STAY Magazine, Vol. 2. Issue 4

Page 1

STAY

Selling luxury in Atlantic Canada

INTELLIGENCE

2022’s glass is half full

Chaos theory in the airline industry

TRANSFORMATION

Sid Lee Architecture. Montreal Marriott Château Champlain

CANADIAN HOTEL INTELLIGENCE Entrevue: Marie Pier Germain
J ULY/AUGUST 2022

July/August 2022

Volume 2 Issue 4 staymagazine.ca

Publisher

Big Picture New Media

Editor-in-Chief

Stacey Newman stacey@staymagazine.ca

Advertising Sales

Stephanie Gadbois stephanie@staymagazine.ca

Production & Creative Agency Boomerang Art & Design Inc. boomart.net

Contributors

Jim Byers, John Gradek, Carrie Russell, Tom Beckett, Joe Baker, Katrina Plamondon, Melisa Valverde, Susan J. Elliott,

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© Copyright 2022 All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission of Big Picture New Media, the publisher.

STAY is published six times per year by Big Picture New Media (BPNM), a subsidiary of Big Picture Conferences. For 25 years, Big Picture has been hosting the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference (CHIC) and other go-to conferences and events for Canada’s hotel industry. Subscription price: $110 per year, most single issues $18.95.

Editorial Advisory Board

Robin McLuskie Managing Director, Hotels, Colliers Hotels

Brian Leon President, Choice Hotels Canada

Brian Flood VP and Practice Leader, Hospitality and Gaming, Cushman & Wakefield

Scott Richer VP, Real Estate and Development (Canada), Hyatt Hotels

Ed Khediguian Senior VP, CWB Franchise Finance

Bill Stone President, Knightstone Hotel Group

Gunjan Kahlon VP Franchise Sales and Development, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Judy Sparkes-Giannou Co-Owner, Clayton Hospitality Inc.

Deborah Borotsik Senior VP, Beechwood Real Estate Advisors

Alan Perlis President & CEO, Knightstone Capital Management and CEO, Knightstone Hotel Group

Alnoor Gulamani President, Bayview Hospitality Inc.

General Manager Hotel W New York – Union Square

Owner, Heritage Inn Portfolio, X-Dream

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On the Cover
Marie Pier Germain is the vice president of sales and marketing at Quebec-based Germain Hotels.
July/August 2022 CONTENTS 7 Innsights WCLC Preview 13 Intelligence HVS: 2022’s glass is half full 19 Regional Focus Selling Luxury in Atlantic Canada 22 Human Resources SOCIAL DESIGN Solving the Problem. With Labour. 26 Architecture Case Studies ModernHaus Hotel, New York N.Y. Montreal Marriott Château Champlain, Que. 34 Profile ENTREVUE: Marie Pier Germain 36 Advocacy Why is Canada snubbing international scholars? 39 May We Recommend • designer lighting • revenue solutions • “A Hotelier” • digital CC authorization 13 26 19 July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 3
Photo by Jonathan Robert.
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The dog days of summer...

WE’RE IN THEM…the dog days of summer. This much I know is true…there are big problems and big questions in front of us about what the future holds. Even so, there is a sense of persistent optimism and energy bubbling under the surface.

I’m not an expert in this industry but I am an expert at finding the experts. In speaking with those of you who know what’s what, there is an overarching sense of acceleration in the industry. We seem to have a collective will to develop more and better business. I’d like to think that we’re trying desperately to surf the winds of change. As trite as this may sound, I mean it. We’ve been confronted with our vulnerabilities, humanity, mortality and the forces of inequity in our world. And in response, we have adapted. And now based on what we’ve learned, we’re caught up in the momentum, propelled by it.

How are we rebuilding? What lessons and disruptions are we taking with us? We’ve changed. All of us. We’re refusing to go backwards. This is evident in the numbers and projections from our valued economists/analysts. It’s evident in the acceleration of the recovery. Conditions are improving. This is immensely challenging in itself.

Next, we may be contending with a recession (understatement).

In the pages of this issue of STAY Magazine, we discuss the pressing issues facing the sector, in particular around labour. We look honestly and academically at faulty immigration policies and systemic racism. The human cost is disgraceful. Economically, this is negatively affecting the sector’s ability to staff itself.

In this vein, we also discuss the importance of social design— design methodologies that prioritize social issues as they pertain to hospitality.

We review architecture case studies—one domestic property and another international. How are our spaces planned and realized in the modern world?

We profile quiet yet bold champions of industry and offer up several INTELLIGENCE reports from contemporary angles on things that matter to you, right now.

Please reach out to me anytime with your comments and questions. Thank you for reading and for communicating your ideas for STAY and for being part of our community.

Sincerely,

EDITOR’S NOTE
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 5

INNSIGHTS

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July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 7

Air Canada Flight Reductions

FAQS ABOUT THE CHAOS IN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY

People around the world are anxious to travel again as pandemic restrictions are being lifted. But those planning to jump on a plane for a vacation have been frustrated by chaos in the airline industry. In both North America and Europe, thousands of flights have been cancelled and hundreds of thousands of passengers have had their trips disrupted.

Here are answers to some key questions about the current problems with air travel.

Why are so many flights being cancelled or delayed?

The principal cause of the disruptions has been a shortage of qualified personnel at airports to handle the recent surge in passenger traffic.

Airlines have been taking advantage of recent demand for air travel by returning aircraft and flight schedules to close to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with the resulting volume of flights putting significant stress on the capability of the supporting infrastructure — airports, air traffic control and labour conditions.

Air travel, as measured by the number of kilometres travelled by paying passengers, has started to rebound as pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

(International Air Transport Association)

Are the problems only happening in certain airports or is this a worldwide issue?

The congestion phenomenon in the

800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Seasonally adjusted Actual
8 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

summer 2022 travel season is rapidly spreading across a number of European and North American airports. The reason behind this concentration of congestion is quite simple: these are the air travel markets that have experienced the highest volumes of air travellers in recent months.

The rapid elimination of COVID-19 protocols in these markets since March have generated a significant increase in the demand for air travel, with volumes of passengers that haven’t been seen in more than two years. This increase in volume has been highly evidenced in major airline hub airports such as Amsterdam, London, New York and Toronto, where tens of thousands of passengers are processed every day.

Are all the problems related to the pandemic?

When the global air travel market collapsed in March 2020 with the introduction of travel restrictions and border closures, the commercial aviation industry took steps to conserve cash and maintain a minimal workforce.

Hundreds of thousands of aviation workers were laid off or terminated, with years of experience and technical expertise removed from the ranks of the commercial aviation communities.

With the assistance of governments throughout the world, over US$200 billion of financial support was provided by governments to help the commercial aviation industry maintain minimal service and prevent financial collapse.

When demand for air travel returned this March, the hiring frenzy began, but

in a very different labour environment. The people who left in 2020 had, for the most part, moved on to other career opportunities and no longer had much interest in returning to an industry characterized by lower compensation and a higher employment risk. So the staff shortages have their genesis in the pandemic, and will continue to impact employment levels as travel returns.

How many more people are travelling these days compared to a year ago – and compared to pre-pandemic levels?

The International Air Transport Association publishes air travel statistics

relating to the volume of air travel throughout various world markets. It has noted that there is a significant difference in the volume of air travel when compared to both 2021 and pre-pandemic levels.

The air travel market that has demonstrated the highest rebound has been domestic North America — travel for April 2022 has increased more than 280 per cent compared to April 2021 traffic levels but remains at slightly more than 30 per cent lower than April 2019 levels.

In the Chinese domestic market, continuing pandemic-related travel restrictions and occasional city lockdowns

July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 9

have resulted in traffic levels down by close to 80 per cent in April 2022, compared to April 2021 and 2019.

What can be done to prevent delays?

There are a number of perspectives that can be applied to a resolution of the current level of delays.

European authorities have announced specific reductions in flights, while the U.S. government is threatening to impose flight reductions as a means of minimizing flight cancellations.

The Canadian government has facilitated a meeting with the major aviation organizations in Canada to discuss a concerted and effective resolution and Air Canada announced measures it was intending to implement to ease congestion at both Toronto Pearson and Montreal Trudeau airports.

Canadian government officials have also announced plans to hire close to 2,000 additional border security and

screening personnel to deal with specific congestion issues. Labour groups are not certain that the problems of congestion will be addressed by such actions.

The main issue is the volume of air travellers that are being drawn into the airport environment by the volume of flights operated by the airlines. Airlines have decided to grow their capacity to meet surging air travel demand, but the airport infrastructure is not equipped to handle such volumes.

While such enthusiasm by the airline industry is laudable in times where adequate and experienced staff are available at airports, that is not the case now — and will not be the case for the foreseeable future.

How long will this last?

The summer travel season is in full flight in the northern hemisphere. Additional airline capacity and greater demand for air service by a travelstarved population will continue through at least September.

Unless actions being contemplated by American, European and Canadian carriers results in a reduction of peak loading of aircraft movements across major airline hubs, in North America and Western Europe primarily, the congestion and delays will continue –and possibly worsen.

Relief will most likely come in the fall, as demand for air travel is reduced with the arrival of the school season. Staffing will also reach required levels by the fall, with the arrival of normal commercial air operating conditions.

Other issues that may reduce demand include higher airfares due to inflation and higher oil prices, which may impact the survival of some airlines.

What advice would you give to air travellers over the next few months?

Airport authorities have been providing guidance to travellers on how best to prepare themselves for summer travel, including tips on how to avoid delays at security checks.

In this coming summer of disruption, I would recommend travellers embark on their air journey with patience, ensure they are well-rested prior to departing for the airport and remember that airline staff are also experiencing stressful moments during their day.

A smile, a thank you and, above all, a caring attitude for fellow travellers and staff is called for. The air travel experience will get better!

This article is republished from The Conversation.

INTELLIGENCE 10 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

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2022’s GLASS IS HALF FULL

We are just beyond the halfway point of 2022. It feels a little like 2018/2019 with the labour challenges in our space while trying to get people back up to speed, trained and travelling.

The news is primarily good, even cautiously optimistic

After the sixth wave of COVID, January was disappointing, RevPAR was down over 40 per cent still in January if you compare to 2019.

But from a performance standpoint, we saw indications of a shift in midFebruary. The beginning of February was still down but the difference between the beginning of the month and the end of the month was evident in the weekly changes.

March was a great month relative to 2019—down just 10 per cent compared to 2019 numbers.

Through COVID April, RevPAR didn’t hold quite as strong. April was down about 20 per cent—Easter had an impact in April.

May was only 4.1 per cent below where it was in 2019. Occupancy in May for

HVS:
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 13

INTELLIGENCE

out the reasons behind that. It likely stems from inflation and labour challenges.

Psychologically, everyone in the economy is expecting to pay more for things. Companies and managers are looking at increasing costs. To maintain margins, they’ve gotta be able to push rate. And then we’ve got the labour challenge.

Where it’s not quite as consistent yet is the corporate market which hasn’t come back to the same degree as leisure or group. When the demand is there, then, they’re pushing the rates.

the country was 63 per cent and the average daily rate (“ADR”) was $171. What’s driving those numbers is the average rate side of the equation.

We normally have cycles where demand declines, rate declines, demand starts to come back and then rate is slower to recover. The recent cycle is unique in that we’ve got ADR in some cases exceeding what it was in 2019 before demand has come back to 2019 levels— I think this is part of the inflation story that we’re dealing with, says Russell.

If you look at the rates in B.C. for May rates were up 8.3 per cent over 2019. So, big, big increases compared to 2019, because RevPAR was only up just over 2 per cent. That means demand was lower.

If you look at the luxury segment, ADR was up for the country by almost 13 per cent in May. There is this real push on average rate and we work hard to sort

Russell recounts that a general manager recently painted a great example of this picture in the resort market where they’re challenged on labour. Because of housing issues and whatnot, they’ve only got a fixed amount of labour. So, the GM has been very cautious about that last five or 10 per cent of occupancy. Where he might have gotten more aggressive with rates, now he keeps his rates high and he doesn’t risk burning staff out or having injuries from too much overtime. He’s maintaining to protect the labour force and that’s resulting in charging higher rates, existing on a slightly lower demand base.

Across markets and regions

There is some consistency across markets and regions. Certainly, there are areas where it’s still very much a leisuredriven recovery, but we’re seeing group demand come back.

If you look at a major core market like downtown Toronto, they’ll have a major event which will fill the city and hoteliers in that market are doing exactly what they’re doing everywhere else—they’re raising the rates way up during those major events.

There are, however, some interesting stats regarding Vancouver. We spoke to Vancouver International Airport and their domestic demand—for the summer and the year—will likely be over 2019 levels. The U.S. piece will be mid-eighties as a percentage; their international piece will be closer to 60 per cent of what it was.

How does this align with industry predictions from the start of the year?

Things are moving faster. The recovery has accelerated. At the beginning of the year, because we had just entered that sixth wave of COVID, we didn’t expect to start seeing numbers recovering as early as mid-February. March and April were a lot better than expected!

It seemed like the psychology of COVID changed with the sixth wave because so many more people were infected, but not to the point of hospitalization, so it seems that the fear factor of travel and exposure came way down.

When the government began slowly removing barriers, this was a signal of optimism for travellers.

RevPAR today…63.4 per cent occupancy translates to a RevPAR of roundly, $109 for May. Year to date for the first five

RevPAR
14 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022
WE SPOKE TO VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THEIR DOMESTIC DEMAND—FOR THE SUMMER AND THE YEAR— WILL LIKELY BE OVER 2019 LEVELS.

months of the year, we were in 50% occupancy at an average rate of $154 with a RevPAR of $77. That is down 16 per cent compared to 2019, but ADR is essentially where it was in 2019 and it’s an occupancy-driven decline in RevPAR.

What are the economic ramifications of the current labour crises on the hotel sector?

It is driving up costs, requiring hotels to push rates to maintain margins, but this was not unexpected this year. The industry has been preparing for this recovery and realizing that they were behind the eight ball in terms of labour.

We haven’t come up with a real solution…yet. I think the resort markets struggle more than the urban markets, just because often in resort market areas the labour pool has to be brought in from outside. Also looking at the resort markets, some of their international workforce is not there. They’re trying to dip into a pool that they don’t normally staff their hotels with. This is probably creating more challenges in the resort

markets because the demand is more compressed and they don’t have a local labour pool within their area to pull from.

Full recovery is on the horizon…

There will be a lot of markets where we’ll see the numbers back to full recovery this year—those would be the really strong leisure markets. Markets like the Okanagan Valley will likely surpass 2019 this year, assuming that, knock on wood, nothing happens this summer from a forest fire or natural disaster kind of perspective.

I would say that our 2024 prediction is on track for the downtown core markets that still require international demand. What’s happening now—not only do you have just the travellers’ issues with restrictions coming into the country but you’ve also got issues with visas. There was an international conference recently in Montreal for which the delegates couldn’t get visas and these occurrences ripple through the group market and the international group market.

Timing is everything

The market starts to shift after Labour Day. The booking window is small right now. The corporate market bookings are already on the books for the fall. You start to see them pick up after Labour Day. We’ll have a sense in September of what the appetite for corporate travel is. We’re confident that the summer is going to be strong into September.

September and October are good corporate or convention months. And there have been a lot of events that have been delayed and put off, and now they’re finally happening in 2022. There is a backlog of group events that should shore up that underlying group base.

Listening to people in the office sector— there’s still a question as to do we have a fundamental behavioural change in how people work.

If a percentage of people come back into offices, will they need to have as much back and forth corporate travel? Or conversely, if we’re not spending on real estate overhead in terms of office space, are we going to then have more travel with our organizations, and more events where we bring everyone together? There could be a lot of local retreats and that kind of thing.

We’ve got this pent-up desire to do our leisure travel, and we’re not going to give that up. We’ve got all these group events that are now on our schedules. But once the leisure is behind us, kids are back in school, maybe the fall proves to be full of group events.

INTELLIGENCE
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 15

International travel and the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine is affecting supply chains. It’s certainly a component of the inflation story, but it doesn’t seem to be restricting people’s desire to travel. There are broader incentive packages for travellers to Europe, and even if it were to deter European travel, this would likely benefit North America.

If there’s anywhere we’ve seen the invasion have an effect, it’s probably in the psyche of the energy market. Normally when energy prices shoot up as they have, we see those markets just turn on overnight. And this time it’s been quite a different story. The capital hasn’t started flowing back in Calgary. The resource-driven markets haven’t populated.

Over the long term, there will likely be a revisiting of energy resources around the world.

Hotels boom when oil companies are making investments in new infrastructure. The albeit necessary focus on climate change makes it complex and difficult to make capital investments in new oil and gas infrastructure. We’re not seeing that uptick in hotel room nights because they’re not building anything new. Oil companies are just selling what they’re pumping out at double what it was last year in terms of the price of oil. Now, that does create wealth and when you’ve got wealth in Alberta, it spurs a lot of things.

It’s frustrating for Alberta oil producers—it is not understood that they are leading

the world in terms of their sustainability within the context of that sector. Alberta oil is a much cleaner product than what is coming out of Russia or Saudi Arabia. However, it’s still oil and Canada is in a position to lead the world on climate change. So we need to get the focus off of oil completely, even if our oil is better in the rankings.

Raising the spectre of a recession

Barring a recession—which is something that we’re all concerned with today—we’ve got most of our markets recovered in 2023; certainly by 2024. We are hearing more talk about a recession, which puts a question mark on how the corporate market might plan or respond. And the leisure market that’s been fuelling everything—as consumers see stock market lows, does this morph into concern about their disposable income? Will they stop spending and travelling as much?

People have been cooped up, and they’re demonstrating that they’re willing to prioritize travel, despite inflation. We’re seeing this in the summer numbers. The unknowns are around the more discretionary leisure travellers. When the markets are doing what they’re doing and the cost of travel is increasing, that’s likely to put a hindrance on demand.

If we have the right balance of interest rate increases in inflation, and people start to be confident that the economy is not going in a bad direction, we should see corporate travel continue to build through the fall. We’re paying very close attention to this and cautiously hoping that it’s a soft landing for the economy. It will affect hotels if it’s not, that’s for sure.

The flip side of inflation to the hotel spaces is that in a highly inflationary environment, this is the class of real estate that you wanna be in because you can reprice on a nightly basis. If you’re in an industrial, office or apartment situation,

INTELLIGENCE
16 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

BARRING A RECESSION WE’VE GOT MOST OF OUR MARKETS RECOVERED IN 2023; CERTAINLY BY 2024.

you can only reprice at the end of a lease. Hotels are very desirable assets in inflationary environments; their revenue can keep up with inflation.

The other variable affecting the hotel investment market is interest rates. As you know, we’re seeing significant increases in interest rates, and as soon as you drive up that whole cost of capital you add the risk piece into the equation of recession. And inflation and equity returns go up. This impacts what hotels are worth.

It’s a direct relationship that if you increase interest rates, hotel values typically go down unless your incomes can offset what those increases are.

We’re at a very interesting point and we are seeing there’s a lot of money out there for hotels. When there’s a lot of money looking for hotel deals, the equity return expectations potentially drop.

As risk goes up, equity requirements go up. Many variables are playing out. We could see a positive outlook for hotel values, but we may have to ride out a bit of a stall in transaction activity as players watch what’s happening in the markets.

ABOUT THE EXPERTS

Carrie Russell joined HVS as an associate in 1997. According to HVS, she has been influential in establishing HVS’s presence in Canada as a leading hospitality consulting and valuation firm. Russell has attained designation in both Canada and the United States, having completed the requirements to obtain the AACI designation from the Appraisal Institute of Canada in 2004 and the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute in the United States in 2012. Russell is a member of the International Society of Hotel Consultants (ISHC) and the Real Estate Institute of BC (RIBC). Russell is a regular speaker at several conferences including the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference and the Western Canadian Lodging Conference.

Tom Beckett, AIC Candidate Member Senior Vice President, Vancouver

Tom Beckett is a Candidate Member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada working towards receiving the AACI Designation. Beckett’s work as a hospitality valuation consultant has taken him all over western Canada and north into the territories of the nation, including his hometown of Whitehorse. He has worked on a variety of projects including market studies, feasibility studies for proposed hotels, appraisals of existing assets, and analysis and appraisal of proposed and existing large-scale multi-use developments with a hotel component.

Carrie Russell, AACI, MAI, RIBC, ISHC Senior Managing Partner, Vancouver
INTELLIGENCE
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 17

SELLING LUXURY IN ATLANTIC CANADA

The Muir Hotel is a great luxury property in Halifax. It’s also a gamechanger for the city, and perhaps for Atlantic Canada.

The Nova Scotia capital has had a number of excellent hotels over the years, including The Westin, The Halliburton and, relatively recently, Sutton Place Hotel Halifax.

But the Muir takes things to a whole new level, with a sense of place and a level of luxury never before seen on the shores of Halifax harbour.

The hotel is part of the massive Queen’s Marque project, one of the largest commercial developments in the history of Atlantic Canada.

“When you look at the design, one interesting or striking thing for me is that the design and level

of details for the entire Queen’s Marque project is something that wouldn’t make sense somewhere else. If you look at the site it really is born of this place,” said Eugenie Jason, general manager of The Armour Group, a Halifax-based company that built Queen’s Marque and the Muir.

Jason was formerly with the Four Seasons Montreal and also the Beverly Wilshire and the Four Seasons Bora Bora. This is someone who knows a thing or three about luxury. Jason said the architecture and interior design at the Muir were inspired by Nova Scotia and its oceanfront atmosphere; by Halifax’s marine traditions, with commanding and graceful lines, nautical references and timeless materials.

Regional Focus July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 19

One of the region’s most celebrated architects, Brian MacKay-Lyons, of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, has established a global reputation through “Born of this Place” design. At Muir, MacKay-Lyons employed a deep understanding of the local area and honest materiality to communicate a genuine sense of the province.

Parts of the exterior use something called Muntz metal, a combination of zinc, iron and copper that was put over the top of wooden boats to protect them from shipworms. Local granite, reclaimed from the original 200-year-old sea wall, has been used extensively throughout the development. Near the entrance, you’ll find glass panels that were made to resemble the Fresnel lenses often found in Nova Scotia lighthouses.

“It wouldn’t make sense in Montreal, but here it does,” Jason said. “People come here and say, ‘I didn’t realize Halifax was so beautiful.’ You see the new restaurants, how people are so excited about us. Many guests who are visiting, you can tell they were craving this experience, this sense of luxury.”

Jason said a Friday in late May had spectacular weather, and a guest wanted a picnic. The hotel got a picnic basket for her and a friend, as well as a bottle of wine and some chairs. They then fired up their private power boat and shipped the two of them over to a beach on McNabs Island.

“There is a strong emphasis during our training on reading the guest,” she said. “If they mention they are tired, for example, we send a jet lag package to their room. Understanding their needs, why they are here, recognizing who needs to be left alone and who needs attention.

The population of downtown Halifax has increased by 26 per cent since 2016, faster than any other Canadian city, according to official statistics.

“There’s no question it’s a game-changer,” said Ross Jefferson, president and CEO of Discover Halifax. “It’s a destination hotel.”

“People will go to the Muir for the experience and the property. Other hotels in the city rely on the destination,” he said.

Jefferson said the project and the Queen’s Marque project, in general, are “more than a business investment. It’s a passion.

“We’re trying to create a culture of excellence that wasn’t here before and learning how easily it can be done, instead of having that distant and cold approach to luxury.”

The 109-room waterfront hotel has a spa that features a halotherapy salt room, saunas, and hot and cool plunge pools. There are 10 restaurants in the Queen’s Marque/Muir project, which adds yet another level to the city.

Jason, a native of the Brittany region of France, said her impression of Halifax is that it’s like a pot full of extremely hot water.

“It’s not quite boiling yet but you can see the bubbles. That’s how the city feels to me.”

Scott (McCrae, the main developer) has so much passion, not just for the Muir [but for] the Queen’s Marque project as a whole.”

Halifax has more than 10 other hotels on the horizon, including a Moxy, a Sandman hotel and two properties in Dartmouth. One of the Dartmouth hotels will be a signature, 27-storey property at King’s Wharf.

“I’m so very proud that our team of architects, designers and professionals started with the idea of creating a place,” said Scott McCrae, owner of The Armour Group McCrae said it’s the most commercial complex ever undertaken in Atlantic Canada and one of the most complex in Canada in the last five years.

“People will go to the Muir for the experience and the property. Other hotels in the city rely on the destination.”
20 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022
Regional Focus

Queen’s Marque also contains luxury apartments, high-end office space and more than a half-dozen restaurants.

McCrae told Unravel Halifax that he hopes the project, and the hotel alters people’s perceived notions of what Nova Scotia and Halifax are, that it wipes away some of that hackneyed imagery or concept of “who we are that is so 1970s, and really reaffirms what anyone who is living here feels; that there is a renewed sense of prosperity, interest and life in Atlantic Canada, and most particularly Halifax.”

Of course, opening a hotel during a pandemic has more than its share of challenges. In October 2021, Eugenie Jason recruited and trained a team of 80 employees for the hotel and 40 for the restaurants in preparation for opening to the public in December. Half of them had never worked in a hotel before.

“I am fortunate to have a team that already had that authentic and genuine warmth,” she said. “Then you just have to work on some efficiencies and refinement for the level of service we’re trying to reach.”

Regional Focus

operational workflows and enables hotel employees to quickly access information about individual guests’ preferences and needs.

The hotel design was handled by Toronto’s Studio Munge, which has helped with major hotels across Canada, including the recent renovation of the Park Hyatt Toronto.

Muir managed to hang onto 85 per cent of its employees, Jason said.

“Especially after the trauma hospitality just went through, I think that you really have to fight every day to be a well-rated employer and to keep your team engaged. People have a choice. And thinking that we don’t have to adapt to our teams is a very big mistake nowadays.”

Jason also feels sustainability is important. Linens at Muir are changed every three days unless otherwise requested by guests, and bathroom products come in large refillable containers.

Jason said she felt it was important to embrace technology, as well.

“I made some noise when I arrived here because I do believe that technology is a great tool to support us. Something that was very important to me to manage our efficiencies and our guests’ experience was having a guest request management system, so we onboarded HotSOS.”

HotSOS is a cloud-based communication platform provided by Amadeus that helps with preventative maintenance,

“I am always so grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel and work globally. It has given me a unique perspective, and I have had the chance to discover countless cities; none quite like Halifax,” said Alessandro Munge, founder and design director, Studio Munge. “The people who make up this beautiful city’s fabric have a special connection to the ocean and land and their heritage. But Halifax is also a very progressive city on the cusp of a renaissance.”

“It was an honour to contribute our international expertise to help create a destination like no other in Nova Scotia and Canada, a hospitality experience that engages and connects the guests and locals more meaningfully,” he said.

I mentioned the hotel to a tourism representative from a Canadian city that also books a lot of conventions and groups. “Wow,” the representative said. “That’s extra competition for us.”

“I do believe that technology is a great tool to support us.”
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 21

SOCIAL DESIGN

Solving the Problem. With Labour.

It will be hard to navigate the case for Social Design without sounding esoteric. Stick with me though. We can make it land together.

Not much more than uttering “labour crisis” is needed to paint a vivid picture of the present state of Canada’s hospitality and tourism industry in 2022—but it’s a term we’ve already taken for granted. We have a crisis before us. That much is certainly true.

But is it really about labour?

Or could labour itself be the actual symptom of a much more “wicked problem?” And why does that matter?

A wicked problem is defined as a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for reasons including incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden,

and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems. This is what we are experiencing with our labour problem.

Therefore, if we want to move beyond this present crisis and get back to building a sustainable future for our businesses—economic, environmental and socioeconomic—we need to start by developing a sustainable workforce. One thing our industry seems to agree on is that the people of hospitality are at the centre of our business model.

They must be central to the solution.

There is a fundamental question I have posed in my previous STAY Magazine articles. And it bears repeating here. How often do we as leaders think about how we think? What model do we use to solve problems? Do we use an intentional model? Or do we just repeat what has been programmed into us since our

school days or since we were trained by past generations of leaders? I think we are engaged in clouded thinking while trying to solve the very real labour problem because we continue to be told that it is the problem, and we are the solution.

THE REAL SOCIAL DILEMMA

At one point, I too believed this was a matter of supply and demand. I believed we simply did not have enough talent across this country with the skills and experience needed to serve our industry adequately. This is the conventional thinking that led me to identify the labour problem. But rerouting, I recognize this is a limited way of thinking. It’s binary. It’s economical. It’s not people-centric.

Even now, our federal and provincial governments seem to be buying into this myopia. Immigration targets are now set at well over 400,000 new Canadians each year with informal remarks by some hinting that the number will soon reach

Human Resources
22 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

How often do we as leaders think about how we think?

What model do we use to solve problems? Do we use an intentional model?

Or do we just repeat what has been programmed into us since our school days or since we were trained by past generations of leaders?

Human Resources

500,000 annually. International student targets have also been ratcheted up after dropping during the pandemic. Canada welcomed a whopping 450,000 international students in 2021.

Hard left turn here—how is our supply of affordable housing in urban and rural areas across this country? How about our social services for newcomers trying to rapidly learn about our culture so they can build great careers and fruitful lives for their families? How about our clear and attainable path to permanent residency for our international graduates? Of course, if you are reading STAY Magazine, you already know the answer to these questions. Supply is not the problem or the solution. Until we can figure it out, I would argue more supply only worsens the problem. Especially when we are taking a linear approach to solve this problem. A raging fire doesn’t always need more water to put it out. There has to be a better way.

CUE THE EXPERT

Cheryl Heller is a creative leader and innovator who has founded and grown multiple companies, divisions and programs in the corporate and social sectors and education. She has taught creativity to leaders and organizations around the world, including the U.S., China, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Sierra Leone and South Korea. As an advisor, she has helped grow businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion dollar global market leaders and helped design strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. She has extensive experience facilitating collaborative efforts toward culture

July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 23

change, social and health equity, and creativity for multinational organizations. She is the author of The Intergalactic Design Guide: Harnessing the Creative Potential of Social Design. She outlines the Social Design Thinking process eloquently and effectively—a blend of Social Design and Design Thinking.

Design thinking is a process for developing multiple ideas with a particular user in mind and new ways to solve problems based on the creative design process. There’s nothing inherent in design thinking that has benefit or no benefit to society. Social design is looking at ways to affect entire communities or organizations and social design inevitably has a moonshot objective, a north star that defines a vision that’s an ultimate condition that people want to create.

Typically, the way we solve problems and the kind of problem solving that humans are really good at are technical problems. We know how to create a new app and we know how to make a driverless car. We are constantly creating and building and innovating. When it’s very concretely defined and it’s linear we excel at that. So how do we succeed at solving the big complicated social problems we have? Social design is an approach that works at a systems level that brings cross-disciplinary teams together so that everyone who has a hand in or who has responsibility for making something happen is a participant from the beginning.

The sequential steps of research and engineering and iteration and designing are collapsed and in the social design

process we talk about making to learn. And so as a part of research there are prototypes developed at every stage, there is a kind of testing that goes on at every stage with the people that are intended to use it and that feedback becomes information for the next step. Instead of following along the strategic plan people are, in real time, observing the reaction to what’s happening and adapting whatever they’re developing as it happens.

We find that the biggest changes happen in the people who participate in it and so in developing this capacity for reframing problems and for developing ideas and for prototyping and for navigating ambiguity that capacity resides in people, and they take it on to other things and it changes cultures.

Isn’t this really what we’re after? Change? Building capacity within our people? So they in turn can help build capacity in our businesses and our communities and our cultures? Building livelihoods for themselves and the next generation?

AND NOW THIS

We tend to over-index on sharing and listening to negative stories. It’s also programmed into our human culture. Take the opportunity to remain mindful and seek more empowering narratives as we learn from new approaches to leadership and problem solving. Therein lie the solutions, with the people and organizations actively engaged in Social Design.

I recently caught up with Kate Monk, senior director, regenerative tourism development and communications for Explorers’ Edge/RTO12. RTO12 is one of

“We are constantly creating and building and innovating. When it’s very concretely defined and it’s linear we excel at that. So how do we succeed at solving the big complicated social problems we have?”
Human Resources 24 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

thirteen Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) supported with core funding by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As the regional Destination Development Organization for Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka, West Parry Sound district and South Algonquin, Ontario, the company uses a regenerative approach to ensure the sustainability of the tourism industry across the region, the organization itself, and affected communities.

Monk earned her Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. She is responsible for developing innovative regenerative tourism strategies and programs for the organization, its stakeholders and the wider communities. She also oversees consumer and corporate marketing communications, product development, and workforce development at Explorers’ Edge. Kate was a key contributor to the RTO12 Business Case for Commercial Air Service at the Muskoka Airport, which successfully attracted Porter Airlines as a partner, commencing with seasonal service in 2019.

Monk stated, “Explorers’ Edge is currently working to attract workers and develop professionals with our innovative workforce thrusters strategy. The most significant component of this strategy is our work to build social enterprise catalyst housing to meet the accommodations needs of workers in our regional industry. This is part of our region-centric regenerative approach.”

She continued, “At RTO12, our objective is to design workforce programs that make a career in tourism a popular and desired goal.”

This way of thinking and problem solving doesn’t mean we have to figure out all the components of the huge, wicked problems we are facing. It doesn’t take away from any of the workforce development initiatives that have been launched to support our industry. It means we now have the chance to try new things. And continue with what works while we sunset what doesn’t work anymore. Old ways of thinking, being and doing that quite frankly no longer serve the people of hospitality—our most essential and scarce resource. And we need to persist. Because, as Robin Sharma reminds us, “greatness loves the relentless.” And greatness is an aspiration many in our hotels are aiming for and working towards. Let’s get there together.

Joe Baker is a passionate leader within Canada’s tourism, hospitality and education sectors and a vocal advocate for a resilient, inclusive, future-forward industry. He is CEO of Joe Baker & Co., a human capital consultancy focused on strengthening hospitality and tourism organizations and people. Baker was dean at Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts where he led the most significant transformation in the school’s over 50-year history. He serves on the board of directors of Tourism HR Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. Joe can be found everywhere

@thejoebaker

Human Resources
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 25

Architecture Case Study

MODERNHAUS HOTEL

New York, United States Palette Architecture

In May of this year, New York-based Palette Architecture unveiled its contemporization of ModernHaus SoHo, a 114-room boutique hotel formerly known as The James New York. Situated in New York City’s SoHo district, the property was acquired by the current owners in 2017, and the hotel has changed ownership twice since its construction in 2010. The client’s vision was to rebrand the hotel, breathe new life into the prominent structure and soften the rough material palette of its original design.

“Our proposal focused on introducing rich natural materials and bold colors [sic] to soften and contrast with the brutal original design of concrete and steel,” explains John Sunwoo, a founding partner at Palette Architecture. “Most buildings in the area have a layered history applied over the years through multiple alterations. We wanted to discover and understand those layers and selectively bring them forward based on contemporary sensibilities.”

The project was a collaborative effort between stakeholders including the building’s owners; interior design firms, Wilson Associates and M. A. Bowers, Inc; and the hotel’s various food and beverage (F&B) operators. Palette was at the helm.

OBJECTIVES

Underutilized and outdated spaces are repurposed. To preserve much of the original building, its original precast concrete, steel, and weathered finishes have been highlighted. Consistency and character are infused into the property through the introduction of elements such as patterned motifs and works alluding to the district’s history of art and culture.

ROOMS WITH A VIEW

Beginning with the lobby and hotel entrances, dated finishes were upgraded using natural materials. The designers introduced contrasts to the light-coloured interior, including dark woods and metals that modernize the walls, doors, and railings. In guestroom corridors, the use of Calder-esque carpeting—a nod to American post-war contemporary artist Alexander Calder—and the strategic placement of pop art, aim to establish connections to the SoHo neighbourhood. The layout of the rooms has remained largely intact, with furnishings upholstered in soft, bold-coloured fabrics.

“The dominant feature of the room experience is their breathtaking views, so we really didn’t do too much other than to update the furnishings and some dated elements,” notes Sunwoo. “The views are one of the strong points of the building’s

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Architecture Case Study

DATA SHEET

LOCATION

27 Grand Street, New York, N.Y.

CLIENT

Thor Equities

ARCHITECTURE FIRM

Palette Architecture

TYPOLOGY

Hotel/Hospitality

PROJECT START

November 2018

PROJECT COMPLETED

May 2021

TOTAL AREA

67,000 square feet

BUDGET

$3.5M

PHOTOGRAPHER

Pavel Bendov

MANAGING PARTNER(S)

John Sunwoo

PROJECT DESIGNER

Anna Kueck

CONTRACTORS

Hidden Hill Hospitality

MEP ENGINEER

Kohler Ronan

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

DeSimone Consulting Engineers

INTERIOR DESIGNER

Wilson Associates

CREATIVE DIRECTION

MA Bowers, Inc

INTERIOR DESIGN COLLABORATOR

Jack J. Sitt, director of Thor Equities

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT

HM White

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Dot Dash

GLASS SUPPLIER

Vitro Architectural Glass

STOREFRONT & ENTRANCE SYSTEMS

CR Laurence, Assa

Abloy

DOORS

Ceco Door

DOOR HARDWARE

DormaKaba, Hafele

LIGHTING FIXTURES

Trov, Modulightor, Aldabra, Elemental, Tech

Lighting, Bold Lighting

BATHROOM FIXTURES

Watermark, Kohler, Moen

ARCHITECTURAL SOFTWARE

Autodesk Revit

July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 27

Architecture Case Study

ABOUT THE ARCHITECTS

Palette Architecture is a full-service architecture and design practice. The founding partners first met as students of the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, where their research focused on collaborative design, technical innovation, digital fabrication, and material investigations. After working at internationally renowned architecture offices, the partners reunited to form Palette Architecture in 2010. The firm’s creative process fosters a collaborative dialogue with its clients, consultants, and builders to promote a more responsible and humane built environment.

28 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

original design, with guestroom floors beginning 60 feet above ground level.”

The presidential suite, however, was a perpetual work in progress, and already had a history of renovations and material upgrades. To take advantage of the suite’s size and grandeur, the team created more of an inward focus conducive to intimacy against the backdrop of its panoramic city views. Brass, rich woods, bold colours, and strategic lighting combined to achieve that goal, all within the embrace of panoramic external views.

THE MAIN COURSE–VERANDA SOHO

Significant emphasis was placed on the property’s multiple F&B outlets from the start. Elements of the renovations included improvements to an existing rooftop bar and the aboveground repositioning of an existing cellarlevel restaurant.

The signature restaurant’s original setting was disconnected from the rest of the property’s SoHo vibe and external views. The existing concept needed not only to be revived but also transplanted. Approximately 15 feet above street level, an underused rooftop space offered great potential and the team designed a dynamic glass rooftop enclosure that expanded the restaurant’s busy operations. Designed over multiple levels, Veranda SoHo now encompasses several distinct spaces, including a 150-person signature room dining area, two distinct cocktail bars, and event space. While the restaurant is now characterized by its outward focus, there is also a seamless continuation of the overall design concept in the form of soft fabrics, bold colours, and natural wood contrasts.

COMFORTABLE CONTINUITY— MEET ME AT THE JIMMY

Equally important was a focus on The Jimmy, the property’s popular 18th-floor rooftop bar, which doubles as a pool bar by day. The biggest challenge was how to add necessary contemporary touches without ruining a good thing. The team decided to maintain the space’s existing footprint. Upgrades to the popular nightspot include a completely new bar with an additional service station, acoustic improvements, realignments and contemporary furnishings selected in the image of existing ones, but with different textures and softer fabrics coloured in the same blue hue.

The firm redesigned the poolside bar as a permanent fixture, highlighted by a newly integrated DJ booth and a reconfigured terrace window that enables the main bar space to fully open to the pool deck. In line with the theme of establishing connections with the external surroundings, a modern communal sink was installed just outside of unisex bathroom stalls. Positioned in front of an expansive wall of windows, the sink area provides city views from the rooftop establishment.

“We set out to capture and preserve the essence of the property while enhancing its connections to SoHo and softening some of the harder edges of the original design,” concludes Sunwoo. “We’re very proud of what was a truly collaborative project, and the final result is that every major space of ModernHaus now features a dialogue between the original design and the contrasting intervention.”

Architecture Case Study

July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 29

MONTREAL MARRIOTT CHÂTEAU CHAMPLAIN

Montreal, Canada

Sid Lee Architecture

In June of 2021, Sid Lee Architecture signed off on the transformation of the Montreal Marriott Château Champlain, an emblem of Montreal’s modern heritage.

Originally designed by Quebec architects Rogers D’Astous and Jean-Paul Pothier in 1967 at the time of the world’s fair, the Château Champlain is notable for its iconic structure and technical accomplishments. Overlooking the city from the top of its 128-metre, 38-storey height, the hotel was once the tallest in Canada. Today, it continues to catch the eye of passers-by downtown with its rhythmic half-moon windows and the neo-Roman arches of Windsor station. Earning the nickname of “the cheese grater,” these window frames simulating the look of balconies were put at the core of the design narrative.

“ There is a back story on why the owners bought the hotel, a Canadian hotel legend if you will. Jack Sofer bought the hotel with his partner, Mike Yuval—the two are prominent Montreal investors. Years ago, Mike promised his wife that he would own that hotel one day. They came from very little, so it’s a sweet story unfolding over a lifetime.”

As reported by The Suburban.

DATA SHEET

LOCATION

1050 De La Gauchètiere

West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

CLIENT

Tidan Hospitality and Real Estate Group

SURFACE AREA

393,000 square feet

GENERAL CONTRACTOR

Tidan Construction

ELECTROMECHANICAL ENGINEERS

Bouthillette Parizeau

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

Roberto Nidelli, B. eng, LLB

LIGHTING CONSULTANTS

Ombrage

ART CONSULTANTS

MASSIVart

PHOTOGRAPHER

Maxime Brouillet

Architecture Case Study
PHOTOS: MAXIME BROUILLET
30 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

Architecture Case Study

July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 31

Architecture Case Study

FIRST RESTORATION

Initially undertaken following the hotel’s acquisition by the Tidan Hospitality and Real Estate Group in 2018, the restoration project represents the first major renovation of the building since its construction.

Symbolic of Quebec’s architectural heritage, not to mention being an exceptional visual landmark at the heart of the city, the Château Champlain today unveils an updated design that enhances the urban landscape offered by its variety of panoramic views. Reimagined in an elegant, timeless style, the new Château Champlain reasserts its place amongst Canada’s most eminent hotels through a renewal of its interior design that integrates the spirit of the Marriott brand.

LIKE A WINTER GARDEN

Bordered by the gardens of Place du Canada, Dorchester Square, the Old Port, and Mont-Royal, the Château Champlain enjoys an exceptional location within the city. Inspired by the uninterrupted views offered by the hotel’s interior “balconies,” the team decided to go with an original conceptual approach that highlighted the beauty of the surrounding landscape during winter.

The contrast between the characteristic cold weather and the hotel’s warm hospitality is materialized in the spatial experience through the use of organic forms, desaturated colours, and reflective finishes as well as by the use of natural materials such as wood and stone. The interiors also include many nods to the Saint Lawrence River as well as the neighbouring gardens.

PUBLIC SPACES

At the hotel’s entrance, porcelain and finely veined white stone with the appearance of icy surfaces were selected to cover the arches and floor. On the lighting fixtures and in integrated furnishings, golden accents reminiscent of bare branches punctuate the space with warm touches, aimed at evoking reflections of light on the snow. Behind the reception counter is an art piece designed by the architects, in collaboration with MASSIVart and executed by artist Pascale Girardin.

THE

PERMITS

The exclusive “M Club” accessible from the Greatroom stands in contrast to the surrounding design with its walnut wood paneling and more sombre colour selections. Prized by its members, this section includes a lounge and workspaces, as well as a dining room featuring a sophisticated, modern design that offers an elevated experience in keeping with Marriott’s highest standards.

In the public areas, certain elements were preserved—such as a picture of Samuel de Champlain himself, recalling the original designers’ fascination with this figure—in order to underscore the property’s historic foundations.

PRIVATE SPACES

Throughout its 614 rooms, the design was revamped to give the window the importance it deserves through the use of soft shapes and complementary colours. The carpeting, wall coverings, and integrating furnishings designed by the architects and produced by local company Meubles Saint-Damase adorn the rooms, evoking a sense of comfort.

Wooden openwork architectural screens evoke the ambiance of the mountain, giving way to spaces that are intimate without limiting the flow of light within the space.

The restaurant is notable for its compositional style reminiscent of the interior promenades. The subdued lighting simulating skylights tracks the progression of the sun, changing from bright light in the morning to a subdued twilight ambiance at the end of the day.

The challenge in redesigning the rooms lay in preserving their existing partitions. The room divider in the centre of each room was reconceived to create a private dressing area serving as an antechamber to the bathroom.

By keeping the skyline within view and enhancing the rooms with light, neutral tones, the visual palette now puts the accent on the multitude of views offered by the rooms, whether they face Mont-Royal, the river, the port, or downtown.

OPEN, MULTIFUNCTIONAL GREATROOM
VISITORS TO WANDER AROUND AS THEY WOULD IN THE CITY, DISCOVERING REFERENCES TO THE ORGANIC WORLD OUTSIDE IN ITS DESIGN DETAILS.
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INTEGRATION OF ART

MASSIVart collaborated with the architects for the integration of 59 works in various spaces of the Montreal Marriott Château Champlain.

Whether they are sculptures, prints, illustrations, photographs, or tapestries, all are inspired by the theme of a winter garden, each artist has made their own interpretation. The works support the architectural vision of the renovation, creating different stories linked by the same theme. The messages are conveyed not only through the visuals but also through the materials and the choice of colours.

The major works are located in the hotel lobby. One of them is a projection on a printed image by Canadian artist Sabrina Ratté. Evoking a winter landscape where a floating entity appears to be made of flesh and air, gravity and lightness—an ambiguous presence embracing its environment.

Margot Klingender’s Sunflowers is a sculpture based on the intimate observation of gardens in the Canadian artist’s neighbourhood. She mimics the irregularity of the natural world. Pascale Girardin created Drifts, a 59’ plus basrelief designed to greet guests in the lobby. Each curve was carefully shaped to emulate the generous and soft nature of a snowy blade.

Architecture Case

Study

Sid Lee Architecture was founded in 2009 through the integration of the Nomade architectural firm, Sid Lee Architecture is the product of the combined talent and skill of architects and urban designers Jean Pelland and Martin Leblanc, and the Sid Lee creative agency. Working around the world from its Montreal studios, Sid Lee Architecture has nearly 50 architects, technicians, designers, managers, and other professionals. Since 2015, Sid Lee Architecture has been part of kyu, a new collective of creative firms established by Hakuhodo DY Holdings, Asia’s second-largest network of agencies.

ABOUT THE ARCHITECTS July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 33

Entrevue: Marie Pier Germain

MARIE PIER GERMAIN is vice president of sales and marketing at Quebec-based Germain Hotels, which operates Germain and Alt Hotels from Alberta to Newfoundland and employs some 1,500 workers. She has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Queen’s University, a Master of Business Administration degree from EMBA McGill-HEC Montreal, and a Certificate of Entrepreneurship from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She’s also vice chair of the Canada Council for the Arts and serves on the board of Tourism Montreal.

Q&A

Q: How is the recovery going for your company?

A: So far, our forecasts are exceeded. Our hotel in Montreal will have its best June ever. Now, we do have 30 more rooms than we did (before the pandemic). But still, it’ll be good. We didn’t know how the year would pan out.

The pickup is strong everywhere. For us, Winnipeg is a bit difficult, but that’s a story of our property there and we’re working hard on that. St. John’s is doing well. The good news is we’re able to keep our rates. That’s a real challenge when you come out of a crisis. People in the U.S. are changing their travel plans because of inflation. That might catch up with us, but we’ve been able to maintain our rates, which is good because costs are going up as well.

There’s good growth in Toronto and good rates. That was an issue during the pandemic. A lot of our competitors were bringing their rates down. But we were able to maintain ours, so we’re quite happy with the recovery in Toronto as well.

Profile
34 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022
MARIE PIER GERMAIN

Q: What’s happening with business travel? Is that rebounding?

A: Business is picking up. My question is, “How will business travel come back? What will be the new business travel?” There will be business travel for sure. We’re hearing a lot about “bleisure,” people extending their work trips to leisure trips.

I would say business and leisure travel are evening out. For a while we only had weekends. Now Tuesdays and Wednesdays are back to what they were. We don’t have the peaks and valleys we had the last two years. But it’s not the same companies that are travelling now. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are travelling, but some of the big companies aren’t right now.

Q: Why is that?

A: I think it’s a combination of being risk averse and being hungry for business. They (smaller businesses and entrepreneurs) are realizing that to do business you need to have those face-to-face meetings, and the risk is maybe not as big a factor for them as it is for some bigger companies. Also, the big employers aren’t bringing back their people. Hydro Quebec says they’re only bringing their workers to the office one day a month.

Q: It seems we have shortages of everything from restaurant workers to lifeguards in Canada. Is staffing an issue for you?

A: Yes. We had to let go of so many people. Is it just people that are retired and not in the workforce anymore because they’ve retired? I don’t know. For us, it’s very difficult. Quebec City is worse and has been for the last two years. Quebec City has very low unemployment. It’s difficult when we’re competing with the government for jobs.

Q: A top official in Vancouver told me recently that they can’t have full occupancy at hotels as they don’t have enough workers. Is that the case for Germain hotels?

A: Yes. It’s a problem in Quebec City. In Charlevoix/Baie St.

Paul we’re working with international temporary workers. The issue we had last year, however, is that it takes time to get permits and do the labour impact assessments. It can take up to nine months for someone to come to Canada. That’s really no good. But people in the agriculture industry can have people come within two months, and the laws are different for them. It makes it difficult to plan that far ahead. This summer is better in Charlevoix. But we couldn’t sell all our rooms last year as we didn’t have staff. It wasn’t just cleaners, but service workers and people in the kitchen. It’s across every department.

Q: We’ve come out of the pandemic, I hope. How do you think hotels have changed in Canada in the past two years?

A: I think we expected things to be much more different in terms of (customers) expectations. But they’re not really. People are expecting things to be back to how they were. You know how we stopped doing service daily because we didn’t have the staff and people didn’t want us to go into their room during the pandemic. That did not continue as we anticipated. They’re coming back and they’re expecting full service. Some people have changed their habits. But valet parking, and all the things we used to do, they expect to have those services again.

We’re ramping up, but when all of a sudden occupancy jumps from 30 to 60 per cent like it did, there’s a lot of catching up. (laughs). We’re not complaining because we’re happy to have people back.

Q: Are things moving ahead with other Germain hotels in Canada?

A: In Calgary, we’re moving ahead (with an Alt hotel near the University of Calgary). Construction is starting again. It should open in 2023; maybe the spring or perhaps later. There aren’t any other projects I’m able to talk about right now.

Profile
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 35

CANADA IS FOOLISH TO SNUB INTERNATIONAL GRADUATE STUDENTS AND SCHOLARS

KATRINA PLAMONDON

University of British Columbia

MELISA VALVERDE

MPH candidate

Memorial University of Newfoundland

SUSAN J. ELLIOTT

Professor and University

Research Chair in Medical Geography

University of Waterloo

IN JANUARY 2017, Donald Trump, then president of the United States, barred entry to the U.S. of people from predominantly Muslim countries.

In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauded Canada as an open and welcoming nation.

But some criticized Trudeau’s #WelcomeToCanada tweet, calling it virtue signalling and saying it offered false hope and perpetuated a disingenuous portrayal of the Canadian immigration practices.

Despite Trudeau’s words of welcome and the general public’s perception of Canada as a friendly and welcoming place, many people trying to come to our country find themselves facing distinctly unwelcoming realities.

VISITING STUDENTS

Canadian universities host thousands of visiting students every year. Many of them arrive from low- and middle-income countries to bring diversity, talent and knowledge to communities across the country, as well as helping create an economic boon, according to a report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

The report highlights the immense impacts of severe delays at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Canada (IRCC) on graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Advocacy
36 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

Between 2016 and 2020, more than half a million people were turned down for study permits to Canada.

Many of these exceptional individuals were already qualified and accepted into leading programs and often sponsored under Canadian research grants and scholarships. These bright minds likely chose to continue their studies elsewhere or not at all. IRCC refusals of study permits and visas are a tragedy for them and a big loss for Canada.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, processing times for international student permits have more than doubled. Instead of the standard 60 days, students from some regions experience delays of more than 200 days.

These delays are occurring even for people already living and studying in Canada, who are simply applying for standard, allowable and encouraged postgraduate work.

Students from low- and middleincome countries like Nigeria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are experiencing exceptionally long delays, revealing patterns of systemic discrimination and racism.

A staggering 69 per cent of African students, particularly from francophone countries, were rejected in comparison to the average refusal rate of 41 per cent for students from non-African countries. Refusal rates were even higher for students from Ethiopia (88 per cent), Ghana (82 per cent) and Rwanda (81 per cent).

Students purposefully recruited to Canadian universities—often as part of strategies that align with governmental immigration strategies—find themselves suddenly facing illogical visa rejections and delays.

This places them at a great disadvantage, generating and exacerbating inequities. People living in underserved regions of the world with fewer processing centres

face long travel distances to provide Canadian authorities with the required biometrics and often bear excessive costs to duplicate documentation deemed “expired” before their applications are processed.

CONSISTENT INEQUITY, DISCRIMINATION

Members of the University Advisory Council of the Canadian Association for Global Health, representing 25 member universities across Canada, find consistent inequities and discrimination are affecting their capacity to partner, support and engage with scholars from around the world.

During a recent discussion on the impacts of visa delays and rejections on students and postdoctoral fellows, our members described an opaque and unpredictable system, with egregiously discriminatory visa refusals for students from low- and middle-income countries. That’s in stark contrast to those seeking entry to Canada from high-income countries like the United States or Australia.

Advocacy
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 37

Advocacy

Inconsistency from the IRCC makes it impossible to predict or advise applicants, creates a strain on systems through wasted time and duplicated efforts and severely impacts the research programs of top Canadian researchers, inside and outside universities.

For graduate students and fellows already studying in Canada, the delays are creating fear and anxiety, and restricting freedom to travel due to risk of the refusal of re-entry.

Long stretches of waiting for responses from IRCC threaten their income and access to basic benefits like health and child care because, without a valid visa or study permit, universities cannot process their scholarship or employment payments.

The toll on the Canadian research ecosystem cannot be understated, not to mention the crippling impacts on people left in precarious and life-altering limbo while they wait for their fate to be determined by an unpredictable, undisclosed bureaucratic decisionmaking process only understood by those inside the system.

CANADA MUST DO BETTER

While the IRCC has put in place employee training and other initiatives to address racism and bias in its ranks, evidence suggests there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Given Canada’s history of racism and discrimination in its immigration policies, ensuring equitable policies and practices requires greater degrees of transparency and accountability than currently exist.

CALL TO ACTION

As co-chairs of the Canadian Association for Global Health’s University Advisory Council, we fully support the 35 recommendations submitted by the Standing Committee on Citizens and Immigration in its May 2022 report.

Echoing the report’s urgency and a call for:

1. The elimination of overt anti-African racism in current processes;

2. Transparency about decisions and reasons for refusals;

3. The creation of an immediate mechanism to grant students and postdoctoral fellows already in Canada a grace period while the backlog at IRCC is resolved.

International students are not only ideal candidates for settlement in Canada, they’re also vital to Canada’s prosperity.

Canada faces more than a million job vacancies and a shrinking population. The standing committee’s report makes clear that successful integration and retention of international students is key to filling labour shortages, including in rural and remote areas, tackling Canada’s demographic decline and meeting the federal government’s French-speaking population targets.

As Canada prepares to host the international AIDS 2022 conference in Montreal—convening more than 20,000 scholars, activists and students from around the world—our global reputation is becoming one of bureaucratic red tape and closed doors. We can, and must, do better.

This article is republished from The Conversation.

KATRINA PLAMONDON

is an assistant professor and Michael Smith health research scholar, with a research focus on advancing equity, at the University of British Columbia. She receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, and Michael Smith Health Research BC. She co-chairs the University Advisory Council of the Canadian Association for Global Health.

MELISA VALVERDE is a master of public health student from Memorial University, completing a summer practicum with the Canadian Association for Global Health and its University Advisory Council.

SUSAN J. ELLIOTT is a professor and university research chair in Medical Geography at the University of Waterloo. She receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She co-chairs the University Advisory Council of the Canadian Association of Global Health.

38 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

Larose Guyon collection

sheds light on the Abysse

Larose Guyon has launched Abysse, a sea-inspired lighting collection capturing nature’s splendour in intricate textures, shapes, and finishes. After a full year of development, Abysse is the latest addition to the poetic line of creations from Larose Guyon, a boutique studio distinguished by its artisanry and exquisite designs of timeless, sculptural works.

Each globe in the Abysse collection is hand-blown by a glass artisan in Montreal. Inside each primary globe, an urchin-inspired, flaked inner glass globe highlights the studio’s artisanship. The inner globe creates an intriguing seabed illusion, which is further enhanced by the presence of two incongruent brass ball attachments that appear to float like pearls.

Illumination is provided courtesy of an external source mounted on the outer edge of each primary globe, firing light through the attached internal globe and magnifying its luminosity throughout. Once illuminated, reflections generated within the globes bring them to life, like holograms.

The warmly lit globes are complemented by bold elements with dark, aged brass textures, chosen to replicate the appearance of ocean-aged oxidation. A brass ceiling plate facilitates Abysse’s centralized wiring, while multiple ceiling-suspended chains, encased in brass tubing, enable the spreading of its configurations while mimicking the texture of ropes enveloped in seaweed.

Collection: Abysse

Designer: Larose Guyon

Launch: May 26, 2022

Configuration: 3, 5 or 8 globes in 2 sizes

Materials and finishes: dark aged brass, hand textured metal, textured hand blown glass, aged brass chain laroseguyon.com

MAY WE
PRODUCTS SERVICES EQUIPMENT RECOMMEND
July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 39

CANARY TECHNOLOGIES

Digital credit card authorization solution

Germain Hotels has made Canary Technologies Digital Credit Card Authorization Solution the standard across all its properties.

Owners and operators of Le Germain Hotels, Alt Hotels and Escad Hotels across Canada—Germain Hotels is ranked as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies.

With Canary’s Digital Authorizations solution, Germain Hotels properties will be able to send 3rd-party guests a unique link so they can enter their credit card information through a PCIcompliant and secure online interface, instead of filling out paper or PDF credit card authorization forms. Each hotel will also have access to Canary’s comprehensive anti-fraud software and dashboard to keep track of each guest’s digital authorization online.

Canary’s Digital Authorizations solution is fully compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards that all businesses must adhere to if they

capture, process, transmit, or store credit or debit card information. Since most paper credit card authorization forms are not PCI compliant, Canary’s Digital Authorizations product gives operators a more secure solution that provides a better, more streamlined overall guest experience.

Canary’s Digital Authorizations also helps merchants avoid the errors and fraud often associated with the process of collecting credit card information on paper forms.

“PCI compliance and fraud reductions were a driver for this technology implementation, but as always our top priority is the guest experience,” said Charles Bureau, vice president of IT at Germain Hotels. “Canary has deep experience and a great reputation in this area, and our evaluation found that the company provides a solid solution with measurable impact. That’s why we’re implementing Canary across all of our properties.” canarytechnologies.com

MOBILEFIRST REVENUE SOLUTION, CHOICEMAX

Choice Hotels International has collaborated with IDeaS, a SAS company to drive franchisee revenue growth across its global enterprise. Working with Choice Hotels, IDeaS developed ChoiceMax, a mobile-first revenue management solution. As an automated, advanced tool, ChoiceMax continuously adapts to changes in the market using real-time data to help ensure hotels are always priced competitively.

IDeaS’ mobile app empowers franchisees to more effectively manage channels, rates and inventory by adapting to local market trends in real time through repricing and competitive rate-shopping— anytime, anywhere.

IDeaS aims to ensure fast rollout times through simplified, plug-and-play implementations and to drive high rates of franchisee adoption through easy-to-use functionality and ongoing user education and support.

The enhanced capabilities have helped contribute to franchisees of Choice Hotels taking significant RevPAR index share, specifically helping drive ADR index gains.

Douglas Lisi, vice president of revenue management, Choice Hotels, said:

“Franchisees are at the core of everything Choice Hotels does, and we are committed to helping them along the road to economic recovery and beyond. This is why we’ve launched our new revenue management system, ChoiceMAX powered by IDeaS, to help our hotels optimize their pricing structure and ultimately increase revenue production.” ideas.com

40 | staymagazine.ca | July August 2022

Canadian hospitality prof pens new book

Gabor

, professor emeritus at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) is the author of “A Hotelier” published by Friesenpress. Forgacs has taught at the university for over 26 years. Before that, he taught at the University of Guelph. He once served as manager at Four Seasons Hotel, Inn on the Park, Toronto, Ont. He was president and general manager for Hotel Rege in Budapest from 1982 to 1988.

Gabor Forgacs grew up in Budapest, Hungary. He worked as a bellboy, a waiter and as a front desk concierge before he gradually became a hotelier there during the 1970s. That was a lucrative career at the time. He worked his way up to the top and became the general manager of a three-star full-service hotel in Budapest. He was 38 and already an accomplished hotelier when he immigrated with his wife and two small children to Toronto, Canada. There he worked at The Inn on the Park, a Four Seasons Hotel for nearly two years before he switched to academia and became an associate professor at Ryerson University. He taught hospitality management courses, presented at international conferences and published papers in international journals. Gabor is

also a textbook author; his book Revenue Management. Maximizing Revenue in Hospitality Operations published by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute is used by educators and practitioners in dozens of countries all over the world. In his memoir, he shares with the readers the most memorable stories from his time at hotel operations. He also provides readers with an entertaining insight into the world of hotels.

‘A Hotelier’ by Gabor Forgacs

From the publisher: If you’ve ever stayed or worked at a hotel, this book will take you to familiar places. The journey of an international hotelier is told through several stories, offering a peek behind the scenes. It also paints a picture of life in socialist Hungary in the decades before the collapse of the East-European communist regimes. How did the Archbishop of Canterbury get into the back seat of a beat-up old Lada for a ride on narrow country roads to visit the

Abbey of Tihany, Hungary? What was a most genuine solution improvised by the night manager, when the highest-ranked executives of the largest Canadian bank held a private year-end party at a suite of a Toronto hotel and ran out of beer past the last call? How did a return guest get walked on an oversold night to another hotel after the hotel ran out of rooms? How was sleeping on a couch sold for a night in the elevator lobby of a hotel? What happened when a special cake for a corporate convention was dropped and ruined by accident in the middle of the night? These stories and others take readers on a trip across continents and into the life of a professional hotelier who spent decades in operations; with vivid descriptions of Budapest life in the 1970s and 80s.

For more information about “A Hotelier” visit Friesenpress

July August 2022 | staymagazine.ca | 41
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