion.

MANAGERS SPECIAL Any Hotel General Manager who attends with 2 team members qualifies for our BEST GROUP RATE.








November 2016 | 1 1

A Healthy Attitude Evolving consumer preferences are driving increasingly varied and sophisticated pool, spa and fitness centre options. ~By Don Douloff~


volving consumer preferences, trends and lifestyles drive much of hoteliers’ guest offerings. This is especially true in properties’ wellness components, as healthy lifestyles have, increasingly, become a way of life for significant swaths of the population, in all age categories. “The hotel fitness centre is no longer perceived by guests as a luxury, but rather as a standard. Active guests view it as the extension of their regular workout regimen,” said Jarek Cholewa, president of HFG International, an Ottawa-based hospitality and wellness consulting firm specializing in concept development, design and management of fitness, spa and leisure facilities. From a revenue perspective, “hotel pools in most urban centres are used for marketing purposes, unless the hotel location and gym size allow creation of membership-based facilities,” said Cholewa. For many hotel guests, “professionally run spa and wellness facilities represent a decision-making attraction. Successful, hotel-based urban spas require user-friendly design that needs to exceed the standard of the hotel premises in both design and services. Urban spa revenue comes from hotel guests, special functions and external clients.” For destination hotels/resorts, fitness, spa and wellness facilities can play a very significant role, he noted. “Attractively programmed and functionally designed spa and fitness centres offer many benefits: revenue generating programs and services,

Radisson Saskatoon Pool

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enhanced marketing opportunities, increased occupancy and RevPAR, space optimization (revenue per square foot), extended length of stay, guest satisfaction (repeat business), corporate appeal, decreased effects of seasonality and strengthened competitive position. For many destination hotels in our climate zone, wellness facilities can be a ‘make-it or break-it’ factor.” Indeed, the Hotel Association of Canada’s 2016 Travel Intentions Survey found that 48 per cent of leisure travellers and 41 per cent of business travellers list a pool as an important amenity when choosing where to stay.

USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN Depending on the available space and pool shape, pools can be treated as a fitness/recreation or wellness/spa facility, said Cholewa. In order to enhance the guest experience, the pool area must offer user-friendly design, enough deck space for the relaxation area, and access to daylight. “Hotel pools visible from public areas enrich the experience, even for non-swimmers.” Cholewa points out that new pools are designed more as relaxation areas, with irregular, rather than rectangular, shapes. Outdoor infinity pools “serve as a very attractive marketing feature.” Today’s hotel fitness centres serve as “an extension of hotel guests’ gym membership in their hometown. As such, they must provide access to modern cardio equipment, weight equipment, and a stretching and relax-

ation area. Enhancing the experience are factors such as convenience and safety, and functional design, said Cholewa. During the past decade, fitness equipment has evolved from being crudely designed and often unsafe, with an intimidating appearance, “into user friendly, colourful, furniture-like looks offering state-of-the-art materials and computer technology. Today’s fitness equipment counts calories, repetitions, distance, speed, offers a personal entertainment centre, and more.” In his view, spa experiences will always depend on a number of factors, such as the spa service concept, spa design and location, service delivery systems, pricing and service standards. Urban spas “tend to offer more resultoriented, full-service treatments designed for customers with limited time,” he said. In contrast, resort spas, “catering to a clientele with more time on their hands, focus on relaxation experiences and treatments.” Growing in popularity, Scandinavian/Nordic spa concepts offer a great outdoor, year-round spa experience based on largely ‘self serve’ treatments.

VITALITY ROOM In early October, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts introduced a wellness-focused variation on a guestroom, the Vitality Room. Swissôtel partnered with Wallpaper* magazine to unveil the first dedicated Vitality Room at Swissôtel Zurich. The new Vitality Room builds on Swissôtel’s Vitality Programme, an integrated approach to supporting guests by focusing on their general well-being. The room offers a calm material palette, blackout blinds, discreet technology and dedicated space for exercise and relaxation. The conventional hotel room layout has been reconfigured to optimize views and improve functionality, with many features, such as light--

Agave Spa Treatment Westin Kierland


ing, being modifiable to suit individual guest preferences. There’s a Wellbeing Wall offering three training modules via self-explanatory equipment as well as a cybertrainer. A refreshment centre offers energizing Vitality snacks and drinks made with fruits and super foods, often with a local twist. Bespoke bath and shower features allow guests to adapt their experience through gently coloured lighting and scent options or various water pressures that alternately soothe or revitalize. Furniture includes tables with adjustable heights and a variety of seating options, while a high-performance air purification system offers a healthy environment in which to exercise. Circadian features allow the light’s colour to change, influencing the secretion of melatonin in the

brain, helping travellers overcome jetlag or lack of sunlight. At IHG’s EVEN Hotels, properties feature the Athletic Studio, where guests can participate in TV- and staff-led classes in the flex room. Fitness-savvy staff members share their favorite yoga routines and host group activities. In addition, guests can exercise in their guestrooms using the inroom training zone, which includes a foam roller, yoga mat, yoga block, core exercise ball and the EVEN Hotels Trainer, a mounted fitness wall, which includes a stretch band and braided cords. The brand developed several fitness videos, ranging from five to 30 minutes, showing guests different ways to use the equipment.

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL At Marriott International, the brand’s research shows that the majority of Gen X/Y guests work out either in the gym or their room, according to Don Cleary, president of Marriott International’s Canadian region. The brand has responded by making fitness centres inviting places to sweat. No longer are these areas hidden in the basement. At Marriott, the brand is designing sophisticated centres flooded in natural light and outfitted with the latest innovative cardio and strength equipment (for example, Synrgy360, FlexStrider and MyRide), enabling guests to get a comprehensive and effective workout. Marriott has introduced a Flex training area supported by digital fitness classes that enable guests to curate their own workout, featuring Fitness on Demand. Some larger properties offer an enclosed studio featuring video walls and digital fitness classes to provide a ‘studio’ experience without leaving the hotel. Nita Lake Lodge, in Whistler, B.C., has invested in new pool furniture, adding seating and colour accents to enhance the look and feel of the lakeside pool and hot tub area, according to general manager Theresa Ginter. At its spa experience, the property renovated and added a secondary waiting and relaxation area. Next spring, the property will be renovat-

ing its rooftop hot tub area to enhance the outdoor spa experience. At Radisson Hotel Saskatoon, the 250 ft. waterslide (and accompanying landing pool) “brings in heads in beds,” said general manager Patty Schweighardt. On weekends, there is no business clientele, so it’s crucial “to sustain occupancy over weekends, and to stay competitive, we have to attract the leisure market.” Accomplishing that is the waterslide, which is especially popular with sports team members aged six up to teenagers.

Westin Singapore Gym

‘SWEATWORKING’ Spaces like pools and fitness centres are also ideal for travellers to take advantage of ‘sweatworking,’ a growing trend where business people work out together as a way to network and forge new professional relationships with other guests and hotel associates, according to Bob Jacobs, vice-president, brand management, Westin Hotels & Resorts. Additionally, several properties, including the Westin La Paloma, the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji, and the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, offer lap pools that provide guests with an alternative fitness option. Westin has recently brought the spa experience into guestrooms with the introduction of a calming lavender sleep balm, part of Westin’s refreshed bathroom amenity, that guests apply before they retire for the night. Recently, Westin announced its partnership with FitStar by Fitbit, providing free premium access to the platform, which comes complete with video workouts for 30 days, most often extending beyond their stay. Whether a Westin guest or not, anyone can access the brand’s custom Stay Fit with Westin workout on the

Freestyle section of the FitStar Personal Trainer app, and Stretch Further with Westin workout on the FreeStyle section of FitStar Yoga. Westin also offers, in partnership with New Balance, its Gear Lending program, which offers that brand’s shoes and clothing for guests to use during their stay for only $5 USD. Additionally, 80 Westin properties globally have complemented their fitness centres with WestinWORKOUT guestrooms, outfitted with fitness equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes. The Westin Chicago River North recently completed a renovation, to its 429 guestrooms, that introduced a treadmill desk as an in-room amenity.

and the overall health of those with or without sensitivities. The Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver will feature The Spa by Ivanka Trump. Signature elements include customized treatments, a gentleman’s studio offering high-end grooming services for men, and a Super Suite designed for couples seeking a more private spa experience.


At The Spa by Ivanka Trump, guests are encouraged to set an intention for their visit by giving well-considered thought to what they are seeking from their spa experience, according to spa director Krista Francescut. The intention should reflect what’s happening in their lives, so that the spa experience might best complement the situation. Guests answer a few simple questions and treatments are tailored to help achieve their intentions.

The Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver, under construction and expected to open in January 2017, will feature a third-floor pool area with doors leading to an outdoor terrace outfitted with a Jacuzzi hot tub. The pool works on a UV sanitizing system that allows for a non-chemical process that harnesses the power of UV light and its germicidal properties to keep the water free of algae, bacteria, viruses and pathogens. The sanitizing system also helps eliminate the formation of dangerous chlorine byproducts, making the pool safer on skin, hair

Additionally, the Trump Vancouver will feature a fitness centre with premium Technogym ARTIS equipment providing a cloud-based cardio console allowing guests to personalize a tailor-made training experience in addition to staying connected socially while working out. The full line of Technogym ARTIS equipment includes recumbent bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, cross trainers and step machines. The fitness centre will also feature a free weight room and a separate studio for yoga. Enhancing guests’ workout routine is the Trump Wellness program, providing equipment such as running shoes, iPods, yoga mats and stretch bands.

Swissôtel Vitality Room

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THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE Days Inns’ Top Performers TORONTO, Ont. — Days Inns - Canada joined delegates from across the globe in Las Vegas at the annual Wyndham Hotel Group Global Conference, held in September. For Days Inns - Canada, the conference kicked off with a general session on the Monday. Irwin Prince, president & COO, welcomed the 100-plus hotel representatives discussing 2016 brand highlights, industry trends and a new on-site training initiative that will be executed across the country to complement the existing Days Inner Circle employee recognition program. David Blades, VP of operations and Ally Wesson, director of marketing took the stage to recognize properties from across the country for performance over the first six months of 2016. Highlights include: Top three scoring hotels in the service category: — Days Inn - Estevan, Saskatchewan — Days Inn & Suites - Thunder Bay, Ontario — Days Inn & Suites - Lindsay, Ontario Top three scoring hotels in the cleanliness category: — Days Inn - Edmonton Airport, Alberta — Days Inn - Thunder Bay North, Ontario — Days Inn & Suites - Lindsay, Ontario Top scoring hotel in the Wyndham Rewards enrollments category: — Days Inn - Ottawa Downtown Among the announcements made during the three-day global conference, Days Inns Worldwide discussed a new multi-milliondollar marketing campaign. The campaign features a new brand positioning, “Bask in the Sun,” which replaces the “Best Value Under the Sun” slogan that has been a mainstay of the Days Inn brand identity for what the company described as “decades.” Created by Toronto-based Giants & Gentlemen, the integrated campaign is built around four 30-second TV spots (two of which will air in Canada), with the iconic Days Inn sun logo playing a key role in each. The campaign launched in the U.S. on Sept. 13 across TV, digital and print. The TV spots and digital elements debuted in Canada starting Oct. 8.

G6 Hospitality Announces Franchise Award Winners TORONTO – G6 Hospitality, a recognized leader in economy lodging and known for the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands, announced this year’s Franchisees of the Year award and other recognitions during its annual brand convention held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas Sept. 12-15. With more than 1,600 attendees, including franchisees, leaders and special guests, G6 Hospitality kicked off the four-day event with the traditional celebratory dinner to recognize its franchisees and partners. During the awards dinner, members of the G6’s executive committee took the stage to acknowledge and honour the brand’s top performers on several categories. Irwin Prince, president and COO, Realstar Hospitality, joined in the celebration and presented the two Canadian Franchise awards.

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The G6 Hospitality Heart for Service Award went to Motel 6 - Moosomin, Sask. and the G6 Hospitality Top Performer Award went to Studio 6 - Toronto, Ont. “It’s always an honour to celebrate the successes and achievements of top performing hotels. As master franchisor of the brands in Canada, we’re proud to pay tribute to those who continually demonstrate a high level of service and excellence in hotel lodging,” said Prince.

Developers of the Year from left: Brian Leon, managing director, Dhanwant Bhatti, Harinder Brar and Graham Marsh, franchise development director, Ontario.

Grant Jefferson, Best Western Plus Bridgewater Hotel, Bridgewater, N.S.

Canadians are winners at Best Western Convention PHOENIX, Ariz. — Canadian awards at the Best Western Convention included two Champion Design award winners, four M.K. Guertin award winners, Heroic Hospitality awards in Maintenance and F&B, nine champion Customer Care awards, two Champion Green awards and two Champion RevPAR awards. Canada won two of the four Champion Design awards. Best Western Hotel Levesque of Riviere-Du-Loup, Que., won in the Best Western Plus category. Best Western Premier Hotel Aristocrate of Quebec, Que., won in the Best Renovation category. The Champion Design award judges were an independent third party of designers, architects and experts who looked at photos showing the design and overall change in the buildings with a particular focus on lobbies, guestrooms and exteriors. They looked for exceptional design and aesthetics. The M.K. Guertin award showcases top properties that exemplify the best performance across areas such as quality assurance, customer service, guest satisfaction and commitment to the brand. Canadian winners included: — Best Western Mountainview Inn & Suites, Sundre, Alta. — Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn, Chemainus, B.C. — Best Western Plus Liverpool Hotel & Conference Centre, Liverpool, N.S. — Best Western Parkway Inn & Conference Centre, Cornwall, Ont. Heroic Hospitality Stars awards are given to individuals to recognize superior customer service and professionalism. Canadian winners included: — Maintenance Category: Grant Jefferson, Best Western Plus Bridgewater Hotel & Convention Centre, Bridgewater, N.S.

— Food & Beverage Category: Carol Borowic, Best Western Denham Inn & Suites, Leduc, Alta. Champion Customer Care award winners included: — Best Western Plus Mountainview Inn & Suites, Sundre, Alta. — Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn, Chemainus, B.C. — Best Western Sicamous Inn, Sicamous, B.C. — Best Western Plus Parkway Inn & Conference Centre, Cornwall, Ont. — Best Western Plus Rose City Suites, Welland, Ont. — Best Western Plus Woodstock Inn & Suites, Woodstock, Ont. — Best Western Plus Bridgewater Hotel & Convention Centre, Bridgewater, N.S. — Best Western Premier Hotel Aristocrate, Quebec, Que. — Best Western Plus Hotel Levesque, Riviere-du-Loup, Que. Champion Green award winners included: — Best Western Plus NorWester Hotel & Conference Centre, Thunder Bay, Ont. — Best Western Plus Hotel Levesque, Riviere-du-Loup, Que. Champion RevPAR awards recognize the hotel in each district that has shown the most improvement in RevPAR. These include: — Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn, Chemainus, B.C. — Best Western Plus Woodstock Inn & Suites, Woodstock, Ont.

Choice Hotels Canada celebrates top hotels TORONTO — Choice Hotels Canada announced the national winners of its prestigious APEX Awards (Awards for Property Excellence) at the company’s 8th Annual Fall Conference. The 2016 national winners include: Highest Likelihood to Recommend: Comfort Inn & Suites, Campbell River, British Columbia Most Improved Likelihood to Recommend: Econo Lodge, Edson, Alberta Most Improved Room Condition: Comfort Inn Midtown, Kingston, Ontario Greatest RevPAR Growth: Comfort Inn, St. Catharines, Ontario Best New Entry: Comfort Inn & Suites

Edmonton International Airport, Nisku, Alta. Rookie of the Year: Quality Hotel & Conference Centre, Abbotsford, B.C. Highest Choice Privileges Elite Recognition: Comfort Inn & Suites, Airdrie, Alta. Highest Choice Privileges Enroller Rate: Comfort Inn Downtown, Vancouver, B.C. Sales Excellence Award: The Saint James Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection, Toronto. Choice also gave out development awards earlier in the day. Harinder Brar and Dhanwant Bhatti were named Developer of the Year for their three properties: Quality Inn and Suites, Kingston, Ont.; Comfort Inn and Suites, Goderich, Ont. and Comfort Inn and Suites, Clarington, Ont. 2016 Best New Entry — New Build Mid-Market Brands: — Comfort Inn & Suites Edmonton International Airport, Nisku, Alta. — Comfort Suites, Regina, Sask. 2016 Best New Entry — Ascend Collection: Chateau Bedford, an Ascend Collection Member, Halifax, N.S. 2016 Best New Entry — Conversion Mid-Market Brands: — Quality Inn & Suites Amsterdam, Fredericton, N.B. — Quality Inn & Suites Amsterdam, Quispamsis, N.B.

True Key is a double winner RADIUM HOT SPRINGS, B.C. – True Key Hotels & Resorts’ flagship property, Bighorn Meadows Resort, won the 2016 Tourism & Hospitality Award at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards on Oct. 20. “We are so grateful to be nominated and to win this award”, said Katie Wallace, True Key Marketing Manager. “Bighorn Meadows Resort and its team members go out of their way to make guests feel like there is no better place to be.” In addition, Michael Anderson, president and CEO of True Key won the Business Leader of the Year Award. Anderson has grown True Key from a small company that managed two resorts and employed 65 people in 2010, into a company currently managing seven resorts and employing over 200 people during peak season.

PROVINCIAL NEWS Tony Pollard inducted into Tourism Hall of Fame OTTAWA — Anthony Pollard, past-president of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), has been inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame, it was announced Oct. 26 by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. Pollard’s outstanding contribution to the tourism industry will be recognized at the Air Canada Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame Luncheon on Nov. 29, as part of the Tourism Congress. As president, Pollard led the work of HAC in making the Canadian lodging industry more productive, competitive and profitable. Pollard also served as managing director of the Green Key Global suite of environmental certification programs, including the GSTC Recognized Green Key Eco-Rating Program and the Green Key Meetings Program. Green Key Global, whose suite of industry standard programs and resources has been designed specifically for the lodging and meetings industries, was established by HAC in 1997, and has since expanded beyond the borders of Canada into more than 30 countries.

apple of her eye, grandson Gavin.” Joy, you will be greatly missed. — Colleen Isherwood, Editor links with Check In Canada TORONTO — The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) announced in late September that the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) now helps consumers search accommodations through by linking to Check In Canada. Each year, over 4 million people visit Check In Canada allows those consumers to search Ontario properties by rate and availability, then book directly with accommodations, eliminating third-party intermediaries. Check In Canada was launched in Ontario in 2014 to provide an accessible guest reservation platform for the Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games. The platform incorporates Planat accessibility ratings, allowing guests with disabilities to select the accommodation that best serves them. Check In Canada connects directly to the property’s reservation system; shows consumers hotel rates and availability, with no additional inventory management; provides detailed analytics to participating hotels; and lowers distribution costs and lets hotels and consumers deal with each other directly.

Ontario hospitality firms face accessibility audits TORONTO — Ontario is auditing large hospitality organizations to verify compliance with requirements of the accessible employment stan-

Joy and Lance Grosco

dard, established under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Organizations selected will be asked to provide evidence that they have in place a system for notifying internal and external job applicants of accommodations available for people with disabilities in all stages of the recruitment process (Section 22 of the employment standard). They must also prove that they will share policies for accommodating people with disabilities at the time of an employment offer (Section 24 of the employment standard). These requirements came into effect for private sector organizations with 50 or more employees on January 1, 2016. The audits are being conducted by staff in the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario and will determine whether organizations from the hospitality sector are taking appropriate steps to ensure their employment practices are accessible.

Organizations found to be non-compliant during the course of an audit will be offered tools and resources to help them understand and meet their requirements. The province has many resources available — including a new website and dedicated help desk — to help businesses and organizations become more inclusive. Organizations that fail to comply will face inspections, notices of order, director’s orders and prosecution. Director’s orders to comply may include a requirement to pay an administrative monetary penalty which can range from $500 to $15,000 for corporations. The Accessibility Compliance and Enforcement Report will provide you with some information on how the Government of Ontario built awareness, promoted compliance and enforced the Accessbility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2015. For information, visit the ORHMA website or contact Leslie Smejkal,

Front to back solutions you can trust.

Joy Grosco remembered DUCK LAKE, Sask. — It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Joy Grosco suddenly at her home in Duck Lake on October 3. Joy was as much a part of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association as Lance, her husband of 36 years. When I attended my first SHHA conference a decade ago, I didn’t know a soul. Joy asked if I’d like to sit at her table, and regaled me with stories about the Duck Lake Hotel. Joy had a warm smile and infectious laugh, and Steve and I enjoyed renewing our friendship with Joy and Lance at hospitality conferences across Canada during the years when Lance was chair. “She had such a great way with people, whether she knew you for 30 years or 30 seconds, Joy had the ability to make everyone around her feel special,” said SHHA president and CEO Jim Bence. “Our deepest sympathies go to her husband, partner in crime and soulmate Lance, beloved kids Ryan (Missy), Harrison (Dawn); and the true

True hospitality combines convenience at the front desk with end-to-end security at the back-of-house. Our latest access management software, mobile access solution and full-range of perimeter access solutions provide total control throughout your entire property. dormakaba lodging systems – front to back, solutions you can trust. Ilco 877.468.3555 Saflok 800.999.6213

November 2016 | 1 5

OPENINGS, SALES AND RENOS ment Award by Hilton Worldwide for its upcoming development of Hilton Garden Inn and Home2 by Hilton Toronto/Brampton West, the first dual brand property of its kind in Canada. Construction of the property, including the 100-unit Hilton Garden Inn and the 120-unit Home2 by Hilton, in Brampton West, will begin in January, 2017 and is expected to be completed in spring, 2018. John Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Worldwide, presented the award to Bhulesh and Chuck Lodhia, the principals of JM Hospitality, during a fifth anniversary celebration of Hilton Garden Inn Brampton. For over 30 years, JM Hospitality has developed, owned and operated several multi-brand hotels in Canada, including the Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in Markham, Ont.

Lobby of Sheraton Montreal Airport Hotel. The Hilton Garden Inn Montréal Airport is five minutes from Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport and 20 minutes from downtown Montréal and attractions such as the Bell Centre, Biodome and Olympic Stadium.

Changes at Sheraton Montreal Airport

Hilton Garden Inn Montreal renovation.

Hilton Garden Inn Montreal Airport renovates TORONTO — Hilton Garden Inn Montreal Airport has unveiled a significant renovation that has modernized and brightened its spaces, it was announced Oct. 13. The overhaul by Hager Design International Inc. includes all guestrooms and public spaces as well as a new restaurant, bar and fitness centre. All 161 guestrooms now feature new custom furniture, drapery and artwork, as well as fully renovated bathrooms. All guestrooms feature new mattresses, new 43-inch HDTV with premium channels, USB outlets, free Wi-Fi, Keurig coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave. Public spaces were also upgraded. Resto Bar & Lounge was enlarged to create an airy ambience. The business centre adjacent to the lobby continues the lobby’s open feel. In addition, the fitness centre was relocated, doubled in size and outfitted with new workout equipment. Other amenities include 1,600 square feet of meeting space for up to 100 people. In the summer months, the 500-square-foot terrace is available for functions. Guests can enjoy grab and go options from The Pavilion Pantry, as well as a heated indoor pool and Jacuzzi.

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TORONTO — The 465-room Sheraton Montreal Airport Hotel has been sold on behalf of a private investment group to an offshore buyer for an undisclosed price, it was announced Sept. 27. Brokering the deal was Colliers International Hotels. The offering presented an opportunity to acquire an institutional quality asset located next to Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Canada’s fourth busiest airport. Atlific Hotels assumed management of the Sheraton Montreal Airport Hotel effective Sept. 19, it was announced Sept. 27. That hotel marks Atlific’s sixth managed property in Quebec and its second in the Montreal airport business district. “Atlific is pleased to strengthen its presence in Montreal with this excellent addition to our portfolio,” said Raymond St-Pierre, vice-president operations, Atlific Hotels in a release. Kevin Gillespie will continue as the hotel’s general manager, a position he has held since 2009.

Dual-branded property announced for Dartmouth HALIFAX — Officials with Southwest Properties, New Castle Hotels & Resorts and JLK Global Fund International gathered Oct. 13 for the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott, at Dartmouth Crossing, in Dartmouth, N.S. The 136,000-square foot project is expected to open in Q3 2018 and will be the first Marriott-branded project in Dartmouth. The Southwest/New Castle/JLK Global team will build a 106-room Courtyard and 84room Residence Inn that will share a pool, waterslide, fitness centre and meeting rooms. The shared facilities allow the project to maximize efficiencies and offer more services to both extended-stay and short-term guests. This project follows a fast-growing trend of dual-branded properties, one that maximizes investment returns for owners enables superior guest amenities and caters to a broader range of customer preferences. “The dual-brand configuration has been tremendously successful for us in other urban areas like downtown Syracuse, N.Y., where land acquisition is costly,” said Gerry Chase, president and COO of New Castle, in a release. “Dartmouth Crossing is rapidly expanding with iconic brands and is attracting business travellers working in the greater Halifax region,” said Jim Spatz, chairman & CEO for Southwest Properties, in a release.

This hotel partnership is the fourth for Southwest and New Castle, including the Hampton Inn in Dartmouth Crossing, Residence Inn, Moncton and the renovation of The Algonquin Hotel & Resort, in St. Andrews bythe-Sea, N.B.

New Super 8 in Mont-Laurier CALGARY — Superior Lodging Corp. announced in late September the opening of Super 8 in Mont-Laurier, Que. The 58-unit hotel, which is 100 per cent non-smoking, is on the banks of the Lievre River and offers pet-friendly accommodations, complimentary Wi-Fi, the SuperStart Breakfast, and fitness centre complete with hot tub. Back in the 1940s, the hotel site was a gas bar with a few cabins on what is now known as Highway 117 from Montreal to Northern Ontario. In the 1970s, it became a motel when it was bought by the Sabourin family, and a restaurant and pool were added. In 2000, Jonathan Sabourin opened a brewery inside the hotel area and purchased the motel from his parents in 2009. An electrical fire destroyed the restaurant and brewery in January, 2013. “We were able to rebuild the brewery across the street almost immediately. Insurance challenges relative to the hotel caused us some hurdles, but we persevered and were able to secure financing to build a new four-storey hotel,” said Claudie Sabourin, in charge of marketing for the new venture, in a release. “Super 8 was our brand of choice due to its very positive image in Quebec.”

Four Seasons Toronto hotel sold for $225M TORONTO — The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto has been sold to businessman Shahid Khan for $225 million, it was announced Sept. 30. The sale price was confirmed upon closing and the purchase has been approved by all appropriate regulatory bodies. Khan, the founder of Flex-N-Gate Group and CEO of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League and London-based Fulham Football Club, purchased the hotel from an affiliate of Kingdom Holding Company. Following the completion of this transaction, Khan takes immediate ownership of the property, which will continue to be managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Historic British Hotel reborn AYLMER, Que. — The rebirth of historic British Hotel, in Aylmer, Que., is complete, it was announced in late September. The four year, multi-million dollar heritage renovation of the 1834 building features the original one metre-thick stone walls and handhewn timber beams, surrounded by modern conveniences and luxurious stylings. The now completed hotel offers 10 rooms situated above a pub; a restaurant featuring live music; and a banquet facility. Across a limestone patio is a former bank, now serving as the British Café.

Award-winning Brampton dual brand to launch in 2018 BRAMPTON, Ont. — JM Hospitality announced on Oct. 12 that it is the recipient of this year’s Dual Brand Outstanding Achieve-

From left: John Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn; Jeff Cury, senior director, development, Canada, Hilton Worldwide; and Bhulesh Lodhia, Chuck Lodhia and Hanisha Sharma, JM Hospitality.


Susie Grynol, president, Hotel Association of Canada.

The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) has named Susie Grynol as its new president, taking over from Tony Pollard, who retired in September after 25 years in the position, it was announced Oct. 11. Grynol will assume her new role on Oct. 17. Grynol joins the HAC from the Retail Council of Canada, where she served as vice-president, federal government relations since 2013. She has over 10 years of experience managing political affairs and public relations and has a proven track record in overseeing complex industry issues and delivering successful outcomes. “We are delighted that Ms. Grynol will be joining the HAC as president and are fortunate to have someone with Susie’s talents, experience and breadth of knowledge join our industry,” said Philippe Gadbois, chair of the HAC board, in a release. “I look forward to working with Susie to ensure the industry’s needs and goals continue to be reached.” Choice Hotels Canada has made a number of executive appointments, it was announced Sept. 26. Julie Chan-McConnell has been promoted to senior director, marketing and distribution. With over 24 years in the travel industry, ChanMcConnell plays a key role in the development and execution of Choice Canada’s consumer and B2B marketing initiatives, and strategic plans spanning loyalty, distribution and most recently, revenue management. Brendan Gibney has been promoted to senior director, franchise services. Gibney first joined Choice in

2012 as a franchise performance consultant in Eastern Canada and was quickly promoted to director, franchise operations. Gibney has over 15 years of hospitality experience with both independent hotels and brands. Tamer Dalati has been appointed to director, revenue management. In his new role, Dalati will elevate all revenue management strategies for Canada and serve as a key member of Choice Canada’s marketing team. Prior to his appointment at Choice, Dalati was corporate director, revenue manager and commerce at Delta Hotels and Resorts for 10 years.

Julie Chan-McConnell, Choice Hotels Canada senior director

Brendan Gibney, Choice Hotels Canada senior director.

Tamer Dalati, Choice Hotels Canada director, rev. mgmt.

Stephanie Mallalieu, go2HR health/safety specialist.

Kevin Wutzler, Interval Int’l, SVP inventory revenue mgmt.

Randy Zupanski, GM, Westin St. Francis, San Francisco.

During his nearly 20-year tenure with Four Seasons, Parrotta has held senior positions at Four Seasons properties throughout the Americas. In 2007 he had his first general manager appointment in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

ciates. He holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Fanshawe College in London, Ont.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced changes to its operations team. Christian Clerc has been promoted to president, worldwide hotel operations and Vince Parrotta has been named president, hotel operations, Americas. Clerc has spent 16 years with Four Seasons. He moves into his new role after holding senior executive positions in several regions, including the last two years based in Dubai as president, hotel operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has appointed Randy Zupanski GM of the iconic Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, it was announced Oct. 13. In his new role, Zupanski will oversee a team of 85 managers and 750 asso-


Ryan Urzada


Jonathan M. Tisch will resume the duties of CEO of Loews Hotels following the departure of Kirk Kinsell, it was announced Oct. 18. Kinsell informed the company of his decision to resign for personal reasons. Tisch will continue to serve as chairman of Loews Hotels and co-chairman of the board for Loews Corporation.

Regina Hotel Association’s new chair/board

go2HR, BC’s tourism industry REGINA — The Regina Hotel Association (RHA) announced its new human resource association, boardup of directors, including itsinvolved new board chair, mid-September. Havinghasgrown in a family ininhotels, named Stephanie Mallalieu to the Assuming the board chair is Ryan Urzada, a role he took over in Ryan Urzada was introduced to the hospitality position of industry health and safety May, as the organization’s fourth person to hold that title. specialist. Recently relocating from early “Mr. Urzada’s 15 years of professional hotel industry experience is industry on. the U.K. to Canada, Mallalieu brings a great asset to our organization,” said Tracy Fahlman, CEO of the extensive health and His safetyexposure experi- to the RHA, in a release. “I look him and thehas board inner workings offorward hotelstoatworking such awith young age ence to the go2HR team, with a focus to achieve our aggressive strategic goals that will provide value to given him a unique understanding of the underlying potential and our on the foodservice sector. Her previmembership for many years.” various challenges faced by this industry. ous roles include health and safety In 2008, Urzada became director of business development at the manager at First Choice Holidays Travelodge Hotel & Conference Centre, in Regina. Since then, he has After high Ryan attended where he received U.K. and client services director forschool, advanced to the role ofMcGill generalUniversity manager and, most recently, managing his Bachelor of Commerce, in Management and Marketing in Food Alert. director. 1995. Upon graduation McGill four me years as an this “I am from honoured that he the worked board has for entrusted to undertake Interval International announced Executive strategicwith leadership role,” said Urzada. “We have Investment a bank-owned brokerage firm.great opportunities the promotion of Kevin Wutzler to ahead of us to advance the hotel industry in Regina.” the position of senior In vice-president Urzada takes over from Cari Lemieux, general manager of Days 2001, he returned to the hospitality industry working with Dimension of inventory revenue 3management. Inn (Regina East), who served as the board’s chair since 2011. Hospitality (d3h), managing limited service hotels in Calgary, He reports to David C. Gilbert, Lemieux will remain on the board, assuming the position of past Medicine Hat and Red Deer where Ryan’s role quickly evolved to Interval’s president. Since Wutzler chair. specializing in opening newly built hotels. Here, he found a knack for joined Interval in 1990, he has held In addition to Urzada, Lemieux and Fahlman, the RHA’s board in Mike customer service, marketing and Laura sales support positions in resort salesproviding and service,excellence includes Wurster (DoubleTree by Hilton); Armitage for the company’s portfolio of properties. operations, and Interval Resort & Fi(Residence Inn by Marriott); Steven Dyck (Best Western, plus Eastnancial Services. He was most recentgate Inn & Suites); Connie Young (Executive Royal Hotel) and Glenn ly vice-president of inventory Uponrevenue returning to Regina in 2008, Ryan Weir (Best Western Seven Oakstook Inn). on the role as Director management. of Business Development at the Travelodge Hotel & Conference Centre

Regina. Since then, his role has progressed to General Manager and most recently, Managing Director. During his tenure at the Travelodge Hotel & Conference Centre Regina, the hotel has consistently maintained a standard of excellence receiving Best

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Transforming the Walper Hotel

Exterior of the Walper Hotel.

The new lobby. By Don Douloff, Assistant Editor KITCHENER, Ont. — An 18-month, $10 million renovation of the Walper Hotel added 11 guestrooms while retaining some historical elements and infusing the property with a brighter, modernized ambience. Driving this old-meets-new esthetic was a desire to appeal to the younger demographic employed by the booming tech companies setting up shop in the TorontoWaterloo corridor, according to general manager Domini Baldasaro. In tandem with the tech boom, the city is undergoing a condo boom that, in turn, is spurring downtown growth. Opened in 1893, the five-storey Walper closed for the 18-month refurbishment,

Dec. 5-9, 2016: Vantage Hospitality Group Annual International Educational Conference & Trade Show. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. Contact: Al Cohen. Tel. 888-316-2378. Fax: 440-247-2294. Email: acohen@ Website: www. Feb. 15-16, 2017: Hotel Association of Canada National Conference. Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre. Contact: Vicki Welstead. Tel. 416-924-2002, ext. 233. Email: vickiwelstead@bigpictureconfer-

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shuttering in January, 2015, and reopening in stages beginning in May of this year. On Sept. 15, the property fully reopened. Guestrooms, housed on the third, fourth and fifth floors, underwent a “head to toe” makeover that “took guestrooms back to the studs,” said Baldasaro. That entailed new HVAC, mechanical, plumbing and electrical. It also entailed giving the design a “contemporary edge” that aimed for a “boutique vibe.” In guestrooms, that translates to light tones, such as cloud white, punctuated with bright red and blue (accent pieces) and natural woods (desk/armoire/floor). Boldly patterned statement wallpaper adorns one wall in guestrooms, which feature configurations in which no two are alike.

The guestroom renovations “absorbed closet space and nooks and crannies” and reconfigured that space to create expanded bathrooms, which now sport Caesarstone countertops with the look and feel of marble; grey- and white-tiled floors; and backlit LED mirrors. Almost all of the property’s tubs were replaced with showers. On the fifth floor, the room count has increased to 31 by way of 10 guestrooms added via reconfigured longer-stay rooms. A fourth-floor guestroom was divided in two, bringing the total new-room count to 11 and the property’s overall count to 92. Corridors were modernized to feature carpets in bold green and purple; updated wall coverings; wall sconces; and, in the landing area outside elevators, accent wallpaper. The project completely remade the lobby, incorporating marble tile, brightening the colour palette and installing a sliding door in place of the revolving one. On the second floor, the lobby has transitioned, via communal tables and bar stools, into an after-work gathering spot serving drinks. Also on that floor, the Barrister’s Lounge breakfast room was made over to a bar-style space in a grey and white colour scheme that’s set off by the natural light admitted through the enormous picture windows. The second floor’s six meeting spaces, including the Crystal Ballroom, have been outfitted with new audiovisual and air conditioning and a modernized palette. The reno, however, preserved such historic elements as crown mouldings and, in the Oak Room, coffered oak panelling. Post-renovation, Baldasaro and the entire Walper team “couldn’t be happier” with the refreshed property. She reports that the guest response has been “incredible” as the clientele has enthusiastically embraced the renovated hotel, which already enjoyed strong local brand recognition thanks to its 123-year history in the city’s hospitality scene. Embracing the hotel, too, is a Toronto-area clientele for corporate and other events. The property is also drawing overnight visitors from Toronto, across Canada and the U.S., said Baldasaro.



Feb. 21-23, 2017: Hospitality NL’s 2015 Conference and Trade Show, Gander, NL. Hotel Gander and Albatross Gander. Contact: Melissa Ennis. Tel.: 800-563-0700, ext. 231. Fax: 709-7228104. E-mail: Website:

April 9-11, 2017: Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association Convention and Tradeshow, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alta. Contact: Jordan McKay. Tel.: 780-436-6112, ext. 248; Email: Website:

Feb. 26-28, 2017: Restaurants Canada Show: Canada Unleashed, Enercare Centre, Toronto. Contact: Rita Grossi. Tel.: 416-649-4237. E-mail: Web-

May 15-16, 2017: Canadian Hotel Investment Conference. Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto. Contact: Vicki Welstead. Tel. 416-924-2002, ext. 233. Email: Website:

TOP 8 LIST Top 8 linen stain best practices By Simon Hemmes Keeping hotel linen such as sheets, blankets, comforters and towels free of stains is an ongoing challenge. From spilled room service meals to makeup and even shoe polish, there are many stains that can settle onto linen. As difficult as it is to prevent guests’ stains from occurring, there are steps that housekeeping can take to ensure effective removal so that stains do not become permanent. Additionally, hotel laundries can follow recommendations to keep misuse stains and in-wash issues from ruining linen. Together, these best practices will help prolong the life of linen, reduce rewash rates and support guest satisfaction, sustainability and the bottom line. 1. Linen stains and rewash: Many hotels opt for white linen for their crisp, classic and clean appearance. White is also easier to match when replacing worn and stained linen. However, stains are very visible against white linen. 2. Handling and washing linen correctly the first time prevents additional marks, removes the maximum number of stains and prevents rewash, thereby lengthening linen life. If this is not managed correctly, rewash will result in more water, energy and labour, increasing laundry operational costs. The rewash rate has a strong relation with the wash classification. In sheets, a property should not expect more than three per cent rewash. But for towels, there is an industry standard that varies from country to country. 3. Quality control: Proper laundering also reduces the risk that a stained piece of washed linen slips through the quality checks and ends up in the hotel room, which can negatively impact a hotel’s image and guest satisfaction. 4. Removing stains: To prevent the wash process from setting stains or creating new ones, laundry managers should keep water treatment and product selection/ usage in mind. 5. Water treatment. Not all laundries invest in proper water treatment. Although many are aware of the negative influence of water hardness on the removal of fatty and oily stains, an often underestimated factor in proper stain removal is the presence of heavy metals in the incoming fresh water. Iron and copper have an especially strong negative influence on stain removal. 6. Detergent selection: Laundries should carefully select detergents that have been tested on a variety of stains and linen types. For instance, a detergent should be able to remove complex metals found in water without interacting with bleach. Not only does this remove and prevent stains, it also reduces accelerated loss of tensile strength. 7. Don’t rely on bleach. Often, laundries increase the dosage of bleach when food dyes such as curry, tandoori or tomato sauce are not removed during the initial wash cycle. However, this increased bleach dosage does not change the wash results because non-removed fatty soil covers the food dye and prevents bleaching from taking place. Fatty and oily stain removal is thus essential for an overall good wash result. 8. Cleanliness = comfort. The cleanliness of hotel linen can be the difference between a rave review from a now-loyal customer and a scathing write-up of a property’s disregard for hygiene and guest satisfaction. Following these best practices and recommended wash processes will ensure guests have clean linen during their stay and will support the bottom line. Simon Hemmes is Senior Global Application Expert Fabric Washing with Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division. For more information, visit

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Canadian Lodging News - November 2016  

Canadian Lodging News - November 2016  

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