STAY Magazine Vol. 3 Issue 1

Page 1

INFLUENTIAL designers Ian Rolston & Sabine Grimes are worth their salt

The METAVERSE will change industry, are hotel businesses ready?

The Ethos of Hospitality with William Murray

immigration POLICY BARRIERS

Overcoming

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2023

Editor-in-Chief Stacey Newman stacey@staymagazine.ca Director of Sponsorship & Advertising

Mike Egan mike@staymagazine.ca

Art Director Jayesh Bhagat jayesh-bhagat.com

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

Jan/Feb 2023 Volume 3 Issue 1 staymagazine.ca Visit us online staymagazine.ca Twitter @StayMagazineCA Instagram staymagazine.ca LinkedIn Stay Magazine
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January/February 2023 CONTENTS On the Cover Ian Rolston, DESIGNER Decanthrophy Photographer: Stacey Newman 4 Editor’s Note 5 Immigration Policy Overcoming the real barrier to resolving our labour shortage 10 In Conversation William Murray on the ethos of hospitality 14 Design INFLUENTIAL: Interior designers Sabine Grimes and Ian Rolston are worth their salt 22 INNSIGHTS Hotel Capital Connection 2023 26 Tech The Metaverse will change industry, are hotel businesses ready? 32 Revenue Building a sustained revenue strategy in 2023—and beyond 36 Futurism The 9 most futuristic high-tech hotels in the world 41 Intelligence Hospitality Recovers in 2022 Canadian Accommodation Market – Year in Review 51 May We Recommend The latest in hotel technology products and services 36 22 The METAVERSE will change industry, are hotel businesses ready? The Ethos of Hospitality with William Murray Building sustained revenue strategy in 2023—and beyond Overcoming immigration JANUARY FEBRUARY 2023 14

Technology, architecture and design

How do we define “high tech” in 2023? How does technology contribute to and affect Canadian hotel businesses, suppliers, employees, and guests?

What does the evolution of technology and the ways we use it mean for the near future?

How does technology change/inform/influence human behaviour and vice versa? How does the human experience inspire evolutions in tech?

How do these variables affect the design, architecture and construction of new hotels and meeting spaces? And why?

We’re complicated beings as are the relationships we build and maintain with our environment, the machines we use, and the spaces we inhabit. The last few years have changed us and the industry.

On the pages in this issue, you’re invited to visit the past for the origins of the ethos of hospitality. You will learn about the Metaverse and its potential to change hospitality and the nature of travel. You’ll find a list of the world’s most futuristic hotels.

We bring you intelligence from Cushman & Wakefield’s Canadian Accommodation Market – Year in Review and the Year Ahead. You’ll also find sound advice on building a sustained revenue strategy in 2023.

Our stories are written to spark curiosity; to offer unique, interesting angles and perspectives on topical themes for Canadian hoteliers and industry stakeholders.

Do you have ideas or questions?

Send me your feedback and pitches to stacey@staymagazine.ca, I’d love to hear from you.

Sincerely,

EDITOR’S NOTE
4 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

THE FEDS’ LATEST IMMIGRATION POLICY CHANGES AND WHAT THIS MEANS FOR HOTELIERS

Hoteliers aren’t always gushing when it comes to talking about federal government policies. But they’re positively giddy about new initiatives that Ottawa has announced to ease the industry’s significant labour shortage.

The Trudeau government in December launched the 2023 International Experience Canada Program, which will allow a hearty 20 per cent increase in the number of international youths who can travel and work in Canada. That means nearly 90,000 potential workers for hotels across the country according to Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

The government also announced a temporary, two-year measure that will expand work permit eligibility to spouses, common-law partners, and working-age dependents of temporary workers across skill levels from January 2023. The phased approach began with those with work permits through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program in January.

The new, wider policy will include families of workers in the hospitality industry, as well as health care and other fields. Officials said the measure would impact around 200,000 foreign workers and their family members, thus providing a larger pool of potential staff for Canadian hotels and other businesses. If one-quarter of temporary foreign workers

Immigration Policy
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 5
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Immigration Policy

brought a family member into the country to work, it would mean another 50,000 eligible people that the industry could choose from.

“Anything to assist the labour market shortage in the tourism/hospitality industry is a very positive initiative,” said Robert Housez, general manager at the Chelsea Hotel Toronto. “The Chelsea Hotel has utilized the International Experience Canada program for several years as a way to recruit students from France, England and Austria.

“It’s an easy program to navigate for both the employer and the student,” Housez said. “We continue to be committed to welcoming our international students and providing them with an excellent learning experience second to none.”

“The expansion of the temporary worker to include families is a great initiative to support the labour shortage,” he continued. “Many of the temporary workers are hired during the busiest times of the year.”

“The hotel sector’s biggest challenge coming out of the pandemic has been rebuilding our workforce, and we’re not there yet,” said Adrienne Foster, vice-president, policy and public affairs at the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). “We’re an industry with half of our employees under the age

of 35. So, in that context, the expansion of a youth-oriented program like International Experience Canada is absolutely good news.”

Foster told STAY magazine that the timing is especially great as hotels are starting to hire young people for next summer; a critical year for the tourism industry to get back on its feet.

“This is another example of the momentum we see on our key policy asks,” she said.

Writing on her Twitter feed, HAC president Susie Grynol called the workers announcement “amazing news.”

“Thank you for hearing us,” she wrote. “This will help so many of our members. We look forward to welcoming a new generation of young tourism and hospitality workers, and showcasing what Canada has to offer.”

The changes for temporary foreign workers also are immensely important, adds Foster.

“In a lot of cases hotels have fantastic stories of families coming together, so that’s huge for us,” Foster said. “In April the government singled out hotels as one of very few priority

Adrienne Foster Hotel Association of Canada Robert Housez The Chelsea Hotel Susie Grynol Hotel Association of Canada Don Cleary Marriott Hotels Canada Beth Potter Tourism Industry Association of Canada Jennifer Melanson Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Randy Boissonnault Minister of tourism & associate minister of finance
6 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023
Sean Fraser Minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship

sectors whose cap for temporary foreign workers was raised to 30 per cent of the workforce (from 10 per cent).

“It’s absolutely significant,” she continued. “In a lot of these cases, the family members are already in Canada; they just don’t have a work permit. So, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Foster noted some family members might have more hospitality experience than students.

“There are labour shortages at all levels and in all positions in hotels across the country. So those temporary foreign workers who do have spouses or family members will be a fantastic addition to our sector.

“Those workers who want to come to Canada and do those incredibly important jobs are such a great addition to our country and make a great addition to the communities they live in.

“We’re seeing immigration levels being increased, more flexibility to provinces for the Provincial Nominee Program, and we’re seeing a big increase in additional spending for processing on immigration,” Foster said. “Overall, we’re seeing a lot of good signs, good momentum and encouraging signs from the government. But, of course, we’re not back to our

Immigration Policy

pre-pandemic workforce levels, so we have a lot more work to do.”

Jennifer Melanson, regional director of talent & culture for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Canada’s Western Mountain Region said she’s excited to see the International Experience Canada program opening up to 20 per cent more applicants.

“We are appreciative of the continued improvements to assist the tourism and hospitality industry with labour shortages. Our region has always been an attractive destination to international youth for work and travel, and the boost to this program will benefit the visitor economy as well as strengthen cultural diversity in our work environment.”

“We are especially pleased with the government’s decision to expand the eligibility for work permits to family members accompanying the principal applicant,” Melanson added.

“We appreciate how difficult it has been for many of our employees to leave their families behind while coming to work with us, and this measure will offer better mental, physical, and financial health for the entire family unit.”

"We are very pleased to learn of the Canadian government’s decisions to extend work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers and expand the International

January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 7

Immigration Policy

Experience Canada Program,” said Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada, Marriott International. "The current labour shortage has been an ongoing challenge for the hospitality sector. We are continuously seeking passionate individuals to join this exciting and rewarding industry, and these changes will allow us to introduce more associates with diverse backgrounds.

“Foreign workers and students play an important role in the success of the hospitality industry and we are excited to collaborate with the Hotel Association of Canada to ensure our hotels and resorts are actively recruiting from within Canada and abroad,” he said.

As welcome as the student and temporary foreign worker announcements are, they’re still a “stopgap,” HAC’s Foster said.

“A lot of what HAC is working on … is longer-term changes to immigration,” she said in a telephone interview. “We’re working really hard with the government to make sure the rules for getting into Canada are better aligned with the occupations that need to be filled.”

Foster said there are no areas of Canada that have been spared from the struggle to find hotel staff.

“Each community has a different challenge. A resort community; sometimes it’s harder to get people to move out to a more remote location. Urban hotels are having difficulty with commuting times for some of their employees.”

“Labour is the number 1 challenge facing Canada’s tourism sector as we position ourselves for post-pandemic growth,” Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism and associate minister of finance, stated when the temporary foreign workers rule change was announced. “Today, our government is bringing in innovative, family-based solutions to resolve this issue and help our tourism partners grow to meet the global demand for Canadian experiences from coast to coast to coast.”

“As the national voice and champion of the industry, representing tourism businesses from coast to coast to coast, we are thrilled to hear of the news that the Government of Canada has launched the 2023 International Experience Canada Program with an increase in the number of

8 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

applicants who can apply,” said Beth Potter, president & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. “Nearly 90,000 candidates will be able to work and travel in Canada as part of this program, helping our tourism employers fill critical labour gaps, particularly with seasonal opportunities.”

"Our government is helping more international youth to work and travel in Canada, effectively helping employers, most of those in the tourism industry, find the workers they need,” said Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship. “By giving youth the opportunity of international travel and work experience, we are strengthening our economy and helping our businesses succeed, particularly in places like Banff that need seasonal help."

"We're going to make sure you continue to have access to the labour you need, not just to stay open as we continue to see visitors coming back, but to thrive going forward," Fraser told hotel and tourism officials in Banff when the announcement was made about the student quota being increased.

Karli Fleury, of the Banff and Lake Louise Hospitality Association, told the CBC she hopes the federal government will consider other changes, such as allowing visa holders more time in the country so they might consider permanent residency.

Banff and other Canadian resort areas are known for hiring a lot of Australians and New Zealanders, especially in winter. Karli told the network that at least a third of the local industry's workforce has traditionally come from the International Experience Canada program and other temporary foreign worker initiatives.

Canada issued some 645,000 work permits between January and October of 2022. That’s roughly four times as many as the 163,000 work permits issued in the first eight months of the previous year.

Immigration Policy
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 9

THE ETHOS OF HOSPITALITY

Remembering our place within the larger tapestry and history of service.

PANDEMICS. RECESSIONS. TALENT SHORTAGES. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of moving parts at the moment for hospitality professionals. It has been a very trying time as of late.

Significant energy is invested every day into key operational issues, addressing a collection of immediate and semiimmediate questions. Will occupancy continue to return in 2023 and by how much? How long can the leisure market continue to over-perform from prepandemic levels? Will boosts in RevPAR that have been driven by rate integrity remain consistent throughout the coming year or are leisure rates likely to settle back down as pent-up travel demands cool? Not to mention the giant elephant that has taken up residence within the larger room through the industry—will we have enough talent to meet the growing consumer demand?

In times like these, we can become a little short-sighted, focusing on the achievable, actionable tasks immediately in front of us. This is not a slight—the business landscape is very intense at the moment! There are a lot of hurdles close at hand to be managed, and hospitality professionals are trained to work problems and find solutions, repeating this every day.

During this continual cycle of disruption and repair, it can be incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the mechanics of our short-term grind. Our focus can

10 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023
Clytaemnestra, John Collier, 1882

become myopic, so centred on the trees that we forget all about the forest.

It happens innocently enough. While people are busy doing their jobs, one new hurdle moves into another set of novel challenges. This month’s projections get hit with yet another unexpected set of twists and turns that we need to manage. Soon enough, we have lost sight of the BIG picture.

Not the “bigger” picture, like drafting quarterly strategy plans, planning for property development, contemplating acquisitions, or even future shareholder value. Those “bigger” picture tactics are already deeply ingrained into our operational toolbox and embedded into our modern business DNA. To me, those are high-level functional skills.

I am referring here to the BIG picture of hospitality. The landscape of our industry. Our core driving values and reasons for being. Our first principles, if you will, upon which everything else is built.

Industry leaders and properties operators, the collective “we” of our time, may hold the mantle of leading the hospitality field at this moment and in this time, but our industry and vocation run thousands of years deep. “We” are part of an extremely long line of hospitality custodians, a timeline of hospitality caregivers who have taken up the generational role to provide value and care for guests.

To maintain the ethos of hospitality.

Decisions made by hospitality operators today are built upon foundations created millennia ago. There is clear evidence of this. We know the earliest laws that stipulated a hotelier’s duty of care to their guest were found in the Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian text carved into a massive stone pillar dating back to 1750 BC. The ethos of hospitality is found again and again throughout cultural mythologies and within ancient artifacts.

Let me share a couple of examples

Dramatist and playwright Aeschylus is widely considered to be one of the founders of Greek tragedy, establishing the basic rules constituting the tragic drama style. His work is powerfully insightful on the views of hospitality, even though only seven of his plays still exist from a portfolio estimated at ten times that size.

In The Libation Bearers, the second offering within The Oresteia trilogy (circa 458 BC), Aeschylus frequently surfaces the sacred relationships that existed in Greek mythology surrounding hospitality between guest and host.

Within that play, Clytaemnestra explains to her unknown visitor that it is quite natural, even expected, for her to provide great care and comfort to her guests. It would be rude to even

inquire about their name and identity before proper hospitality is provided to them. She offers this mysterious person a comfortable bed, food, and a warm bath because the ethos of hospitality is paramount and “the eyes of Justice look on all we do” [Line 652].

The eyes that Aeschylus refers to here belong to the Greek gods. Providing care and respect for guests was synonymous with demonstrating justice in their eyes. Disregarding the duties of providing rich hospitality would be to break a sacred covenant with the gods.

The twist in this story is that the disguised visitor was her estranged son, Orestes, returning to enact vengeance on Clytaemnestra for her role in the death of his father, Agamemnon (it is a Greek dramatic tragedy after all). Yet despite his anger and plans for retribution, Orestes expresses great respect for the incredible care and kindness shown by Clytaemnestra, noting “Where can we find more kindness than (in) the ties that bind the guest and host?” [Lines 702-3]

Because at the core of the ethos of hospitality are the ties that bind us together, the emotional connections that exist when we are in service to others.

The Greeks encapsulated this concept of hospitality within a single word: xenia.

In Conversation
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 11

Xenia, or “guest-friendship,” was understood to be a reciprocal exchange which demonstrated humility and piety towards all guests, particularly strangers. These ritualized friendships between strangers were observed with food, lodging, and care. They were valued customs considered to be moral obligations.

The epic poet Homer also heavily surfaced the philosophy of xenia. Many references can be found within his epic poem The Odyssey, written some 400 years earlier than Aeschylus’ drama. It is hardly surprising that a poem chronicling Odysseus’ 10-year circuitous journey back home to Ithaca following the Trojan War would hold numerous tales of hospitality.

In one instance, young Eteoneus informs King Menelaus of Sparta that two strangers have arrived at the doors of the city. Eteoneus asked what should be done with them. King Menelaus immediately mentors the younger on living their duty of xenia, stating, “Just think of all the hospitality we have enjoyed at the hand of other men before we made it home [...] Quick, unhitch their team. And bring them in, strangers—guests—to share our flowing feast.” [VI, Lines 38-42]

Menelaus understands his duty and the dictates of proper custom to first provide care and hospitality for others. The first principles of hospitality have always concentrated on having compassion for others. Seeing and feeling their problems—whether this is shelter, sustenance, or sanctuary—and electing to be in service. It is a combination of internal drivers, both a duty to others and the desire to be in service, to play our role as the custodians of xenia.

The Greeks also had a word to describe one’s ability to notice, recognize, and even imagine the needs of others— empatheia. Translated to English, the word is empathy.

In his 1995 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence, internationally renowned psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman classified empathy as one of the five core pillars of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to read emotions in others, to sense and understand their needs, and have the desire to provide care for them.

Consider having someone stay as a guest in your home. You would put effort into nicely setting up the guest room, having refreshments at hand, laying out fresh towels, and even providing a few extra hangers in the wardrobe. You would do this because all of those small acts of kindness emotionally resonate with your guest. They will feel warm, wanted, and welcomed. According to Goleman, empathy is the linchpin of performing compassionate acts.

Hospitality has always been filled with emotional connections and compassion. Care and comfort. Yet, when extraordinary pressures arise in our daily operations, whether externally from an ongoing pandemic or internally through the quest to meet socially constructed business metrics, the ability to remember that ours is a tradition of “guest-friendship” can sometimes get lost in the mix. It’s not hard to misplace this idea.

The compassionate act is not a line item on our operating statement, nor is empathy an asset on our balance sheet. We can drift away from the BIG

In Conversation
12 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

picture when pressures force our heads down and push our concentration toward smaller tasks that may well have short-term benefits but can sacrifice compassion for compensation.

Thankfully, living the ethos of hospitality is alive. It can be found today in many modern stewards of service.

For example, Sean Billing, operating partner at the Frontenac Club in Kingston, Ont. shared his first principles of hospitality and leadership with me in a recent conversation. In his words, “I’ve always believed that at the heart of being a truly great leader is empathy, which is not just the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes, but it’s the desire to do it. Knowing what to do and actually being passionate about doing it are two really different things.”

Empathic concern blends both the emotional response to be compassionate with the desire to act on those feelings. Embodying the tenets of the “guest-friendship” concept of xenia, Sean continually challenges his team about how they can put guests at the heart of everything they do and then empowers them to demonstrate their passions and care in each human interaction.

Achieving a level of profitability and maintaining fiscal health are critical for all hospitality operations. Those in the service industry were amongst the hardest hit by the impacts of the recent pandemic. Our focus was pivoted to operational viability for a while, out of pure necessity. Concentrating on the trees was a matter of daily survival.

The storm has passed for now and we must re-evaluate whether or not we are focusing on the proper targets moving

forward. Because let’s be honest. While maintaining rate integrity may sound great in the boardroom and look good on monthly operational reports, it has never once in the history of hospitality enhanced relationships with customers or inspired brand loyalty.

Relationships and loyalty are built by passionately caring for others and intentionally choosing to take care of them with humility. Of solving their problems while making them feel warm and welcomed.

Business levels are returning. Rate integrity is strong. The performance levels for many hotels are returning to, if not exceeding, pre-pandemic levels. All of this took grit, a lot of tough decisions, and a great deal of perseverance. Now is the time to step back and look at the forest. At the BIG picture.

Asking ourselves how we can operate from a framework of xenia and through a perspective of empatheia. As Mandy Farmer, president and CEO of Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, shared so clearly with me, “You know, if this (hospitality) is just for making money? Boooo… boring. My ambition is to grow our happiness. It is to radically enrich lives.”

Remember that we are the mantlebearers of hospitality at this moment in time but as part of a very rich tradition and an extremely large tapestry of service that extends thousands of years behind us. Our duty is to continue moving the ethos of hospitality forward.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Murray is passionate about service, the hospitality industry, and the human experiences found therein. He is an associate professor at the University of Guelph in the School of Hospitality, Food & Tourism Management at the Lang School of Business & Economics.

Murray is an award-winning hospitality educator with over 22 years of experience teaching courses in hospitality operations management, strategy, marketing, and organizational behaviour at both colleges and universities across Canada. He is the creator and host of The Service Center podcast, exploring the journeys and insights of experts and leaders within the hospitality industry.

Murray’s research focuses on workforce sustainability and the human condition of workers. He has presented his work both nationally and internationally, and his research has been published in top journals including Sustainability, the International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, the Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality and Tourism, and Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Before his career as an educator, Murray honed his hospitality management skills, working with top companies including Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts, along with numerous independent restaurants.

William earned his Ph.D. in management from Saint Mary’s University. He holds an MBA in Tourism Management from the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Carleton University, and a diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Algonquin College.

The Service Center podcast: theservicecenter.buzzsprout.com uoguelph.ca

In Conversation
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 13
UNISON Group 14 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

INFLUENTIAL INTERIOR DESIGNERS SABINE GRIMES AND IAN ROLSTON ARE WORTH THEIR SALT

By my estimation, the designers of physical spaces and things are philosophers disguised as visual artists. They’re powerful yet reflexive influencers. Their concepts come together to command the ways we move through and occupy structures and spaces where we work, live, visit and play.

Designers are as knowledgeable and skilled about constructs as they are at construction. They could be described as truth seekers and truth tellers; simultaneously self-centred and altruistic, and necessarily so. I’m generalizing, of course, and aggrandizing a little bit, but for good reason. We live in a business culture where profits are paramount. And that’s good according to two prominent Canadian designers. Making money—being commercially successful—can be good for everyone and the environment. These should not be competing objectives. In point of fact, they aren’t. The space between profits and good-for-all is where these designers spend most of their time innovating and building.

Within their locales, hotels are often the nucleus of their surrounding communities. Hotels are hubs, employers, buyers of local services and products, and economic engines. They are man-made environments that serve all of the people that use and inhabit them, as well as serving as revenue streams. This is a notion-turned-mandate shared by several global hospitality leaders last year including Accor’s Sébastien Bazin, Marriott Hotels' Don Cleary, Choice’s Brian Leon, and Hotel Zed’s Mandy Farmer among others.

The designers who envision, plan, coordinate and create hotels—our spaces in general—are architects of human behaviour and movement.

Sabine Grimes and Ian Rolston are Canadian designers who are recognized among Canada’s best, most innovative and most successful. Both were panellists/keynote speakers at the recently held Interior Design Show Toronto, which is where I met with them (IDS Toronto 2023). Grimes and Rolston work in hospitality, community real estate and other sectors. Their respective projects are as philosophical as they are practical, and proven to be profitable.

January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 15

Design

SABINE GRIMES

* ARIDO, NCIDQ, LEED AP

Principal at UNISON Group

unisongroup.ca

PRIOR EXPERIENCE

Design Director

Great Gulf

Design Manager

Starbucks

Senior Designer / Project Manager

Burdifilek

Designer

KPMB Architects

Designer

Yabu Pushelberg

Sabine Grimes, UNISON Group
16 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

Sabine Grimes is the founder and principal at UNISON Group. Her firm is a collective of skilled studio members, many with an architectural or fine arts background and practice in hospitality, residential and experiential design. Grimes says that UNISON leads with empathy in its work with cross-functional teams, and its designs serve to represent shared values and aspirations.

“Life is short. At the end of the day, it's not just work, it's the process, too. It's my whole life. You have to make every part of it enjoyable. Every phone call, every email, the execution on site, seeing design well-received, that's what resonates with me,” says Grimes.

She comes from a rural area in Chelsea, Quebec. She grew up around the arts in nearby Ottawa and she was greatly influenced by nature and the woods of her rural community.

Understanding the beauty of the harmony within her natural environment would fundamentally influence her work. Grimes studied art but she was driven by the practical, and being able to get paid for her work was also important. “I aspired to do something difficult. For me, design is applied art—which is everything that you know and care about,” she explains. This included making a paycheck, and being commercially successful is an ambition that Grimes states unapologetically.

Grimes gravitated to the multifaceted world of architecture and design “because it includes construction, art, planning, nature and the built environment, and it's about human need. So, it's fundamental to all of our lives,” she says.

Grimes says she wouldn’t be running her own firm successfully were it not for her experience in the eight firms she also worked for. “The reality is that if you lean in, try to do your best, and take time to learn, sometimes you outgrow the environment. I've always wanted to have my own firm since my first job working for someone else. But there's a time and a place for everything. I don't think I could've done that without all of the mentors and the people that have paved the way through the industry to set me up where I am now.” She was once told that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, a sentiment she still shares with UNISON designers. She believes that projects are ultimately about listening, and relationships.

Grimes has worked on hotel projects in Canada and around the world. What are her thoughts regarding design + Canadian hotels in today’s world? She says that hospitality in Canada has been a challenge compared to the work UNISON does in the U.S. “In the U.S. you have a more transient population and you need hotels. There's more quantity and because there's more competition, you need to find that competitive advantage and that's where design is vital.”

She explains that real estate in general in Canada is more utilitarian than in other places in the world. We've grown so fast as a country, a decent amount of our architecture and design in the hospitality sector is more pragmatic.

How do we compare to other hospitality “destinations?” The market is there to appreciate great design, the talent is there to produce great design, looking at the hospitality world in Canada, there's a lot of room to grow and showcase great Canadian design and Canadian spaces as real destinations. Château Montebello is a great example in Quebec. It reflects elements of Canada's identity, the surrounding locale and the way guests interact with the space; and echoes this through architecture and design.

“There are so many facets that hospitality businesses can explore. You might have a portfolio of 20 different brands that all speak to different elements of Canadian design. The disconnect from my viewpoint as a designer is that what hotels want and what they need are often at odds in Canada. The hotels that are generating money are functional brands. And the design of those is pretty prescribed, it's tried, tested, and true. There's a reason why it's successful.” But are we resting on our laurels?

Grimes argues that we’re not measuring all the ways we’re missing out. She believes that Canada's always been a little afraid of doing things that are different.

“There is so much opportunity in Canada to create something new that meets our needs and profoundly understands the nature of why the basic things resonate.” She then explains that we need to learn how to supersede those basics, imagining how we might excel beyond our preconceived limitations to achieve bigger success and more profits in symbiosis with society and nature.

Design
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 17

Design

"That's what made me successful. It's not knowing how to do something different, it's learning how to express a relationship. And I think the relationship between who we are and our physical spaces hasn’t been developed fully. Throughout my career thus far, I have worked on probably around 15, 20 hotels across the globe," says Grimes. Each destination has a completely different recipe for success.

In the Canadian hotel sector, design isn’t about change, it's an evolution out of proven successes, that's the Canadian approach.

If Grimes could impart one piece of advice to decisionmakers in Canada, what would that be? “Don't skip over the difficult questions. The difficult questions are imperative to building something successful. Spend time seeking answers and resolving that difficult question.” Grimes says that it all comes back to being honest with ourselves and others, and practicing empathy.

Project photos, UNISON Group 18 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

IAN ROLSTON

Founder, Decanthropy

decanthropy.com

PRIOR EXPERIENCE

Past President of Interior Designers of Canada

Director, Advocacy (Interior Design)

RIDO, NCIDQ, IDC, LEED GA

BAIDA (Black Architects + Interior Designers Association) Canada

HOKHOK

Principal | Design Director - Interiors, Hospitality + Residential

Senior Designer

HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates

Interior Design

Yabu Pushelberg

Ian Rolston is the founder of Decanthropy, a leading inclusive design methodology developed by Rolston. The Decanthropy studio works with executive leadership teams to shift thinking, to establish strategies that embed structural equity throughout organizations and projects.

Rolston was a keynote speaker at IDS Toronto 2023. Where does his design ethos come from? “I think it stems from me being a Black male and understanding that I have been different my whole life, and in a lot of ways, excluded. So, it was important for me as a designer when I realized that design could instead be inclusive. I could have conversations for those that don't necessarily get an opportunity to speak,” he explains.

Rolston has been a designer for over 20 years. His ambitions are informed and inspired by the way people move through a space. When Rolston was younger, he wasn’t aware there was such a thing as “the practice of interior design.” He credits his art teacher, Mr. Doyle, for suggesting Rolston

go into environmental design, which was a program at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto. At the time, Rolston was struggling. His father wanted him to study engineering and architecture. “But when Mr. Doyle told me about this profession, I skipped school for two weeks and worked on a portfolio to get into OCAD. And I just got it done. I was accepted into the school,” he says.

As for his confidence, Rolston says it comes from his mother and his father. He adds, “I also understand that I am part of something bigger than myself. We don't have the luxury of just living our lives for ourselves, we have a responsibility to try to make life better for others who look like us and don't have the same access or opportunity to be counted or heard.”

Rolston believes that change-making design means relating to people as well as breaking down the constructs given to us and taught to us.

Design
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 19

How do we do this? “Just go find someone else to care about because that's what builds communities.” Rolston cares about other people. He says it’s that simple.

How does your philosophy and design approach not only open doors for others but also allow you to be commercially successful? “Because we have begun to understand that design is not just the aesthetic. Although I love the aesthetic, we have so much more to offer. We are designing and facilitating interactions between human beings that result in positive outcomes. In the poetry of that, why not do something that's really above and beyond just delivering a project? If we can improve our communities and our existence together—while we're designing—why wouldn’t we do that?”

Isn’t the answer to that, “cost?”

“Absolutely. Who pays for it? We all do. What is the long-term cost of not doing these things? That's the impact that you're seeing in homelessness and the challenges in our healthcare system. I know it's not simple, but we know that housing is health. If we could solve this really big problem that is persisting across our country, we could start alleviating the impact that it's having on our healthcare system. We have the resources, we have enough skill. My challenge is that we

need to have the will to actualize changes.,” explains Rolston. Decanthropy challenges the people who are building and designing anyway—why not do it better?

Rolston’s background is predominantly in hospitality, and he says that he uses that lens for all the work he’s doing. He wants to do more work in hospitality spaces, but he also challenges the positioning of hospitality because it talks a lot about luxury and lifestyle.

Rolston says hoteliers need to look at the development model of hospitality, is it kind to adjacent people around a property? Especially when you talk about properties in countries that are still emerging and developing. He believes this is where the opportunity lies. Hospitality leaders, and big business in general, have experienced a period of reckoning through the pandemic. There is a broader understanding of the compatibility of socially inclusive, compassionate, conscious design within hospitality organizations—not only because it’s a moral imperative, but it’s ultimately better for stability and the bottom line.

20 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023
Ian Rolston, Decanthropy
Design

Rolston’s Methodology:

1. Change how you think about design, see it from an equity and inclusive perspective.

2. Create strategies that are aligned with brand principles for clients to embed structural equity. Then ensure that those ideals show up in the space.

3. Consultation and refinement of the design process, tailoring it to the brand.

4. Ongoing support and guidance, response to new challenges and/or goals.

Rolston’s current projects involve designing community living spaces. Decanthropy is rethinking what community means for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Rolston and team are working on projects where they’re trying to bridge the gap between the care of elders and kids “because there's always something magical when an elderly individual sees a child,” he says. “We’re designing ways to create an environment that allows those two points of care to co-exist.” With today’s healthcare challenges, there is a revolution within some of these ideas but there is also profit. “We can do it better. Humanity leads this thing. It has to. I know you need profit. I know you need productivity, but if we take the humanity out of design, then we're doing more harm than good."

*GLOSSARY OF TERMS

ARIDO - Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario

NCIDQ - National Council for Interior Design Qualification (U.S.)

LEED AP - A LEED AP credential distinguishes those with advanced knowledge in green building, plus expertise in a particular LEED rating system.

LEED GA - LEED Green Associate

IDC - Interior Designers of Canada

Ian Rolston, Decanthropy
Design January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 21
Ian Rolston, Decanthropy

HOTEL CAPITAL CONNECTION 2023

CANADA’S LEADING HOTEL LEGAL AND FINANCE CONFERENCE

Hotel Capital Connection 2023 took place in Toronto, Ont. on January 31st. A collaborative event hosted by Big Picture Conferences and the Economic Club of Canada, this exclusive informational and networking conference brought together the industry’s top legal and financial advisors with North American hospitality executives to explore current issues impacting the Canadian hotel investment community.

This half-day event featured four plenary sessions during which experts discussed some of the industry’s most pressing challenges, emerging opportunities and their outlooks for the year ahead. Some key takeaways included:

Canada’s Hotel Sector Posted a Solid Rebound in 2022

• Following global economic volatility, unprecedented operating losses, labour shortages and supply chain challenges over the past few years, the hotel sector recorded annual RevPAR gains of 3.5 per cent over pre-pandemic peaks (STR), primarily driven by significant growth in average daily rate (“ADR”).

• The uptick in ADR has transformed the profit and loss statement. Virtually every market in Canada had ADR increases yet demand still lagged with only four of the markets tracked by STR surpassing 2019 occupancy levels. Going forward, the increased cost of doing business (labour, goods, energy, and insurance being the bigger expense growth items) will need to be carefully managed to ensure rate growth continues to outpace expense increases, thereby improving the bottom line.

• Of note was how resilient secondary and tertiary markets and the overall limited-service sector were as opposed to downtown urban ones. City centre and conference hotels were hit the hardest and are still working on their recovery.

• Alam Pirani, Colliers Hotels reported $1.6 billion in hotel transaction volume in 2022, and while below the almost $2 billion reached in the prior year, the decline was primarily the result of fewer hotels being acquired for alternate use, with more traditional hotel trades returning to the market.

INNSIGHTS
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Your Lender Relationship is Paramount

• Always talk to your lender. Even when you don't want to have the conversation, have the conversation. Covid reminded borrowers about covenants and the importance of transparency to get through a crisis.

• The market did not witness much enforcement activity through Covid with lenders for the most part being patient and open to conversations, rather than penalties, but the discussions needed to take place. Critical dialogue around what the borrower was doing, did they have a cogent plan, and how soon they could be back onside, encouraged lenders to be largely cooperative, supported by extensive Federal Government lending and labour support.

• Mark Kay, CFO, estimated that from 85 to 90 per cent of all institutions are back in lending to the Canadian hospitality market for urban assets, but this return hasn’t been the case for assets in secondary and tertiary markets yet.

• What matters to bankers is what a reasonable projected net operating income is, how the property has performed historically, and whether it can service the debt. And then the value at the other end is the bookend that keeps everything in place.

Balancing Interest Rate Increases with Hotel Valuations

• The elevated interest rate environment is having a broad-reaching impact on hotel valuations, private capital return expectations and the ability to secure equity capital to acquire hotel assets.

• Recent interest rate increases have put upward pressure on cap rates, although every asset is a bit different. As explained by Carrie Russell, HVS, there's no one right answer as to whether values are up or down compared to 2019. In most cases, they’ve plateaued to showing a slight increase.

• High-interest rates are impacting how much a hotel business can support in debt payments. The loan-to-value (“LTV”) ratio today, is largely based on valuation. Hotel values have not been severely impacted, therefore, assuming values are relatively the same, panellists quote from 50 to 65 per cent the of value, but that's due to the underwriting on what the business can support and takes into consideration if a property has been renovated or is due to be renovated.

• The increase in prime will impact debt coverage ratios for loans already on the books, and lenders and borrowers need to collaborate to mitigate some of that risk. For example, if a higher variable to fixed rate had a serious impact on a hotel’s cash flow from a debt servicing perspective, an option could be to look at a lower fixed rate and/or extend the amortization period to alleviate some of the pressure.

INNSIGHTS
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 23

There is Optimism, but also Headwinds for the Industry in 2023

• Hotel investment will likely see a focus on smaller deals, continued deceleration of alternative use transactions, portfolio rationalization and the re-emergence of marquee investment opportunities.

• Coming out of Covid, hotel companies need to ensure there is sufficient liquidity to shore up operations during downturns, but also to take advantage of opportunities.

• Employee labour shortages remain one of our sector’s biggest problems and to attract and retain quality employees, employers will need to re-evaluate the employee experience and consider offering incentives, retention bonuses and flexible scheduling. Working with contract firms and refugee communities will help elevate the current staffing shortage.

• Owners are going to be under increasing pressure from the brands and management companies to move forward on deferred property improvement programs and capital investment, which could prove challenging for those owners that depleted FF&E reserves to shore up operating losses during Covid.

• Given the resiliency of the hotel sector, a mild recession will likely not result in distressed selling in the next 12-18 months, rather owners will selectively sell non-core or very liquid assets to raise money for capital investment or cash flow support for their primary assets.

• A mild recession may not significantly stall the hotel sector’s recovery, as experience suggests it would translate into a reduction in discretionary business travel, however, this segment hasn’t yet come back. On the leisure side, people are still wanting to travel and have experiences coming out of Covid and are using their discretionary cash to travel.

• This industry has grown and prospered over time and some clients have done very well on the replacement property rules, which allow you to sell a hotel today and buy another to defer the capital gain tax. But for this to be advantageous you need a pretty active hotel investment market, or it becomes a catch-22—if there isn't enough product to buy, there aren't enough reasons to sell.

INNSIGHTS
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Thank you to the following speakers for their contributions to Hotel Capital Connection 2023…

• Alam Pirani, executive managing director, hotels, Canada & Caribbean, Colliers Hotels

• Darren Schmidt, managing director, portfolio manager, head of origination, IMC

• Daniel Hsieh, chief financial officer, Easton's Group

• George Kosziwka, chief financial officer, InnVest Hotels

• Blake Lyon, chief executive officer, Skyline Investments

• Zach Pendley, real estate and hospitality transactions and valuations lead, EY Canada

• Mathew Jalazo, senior vice president, development, Urgo Hotels

• Alan Perlis, president & chief executive officer, Knightstone Capital Management Inc.

• Carrie Russell, senior managing partner, HVS

• Alexis Levine, partner, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP

• Christopher Alam, partner & lending practice group leader, Gowling WLG

• Beverley Flynn, senior vice president, general counsel & secretary, Morguard Corporation

• Phil Thompson, transaction lawyer, general counsel, Thompson Transaction Law

• Mark Kay, principal broker, president, CFO Capital

• Sanjay Arora, managing director & regional market leader, business property finance, Central & Eastern Canada, BMO

• Ihsain Chahim, vice president, financing & consulting, BDC

• Cameron Woof, assistant vice president, hotels & syndication, CWB Franchise Finance

INNSIGHTS
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 25

THE METAVERSE IS HERE TO CHANGE THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY, OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE HOSPITABILITY INDUSTRY TOOK A SIGNIFICANT HIT. Hotel occupancy was at an alltime low, revenues had lowered significantly, and many key players had undergone substantial layoffs. On the road to recovery, many leaders in the hotel industry began to examine creative ways to engage and connect with their guests. One of the creative ways to better engage guests is through the Metaverse.

The idea of the Metaverse dates back to the late 1960s when Ivan Sutherland first proposed the Ultimate Display; the Ultimate Display was as a head-mounted device that relied on the Kinetic depth effect to give users the illusion of three-dimensional displays. Due to the lack of appropriate technological infrastructure and tools, the Metaverse idea remained more abstract and, in many cases, fictional. However, with Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of committing to developing a Metaverse with a holistic vision and appropriate tools, many businesses in different sectors, including the hotel industry, have shown a great deal of interest in technology (as the future of the internet). The emergence of the Metaverse presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges for the future of the hotel industry. To gain an understanding of such opportunities and challenges, we need to look at three possible future scenarios with the Metaverse.

1. Specialized and limited consumer adoption

In this scenario, the adoption of the Metaverse will be limited to a small scale (interest communities) with key difficulties in integrating the technology into day-to-day life.

2. Competitive and Wide

In this scenario, the Metaverse will have critical players competing for a virtual space. However, there will be no single unified Metaverse which may create a consumer divide. One way to think about this is through the comparison of iPhone and Android, some customers prefer the iPhone, and others prefer Android, which means customers are using different software to access experiences and services. The challenge with this scenario is the difficulty of interoperability between Metaverse worlds, meaning customers in Metaverse A may not be able to interact with customers in Metaverse B.

3. Single-wide adopted Metaverse

For many, this is the aspired scenario where the Metaverse becomes part of one’s daily life. There may be full migration of consumers and businesses into the Metaverse, where Metaverse interactions become the new normal.

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In either of these scenarios, hotel industry leaders need to understand and prepare for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Opportunities for the hotel industry

With the growth and improvements in the Metaverse, hotel industry leaders may have the opportunity to significantly enhance customer interactions and experience through some of the opportunities below. The first opportunity is interactive virtual tours. Virtual tours can be referred to as a simulation of existing physical locations through a sequence of interactive videos or three-dimensional videos. The idea of virtual tours has been long in place; however, with the growth of the Metaverse, hotels can rent or purchase virtual spaces in the Metaverse (Decenterland is a good example) to showcase the whole guest experience using Metaverse-enabling technologies (e.g., Virtual Reality headsets). Atlantis Dubai is a great example that immerses users into the hotel experience through VR from the moment they walk into the hotel and their rooms.

Another opportunity is through providing Metaverse experiences that interact with real life. A good example is Millennium Hotels and Resorts; they developed a fully virtual hotel where users can look for treasures, attend unique events, and interact with like-minded individuals. Such interactions are then connected to

the real-life hotel providing guests with unique offers and promotions. This approach provides a valuable way for hotels to enhance their brand image and build a strong relationship with customers.

Lastly, the Metaverse may allow hotels to promote their brand through virtual billboards. The Metaverse billboard, given the immersive nature of the technology, provides a unique opportunity to feature the business with less noise compared to existing online and mobile advertising channels. The IT company Cloud Nine is one of the earliest players to advertise their services on a virtual billboard. Such an opportunity may be more interactive, efficient, and cheaper than some of the traditional advertising channels.

Challenges for the hotel industry

While there is a wealth of opportunities presented to players in the hotel industry, there needs to be extensive work on some of the following challenges. One of the key challenges will be around the anticipated digital divide. Digital divide refers to the inequality caused by unequal access and levels of proficiency with digital technologies. While the idea of designing unique experiences for digital customers may provide a wealth of benefits, there needs to be a clear balance between customers who can and can’t access digital channels to ensure inclusive access to services and experiences.

Tech
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 27

The second challenge is data privacy and security. As the Metaverse grows, so do cyber attacks and unique fraud tactics. The collection of sensitive personal data, such as biometric data, imposes significant risks for users resulting in a lack of trust in Metaverse platforms. Leaders in the hotel industry need to work with Metaverse developers to ensure effective and enhanced safety mechanisms that anonymize customers’ information and limit personal data transfer. Another challenge is regulations and policies. As the technology is in its infancy, it is important to highlight who makes the rules and how the platforms are governed. In the meantime, hotel industry players may work with developers to impose certain community guidelines in their own virtual space to ensure the safety of users.

Lastly, having the right talent and resources to manage Metaverse experiences may be a key challenge. As the Metaverse continues to grow, there need to be specific mechanisms for hiring, training and developing talent that can manage the virtual experiences.

About Omar H. Fares

Omar H. Fares is a lecturer at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management. He earned his bachelor of commerce and master of science in management from Toronto Metropolitan University. Fares’ main research interest is in the consumer behaviour area, particularly focusing on consumers' interaction with novel digital innovations and the impact of digital innovations on retailers. Fares published his research in different impactful journals, such as Computers in Human Behavior, the Journal of Financial Services Marketing, and the Journal of Global Scholars of Marketing Science. Fares’ professional background combines expertise in sales, market research and planning, corporate strategizing, and leadership and training in the banking and retail sectors. He worked for different leading institutions such as Walmart, CIBC, and Fairstone Bank (Previously Duo Bank).

torontomu.ca

www.omarfares.com

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BUILDING A SUSTAINED REVENUE STRATEGY IN 2023 AND BEYOND

ONE OF MY PASSIONS, OUTSIDE OF RUNNING REVENUE GENERATION, IS FLYING SMALL

AIRCRAFT. Recently, my co-pilot and I found ourselves in zero visibility as we entered adverse weather. My initial instinct was to fly by the seat of my pants and try to keep the aircraft straight and level. But training has taught me that when you lose visibility, your body can play tricks on you, and you can very quickly get into a disoriented state. We needed to focus on the instruments onboard and trust fully in them to give us the information necessary to fly straight, level, and on course. Once we gained this situational awareness, we were able to analyze the environment, maintain positive control, and navigate safely to the destination airport. Thinking ahead to 2023, we are in a similar situation. We find ourselves in the clouds not knowing exactly where the industry will head. But this is nothing new; we have been in the clouds for some time. Recently, we’ve seen significant breaks in the clouds and enjoyed some reprieve, but we also realize the vulnerability of our economy (high interest rates, inflation, labour costs, etc.) and need to be diligent to understand the key indicators of future demand to ensure a successful landing.

As we cross the threshold of another year and break out of the clouds of the pandemic era, we have an opportunity to evaluate our own situational awareness and set ourselves up for a profitable 2023 and beyond.

Here are a few items to consider as you make bold new strategies for the upcoming year.

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So, what do we mean by gaining situational awareness?

Consider this scenario. Your owner or banker may ask the question: “So, how’s the business doing?” You may answer “Fantastic!” but then the next question may be, “Well, how do you know?” This is an important question to ask and cuts to the heart of whether your management team has “situational awareness.”

As you look into the future you may want to contemplate the following. What are those “key” metrics that drive success within your organization? The answer will be different depending on your objectives, markets, and the current situation you are in. The approach needs to be a balanced one that considers key stakeholders and the overall objective.

For example, owners/investors will naturally focus on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), return on investment (ROI), etc. Finance will focus on net profits, margins, etc. Revenue teams will focus on market share indices, conversion, return on assets (ROAS), sales goals, etc. Operations will focus on overall guest experience, employee satisfaction, etc. High-performing organizations will evaluate the effectiveness of all areas and ask this key question, “Are all your operating and commercial disciplines aligned in their objectives or are they working in siloes?” If Revenue Management is operating independently from the rest of the organization, then you may be missing opportunities. If sales are focused only on driving toward a revenue target then you may have missed out on profitability. If operations are not focused enough on staffing appropriately and guest satisfaction then perhaps you are not able to achieve your fullest conversion or rate potential. The list goes on.

I had the privilege of working with an independent property in a secondary city in Ontario. When I started consulting with them, they were underperforming on several metrics and struggled with being profitable. Upon further evaluation, I realized this team worked very much independently, and their goals were not always aligned. By creating crossfunctional goals and building a balanced scoreboard we were able to better understand the big picture and come up with strategies to drive overall profitability. Some of these metrics included guest satisfaction, distribution strategies, price positioning, group profitability objectives, and overall gross operating profit per available room (GOPAR). Previously this property was only focused on STR results, and the owners became frustrated with what was flowing to the bottom line. By creating a balanced approach and measures that were identified as key success measures of accomplishment, we were able to build approaches that addressed the profitability piece of revenue optimization.

What we have done in the past is not necessarily going to be successful in the future:

This statement is so true as we look ahead. I’ve seen management teams try to use pre-pandemic strategies in 2022 and fall flat on results. Our mix of business, consumer sentiment, consumer expectations, and costs of doing business have all changed and so must our plan. We continue to see a shorter booking window, more of a blending of reasons to travel, and an evolving mix of international travel moving forward. Keeping on top of these trends and focusing your efforts on the right segments will help drive overall success.

Revenue
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 33
Gain situational awareness:

Ensure all systems and key performance indicators (KPI) are working optimally:

Setting revenue systems on autopilot without monitoring is dangerous and likely will result in less-than-optimal results for your organization. I’ve talked to many revenue managers over the last couple of years, and most will attest to the need to monitor their revenue systems closely because of the volatile state we are in and the lack of relevant historical trends to rely on. In 2022 my company often found ourselves assisting with the build of new business analytic tools with new data sets and developing new KPIs to help commercial teams understand the bigger picture that the current systems are not capable of providing.

Just as important as ensuring you are focused on the right KPIs is the discipline of monitoring and adjusting your success measures. What you thought at the beginning of the year would be a good goal may fall short of achieving your fullest potential.

A time to be bold:

Destination Canada now projects Canada’s tourism industry will experience a full recovery by the year 2024. Leisure travel will continue to remain strong; more U.S. travellers will cross the borders in 2023 and global overnight arrivals will continue to rise as pent-up demand continues to be high in 2023. Corporate and large group has a way to go yet, but we continue to see positive movement in 2023. At the same time attrition of supply creates an opportunity to drive rate up even further. All these factors suggest we have strong tailwinds moving into 2023.

We have many reasons to be optimistic about the future and can take advantage of future trends. At the same time, we have the reality of increasing costs, labour shortages, and increased customer expectations. Ensuring the commercial disciplines understand the key drivers of demand and profitability. By doing so they will gain the confidence to be bold in pricing future opportunities and ensure your bottom line does not suffer.

Key Takeaways:

• Create your balanced scorecard with the KPIs that will drive future success – ensure all disciplines understand and buy into the KPIs and then set strategies that align with these drivers.

• Ensure Revenue Management is supported and understands the bigger demand picture. Providing the tools to better forecast future demand, monitoring new trends and effectively communicating these trends will be a necessary skill to driving market share and profitability.

• Take the time to train your associates. One class Choice Hotels Canada recently recommended to each of their GMs was the Revenue Optimization Essentials Course through The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). All commercial disciplines can benefit from further training in the culture of revenue optimization.

• Challenge your commercial teams to be forward-thinking and work collaboratively to fit the right pieces of business into the demand puzzle.

If we develop a discipline of gaining and maintaining situational awareness in this new demand environment, build crossfunctional goals that are aligned, and continue to monitor trends, we will be able to navigate with confidence and find ourselves in the driver's seat to sustained revenue growth and overall asset value.

Revenue
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CHECKLIST FOR SUCCESSFUL REVENUE OPTIMIZATION

1. Understand your market and ever-changing trends – obtain the right data sets to ensure you are monitoring and measuring the right movements.

2. Segmentation and Price Optimization – ensure you are putting your efforts into the right segment and sources of business and have strategies in place to optimize price and profitability.

3.

4.

Revenue, Sales and Marketing must be fully aligned – strong communication between disciplines and monitoring of efforts is important.

Forecast, forecast, and forecast – enough cannot be said about the importance of forecasting short and mid-term ranges. If possible, acquire analytics tools to assist with understanding future demand pictures.

5.

Goal Alignment – ensure all departments have goals that align with the enterprise objectives and that they are not working against each other.

6. Training – Ensure all commercial disciplines receive ongoing training

7. Bring Revenue Optimization to the entire hotel – the industry continues to find ways to optimize the entire asset and all revenue-producing outlets.

8. Ensure you are spending your precious marketing dollars on initiatives that have proven ROAS – stop spending time on programs where there is no proven ROI and reallocate funds towards gaining additional exposure and conversions. Test and measure success on all initiatives.

9.

Fish where the fish are – just because your sales department went after certain segments in the past does not mean it is focused on the right segments now. Understand the group and business segments currently in market and focus efforts towards obtaining more opportunities.

10. Revenue strategists must tell the story – data storytelling, and communicating of trends and strategy, are of utmost importance. Effectively telling this story will help all disciplines better understand the bigger picture and can get behind initiatives.

About Timothy Wiersma

President and CEO, Revenue Generation LLC.

With more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Timothy Wiersma is recognized as a leader in revenue management and commercial strategy. His company specializes in property and portfolio revenue management, business analytics, distressed-asset turnaround, and asset assessment; his company consistently delivers results for properties around the world.

Before Revenue Generation, Wiersma was head of revenue management with Canadian Hotel Income Properties (now Silverbirch Hotels), He was also vice president of revenue management with Host Hotels and Resorts, a Fortune 500 company, and the largest hotel REIT in the U.S. Other positions held were vice president position at TPG Hospitality, a private equity firm with over 60 full-service hotels, and vice president of Red Roof Group where he oversaw the Revenue Strategy of over 650 economy hotels.

Wiersma is an active board member and past president of HSMAI (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International). He is also teaching the HSMAI Revenue Optimization Essentials course on a regular basis. In his spare time, time enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening and flying small aircraft.

revenuegenerationllc.com

Email: tim@revenuegenerationllc.com

Revenue
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 35

THE 9 MOST FUTURISTIC HIGH-TECH HOTELS IN THE WORLD

From Hotel Tech Report

THE PANDEMIC ACCELERATED TECHNOLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION ACROSS THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. Contactless has become a must-have, fitness centers have gone virtual, guest communications have moved to mobile, and self-service has become standard.

While some hotels found themselves rapidly deploying new technologies, other hotels have been playing the tech-long game for years. Here are some of the world’s most notable high-tech hotels.

The tech strategies of hotel groups like Viceroy and  Noble House who implement everything from  contactless check-in to digital concierge are certainly notable, but this article focuses on some more wacky

tech implementations with a bit of focus on form over function. This list features some pretty cool hi-tech gadgets and hotel room amenities that go above and beyond the typical flat-screen TV.  Some of the cutting-edge technology on this list may off-put more traditional travellers but will undoubtedly hit the spot for tech-savvy millennials.

Rather than layer technology onto the operation, these properties embed technology into the fabric of the operation, making it a focal point and key feature. Some use it as an Instagrammable moment at a specific location while others structure their entire brand around the tech-enabled guest experience. Either way, technology is front and centre at these hotels.

About Hotel Tech Report

Hotel Tech Report (HTR) was launched in 2017 by twin brothers Adam and Jordan Hollander with the goal of creating a research tool that would help hoteliers understand the potential that technology has to transform their businesses.

HTR has produced hundreds of articles and collected tens of thousands of product reviews to become a leading online community and research platform that helps more than 200k+ monthly hoteliers from across the globe discover the best digital products to run and grow their hotel businesses. https://hoteltechreport.com

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HENN NA HOTEL JAPAN

“The Robot Hotel” Tokyo has become the marquee high-tech hotel. The brand concept is “commitment to evolution,” which appears across its operation in the form of robots. Lots of robots! The brand claims to be the world’s first hotel staffed by robots—and there’s really no disputing that, as guests are greeted by robots at the front desk. At one property, the front desk is even staffed by dinosaur robots and iPad kiosks, which is quite the experience.

Other high-tech features at some locations include a robot barista frothing lattes, espressos and teas, as well as a 360-degree VR space for guests to immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences. The hotel is also fully enabled with Wifi powered facial recognition, which eliminates the need for a hotel key altogether. Guests can access the property, and their individual guest rooms, seamlessly using biometrics. Very futuristic, indeed.

NEW YORK CITY

The YOTEL brand has been synonymous with technology since it opened its doors near Times Square. The showstopper was a massive robot arm dominating the lobby, providing automated luggage storage for guests (as well as safety deposit boxes to store valuables). The YOBOT also provides self-service check-in, which puts the brand far ahead of today’s contactless guest experience.

The rooms—called cabins—may be small, but YOTEL uses technology to deliver its promise to “give you everything you need, and nothing you don’t.” This includes Smart TVs so that guests can connect their own devices and choose their own entertainment.

The guest rooms also use motorized beds as space-savers and motion-activated sensors for lighting and AC to reduce carbon emissions. It’s all about efficiency, delivering an outsized guest experience in even the smallest spaces.

BLOW UP HALL 5050 POLAND

The Blow Up Hall 50/50 is an impressive mix of form and function. Designed by BAFTA-award-winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the hotel combines a restaurant, bar, gallery, and hotel into a unique vibe. There are several digital art installations, including a commentary on surveillance capitalism embedded right within the lobby.  The property eliminates the traditional touchstones of the hotel experience: there’s no front desk. The guest’s smartphone provides access to the property, from checkin to room keys to staff communications. The phone also acts as a room finder: after opening the app, the assigned room lights up and the door unlocks automatically. It’s these small tech flourishes that reinforce the property’s sense of mystery and intrigue.

Futurism January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 37

HOTEL ZETTA SAN FRANCISCO

At the centre of Silicon Valley, the centrepiece of Hotel Zetta is most definitely its virtual reality room in the lobby. Designed by a local tech startup (naturally), the  VR cube gives guests a fully-immersive opportunity to experience virtual reality. There are also Nintendo Switch consoles and Oculus VR headsets available so guests can experience next-generation technology in the comfort of their rooms.

Other tech touchstones include a vintage Atari Pong table in the Zetta Suite, which is modernized to include both the classic game and a Bluetooth speaker to play personal playlists. Each guest room is also equipped with Alexa-enabled voice control in every room. Guests can order a meal from room service, set an alarm or learn about onproperty dining specials.

KAMEHA GRAND

The Kameha Grand isn’t one of those kitschy places that you’re embarrassed to stay at. Quite the opposite: the high-end “lifestyle hotel” is part of Marriott’s Autograph collection. And, with rooms designed by Marcel Wenders, it’s got all of the trappings of

Check out the Space Suites—the most futuristic room type on this list because it quite literally connects to space. The in-room TV features a live feed from NASA TV so that you can fuel those space dreams. The atmospheric vibes will contribute to that dreamy feel, with “outer space furnishings have been designed down to the smallest detail with a floating bed, pictures of galaxies, hovering astronauts and models of rockets.” Far out!

VIRGIN HOTELS

The Virgin Hotel brand has always been tech-forward and guest-centric. Even prior to the pandemic, the brand empowered guests to control their own experiences right from the palm of their hand. Now, those features are dramatically expanded to be even more contactless.

Named Lucy, the app allows guests to skip check-in, using their phone to select rooms and unlock doors. Guests can also use the app to order room service, adjust room temperature, control entertainment (in-room streaming and Apple Music), plan their trip around the city, or even follow custom exercise routines by Fitbod.

Following on smartly with its brand promise, the app also offers three preset lighting modes for guestrooms:  Get Lit for full brightness, Get in the Mood for dimmed relaxation, and Do Not Disturb for sleep. By putting all of these elements together into a single interface, Virgin Hotels puts the guest in control.

Futurism
38 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

25HOURS HOTELS ACROSS EUROPE & DUBAI

Another brand that’s focused on high-tech without losing high-touch hospitality is 25hours. Thanks to an in-house multidisciplinary think tank, the Extra Hour Lab, the brand experiments with new ways of engaging with guests, both through digital and analogue channels.

Analogue music lovers will not be disappointed by the Record Store on the ground floor of the 25hours Hotel The Circle in Cologne, Germany. Here you can sit and listen to the authentic sounds of vinyl on comfortable leather sofas. The great range of records will delight all music lovers.

Perhaps that’s one aspect that distinguishes the futuristic, high-tech hotels: those that understand how to inject storytelling into the experience alongside the latest technology.

CITYHUB AMSTERDAM, ROTTERDAM & COPENHAGEN

A hybrid between a comfortable hotel and a convivial hostel, Cityhub is futuristic in both its technology and its approach to hospitality. It’s part of a new wave of brands that blend categories and use technology to enable a more social experience.

The Cityhub brand has an app but it also takes a cue from Disney and offers RFID wristbands. These bands are used not only for check-in and property access, but also at the bar, cafe or vending machines, where guests can serve themselves and charge their rooms. Without having to constantly pull out their phones, there’s a more personal element to the experience.

Each “hub” has its own customizable lighting, temperature and audio streaming, so guests can control their vibe. There’s also an on-property social network, giving guests a digital lobby to meet and plan real-world adventures.

THE ATARI HOTEL LAS VEGAS (COMING SOON!)

A notable mention is the upcoming Atari Hotel in Las Vegas.  This property will blur the boundaries between hotel and immersive experience, building on Las Vegas’ long history of blending entertainment with hospitality. The experience is straight out of Blade Runner: bright lights, massive marquees, and an “everywhere you look” focus on gaming.

Futurism January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 39

The Future of Electric Rideshare.

An electric rideshare amenity, enabling residents and guests of hotel and resort properties access to sustainable transportation. By making it easy, affordable, and attractive for use rs to opt for t hese op tions – Kite promises to change the way we get around.

www.kitemobility.io

suppo r t @kit em obi l i t y .io | 1.855.554.548 3

HOSPITALITY RECOVERS IN 2022

CANADIAN ACCOMMODATION MARKET – YEAR IN REVIEW

THE YEAR 2022 WILL BE REMEMBERED AS a pivotal year for the hospitality industry as markets across the country saw RevPAR exceed pre-COVID levels for the first time. RevPAR reached an all-time high in 2022 despite a weaker-than-expected first quarter caused by the Omicron variant.

Intelligence
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 41

The following chart illustrates key operating performance indicators of the Canadian hotel industry from 2017 through the end of December 2022.

The onset of COVID-19 caused a RevPAR decline of 60 per cent in 2020. The beginnings of the recovery started in 2021 with a 35 per cent improvement in RevPAR. After a weak Q1, the recovery took hold in Q2 with RevPAR increasing by 95.3 per cent in 2022. The data shows the growth was largely fueled by ADR growth as demand still lags behind pre-COVID levels.

A closer look at 2022 results shows that January and February got off to a slow start as a result of the Omicron variant and some renewed government restrictions. With the lifting of most significant restrictions by early February, leisure travel began to pick up over the balance of Q1. Leisure demand remained strong through the summer, supplemented by increased group demand in some of the major markets. Increased demand in peak periods allowed for rate increases, driving ADR to record high levels. RevPAR increased by an unprecedented 157 per cent in Q2, followed by growth of 106 per cent in Q3.

Beginning in the late summer/early fall, many markets began to see corporate demand return, which combined with improved group demand, has offset softer Q4 leisure demand levels. Overall, YTD 2022 RevPAR has increased by 95 per cent over the previous year and is 5.5 per cent over year-end 2019 levels.

Intelligence 42 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

To gauge the improvement in the hotel sector this year, the following chart shows the monthly performance indicators for the Canadian hotel industry as compared to the same periods in 2019.

Beginning in June, ADR exceeded 2019 levels and was driven by pent-up leisure demand concentrated on weekends and vacation periods, as well as general inflation in the economy. Room demand only began to exceed 2019 levels in September, with December showing the largest gain over 2019 levels.

Intelligence January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 43

TOP 10 MARKETS

In 2020 and 2021, hotels in major Canadian cities were left struggling to fill rooms as travellers avoided densely populated cities and as international, group, and corporate demand fell. With the strong leisure demand and the return of group and corporate demand in 2022, major cities began to dominate once again, showing strong resurgences in RevPAR.

The cities that have seen the largest RevPAR improvements this year have been Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal at 161 per cent, 159 per cent, and 158 per cent, respectively. This was followed by Quebec City, Calgary, and Vancouver which are all in the 124 per cent to 126 per cent growth range. These markets generally lagged over the last two years but began to show strong growth as travellers returned to major cities and these locations resumed hosting major festivals, events, and conventions. In addition, these markets also took advantage of stronger demand periods to drive ADR growth, resulting in accelerated RevPAR growth.

Intelligence
44 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

The remaining major markets also saw strong improvements in RevPAR, capturing pent-up leisure and group demand over the summer and stronger corporate demand in the fall months. Victoria recorded the lowest RevPAR growth for this year-to-date period; however, the city was consistently one of the best-performing markets over the COVID period and has less room for growth coming out of the pandemic.

Intelligence
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 45

RECOVERY HELPS DRIVE NEW DEVELOPMENT

Not surprisingly, the pace of the recovery in 2022 has reignited interest in new development. While land values have continued to rise, there has been some moderation in development costs. Moderating costs along with stronger market results have improved the feasibility of projects.

Below is a summary showing the trend in hotel development from pre-COVID to today.

The data indicates the impact of COVID was minimized since hotel projects occur over a period of several years. Rooms in planning declined to 21,915 in 2020 but rose steadily through 2021 and 2022 to 27,497 as of Q3 2022. Rooms in planning are now 12 per cent above Q4 2019 levels. For projects that were underway, an average of 1,027 rooms have opened per quarter since 2020, in line with 1,005 rooms in Q4 2019. Rooms in construction fluctuated and averaged 7,803 rooms per quarter, similar to 7,753 rooms in Q4 2019.

In terms of where development is occurring, 55 per cent of the national pipeline is situated in Ontario, with British Columbia second at 19 per cent. At the city level, the Greater Toronto Area accounted for 22 per cent of the national pipeline, followed by Vancouver at 6 per cent and Montreal at 5 per cent. The national pipeline, comprised of hotels in construction and planning, represents about 7 per cent of Canada’s existing room supply.

Intelligence
46 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

TRANSACTION MARKET UPDATE

Transaction activity softened in 2022 despite the strong recovery in the sector. With stronger performance, most owners were happy to hold and reap the financial benefits after two years of losses. In 2021, the transaction market was largely driven by the financial impact of COVID-19, owner fatigue and acquisitions by public bodies. In 2022, there were fewer public sector acquisitions but an increase in strategic dispositions. As in 2021, the market was dominated by sales of smaller independently owned properties with very few transactions in the larger urban centres.

In 2022, Cushman & Wakefield tracked 150 transactions representing $1.6 billion in sales, down from 200 transactions and $2.0 billion in sales in 2021.

The largest sale we tracked in 2022 was the $112.5 million acquisition of the Oakes Inn Hotel in Niagara Falls, which was acquired for redevelopment with a 1,140-room, twin-tower hotel. The property is well-located adjacent to the Fallsview Casino and overlooks Niagara Falls.

The largest urban hotel sale in 2022 was the Bond Place Hotel in Downtown Toronto, which was acquired by the City of Toronto at a purchase price of $94.0 million or $330,000 per room. The property had been under contract to the City for emergency housing during COVID and was acquired by the City to fulfil its need for social housing. The only other major city centre hotel transaction was the announced sale of the 357-room InterContinental Hotel in Montreal, which is expected to close in early 2023.

Intelligence
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 47

Sales for alternate uses such as redevelopment or social housing accounted for 17 transactions with a total volume of $343 million; this includes both the Oakes Inn and Bond Place sale, which accounted for two-thirds of this total.

There was an increase in strategic dispositions in 2022. Morguard sold a number of hotels from the former Temple REIT portfolio in Western Canada, including a five-property portfolio in Fort McMurray in December. A portfolio of five Motel/Studio 6 properties with 613 rooms located across the GTA was sold by G6 Hospitality to a private group in mid-2022.

Resorts and leisure-based markets performed well in 2022 and continued to attract a lot of investor interest. In Banff, InnVest Hotels acquired the Carlton Inn and Royal Canadian Lodge properties in August 2022. As we have seen with a number of resort assets across the country, both hotels will be repositioned as upscale resort hotels.

We anticipate that hotel pricing will remain strong through 2023 based on the continued growth prospects for the market and the demand for hotels and resorts. Where better quality assets are available, brokers continue to report strong buyer interest and multiple bids.

Intelligence
48 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

CAPITALIZATION RATES

Cushman & Wakefield released their Q4 Cap Rate Survey in January 2023. While the range in rates for hotels has not shifted since early 2022, the survey does indicate increasing upward pressure on capitalization rates across all asset classes, driven by economic uncertainty, high inflation and the rise in interest rates. Historically, changes in interest rates do not alone drive changes in capitalization rates, rates are more directly impacted by the flow of capital to the sector and investor expectations. For the hospitality sector specifically, capitalization rate increases have been less than expected given good investor demand and a limited amount of hotel product available for acquisition.

A summary of capitalization rates for select markets across Canada is shown below. These rates are for properties with stabilized results—capitalization rates can differ from these rates if property income is above or below stabilized levels.

Rates for hotels are outlined below:

Intelligence January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 49

WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN 2023

The last few years have presented the Canadian accommodation industry with a unique set of opportunities and challenges and the industry has adapted and thrived. In 2023, as the Canadian hotel market enters the next phase of the recovery, we anticipate a change in demand characteristics with growth in the group and corporate sectors despite a weaker economic outlook. At the same time, ADR growth will moderate in 2023.

As we look towards 2023, current trends indicate a number of new challenges that may face the industry in the coming year.

■ Most markets in Canada experienced accelerated ADR growth in 2022, which resulted in some markets seeing ADRs well above 2019 levels. Domestic leisure demand largely drove ADR gains over the last two years as travel outside Canada was restricted. With more travel options available and the high cost of travel and hotels in Canada, there is potential for some leisure demand to dissipate in 2023. Further impacting future rate growth will be a return of regular group and corporate demand which is usually lower rated. Dynamic pricing structures for negotiated rates are an opportunity for some hotels to increase rates in the coming year.

Cindy Schoenauer, AACI, P.App.

Vadess Johan, AACI P.App.

Lauren Arnold

Daniel Fung

■ Maintaining higher NOI margins in the near term will be a challenge in the face of increased costs for labour, goods, and materials. Statistics Canada reports that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 6.8 per cent year over year in November 2022, led by food and energy costs. Other costs have also seen significant increases. Over the last year, hotel insurance costs have continued to rise. Utilities costs have amplified due to volatility in the price of petroleum products and natural gas, as well as escalating carbon tax charges. Property taxes are another area that could see increases as taxes were reduced in some areas during the pandemic, and properties could see taxes increase as hotel businesses return to normal levels of profitability.

■ Labour shortages and costs will continue to be an issue for hotels as properties return to normal staffing levels. With the unemployment rate at just 5 per cent, the industry will face challenges in 2023. This past year, the Hotel Association of Canada with Tourism HR Canada and the Government of Canada created the Destination Employment program. This bridge program helped mobilize 1,300 new Canadians into hotel jobs in five key regions of Canada in 2022. These groups continue to advocate for modifications to programs that will ease the labour shortage for the hospitality industry.

Articles with contributions by:
Intelligence 50 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023
Brian Flood & Wakefield Executive vice president and practice leader, hospitality & gaming group, Canada

New EV chargers rolling out across Southwestern Ontario

Municipalities, retail sites, workplaces and recreation facilities in southwestern Ontario are moving ahead with the installation of new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations; after successfully applying for funding through the EPCOR Go EV program.

The allocation of $1.7 million in federal Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) funds will be used to add more than 200 electric vehicle chargers to the South Georgian Bay area in Ontario and beyond in the next two years. All of these chargers, supported through the EPCOR Go EV program, are expected to be energized by March 2023.

Forty-six new charging sites will be built through this program in Ontario communities including Collingwood, Kincardine, Wasaga Beach, Orillia and Welland.

EPCOR’s Go EV program supports the installation of both Level 2 and Level 3 chargers, giving electric vehicle owners the option for faster charging. In addition to reviewing contribution applications and distributing ZEVIP funding, EPCOR will also provide project oversight of the installation of the EV charging stations.

The ZEVIP funding is providing up to 50 per cent of the costs of installing EV charging stations, up to a total value of $100,000 per application. The stations are required to be a permanent and new installation for pre-approved locations including hotels.

May We Recommend
epcor.com
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 51

Marriott International launches

‘Instant Booking’ with Groups360

Marriott International and Groups360 have launched “Instant Booking” for Marriott’s portfolio of hotels in the United States and Canada. Marriott International is the first brand to have a direct integration with Groups360 to offer instant booking functionality for both guest rooms and meeting space at scale on GroupSync Marketplace, providing planners with a streamlined booking process at the click of a button.

As the meetings and events landscape becomes more dynamic, many planners are currently challenged by the lengthy sourcing and contracting process, especially for smaller events. The need to book meeting space separately from guest rooms only adds complexity. GroupSync’s direct integration functionality offers planners access to realtime best available group rates and inventory at over 1,500 Marriott properties across the United States and Canada, with additional growth expected throughout 2023. Once the instant booking is completed on GroupSync, hotels receive instant notification for faster handling and execution of small meetings of 10-25 guest rooms on peak and/or events with up to 50 attendees. This new capability aims to

significantly reduces planning time and directly address the needs of group customers.

Planners now have the benefit of viewing inventory availability before submitting an RFP for more complex events at all Marriott hotels globally.

“Through our collaboration with Groups360, we can now deliver real-time instant booking through GroupSync Marketplace at hotels in the U.S. and Canada,” said Drew Pinto, global officer, global sales, distribution and revenue management, Marriott International. “This offers our group customers what they have told us they are looking for, which is a much more seamless and efficient booking experience. Our industry-leading integration with Groups360 will also allow all Marriott hotels globally to receive and respond to RFPs quickly and efficiently through a two-way response process. This will be a win-win for both planners and hotels.”

groups360.com

May We Recommend
52 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

Plusgrade acquires UpStay

Plusgrade, a provider of ancillary revenue solutions for the global travel industry, has acquired UpStay, a rapidlygrowing provider of upgrade and ancillary revenue solutions for the hospitality industry. UpStay serves hotels in 17 countries by enabling hoteliers to drive higher ancillary revenue through multiple value-added revenue streams delivered to their guests.

Since its founding in 2019, UpStay has been recognized for its innovative technology, winning the 2021 People's Choice Innovation Award at the Phocuswright Travel Awards and the 2022 World's Best Hotel Tech Startup at the World Travel Tech Awards.

"The acquisition of UpStay is another step forward for our vision and mission of becoming the Global Ancillary Revenue Powerhouse," said Plusgrade CEO, Ken Harris. "We have been accelerating this mission through a series of innovations, launches and acquisitions, and have come into 2023 as a powerhouse for the global travel industry. We are thrilled to have the UpStay team join us, and look forward to tapping into their expertise and innovative technology to

bring even more value to our now 200+ airline, hospitality, cruise, rail and financial services partners around the world."

Plusgrade is continuing its growth after acquiring Points, a global leader in powering loyalty commerce, in 2022. With the addition of UpStay, Plusgrade adds hotel upgrades and other innovative ancillaries to its roster of ancillary revenue and loyalty products.

UpStay will be integrated into the Plusgrade brand and will operate as Plusgrade going forward.

plusgrade.com

May We Recommend
January February 2023 | staymagazine.ca | 53

Lightspeed’s hotel restaurant

POS system is designed for flexible customer service

Hotel and restaurant management working together as one, Lightspeed allows customization of your hotel restaurant's POS system.

• Plug your POS into your PMS and save valuable time with tools and integrations built to simplify your complex business

• Offer your guests charge-to-room and connect your systems with PMS integrations

• Fully customize your floor plans to accurately reflect your hotel restaurant

• Build menus and assign them to different devices with menu management tools

• Get to know your trends and data with built-in reports and optional advanced reporting

Manage multiple hotel restaurant locations with an all-inone POS

• Monitor your entire business with a POS that works for you. Opening a new location? Quickly add it in your POS and start selling instantly.

• Easily customize and create a new menu for each location or use a different menu for dine-in or room service

• Offer contactless payments and handle all swipes, taps, tips and splits with an EMV-compliant terminal restaurant POS software at no extra cost

• Provide customers with a seamless experience with shared customer data across locations

• Get the flexibility and access you need with our open API

lightspeedhq.com

54 | staymagazine.ca | January February 2023

Hospitality businesses are turning to technology to do better with less

Lightspeed surveyed 1,100 restaurateurs and 7,000 consumers globally with OnePoll in 2022 (from September to October 2022). Industry respondents noted the following tactics to combat current challenges:

Hospitality trends have shifted since last year

When asked what technology improved business the most in 2022, 12 per cent of industry respondents said they adopted new technology to streamline employee shifts (new POS or management software), which is an increase of 7 per cent compared to 2021.

• Overall, beverage (both alcohol and non-alcoholic) sales saw the biggest increase from 2021, due to the return of in-house dining. Other climbers like small plates, dessert, and breakfast have also increased in 2022.

• Thanks to the return of in-house dining, return restaurants seem to be growing their menu sizes after paring them down over the past two years.

• Inflation appears to be negatively impacting consumers' spending habits, forcing them to rethink and more tightly control their spending. While dining out is an established habit and there is still a desire to support local restaurants, half of the consumers surveyed said they would go there less often for economic reasons. The same goes for home delivery, which is also used less by 48 per cent of respondents.

Hospitality tactics to combat current challenges

• Fifty-seven per cent of respondents agreed that new technology adoption over the past two years has been critical to their business' survival.

• Forty-two per cent of operators improved food costing and inventory practices to ensure they are spending correctly and wasting less.

• Almost a third of business owners (30 per cent) are limiting the number of days and/or hours of operation, especially in slower months, to help offset costs due to inflation while also preventing burnout when working with an understaffed crew.

• Nearly a quarter (21 per cent) brought online ordering in-house to avoid third-party fees.

• Sixty per cent of restaurateurs agreed that inventory data (stock levels, waste) are important to them and 40 per cent said they have already adopted inventory practices to work more efficiently and to reduce food waste.

• Forty-three per cent of restaurateurs are operating with less staff.

• To ramp up sustainability, 39 per cent are offering more vegan options, whilst 37 per cent are adopting a food waste policy.

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