July/August 2020


July/August 2020 issue of Hotelier magazine.

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by Wyndham

gives me

the flexibility

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Christian Cyr, President, Advanced Lodging, Inc.,

partners with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to leverage

the resources of the world’s largest hotel company 1

while maintaining independent ownership of

distinctive hotels such as Château Moncton,

New Brunswick, Canada.

With Trademark Collection by Wyndham, independent hotels can now take advantage of:

Fastest-growing hotel soft brand 2 • Powerful sales and distribution support • 83 million Wyndham Rewards members 3



Based on number of hotels. 2 Based on increase in number of rooms from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020. 3 As of Q1 2020. This is not an offer. Certain provincial laws regulate the offer and sale of franchises. An offer will only be made in

compliance with those laws and regulations, which may require we provide you with a Disclosure Document, a copy of which can be obtained by contacting Wyndham Hotel Group Canada, ULC at 22 Sylvan Way, Parsippany,

NJ 07054. In Canada, Days Inn and Travelodge franchises are offered by a third party master franchisee. All hotels are independently owned and operated with the exception of certain hotels managed or owned by

an affiliate of the company. © 2020 Wyndham Hotel Group Canada, ULC. All rights reserved.

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HTJuly/August2020.indd 1


2020-06-29 1:50 PM








Can your F&B stand out in a

sea of ghost kitchens?


Meet the winners of the KML

Top-30-under-30 Awards


Canada will lead the way to a

stronger hospitality industry





Canadian hotel performance

is starting to rebound



A look at hotel performance

around the globe


Experts weigh in on the

hotel industry 90 days



The Leadership Roundtable

tackles issues of the day


Guestroom-centric experiences

will be key post-COVID-19


Suppliers continue to innovate

to help hotels re-open










A selection of

winners from KML's

Top -30-under-30 Awards

JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 1



“It is the middle ground between light and shadow,

between science and superstition and it lies

between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his

knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is

an area which we call the Twilight Zone."

-The Twilight Zone, TV Series

In recent months the world’s eyes have been focused on a

silent killer called COVID-19. As we feverishly worked to

stave off the damaging results of its wrath, our economic

and social worlds have collapsed right before our very

eyes. For hotels, which focus on hospitality and pride

themselves on providing high levels of customer service,

along various touch-points, the stark reality has been brutal.

With travel restrictions the order of the day and many hotels

closed around the globe, the industry has been decimated.

Now, as we slowly pick up the pieces and move gingerly

towards recovery, our energies will be spent on finding new and

creative ways to help us re-coup lost business, while re-inventing

the business to incorporate physical distancing and provide

contactless service. Understandably, the industry is anxious to

get back to normal.

But, as much as we’ve all longed to return to some semblance

of normalcy, moving forward there is no more normal. With

a vaccine not expected for at least another year or

two, the industry will be forced to live in this state of

limbo for quite some time. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown

it created has shown us how just how quickly our lives can change, how vulnerable

we are to outside forces and how quickly we need to morph, adapt

and evolve if we are to survive in a world that continues to become more complex,

challenging and chaotic.

Indeed, we are living through a defining moment in history fuelled by the pandemic,

as well as political, economic and social strife, witnessed by the widespread anti-racism

protests waged in past months, sparked by the death of American George Floyd at the

hands of police. While at times it may feel as though we’ve been living in the “twilight

zone,” this unprecedented crisis can gain meaning and purpose if we use it as an opportunity

to make substantive changes in our personal and professional lives, but, more importantly,

in how we function as a society. After all, if we truly are honest, we will acknowledge that

normal hasn’t really been working on many fronts for a very long time. As we move

forward, let’s not waste the lessons learned from this crisis

but rather build on the momentum of change to help us

create not only a better industry, but also a better and more

equitable world.

ROSANNA CAIRA rcaira@kostuchmedia.com







2 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com



























Heather McCrory, Accor; David McMillan, Axis Hospitality International;

Bill Stone, CBRE Hotels ; David Larone, CBRE Hotels; Anthony Cohen,

Cresent Hotels — Global Edge Investments; Charles Suddaby, Cushman

& Wakefield LTD. — Hospitality & Gaming Group; Christiane Germain,

Germain Hotels; Ryan Murray, The Pillar + Post Hotel;

Geoffrey Allan, Project Capital Management Hotels; Stephen Renard,

Renard International Hospitality & Search Consultants; Anne Larcade,

Sequel Hotels & Resorts; Hani Roustom, The Hazelton Hotel;

Andrew Weir, Tourism Toronto

Clifton Blake Capital Corp. FSCO M15001928 M15000149 | BROKERAGE 12649

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Printed in Canada on recycled stock.

Return mail to: Kostuch Media Ltd., 23 Lesmill Rd.,

Suite 404, Toronto, Ont., M3B 3P6

Steve Hedington



Salim Gulamani









Hotel leaders speak out against racism

in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death



At Easton’s we

proudly represent 72

countries. Racism,

discrimination, and

prejudice have no

place at Easton’s and

have no place within

humanity. We

proudly stand by

Black Lives Matter

and stand firmly in

love with humanity

Reetu Gupta, president

and CEO of Easton’s Group

and The Gupta Group.


On May 25, American George Floyd died

after being arrested by police outside a shop

in Minneapolis, Minn. Footage of the arrest

shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin,

kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he was

pinned to the floor.

The incident sparked outrage and protests around the

world. But from the turmoil came unity as industry leaders,

released statements condemning the officer’s actions and

calling for change.

“As we were fighting a silent global war, another war

came to light — one that we've been fighting for many

years — and that is racism,” said Reetu Gupta, president and CEO of Easton’s Group and

The Gupta Group in an open letter that detailed the racism her family faced as immigrants

to Canada. “Easton’s is here today because my father persevered through severe racism.

When he bought the truck stop that started our business, his staff who pumped gas for the

trucks quit, based on the fact that he was Indian and they said this very clearly. My Dad

stood strong, allowed them to leave and then pumped gas in his suit.”

Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and CEO, posted a letter on LinkedIn,

advocating for opportunity for all. “Regardless of race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, abilities,

wealth and educational

background — or any other

point of human difference

— each person deserves to

be recognized for who we

are and respected for both

our common humanity and the distinct qualities that make us unique.”

Use the hashtag


to share messages of hope and advocate for change

He called on leaders to honour Floyd’s memory by leading their lives in a way that “pierces

through prejudice to embrace and know people as individuals. The people who work with or

for us, the people who serve us, the people we see in our communities, all of them deserve

recognition and respect. Too often, we don’t even see each other. Let’s never forget to use

our own lives to bring recognition and community and opportunity to life.”

Gupta’s letter echoed those sentiments, calling on the hotel industry to unite for peace.

“I ask all hoteliers today to unite and bring about world change,” she said. “I ask all leaders

across all industries, to stand up and be a champions for this matter. Stand with me —

together we are stronger; together we can bring love back into humanity.”◆

JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 5



Red Lion Hotels Corporation (RLHC) has

appointed John J. Russell, Jr. as its Chief

Executive Officer. Russell is an industry veteran

with more than 40 years of hospitality experience

and has been serving as RLHC’s interim CEO

since Dec. 3, 2019. “We’re very pleased

to be appointing John as Red Lion’s permanent

CEO,” says Carter Pate, chairman of the board,

RLHC. “Since joining RLHC, John has helped

re-focus the company on supporting its

franchisee relationships and cultivating

franchise growth. He’s also helped effectively

navigate through this incredibly difficult

period and the related challenges due to the

pandemic. We’re fortunate to have someone

with the depth of experience that John brings

to lead the RLHC team and support our

commitment to improving shareholder value.”



Expedia Group has

committed $275 million

to help partners rebound

from the impact of

COVID-19. The

company’s recovery

program includes a

$250-million commitment

in marketing credits and

financial relief. The

company is also reducing

its compensation on

all new bookings made

within the three-month

program period, regardless

of stay dates, and is

extending payment terms

for Hotel Collect bookings

to 90 days. These

measures will become

available to partners

based on recovery

signals, from their specific

markets — ensuring

support when it will be

most beneficial. The

company is also providing

proprietary data to track

trends through a new

analytics tool called

Market Insights.



Destination Canada has released data on resident

sentiment in Canada regarding the resumption of travel.

The organization is tracking sentiment to understand

the level of ‘welcome’ residents of each province/region

are feeling toward visitors. The June 2 study found

that, while Ontarians remain the least welcoming of

visitors from other communities near them (33 per cent)

and from other parts of their province (28 per cent),

British Columbians sentiment has shifted and moved

from being among the least welcoming to the most

welcoming of in-province visitors. More than half (55 per

cent) of B.C. residents surveyed indicated they strongly

or somewhat agree with welcoming visitors to their

community from nearby communities and 44 per cent

agreed with welcoming visitors from other parts of the

province. Quebec continues to be the most welcoming of

out-of-province visitors (31 per cent), while a significant

decline now ranks Atlantic residents as the least accepting

of domestic out-of-province visitors (13 per cent). Atlantic

residents saw significant declines in sentiment towards

nearly all levels of visitors compared to the

previous week.


Travel- and hotel-industry veteran,

Simon Cooper, has joined the

executive team at golf-resort operator

Cabot, as the company’s special advisor.

In this role, Cooper will support the

global team, property development

and international expansion. Cabot is

currently expanding its portfolio from

Nova Scotia to Saint Lucia and is

assessing future growth opportunities

across the globe. Most recently,

Cooper has been consulting through

Simon Cooper & Associates. He

currently serves on the board of

directors for Benchmark Hotels and

is a lead consultant for Gencom and

the ownership entity of Peninsula

Papagayo in Costa Rica.


6 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com



Joe Baker joined the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation

(OTEC) team in June as Systems Leadership and Integrated

Strategy Advisor. This newly created role was designed

to support the OTEC senior team in its collaborative role

in tourism-and-hospitality workforce recovery alongside

numerous industry and association partner organizations. A

vocal advocate for the tourism industry, Baker brings 20 years

of hospitality-operations and tourism-education leadership

experience to OTEC, most recently as Dean of Hospitality,

Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College. “The

unprecedented ripple-effect of COVID-19 through this sector

has required us to take a comprehensive, responsive approach

to provide pandemic recovery to hundreds of thousands

of affected workers,” says Adam Morrison, president and

CEO, OTEC. “Joe’s industry and advocacy expertise will

be a game-changer in terms of our ability to provide rapid

response to this hard-hit sector. The work ahead will be

critical to the sustained recovery of the tourism industry

and the resilience of the tourism workforce.”




Optii Solutions, has worked with

hotel partners to calculate the cost

of implementing new hospitality

cleaning protocols. Initial analysis

shows hotels will need to budget

around US$130,000 for a 250-room

hotel, running at around 60-per-cent

occupancy. However, measures

such as cutting out stayover cleans

or charging extra for additional

ancillary services could be introduced

to raise upwards of $110,000 in

the same scenario, thereby largely

offsetting these additional costs.

Before the pandemic, a standard

leisure room took an average of 39.3

minutes to clean and cost $9.42 in

terms of staff time. Optii technology

predicts incorporating the new

cleaning protocols will push the

cleaning time for a standard leisure

room up to 42.3 minutes to clean at

a cost of $10.12.



It is with great pleasure that we congratulate

Karla Gomez, Food and Beverage Services

Manager, Chelsea Hotel, Toronto on receiving

Kostuch Media Ltd.’s Top 30 Under 30 Award.

We couldn’t be more proud of this

well-deserved recognition.



Motel 6 Canada, in collaboration

with G6 Hospitality, launched

‘Clean@6’ in June — a comprehensive

initiative designed to ensure guests

feel confident when staying at any

Motel 6 or Studio 6 locations across

Canada and the U.S. The initiative

focuses on enhanced cleaning and

sanitization; physical and social

distancing; and safe behavioural

practices. “The health and safety of our hotel associates

and guests are of the utmost importance to us,” says

Irwin Prince, president & COO, Realstar Hospitality.

“The Clean@6 program exemplifies our commitment

to providing the travelling public with a clean and

comfortable stay.” Motel 6 Canada will also join other

global brands and follow the Safe Stay guidelines for

hotel cleaning.











The Global Business

Travel Association’s

(GBTA) June poll



per cent

of companies

plan to resume

domestic travel in

the near future

(one to three months)


per cent

plan to resume all

travel in the next one

to three months as

well. It also saw a

small uptick in the

number of companies

allowing some

essential travel (44 per

cent compared to 37

per cent in May).






William (Bob) Robert Pomeroy,

chairman and founder of Pomeroy

Lodging, passed away on June 11,

at the age of 72. Pomeroy was a

known trailblazer in the hospitality

industry and, over the years, built a

legacy that will continue to live on

in his name. He spent more than

25 years in the hotel and hospitality

industry as both an owner

and operator and established the

Pomeroy name as being the premier

hotel group in Western Canada.

He is credited with growing his

business from the ground up by

creating meaningful relationships

with partners, vendors and his

people. A special website, rememberingbobpomeroy.com,

has been

created as a place to share stories,

pictures and videos of Pomeroy.

8 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com






Can your F&B stand out in a sea of ghost kitchens?


Pre-pandemic, the operative

model for many hotels was to generate

core earnings through the rooms

division, with more-or-less break even

or slightly positive support from the

hotel’s F&B offerings.

With the onsite-dining experience

heavily compromised by COVID-19-

induced restrictions to seating density

and, therefore cover volume — as well

as less-than-motivating amenities such

as single-use menus — this is a disastrous

combination for keeping any outlet afloat,

much less one in a hotel whose primary

purpose is servicing in-house guests.

Another fascinating advent is the

ghost kitchen — a restaurant purposebuilt

for online delivery apps with

no physical seating or store frontage

whatsoever. Ghost kitchens can be setup

practically anywhere close to the target

market and kept lean by excluding all

costs associated with waiting tables, such

as dishware, server wages, ambiance

elements or high rental fees for a prime

location on a main thoroughfare.

Without these overheads, ghost


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 9

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kitchens can seriously undercut a hotel

restaurant on menu pricing. Additionally,

many regular eateries in your neighbourhood

have likely already converted their

spaces into this type of model, further

driving local competition.

Given the grand shift in eating habits

currently happening, hotel guests may

prefer familiar ordering apps (Uber Eats,

DoorDash, SkipTheDishes or others)

for in-room meal delivery over a quick

saunter downstairs to your restaurant.

So how do you differentiate your dining

outlet through these mobile channels so

customers choose your hotel over any

other ghost kitchen? Moreover, how

do you build an emotionally impactful

experience without in-person contact in

order to maintain loyalty and prevent

any less-than-stellar online reviews from

cropping up?

In many ways, hotels have already

faced this situation when they started

putting rooms inventory on the OTAs.

These have historically been great

channels for maximizing property

visibility at the expense of brand

dilution and operating income. Namely,

when your hotel is solely represented in

any travel query by a tiny website letterbox

of basic details amidst a sea of other

letterboxes for your competitors, there’s

seldom any emotional resonance and

customers end up gravitating towards

price and location, while not necessarily

dwelling on your other USPs.

Prior to a full elimination of

physical-distancing rules at restaurants

so you can resume pre-pandemic levels

of turning tables, much like how we

acclimatized to the OTAs, the answer

to our present dilemma is to holistically

embrace technology. You simply have

no other option.

As a start, you need a staff member

completely devoted to making your

restaurant visible, with consistent

information, wherever guests or locals

are searching. This individual must

also curate your content so customers

can scan every possible detail without

resorting to SMS or a phone call.

Think multiple pictures of each dish

as it will arrive to the room and note

all ingredients with specific attention

to allergens.

Rigid monitoring of review sites must

also take place to ensure any mistakes

are immediately remedied. To this end,

you may also want to enhance your own

channels to send out private feedback

requests, aiding in recovery situations

before any objections reach the public.

Next, you have to generate demand.

With all aspects of business operation

shifted to digital, this requires a tactful

mix of paid search, social advertising,

in-app promotions, discounted beverage

or family-size bundles and personal

offers disseminated via pre-arrival

emails or from within your own branded

app. By also showing how inviting

and safe your onsite-dining experience

is, these channels can act as a Trojan

horse for getting more foot traffic to

your restaurant.

Above all, while technology is

instrumental to facilitate this new way

of consumption, there’s only so much

you can gild a lily, meaning the food

must ultimately speak for itself. The

challenge your chefs face is to deliver a

product expressly for takeout or delivery

that carries the same flavour and presentation

as if it were served tableside.

In the face of new ghost-kitchen

competitors, where the cuisine is specifically

designed to survive the various

nuisances of delivery without serious

cost overruns, this requires a holistic

re-think of ingredients used, as well as

packaging and accessories you add to

round out each order. All this won’t be

easy, but you can make your restaurant

profitable if you act prudently. ◆

Larry Mogelonsky is

the principal

of Hotel Mogel

Consulting Limited,

a Toronto-based

consulting practice.

His experience

encompasses hotel

properties around the

world, both branded and independent,

and ranges from luxury and boutique to

select-service. You can reach him at

larry@hotelmogel.com to discuss hotel

business challenges.




Hilton celebrates 100

years of exceeding

guest expectations



In-room wellness

options are coming

of age



Hotel operators address

issues impacting the



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THE 2019





A look at 21st century

kitchen design



Coverage of the annual

WITH Summit



Hoteliers seek new

strategies to raise

F&B revenue






The industry rallies

behind businessmeetings




Hotel operators are

taking a stand against

human trafficking



Meet a few of the

industry’s rising stars









Highlighting four women

who are breaking the

gender mould





10 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com



Experience a new level of cleansing for daily comfort

and confidence. This advanced bidet toilet seat with

cleansing functionality uses naturally soothing water

as a refreshing, hygienic alternative to toilet tissue.

Easy-to-use controls let you adjust the water spray

for temperature and pulsating motion--all at the

touch of a button. Other amenities include a heated

seat, adjustable warm-air flow for drying, and built-in

odor control.





In April 2019, KML announced it would

take over stewardship of the Top-30-

under-30 program. Previously operated

by the Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI),

the program is an annual initiative that

recognizes and celebrates the top-30 young

professionals across all sectors of the foodservice

and hospitality industry. The high-profile

program celebrates and recognizes future

generations of hospitality leaders who are and

will continue to make a difference. The brainchild

of Bruce McAdams, assistant professor of the

University of Guelph, and Charles Grieco, former

president of the OHI, the program was launched

14 years ago and, during its history, hundreds

of individuals have been recognized — many of

whom have gone on to stellar hospitality careers.

With the passing of Grieco last year, the torch

has been passed to KML to take hold and move

it forward. “We’re thrilled and humbled to have

the opportunity to do so and we’re proud to

continue recognizing tomorrow’s leaders who

undoubtedly will make the industry more vibrant,

more successful and more socially and ethically

relevant,” says Rosanna Caira, editor/publisher,

KML. “We look forward to keeping our readers

updated as to how the program will evolve in the

future, but one factor will remain constant: by

strengthening the Top 30 Under 30, we’ll continue

to honour the memory of the man who made it

all possible - J. Charles Grieco.”

KML is proud to present the winners of this

year’s Top-30-under-30 Awards. Not only are

these individuals great at their jobs, but they’ve

also shown leadership or leadership potential

and have sought to better the industry through

their professional and/or industry-related

volunteer work.

12 | JULY/AUGUST 2020


Yuli Lin

Sous Chef, Constantine;

F&B director QJD

Peking Duck Restaurant

Toronto, Ont.

Nick Yuli Lin has worked

in kitchens his entire life,

spending more than 11 years

in some of the finest

restaurants in Guangzhou,

China and in Toronto. His love

of cooking led him to George

Brown College and, during

this time, Lin worked at

Toronto’s fine-dining

restaurant Alo. Since

graduating in 2016, Lin has

represented Canada three

times on the world stage as

part of Bocuse d’Or Team

Canada, finishing as high

as second place at the

Continental Selection in 2018.

Lin’s passion, work ethic

and knack for learning on

the fly have guided him to

new heights, working as a

sous chef at Constantine in

Toronto, cooking specialty

dishes and helping run a

kitchen comprised of 20



van der


Social Media & Project

Manager, Fairmont Royal

York Toronto, Ont.

Megan van der Baars’ credits her career in

hospitalty to a passion for travel, hospitality

and culture. She majored in Hospitality

Management/Business at Florida State

University before moving to Toronto to

take part in the leadership-development

program at the Fairmont Royal York. The

program led her to the Sales & Marketing

department, where she excelled in the

role of public-relations coordinator before

being promoted to Social Media & Project

manager. Van der Baars pursued additional

education while working at the hotel,

completing a post-graduate PR

Certification from Ryerson University. She’s

credited with increasing engagement across

Fairmont Royal York’s eight social-media

accounts by 45 per cent since taking on

her current role in 2018. She also played an

integral role in projects such as the hotel’s

recent multi-million-dollar renovation and

the creation of the hotel’s Vision Labs — an

interactive colleague townhall aimed at

creating internal engagement. She’s also

involved in committees such as Accor’s

Planet 21 and RiiSE initiatives, holding the

role of co-chair for the latter.



an Zanette

Business Manager, Nicholas Pearce

Wines Inc. Toronto, Ont.

Passionate about wine, sales, business, travel, winemaking

trends and food, Ryan Zanette is the perfect fit for his

current role of business manager for Nicholas Pearce Wines.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Finance from Gulf Cost

University, he pursued his winemaker and viticulture technician

training at Niagara College. He also achieved his Level 3 WSET

(tasting only) in 2017. Zanette joined Nicholas Pearce Wines

Inc. a year ago as the youngest and newest member. His job

requires a significant amount of multi-tasking, working with

the LCBO monopoly, more than 400 restaurants, more than

1,000 private consumers, 100-plus winery partners and local

couriers. “We know Ryan will be an integral member

of our team for years to come and help define the next

generation of hospitality leaders,” says Nicholas Pearce,

managing director, Nicholas Pearce Wines Inc.

Anish Taneja

Senior vice-president, Palm Holdings Toronto, Ont.

As senior Vice-President of Palm Holdings, Anish

Taneja has spent a little under a decade managing

Palm Holdings’ CAPEX division, as well as founding

a new wing of the company, Palm Construction.

Taneja’s leadership skills and knowledge of the

industry have led to Palm Construction


Daniel Tse

Sous Chef, Atelier and THRU Ottawa, Ont.

Justin Daniel Tse grew up working in his father’s Chinese restaurant.

He graduated from the Culinary Management program at St. Lawrence

College in Kingston, Ont., before moving to Ottawa to work in a number

of restaurants, including Social Restaurant. He then spent two years

as a consulting chef, working with Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality on

restaurant openings. Prior to joining the team at Atelier and THRU

in 2018, Tse spent five years at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge on

Somerset Island in Nunavut, as its executive chef. In his current

role as sous chef of Ottawa fine-dining restaurants Atelier and

THRU, Tse is credited with bringing the level of professionalism in

its kitchen to an all-time high.

receiving many awards for its services. Taneja is

also quite active in the industry, holding positions

on multiple boards through Palm Holdings. He

most recently became a founding board member

of the UHN Impact collective in support of Toronto

General & Western Hospital Foundation.



Restaurant Manager,

Imago Restaurant Inc.

Toronto, Ont.

Pallavi Misra has worked in a

number of dynamic food-and-beverage

environments. She began her career as

a management trainee with Taj Hotels &

Resorts, in Mumbai, India, before coming

to Canada. A graduate of University of

Huddersfield (U.K.) with a B.A. (Honours)

in Hotel Management, in 2017 she took

on the role of restaurant manager for

Imago Restaurants Inc. in Toronto.



Assistant Director of Human Resources,

Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel Toronto, Ont.

Amanda Lemos began her career in hospitality as a summer hostess at

JW Marriott The Rousseau Muskoka Resort & Spa’s restaurant. She went

on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hospitality and Tourism

Management at Ryerson University, with a minor in Human Resources.

She furthered her education while working in

the industry, achieving a Certified Human

Resources Leader Designation (CHRL). Her

career path led Lemos to work in several

Toronto hotels, moving up the ranks in

human-resources departments, before

joining Sheraton Centre Toronto as

supervisor, Human Resources. In her

current role as Sheraton Centre’s

assistant director of Human Resources,

Lemos leads recruitment initiatives,

while managing hiring and onboarding

processes. She also supports the

hotel’s senior management team in


employee hoteliermagazine.com



Human Resources Manager,

Omni King Edward Hotel

Toronto, Ont.

In her role as Human Resources manager at Toronto’s

Omni King Edward Hotel, Meghan Pratt is known for

her commitment to building relationships and developing

people. She’s also credited with improving the

hotel’s overall on-property results. The hotel recently

recognized her efforts, naming her the ‘Leader of the

third Quarter’ in 2019. Pratt completed a Bachelor of

Commerce in Hospitality and Tourism Management

at Ryerson University and previously held a range

of food-and-beverage positions at Fairmont Hotel

Vancouver, before joining the King Edward as a Human

Resources generalist. She was promoted to her

current role after only six months and, in this

role, shoulders a wide range of responsibilities,

including recruiting and onboarding management-level

positions; counseling employees

on their personal development; managing

WSIB cases and the hotel’s WSPS Safety

Group Program; and coordinating organization-wide

projects, including town-hall

meetings, associate-engagement surveys

and its health-and-wellness fair, as well

as employee events.


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 13



Events Manager, Andrew

Peller Ltd. Grimsby, Ont.

Madison Vine has always been passionate about the

hospitality industry. As the events manager at Andrew

Peller Ltd., Vine has planned and executed more than

250 events annually across four properties, including

strategizing, managing budgets, assisting with marketing

and promotion and working with business and tourism

partners. In 2019, she began teaching at the School of

Hospitality, Tourism and Sport at Niagara College in addition

to her duties at Andrew Peller. She’s also active on a number

of committees.



Executive Chef, Hexagon

Restaurant Oakville, Ont.

Mexican-born chef based in Ontario, Rafael Covarrubias

discovered his love of cooking at a young age in his family’s

kitchen and earned his first ‘Cuisine Diploma’ at Le Cordon

Bleu shortly after finishing high school. After honing his craft

in a number of leading Calgary restaurants, he moved to

Oakville to lead the opening team at Hexagon Restaurant in

Oakville, Ont., prior to assuming the role of executive chef of

both Hexagon and 7 Enoteca. His leadership led to Hexagon

being ranked among the top Best New Restaurants by

Toronto Life magazine in 2018. Most recently, Covarrubias won

the North America San Pellegrino Young Chef competition in

New York City and will now represent North America in the

Grand Finale in Milan next year.

Dan Angus

Sous Chef, Langdon Hall

Country House Hotel & Spa

Cambridge, Ont.

Dan Angus began working in the restaurant industry in highschool

as a dishwasher at East Side Mario’s. At the age of 17,

he was made a certified trainer in recognition of his drive and

professionalism. While completing the Culinary Management

Program at George Brown College, he completed the placement

portion of the program with chef Marin Kouprie at Pangaea

restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. After five

years studying and working in Toronto, Angus worked in

Michelin-starred restaurants in New York before taking

on the role of garde manger at Langdon Hall. Angus has

since worked his way to senior sous chef and, in this role,

has contributed to the development of the upcoming Langdon

Hall cookbook. He also mentors and trains young cooks and is

recognized as a driving force behind Langdon Hall’s

sustainable- and ethical-sourcing initiatives.



Co-Owner and GM, Meuwly’s Ltd.

Edmonton, Alta.

Dedication, volunteerism

and a profound focus

on community are just

some of the qualities

seen in Peter Keith.

After graduating with a

Journeyman certificate/

Red Seal/Blue Seal

from Northern Alberta

Institute of Technology (NAIT) in 2012, Keith joined the

culinary team at NAIT as a volunteer coach, where he stayed

for five years. Since 2017, he’s been the presiding officer

on the Edmonton Cook Apprenticeship, the director of the

Canadian Culinary Fund and the secretary of the board on

Edmonton’s Chef’s Association. In 2019 he added Board

Chair of the Culinary Program Advisory Committee at NAIT

to his résumé. Keith is currently the co-owner and general

manager of Meuwly’s Ltd., where he designed, implemented

and managed all aspects of Meuwly’s Artisan Food Market,

growing the start-up to $750, 000 in annual revenue by its

second year.



Chef de Cuisine, Bar Buca Eglinton

Toronto, Ont.

Raffael Ventrone is

recognized as a respectful

and innovative leader

with a natural ability to

mentor others. As chef

de cuisine for Bar Buca

Eglinton, he created

opening menus and

protocols for the

restaurant and is responsible for inventory, costing, hiring

and training. He completed the Culinary Management

Program at George Brown College and the school’s Italian

Postgraduate Diploma — during which he worked at Relais

La Fontanina in Italy for several months.


14 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com

Jessica Colvin

Sales + Event Specialist, Drake Hotel

Properties Toronto, Ont.

As a Film and Media Studies student, Jessica Colvin didn’t get to really

flex her entrepreneurial muscle until she was accepted into a condensed

business and entrepreneurship program, after which her

start-up secured $30,000 in venture capital from investors at a

pitch competition and $16,000 from a Kickstarter campaign. In 2017,

she joined the Drake Hotel Properties team as a special-events

coordinator. In her first year with the company, she was promoted to

the Drake’s first-ever on-site sales representative and was able

to increase fall business from $208,565 to $468,367 —

surpassing the overall property sales target by 73 per cent.

Colvin’s relentless work ethic, eye for detail and interpersonal

skills have garnered her the respect of her peers.



Event Manager, Culinary Tourism

Alliance Toronto, Ont.

Landon Logie’s path to becoming event manager at

the Culinary Tourism Alliance is sprinkled with

success. Since graduating from George Brown

College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Business in

Hospitality Operations Management, she’s been at

the helm of some of the Culinary Tourism Alliance’s

biggest events. Logie’s hard work, dedication,

exceptional creativity and planning skills have been put on display at events such

as the Terroir Symposium — including periphery events such as the Welcome

Reception, After-Party and Rural Retreat. She’s also responsible for the planning of

Feast On events across Ontario. More recently Logie was elected as a member of

the board of directors for Festivals & Events Ontario (FEO), where she undertakes

the handling of special events and acts as an ambassador for the organization.

Steven Gambee

Assistant General Manager, Oliver &

Bonacini Hospitality Toronto, Ont.

Hospitality runs in Steven Gambee’s blood. His great-grandparents were a part of

Toronto’s hospitality scene in the 1930s and it was their accomplishments that led

him to want to be in the industry. In 2013, Gambee enrolled at George Brown College

for the Food and Beverage Management Program. Coming from a family of chefs,

Gambee always assumed he’d become a chef, but he soon realized his path led in a

different direction. After working at Fabbrica Restaurant, he moved to the Shangri-La Hotel

Toronto, where he took on a bartender role. His next job at Red’s Wine Tavern was Gambee’s

first taste of management. Starting as an extern student and ending with a full-time

position, the road was not easy but the skills he acquired prepared him for his next role as

part of the opening team for Antler. As bar manager, he conquered many challenges and

picked up a number of new skills. Currently, Gambee is the assistant general manager at

Oliver & Bonacini, Café Grill.



Revenue Manager, Fairmont

The Queen Elizabeth

Montreal, Que

Isabelle Herington

had spent years

refining her

hospitality skills

around the world

before coming

to Canada. A graduate of Northwood

University with a Bachelor of

Business Administration in Hospitality

Management, she moved to Quebec

City in 2014 and spent a year in the

leadership-development program at

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. During

this time, she stood out from her peers,

showcasing her already polished

management skills. Upon completion

of the program, Herington stayed on

at Le Château Frontenac as an assistant

front-office director for two years,

leading a team of 18 employees and

supervising daily front-office operations.

Her success there led to a transfer

to Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in

Montreal where she serves as the

hotel’s revenue manager, collaborating

with in-house and distribution teams —

earning her the respect and

admiration of her peers.



Director of Asset Management,

InnVest Hotels Toronto, Ont.

Adam Haick is a director of Asset Management

at InnVest Hotels. As a key member of the asset-

management team, he directly oversees a large

portfolio of Canadian hotels, working closely with

operations, capital, legal and finance teams to

maximize asset values. Prior to InnVest, Adam

held progressive roles at Carpedia Hospitality,

where he worked with hotel senior leaders to

optimize labour management and improve

processes. Haick holds a Bachelor of

Commerce Degree from Ryerson University

and a Business Administration Degree

from Fleming College.

hoteliermagazine.com JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 15



Chef de Cuisine, 7 Enoteca

Oakville, Ont.

There are few things Marvin Palomo hasn’t already

accomplished in the foodservice industry and, at just 25

years old, the sky is the limit. After completing his Culinary

Management diploma from George Brown, he enrolled in

the Culinary Arts, Italian, post-graduate program, where he

was placed in La Contea Ristoranate, a one-star Michelin

restaurant in Italy, as the stage/garde manger. After

graduation, Palomo returned to Toronto to work at DaiLo

by Nick Liu, earning respect and admiration from his

colleagues and bosses with his kitchen acumen. After

three years, Palomo packed his knives and moved to

Hong Kong to work in one-star Michelin restaurant, VEA

Restaurant by Vicky Cheng, where he took over as senior

chef de partie/meat and saucier and showcased his

already well-demonstrated leadership skills. After

further honing his culinary skills, he moved back to

Toronto to become the chef de cuisine at 7 Enoteca,

where he oversees a staff of 25 and is responsible

for day-to-day operations.



Undergraduate Research Assistant,

University of Guelph Guelph, Ont.

Robinson’s career path has been fuelled by a lifelong

passion for food and the environment, leading her to

leverage industry connections and experiences to become

a change-maker within both fields. She completed a

Bachelor of Commerce, Hotel and Food Administration

(Co-op) at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business, where

for her co-op placement, she worked at Four Seasons

Resorts and Residences, Whistler, B.C., in its food-andbeverage

department. In her current job, Robinson’s work

has focused on single-use plastics, including working with

Dr. Simon Somogyi on a paper on single-use plastics in

restaurants. Robinson founded and organized the Forward

Food, Sustainable Food Systems Student Conference held

in Guelph.



Assistant Winemaker,

Rosewood Estates Winery

Beamsville, Ont.

Wine is in her blood and Erin Rolanty has

become a sponge for knowledge in the wine

industry over her six-year career. Rolanty has

worked as a cellar hand at wineries around the

world, including stints in Germany and Australia,

and spent years refining her skills before

becoming the assistant winemaker at Rosewood

Estates Winery. She’s become a Swiss-army

knife in the viticulture world, obtaining a

certificate of merit from the Wine Appellations

of Ontario for an introductory wine knowledge

course, as well as an Ontario Certificate Diploma

Certificate Winery and Viticulture Technician. Her

experience with every facet of viticulture, coupled

with her determination to grow and learn, makes

her a force to be reckoned with in the workplace.




Director of Front

Office, Royal Service &

Reservation, Fairmont

Le Manoir Richelieu

Malbaie, Que.

Lukas Vallee Valletta began his hospitality

journey at the tender age of 15 as

a dishwasher at Quebec’s Château

Vaudreuil Hotel & Suites. Inspired by the

strong work ethic of his parents, Valletta

put in 12-hour shifts at the hotel. At the

age of 17, he moved to the 152-room W

Montreal as a bellman and later as night

auditor. Two years later, he moved to the

Hôtel Le Crystal where he took on the

role of receptionist and concierge. That’s

when he realized he’d found his true

passion for the hotel industry and

enrolled at l’Institut de tourisme et

d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) for

advanced studies in International Hotel

Management. Following graduation,

Valletta joined Fairmont Hotels and

Resorts, first at the prestigious Queen

Elizabeth in Montreal as Housekeeping

supervisor, followed by the Fairmont Royal

York in Toronto as assistant front-office

manager. During a 14-month stint as

department head night manager at the

Royal York, his front-office team achieved

a 50-per-cent increase in upsell, almost

doubling the total from 2016. At the age of

26, Valletta moved on to new adventures,

taking on the role of director of Front

Office, Royal Services & Reservation at the

405-room Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in

Malbaie, Que. In his role, Valletta ensures

service standards are met and exceeded

while actively seeking feedback and

following up on guest comments.

16 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com



Food and Services Manager,

Chelsea Hotel Toronto

Toronto, Ont.

In her current role as

Food and Services

manager at Chelsea

Hotel Toronto, Karla

Gomez is credited with

driving improvements

and departmental

efficiencies, as well as

service consistency

within her department. She joined the hotel (then

the Delta Chelsea) as a customer-resolution agent

in 2013 and went on to hold a number of roles within

the F&B department. As Food and Services manager,

Gomez is responsible for inventory, hiring and training,

scheduling, payroll, monthly reports, forecasting and

budgeting for the department. She also monitors all

aspects of F&B outlets — including menu development,

food prep and presentation — to ensure guest

experience and service and prepares assistant

managers for the next step in their careers. Prior

to joining the Chelsea, she completed a degree in

Culinary Arts at Universidad Regiomontana (Monterrey,

Mexico). She continued her education, completing a

diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Operations at New

Brunswick Community College, as well as an MBA

Global Management from Universidad Regiomontan.



Pastry Chef, Predator

Ridge Gold Resort

Vernon, B.C.

Credited as an energetic, highly skilled and ambitious young chef, Tina Tang began her career

within the foodservice industry during high school, working in kitchens part time and joining

the North Vancouver Island Chefs Association as its youngest member. She went on to complete

the Professional Cook program (Levels 1, 2 and 3) at North Island College on Vancouver

Island before receiving Red Seal Certification. She’s worked in a number of kitchens throughout

B.C., including The Breakwater Restaurant, Quails’ Gate Winery and The Grapevine Restaurant

at Gary Monk Winery, before taking on her current role as pastry chef at Predator Ridge Golf

Resort. Tang has received a number of accolades during her career, including Okanagan Chefs

Association’s Junior Chef of the year (2014 and 2015) and Chef of the Year (2018); the Fred Rose

Award (2012) from the North Vancouver Island Chefs Association; and Tang is the youngest chef to

receive the Canadian Culinary Federation’s Western Chef of the Year award (2018). She has also

competed in a number of competitions, including the most recent IKA Culinary Olympics, where

she won a bronze medal in the Pastry Arts category in addition to

competing as part of Culinary Team British Columbia.

Thomas Beckett

Tina Chan

Events Manager, Westin

Harbour Castle Toronto, Ont.

After enrolling in a tourism course in grade 11, Tina Chan knew she

wanted to pursue a career in hospitality. She moved from Richmond,

B.C. to Ontario to enroll in University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food

Administration program, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of

Commerce degree. Since graduation, Chan has been part of Marriott

International (legacy Starwood Hotels & Resorts), progressing through

various roles at the company’s different properties. Her roles have

included group reservations co-ordinator, co-ordinator of catering and

events, project specialist and most, recently, events manager at the

Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Since assuming the role in 2017,

she’s progressed from looking after small meetings and room blocks

to serving events and conferences of all sizes. In 2019, Chan handled

140 groups, bringing in $6.9 million in revenue for the hotel. And her

hard work has been noticed — Chan made the Marriott Brilliant-Top

Performers Leaderboard as part of the top-25-per-cent performers

for Americas-Canada Event Manager for Q2 and Q3 2019.

Vice-President, HVS Canada

Toronto, Ont.

Thomas Beckett’s career has burned brightly thus

far and it’s only just begun. Beckett graduated

from the University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food

Administration program with honours in 2014,

where he was awarded the Bachelor of Commerce

Leadership prize for the School of Business and

Economics and the HTM/HAFA Alumni Associations

Recognitions of Achievement Award. Following

graduation, he started his career at HVS Canada

as an associate in April 2014. He was tasked with

completing valuation studies for hotels and

hospitality-related income-producing real estate

across western Canada, as well as conducting

market analyses. His prowess in the office shone

through as he climbed the ranks at HVS, becoming

a senior associate and ultimately being named

vice-president of HVS in April of 2018. Beckett

has progressed in his career with swiftness and

efficiency, showcasing his true talents in the

hospitality sector.

18 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com

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Director, Lodging

Development –

Western Canada,

Marriott International

Vancouver, B.C.

Duncan Chiu, who joined Marriott

in March as director, Lodging

Development – Western Canada,

completed a Bachelor of Commerce,

Hotel and Food Administration (Co-op)

at the University of Guelph, as well as

certificates in Commercial Real Estate

and Hotel Real Estate Investments

and Asset Management Certificates at

Cornell University. In his previous role

as director, Development, Coast

Hotels, he contributed to company’s

growth strategy, developing quality

franchise-management and partnership

agreements and identifying potential

acquisition opportunities. During this

time with the company, he contributed

to the development of four Coast

franchises, as well as a third-party

hotel-management agreement.



Chief Investment Officer, Easton’s

Group of Hotels Markham, Ont

Suraj Gupta spent several years as an advisor to his

family’s business, The Easton’s Group of hotels, before

joining the company officially in 2017. With a strong

background in finance and strategy, Gupta overhauled

Easton’s Group’s capital-allocation structure and

investment strategy to allow the company to experience

its most-successful period to date. During his time at the

company, Easton’s Group has grown to become Canada’s

largest private hotel developer and one of Toronto’s

most prominent real-estate developers. He also launched

Rouge Insight Capital to diversify his family company

outside of real estate, to add value to his community and

help build out further technology and innovation within the

hospitality industry. Gupta is also passionate about giving

back to the community and

volunteers a significant amount of his time to tackle

global issues regarding education, youth empowerment

and inequality.



General Manager, Canoe Restaurant

& Bar, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality

Toronto, Ont.

Many mentors have helped shape Jane Suh’s career and the

greatest lesson she learned from them is to always act in

a guest-first manner. Described by her peers as intelligent,

warm, well organized and well respected, Suh began her

restaurant career with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

(MLSE) as a Food & Beverage supervisor following graduation

from Toronto’s Liaison College of Culinary Arts. After working

her way up through the ranks at MLSE, followed by a stint at

the Chelsea Hotel, Suh joined the team at Oliver & Bonacini

Hospitality, first as the bar manager at Jump Restaurant in

2016 and then manager at Canoe. In 2019, Suh was named

general manager of Canoe, where she helped lead the wellknown

restaurant through a full renovation and re-opening.

“When you work in hospitality, you’re lucky to be able to name

a handful of people who have affected you personally and

professionally,” says Tracy Tucker, director of restaurants for

Oliver & Bonacini. “For me, Jane Suh is in that handful. When

Jane is in charge, I don’t worry. I know things will get done and

they’ll get done the right way — with conviction

and a sense of doing the right thing

by her managers, staff and


Paul van der Merwe

Commercial Winemaker, Arterra Wines Canada Mississauga, Ont.

Paul van der Merwe’s knowledge of and passion for viticulture

has fuelled his early success in his field. During his time at Brock

University he excelled, winning the Academic Achievement Award

and Cuvée Golden Ticket Award in 2016, both of which are handed

out for academic excellence, leading him to UC Davis to pursue a

Master of Science, Viticulture and Enology. His research project

on winery tank cleaning and sanitization earned him

$33,000 in research grants from UC Davis, a research

project which he would soon bring with him into the

workplace. Hired in 2017 as an assistant winemaker by Arterra Wines

Canada, van der Merwe has ascended the ranks of the company. As

a cellar supervisor, he obtained more than $100,000 of investment

for different capital projects, one of which will save an estimated

five-million litres of water annually. Now, as commercial winemaker,

he’s designed a top-sampling and tank-verification protocol to

maintain a wine’s integrity, resulting in the saving of 80,000 litres

of wine, He’s also responsible for the blending of up to one-million

litres of wine per week in his current position.


20 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com







JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 21

In recent months, hotels, attractions and

venues across Toronto have been turning

purple as part of the #HospitalityStrong

campaign in support of the hospitality

community, which has been devastated

by COVID-19.

I work in the hospitality industry and

I’m an avid traveller. Without a doubt,

these are the darkest days I’ve ever seen

in Canada and around the world. But,

I have the same certainty that we’ll see

brighter days again. What we’re going

through is incredibly tough, but we’ll not

only survive it, we’ll come out stronger than ever before

— and our incredible, vibrant, diverse country has the

opportunity to lead the way.

First, though, there’s a painful, short-term challenge

to overcome. As the managing director of The Hazelton

Hotel in Toronto, I’ve had to lay off colleagues. It was

heart-breaking for them and for me. Hotels have suspended

operations and occupancy levels across Canada, and

North America, for the hotels that remain open are at

a historic low. Restaurants have had to shut their doors,

some permanently, and hospitality and tourism professionals

are unsure about the future of their businesses and

worry about the ongoing well-being of their families.

In the past, societies have been ravaged by global

pandemics, world wars and financial crises. And yet, every

time we rebuilt, we adapted. We travelled, dined and

celebrated again — this time will be no different.

We’re already making the best of a bad situation. Many

hospitality operators have adapted to the pandemic and

quickly pivoted their full-service operations to offer

takeout and pick-up service. Hotels, such as the Fairmont

Royal York in Toronto, are taking the opportunity to

perform public service, making rooms available for doctors

and nurses as they quarantine away from their families.

Others have offered to serve as places of overflow

and quarantine. At The Hazelton and through #Hazelton-

Cares, our team found purpose cooking nutritious meals

for healthcare workers and citizens in need.

And, to their great credit — and our industry’s everlasting

thanks — our political leadership, working together on

all levels, listened and responded with appropriate measures

and policies. More help is said to be on the way and, as

a member of the Ministerial Advisory Panel for Hotels

and Hoteliers, I was able to see firsthand how committed

our provincial Minister of Heritage, Sports, Tourism and

Culture, Lisa MacLeod is to supporting our industry.

In June, a number of leading organizations in the

tourism and travel sector launched the Canadian Tourism

Roundtable, a coalition of industry representatives

committed to restoring the Canadian hospitality economy in

the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they’re

working to point the way for the entire economy to move

forward. The roundtable highlighted the following five

key next steps: develop clear and uniform standards for

safe travel; remove inter-provincial travel restrictions as

soon as possible; review the need for the ban on non-essential

travel to the United States; carefully ease restrictions

on international travel based on progress being made

in specific countries and regions, (especially the European

Union); and, as is being done in other countries, ease

the requirement for a 14-day quarantine on international

arrivals unless they are travelling from a high-risk country.

These are the necessary, but reasonable, steps we need

to begin rebuilding our hospitality and tourism industries

while ensuring traveller safety. Personally, I also believe

re-starting our travel economy will require a national strategy

for testing, tracking and isolation. This strategy should

be one of the priorities the industry should be working








toward. As an industry, we were the first to be impacted

by this crisis and we’ll probably be the last to recover.

Only then, I believe, will we start to rebuild people’s

confidence. Confidence is the building block of economic


A co-ordinated marketing campaign effectively communicating

our standards and our strategy will be important

as well.

During these uncertain times, Canadians are looking

for a source of inspiration. Hospitality professionals — as

life-loving optimists — are happy to step up and meet that

need. We may have taken some of the hardest hits, but I

believe our solidarity, our camaraderie and our ingenuity

can show our city, our country and the entire world the

way forward.

So, let’s continue to be confident in our future. Hospitality

and travel are resilient. Iron tough. We’ll be back,

stronger than ever — and we will travel again. ◆



22 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com


Hotel Equities

Interview with Bryan DeCourt, EVP and

Joe Reardon, Chief Development Officer



What were some of the

Q early challenges when

COVID-19 first hit?

BD: The immediate shock,

in terms of the speed of

erosion of business, took

all of our collective breath

away, because it happened

so quickly. For a group our

size — we’re spread out across

a bunch of different time

zones and a couple different

provinces and countries —

the challenge became how to,

in a relatively decentralized

environment, get your arms

around that [reality] quickly

and make some difficult

decisions with fairly limited


Joe Reardon: Just like

everybody else, it was [a hit]

to the portfolio across the

board. When you’re in those

situations, you focus on how

much market share can I grab

and keep in my hotel during

these times. Cost control was

also really important, so [we]

assembled a group of experts

on the sales and operation

side that quickly had to make

some hard decisions.

Have you laid off

Q any staff?

BD: At the property level is

where we had to make really

tough decisions — and not

only in Canada. We re-

deployed the regional teams

across the U.S. as well as

Canada, and have had to lay

off housekeepers and maintenance

[staff] due to volume

not being there. But each

hotel’s different based on

occupancy levels, the needs of

the hotel and some location.

Now, our revenues are starting

to increase and we’ve got a

plan in place to start looking

at potentially bringing back

regional teams and team


How is the HE portfolio

Q performing as the

industry begins to re-open

and who is staying in your

hotels right now?

BD: Our full-service properties

in larger urban markets

have struggled, but our

extended-stay and regional

markets, where there is more

leisure and transient business,

have had better recovery. [In

terms of guests,] first responders

and project workers,

such railroad and pipeline

workers, are the bulk of our

business right now. We’ve

got a handful of hotels in the

Midwest and the Iowa area

and, as an example, [guests

are] working on the large

windmill turbines. That type

of business has helped drive

and sustain occupancy. The

university segment is also

starting to come back, which

is interesting, as schools start

to get their arms around

what that’s going to look like

either in a virtual environment

or in a more traditional

classroom environment.

JR: Our occupancy [in

Canada] during this time is

anywhere between 20 and 35

per cent. Our extended-stay

hotels have done extremely

well. The hotels that have

not come back or have done

very poorly during these times

are anything full-service with

larger spaces for meetings or

conventions — that’s always

the last to come back.

What’s your advice to

Q other hoteliers?

BD: In the current environment,

there’s going to be a

tendency to overreact and

not just react. So we all have

to be mindful, as we roll out

new initiatives in a volatile

environment, that we’re not

making decisions we can’t

reverse or peel back. We’re

going to see a number of

iterations of this environment

HE’s Canadian

Marriott Portfolio:

182.6% RGI avg.

HE’s Canadian

Hilton Portfolio:

114% RGI avg.

HE’s Canadian

IHG Portfolio:

125% RGI avg.


Canadian Portfolio:

106.6%, +5.4%


and the new normal changes

hourly. And so, until we get

some type of stabilization,

we need to be cautious about

making any over-arching

decisions that aren’t hyperfocused

on protecting

cashflow and ensuring the

safety and security of your

associates and guests. ◆


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 23

Two great brands

under one roof.

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New Castle Hotels & Resorts

Interview with Jeremy Buffam, partner


What were the initial

Q impacts of COVID-19

on your business?

It was twofold. The obvious

is the financial, which is the

50- to 90-per-cent drop in

revenues for most properties,

at least early on — before

anybody knew if anyone was

going to do any business.

Eventually that was alleviated

as a couple properties

were able to get some

COVID-19-specific business

— either the Navy or groups

that are operating offshore

oil rigs.

The immediate financial

numbers [caused] shock and

awe, but I would say the initial

impact is the psychological

game change for property

teams, particularly in Atlantic

Provinces, which is where we

operate [in Canada], the spring

is when they usually come out

of the hard winter and to just

have that cliff was a bit of a

psychological shell shock.

How has it impacted

Q staffing?

Initially, the managers had

to pick up all the extra work

of the associates who were

not being scheduled. So,

they were working more

than they ever had before.

Lots of people have been laid

off on the hourly side, then

you have managers working

60- to 70-hour weeks. After

a couple of weeks, when it

became apparent that this

was not going to be a two- to

four-week issue…it went to

the point where you actually

had managers starting to be

furloughed…So it was kind of

adding insult to injury. It was

a very difficult time.

What new company or

Q property-level initiatives

have been put in place?

As far as doing business going

forward, most of our properties

are branded, so we’re following

the leader so to speak. We’ve

implemented whatever the

local regulations [require],

but also Marriott and Hilton

have a number of initiatives

on the cleaning front and the

communication side.

This was kind of a

coincidence, but we had

[begun implementing] Speak-

App, [which] is designed to

facilitate better communication

between everybody…more

social communication. We

expedited the implementation

of the app and I took off a little

quicker than we [expected].

That’s been a success and

something that helped us

over the period where [some]

people were not at the hotels

for several weeks.

What has been the

Q greatest challenge?

For everyone in the businesses

it’s going to be the financial

fallout; dealing with the debt.

[Excluding that,] the greatest

challenge has been trying to

adapt to a new normal when

we really don’t know what it

is. We know it’s not going to

be the same for the next year

or two — at all. We don’t

know what’s going on and

how it’s going to change and

develop; it’s just that uncertainty

that pervades every

aspect of the business.

What are the company’s

Q strategies for recovery?

At the corporate level, like

a lot of companies, we’re

going to be operating with a

smaller team for the immediate

future. But, at the same time,

we have the same number of

properties, so our strategy is

to do more with less. We’ve

tried to instill a culture, at the

corporate offices, of being a

servant leader [and] resource

center for the properties and

right now the properties need

that as much as ever. The

strategy at the properties is

rethinking, to some degree,

how we leverage the group

business at a hotel like the

Westin in Halifax. One of

our strategies is finding

different ways to maintain

social distancing in the

short term and making groups

comfortable to stay with us

again and get out and travel.

What advice would you

Q offer to other hoteliers?

Lead by example and get

out and travel. If you’re a

hotel company and you’re

restricting corporate travel,

but you want other people

to go to your hotels, that’s a

contradiction. Get out to the

properties and meet with your

team, not just because they

need support, but it’s

a matter of principle to

encourage travel. ◆


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 25





Canadian hotel performance is slowly

recovering as the country begins to re-open


Since the Canadian hotel industry

reached the trough of the current

downturn in early April — with

occupancy reaching a low of 12

per cent — performance has

slowly eked upward while the industry

continues to record steep year-over-year

(YOY) declines.

The industry began reporting

double-digit declines in occupancy the

week of March 8 to 14 and saw weekly

occupancies of 15 per cent or lower from

March 28 through April 25, according to

data from STR. And, by mid-June, the

nation’s hotels were still shy of breaching

the 25-per-cent occupancy mark.

The industry reported a 68-per-cent

drop in occupancy to 23.4 per cent,

a 49.8-per-cent decrease in Average

Daily Rate (ADR) to $108.23 and an

80.7-per-cent decrease in Revenue Per

Available Room (RevPAR) to $25.57 for

the week ending June 13.

This reflects steady, but small, weekly

increases across the three metrics since

the week ending April 11, which saw

national occupancy at 12 per cent, ADR

of $101.34 and RevPAR of $12.17.

“Things were pretty dire as grouptravel,

corporate-transient and

leisure-transient demand came to an

abrupt halt in April,” says Jan Freitag,

STR’s SVP of Lodging Insights. “The

data that we’re seeing now is, ‘less bad.’”

“The RevPAR changes we’re recording

— in April, down 84.8 per cent; in May,

down 82.9 per cent — are dire and point

at a complete lack of corporate demand


on the transient and the group side,”

he adds, noting occupancies remain

slightly overstated, as they don’t account

for hotels that were completely closed

(representing 11 per cent of rooms

nationally in May).

Looking at results by hotel tier,

high-end hotels remain the hardest hit,

a trend Freitag says has been mirrored in

many international markets and points

directly to a lack of corporate demand.

“Upper-upscale hotels both live and die

by group demand and, with a lack of

group demand, most properties are hit

severely,” Freitag explains. “And, they

really will not recover meaningfully until

group travel resumes, which arguably is

not going to happen until there’s a very

clear sense of what is safe and how to

have a group meeting in a six-foot world.

Some even go as far as saying we need

to have a vaccine in place in order for

group travel to resume at 2019 levels.”

However, luxury hotels are now

slightly out-performing upper-upscale,

with occupancy at 13.5 per cent and

12.2 per cent, respectively, for the week

ending June 13. According to STR data,

this trend began in mid-May and is

attributed to luxury resorts being able to

attract travellers from domestic drive-to

markets. “The other truth, of course, is

that the ADR, [specifically for the week

of June 13] was down 52 per cent on the

luxury side,” says Freitag. “So, luxury

rates in Canada are essentially half off,

which probably also entices travellers.”

Overall, the rate gap between tiers

has shrunk. Looking at STR data for the

month of May, the difference in ADR

between luxury and upper-upscale hotels

was only $3.77 — down from $92.71 in

May 2019. YOY declines in ADR are

most pronounced at the luxury tier (54.5

per cent for May), with a drop of 37.1

per cent at the upper-upscale tier. And,

at the other end of the spectrum, the

midscale tier saw ADR declines of 20.6

per cent for the month.

Canada’s top major markets largely

reported occupancy and RevPAR below

the national average for the week ending

June 13, with Vancouver (26.1 per cent

and $32.74 respectively) being the only

exception. At the low end, Calgary

reported occupancy of 15 per cent and

RevPAR of $15.12 for the week. “The

larger markets have a disproportionate

amount of the larger, upper-upscale

hotels, explains Freitag. “Therefore,

because of the overall lack of group

rooms, those markets are lagging the

overall Canadian performance —

and likely will for a while.” ◆

JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 27


According to the latest data from Onyx

CenterSource, in week-over-week data

reflecting actualized hotel stays since the

beginning of 2020, industry trends showed:

China experienced a steady increase in

stays toward the end of April, after new

COVID-19 cases dropped below an

inflection point around 2,500 per week

The U.S. began to see an uptick of its own,

with an increase in week-over-week

hotel stays of just under


the week of May 16



While globally hotel stays remain relatively flat at all-time lows,

the U.S. market has experienced increases of 10 to 30 per cent

week-over-week in May, according to the latest data from Onyx

CenterSource, a global provider of B2B payments and business

intelligence to the hospitality industry. Internal analytics show

recent hotel-stay trends in parts of the U.S. follow earlier data from

China, indicating signs of initial market recovery.

Within the U.S., there continues to be wide variability in recovery

outlooks and timelines. In Hawaii, though COVID-19 cases

decreased 27 per cent from their early-April high, week-over-week

transactions in mid-May were down nearly 40 per cent, likely

affected by the extended mandatory 14-day quarantine in effect

until at least June 30, as well as limited air travel.

While Illinois is slowly re-opening, Chicago is following a more

extended, or conservative, approach to re-opening, which has

likely impacted hotel stay trends for the state. Illinois has seen

relatively flat hotel stays throughout late March and April, with

week-over-week transaction volumes increasing between three

and six per cent in mid-May.

In states where re-opening activity has been ongoing the last

few weeks, signs point to growth. Both Florida and Texas saw

week-over-week increases in stays between eight and 18 per cent

in the first half of May.

Canada also saw a sharp increase of


in week-over-week stays the

week of May 16




South America continues to see low hotel-stay

volumes, in line with the region’s ongoing struggle

to contain COVID-19 spread, according to data from

Onyx CenterSource.







The low values of the sentiment index in Brazil (91p) a

(89p) indicate travellers from these markets are not ye

seriously consider a trip in the next months. Since the

the COVID-19 pandemic, worries about job security an

income rose drastically amongst consumers in these co

Economic concerns such as these mean that immediat

may shift towards work and away from leisure activitie

Source: Long-Haul Travel Barometer (LHTB) produced by the European Tra

(ETC), the European Tourism Association (ETOA), Eurail B.V. and the Europe

28 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com


nd Russia

t ready to

onset of

d personal


e priorities




To better understand and respond to

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

on overseas travel, the European Travel

Commission (ETC), the European Tourism

Association (ETOA), Eurail B.V. and the

European Commission continue to monitor

the shifts and trends in travel sentiment

in Europe’s key overseas source markets

— Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia and

the U.S.

Results of the latest Long-Haul Travel

Barometer (LHTB) indicate confidence for

travel to Europe in summer 2020 is weak

across all six markets monitored. What is

significant, however, is that after more than

two months of confinement, citizens in

some of the markets are finally starting to

dream of resuming travel. Whether their

plans will become a reality will ultimately

depend on the development of the COVID-

19 outbreak over the coming months and

the travel restrictions in place.

OnyxComp data insights tell us that the recovery

roadmap is more a series of passage ways that

interconnect, with bends and curves, as opposed

to a single straightaway. Factors beyond simply

COVID-19 cases — such as varying policies

governing re-openings, changed airline routes and

access and economic disparities — will affect

how recovery looks in different segments of the

global market

- Mark Dubrow, CEO of Onyx CenterSource





According to the Long-Haul Travel

Barometer (LHTB) produced by the

European Travel Commission (ETC),

the European Tourism Association

(ETOA), Eurail B.V. and the European

Commission, in China, people

have started showing enthusiasm

about resuming overseas travel in

the next months. More than one in

two surveyed respondents shared

they have tentative plans to visit a

European destination between May

and August 2020. However, the low

value of the travel sentiment index

(101p), reflects their uncertainty about

the feasibility of such a trip. Along

with China’s emergence from virus

restrictions, consumer confidence has

started improving, and more people

have begun to consider travel. Among

those who wish to travel to Europe,

41-per-cent considered changing the

dates and their trip itinerary, while

36-per-cent have considered changing

the date only.


In Japan, the travel-sentiment

index slumped to its lowest

level (94p) since 2015.

Consumer optimism in Japan

has been very low over recent

months and many have chosen

to curtail non-essential spending

plans, which may include

overseas travel. A significant

number of Japanese respondents

(85 per cent) indicated

that they had no plans to travel

long-haul in summer 2020,

regardless of the COVID-19

pandemic, illustrating the

implications of a weakened


Source: Long-Haul Travel Barometer

(LHTB) produced by the European Travel

Commission (ETC), the European Tourism

Association (ETOA), Eurail B.V. and the

European Commission

vel Commission

an Commission


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 29

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The Next



A look at the Canadian hotel market 90 days later



Earlier this year, Colliers Hotels hosted its

first webinar on the state of the Canadian

hotel market in order to provide support

and direction as the industry began dealing

with the effects of COVID-19. On June 25

— 90 days later — Colliers again hosted

the original panel to account for and

substantiate the statements and predictions

they made on March 31.


Moderated by Alam Pirani, executive managing

director, Colliers Hotels, the panel once again included

Brian Flood, vice-president & practice leader, Hospitality &

Gaming Group, Cushman & Wakefield; Carrie Russell, senior

managing partner, HVS Canada; Deepak Ruparell, chairman,

Silver Hotel Group; George Kosziwka, Chief Financial Officer,

InnVest Hotels; Kenny Gibson, president, Sunray Group; and

Mark Kay, president, CFO Capital. “Three weeks after the

World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic

JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 31

and we started seeing the shutdown of economies globally,

we had limited clarity on how severe the issue was and how

long we would be shut down,” said Pirani. “What’s transpired

since that time has been beyond everyone’s initial expectation.

The restrictions on business activity and travel have caused a

tremendous impact across all market industries — especially in

the hospitality business. The drop in occupancy has imposed

unprecedented challenges, not only to hotel owners and

operators, but also to investors and lenders.”

The panel addressed three broad themes — real-time performance

and market outlook; liquidity; and a look into the

capital markets to address valuation in investor sentiment and

availability of capital.

“It’s 90 days later and the first thing we can say is we

survived,” said Russell. “I’m not sure too many of us would

want to have repeated those 90 days, but we’re here today. [At

the time of] the original call on March 31, we weren’t at the

bottom. We hit bottom the week of April 11 — that was the

worst week we have on record for Canadian occupancy, which

was 12 per cent occupancy for that week for the hotels that

were operational. And according to STR, close to 20 per cent

of the rooms in the country were shut down. ADR bottomed

out at about $101, down from $155 in early March. So, we

went from a $155 rate to a $101 rate and stayed at that rate for

about seven weeks. Now we’ve had a turnaround. We’re about

10 weeks into a recovery and last week occupancy was 25.6 per

cent for the country with an ADR of almost $111. We’re still

Bunn_FoodserviceHospitality_Spring2020.pdf 1 2020-02-13 9:19 AM

off in terms of RevPAR by almost 79 per cent, but that’s down

from the decline of our lowest RevPAR decreases, so we’re

moving back into a positive direction.”

She pointed out that no province was spared and no region

was immune to this downturn. The performance and the

numbers in B.C. were a little bit higher than the averages,

while Newfoundland ended up being at the bottom in terms

of overall performance. “But really, we’re talking about a difference

between 10- and 20-per-cent occupancy. So, nobody was

operating at levels that were profitable or productive.”

But, she added, the question remains, “how long until we start

to see some of the other forms of travel and convention business/

business travel that makeup of base of what we’re doing? ”

Given that we’re starting to see some of the markets open

up, Pirani asked the owners on the panel what they’re seeing

with their current portfolio and how they see the recovery

process unfolding.

“We see a little bit more traction in our limited-service

hotels and secondary and tertiary markets,” said Gibson. “So,

while we’re not setting the world on fire, we see a little bit of

demand pick up in those hotels, where we thought we would

see additional traction and we haven’t gotten it so far is in our

[two] resorts. Once the province started opening additional

services, our other business really picked up — golf, spa and

our winery business. But we haven’t seen the traction in the

rooms business yet. It’s coming. Our view is that the recovery is

going to be a little bit protracted and the real question is how










long will it go? Generally, we’re seeing signs of more booking

pace into next year, certainly not this year.

According to Ruparell, Silver Hotels’ properties in Vancouver

are running at just seven-per-cent occupancy right now. “We’re

getting spikes on the weekend. Calgary is a disaster with not

just COVID-19 but with oil and gas [challenges as well].”

He said it’s going to be a prolonged recovery. “What we

know today and what we should be doing going forward is a

different subject. But I think until the borders open up and the

customers, corporate customers, are back travelling, leisure will

do reasonably well in some locations.”

Kosziwka said InnVest Hotels’ limited-service portfolio,

which includes more than 81 hotels, has shown the best

performance but is “still not stellar.”

“In April and May we closed 25 of our hotels — mostly citycentre,

group and conference-centric hotels. We’ve opened

12 of those hotels back up now and are scheduled to open

the rest of them by the beginning of August, except for the

Hilton Quebec City, which is under a major renovation and

not scheduled to open until January 2021. Our occupancy for

hotels that were open in April was 20 per cent and we’re

tracking to do 30 [per cent] in June.”

He says although occupancy is low, his company is focusing

on recovery, appropriate staffing and getting people back to

work. “We’re hoping for a bit of a spike in July and August

as people get out and do some leisure travel, certainly we’re

not going to see any business from the U.S. or international

business over the summer. But hopefully Canadians get out

and travel and we can have a reasonable July and August.”

Not long into the webinar, Pirani addressed “the elephant

in the room,” as he asked Kay to address the topic of liquidity.

“Lenders have been very supportive for the first three

months,” Kay said. “Some have given us an additional threemonth

extension — some lenders have given six months. But

there’s uncertainty [around] what’s going to happen post-six

months [with regard to] the principal and interest deferrals,

but also the debt, the debt-service coverage and covenants.

The cries that we hear right now are that they’re at the mercy

of the provincial governments and lifting the travel bans and

quarantine period, coupled with the timing of the vaccine, in

order to simulate the travel. When all that’s in the mix, then

we’re going to have a direct correlation to the revenues. But

what we’re hearing is that there should be some

kind of direct correlation that when everything

opens up, there should be no further support on

the principal and interest aspect of it in order to

assess the risk of the hotel.”

There were some heated discussions around

government support and whether the panel

believed governments, both provincial and federal,

are doing enough to help the industry. But, as the

clock ticked down on the webinar, Kosziwka pointed

out the opportunities that can be found during this

challenging time.

“It’s the right time to try to redefine the operating

model,” he said, “to find efficiencies. Labour is our

biggest expense by far and this is the time to look

at a new model and be more efficient as part of a

recovery plan. It’s important to try to help the margins any

way we can, as business slowly comes back in. [When it comes

to] ramping up and bringing people back, you only have one

chance to do it and do it right. It’s going to be a logistical


There’s no question [hotel] values have dropped due to the

drop in short-term cash flow but, said Kosziwka, “I just want

to make the point that it’s temporary, this business is going to

come back. This is a health crisis first and an economic crisis

second. Business will come back — whether it takes a year, 18

months or 24 months — and the values will follow.”◆






Adam is a Director of Asset Management at

InnVest, which holds one of Canada’s largest

hotel portfolios and is one of the largest

franchisors of hotels in Canada. As a key

member of the asset-management team,

Adam directly oversees a large portfolio of

limited service, midscale and upscale

Canadian hotels, working closely

with operations, capital,

legal and finance teams to

maximize asset values.


Innvest_QV.indd 1

2020-06-30 9:40 AM

JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 33





Hotelier assembles Leadership Roundtable

to examine the pressing issues of the day



Months after closing their doors due to travel

restrictions fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic,

hotel executives are now working creatively

to re-open properties.“We’re seeing a gradual

re-opening of hotels,” said Don Cleary, president

of Marriott Hotels of Canada, speaking as part of a Leadership

Roundtable discussion, hosted by Hotelier last month. “At our

peak, we had 77 hotels closed, we're now down to 51. And the

vast majority of those are scheduled to open in June and early

July. By mid-July, we should have most, if not all, of our hotels

re-open. That’s a good sign. I think folks are hoping to capture

what we all hope will be and expect to be a good summer with

leisure demand that will drive increased occupancies. We’re

seeing the early hotels that opened were the ones in resort

markets in Canada and we're seeing the occupancy come back

in those hotels.”

That sentiment is echoed by Heather McCrory, CEO,

North/Central America, Accor Hotels, who pointed out that

Fairmont’s Western Canadian properties were among the first

to re-open. “We actually saw some fairly good pent-up demand.

We’re continuing to see those occupancies build. And, right

now, we have about 50 per cent of our hotels opening. By

August 1, I’m very hopeful that all of the hotels in Canada will

be open. Hopefully we’ll see some of that that backyard drive

market, but you can't have any business if you're not open, so

we're trying to get them back open as fast as possible.”

At IHG, where 20 per cent of the company’s portfolio was

closed due to COVID-19, executive vice-president Jonathan

Lund, believes changes fuelled by COVID-19 may spark a return

to the “road trip” of yesteryear, harkening back to what, in fact,

fuelled Holiday Inn’s ascent in the 1950s. “When you think

about how Holiday Inn was born, it was built out of Kemmons

Wilson getting into his car and driving his family across the

U.S. to find a hotel that was safe, secure

and consistent. So, you know, I think

we have that opportunity in Canada to

re-introduce our country to Canadians,”

says Lund.

For smaller hotel

companies such as Accent


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 35

lack lives


As the hotel industry wages a war against COVID-19,

front one is being waged on another front against

racism, witnessed by a stream of protests across North

America and around the world, fuelled by the death of

American George Floyd at the hands of police.

During the recent Leadership Roundtable, hosted

by Hotelier magazine, editor/publisher Rosanna Caira

asked the panel to provide their perspectives on racism

in the context of the hotel industry, which has a very

diverse workplace. Here are a few of their sentiments:

“It’s really sad that we're all on

earth together, fighting COVID-19

and then suddenly, racism comes up.

And for me, it’s not just about having

a diverse team, but it's about understanding

the prejudices, the discrimination,

the fact that people make

assumptions about certain groups of people. I think,

as an industry, yes we are very diverse — but what is

diversity if there’s still racism? And I think the main

thing that we all need to focus on is having that love

for humanity. It really breaks my heart to see what’s

happening in the world. I did send a letter out on behalf

of the company asking all of the hotels to stand together

and to understand that we are the same — we’re all

human the end of the day. And that’s the message that

I want to be able to get across this: this discrimination

and prejudice, it has to come to an end.”

Reetu Gupta

“We’ve been engaged as a company

as to how do we keep this flame alive?

We don’t want this just to be a little

flicker whereby the protests last for

a week or two and then we all forget

about it. We want to make sure this

conversation continues and there is

action from it. So, as a company, we are highly engaged

in it. And it's not just black lives matter. We think there

is systemic racism in so many ways against our First

Nations; in British Columbia especially, we see that

there's been a huge backlash against Asians. All of this

breaks our hearts and so we're determined to figure out

what we can do to make our part in it. But of course, it’s

early days and so we’ve got a meeting on this subject and

we’re going to start formulating our plan.”

Mandy Farmer

“What the tragedy in the States has

highlighted and given us pause for

is a little more introspection into

how we need to be more sensitive

and more obliging to folks that aren’t

white, North American. We had a

conversation with our senior-leadership

team and our corporate team on this and it’s

raising some sensitivity, embracing diversity and know

that, while you can't necessarily walk in someone else’s

shoes, you can certainly have an appreciation for what

their walk looks like and how they would experience it

by talking to them and asking questions. [It’s important]

listening and being responsive and just trying to

educate ourselves by being a little more sensitive, a little

more empathetic towards some of our colleagues. We’re

focused on it and it's a sad time.

Irwin Prince

36 | JULY/AUGUST 2020

Inns, closures weren’t as much of an

issue. “We were lucky in that we did

stay open completely. We have two

different brands, Accent Inns and

Zed Hotels. We pivoted and provided

office space for people who were tired

of working at home, with their kids

running around or their dog whining

at the door. We are now back to

running hotels as hotels, rather than

an office, which is great because we’re

hoteliers, but we were able to survive

without shutting down any of our


Part of the challenge moving

forward, agree the hoteliers, is

government-enacted travel restrictions

throughout the country. “I’ve

been vocal around border closures,

whether it’s the provinces or the

U.S. border,” said Vito Curalli,

executive director, International

Sales & Industry Relations, Hilton

Canada. “In order for us to have some

kind of summer, in terms of leisure

transient, we’re going to have to roll

up our sleeves and get some work

done around that. That will really

help our hotels as they re-open.”

“We need to get these borders back

open,” agreed Reetu Gupta, president

of Easton’s Hotels, who kept 60 to 70

per cent of her portfolio open during

the peak of the crisis. “I know Suzy

[Grynol] at the hotel association is

working really hard with the feds

to make sure that we can increase

the border openings and bring more

business back into Canada.”

Until that happens, hotel

companies are focusing on ensuring

protocols are in place and guests

feel comfortable. “In the short term,

before we get to a vaccine, you’re

going to see lots of things going on

in hotels to help build confidence

and get people to come into our

hotels and knowing that everything

is being done to make that a clean

and comfortable stay,” says Cleary.

“Obviously, we’re going to be putting

in place social-distancing procedures,

front-desk partitions for example,

and, certainly all of our associates

will be wearing masks in our hotels

for the foreseeable future. We’re

re-arranging furniture and doing

spacing of the public spaces; eliminating

lots of unnecessary high-touch items

from out of hotels such as throw

pillows, pens and pads and things that

we can go without for the foreseeable

future. And, obviously, then you’re

going to see lots of evidence of cleaning,

whether that's sanitizing stations

and visible signs of a much more and

deeper cleaning.”

Companies like Hilton, which has

partnered with Lysol on its 10-point

Clean Stay program, have been

spending time and money to intensify

their cleaning protocols.

For Irwin Prince, the transition

process to reduced collateral in the

rooms might be a bit less challenging.

“Everyone now is learning the

Motel 6 model: just give the guests

what they need, not what they don't

need. You don’t need all this stuff

in the room, the extra pillow, the

extra blanket that nobody ever uses

the stuff stuffed into a drawer —─all

that extra collateral is in the room

that nobody ever looks at, it just

looks tired. Welcome to our world,”

quipped Prince, pointing out that

moving forward, this process might

push hotel companies to re-examine

what is and isn’t necessary.

“What we get at this time is an

opportunity across the industry to see

that what may become some pretty

fundamental shifts in both hotel

operations and amenities that are

provided to guests. Is housekeeping

really required on an everyday basis

as costs come up to clean that room?

There are opportunities to go back

and re-visit this and the guest, right

now is really quite understanding.”

For Farmer, the fact her inns

have no common area has suddenly

become a positive factor. “I can’t

believe I’m going to say this, but

I’m glad we have exterior quarters,”

she quipped. The company has also

invested in technology so that guests

can check in on their phones and

use it to unlock the door. “We’re just

trying to make sure that we still have

a sense of fun on our hotels.” ◆

To watch the complete Leadership

Roundtable video, click here.






Prioritizing the need for guestroom-centric

experiences in a post-COVID-19 world


Mario Agrario is president

& CEO of Bartech Systems


From implementing

strict cleanliness


to re-shaping the way

services and amenities are

offered, it’s clear the hotel

industry has experienced a

seismic shift and will look

very different as the threat

of COVID-19 subsides

and guests begin to return.

Recent survey findings

from consulting firm

Oliver Wyman show

approximately threequarters

of business travellers

surveyed expect to

travel the same amount

post-pandemic as they

did before, due to an

improvement in market

conditions. Yet, while this

demographic represents a

reliable source of revenue

for hotels, there will also

be a great deal of competition

in attracting their

business. Not only will


JULY/AUGUST 2020 | 37

guests now be carefully

analyzing a hotel’s ability to

ensure enhanced health-andsafety

standards before making

their booking decision, they’ll

also be looking at a hotel’s

ability to meet their basic

needs and preferences, since

many hotels have scaled back

on staff and services during

the crisis.

Further supporting the

need for hotels to adapt are

recent findings from Global-

Data, with three quarters of

global travellers indicating

their purchasing choices

will be influenced by how

the world around them is

changing. With this in mind,

hoteliers will need to strategize

on how to address the new

demands for contactless and


services, meet guest needs

and still ensure a steady flow

of revenue. The solution to

this dilemma can be found in

the place that many changes

are already being made to

enhance cleanliness and guest

safety — in the guestroom


GlobalData’s research

reveals 85 per cent of global

travellers indicated a significant

amount of concern

over possible exposure to

COVID-19, so will likely

seek to avoid public spaces,

such as a hotel’s restaurant

or bar, and will opt instead

to spend more time inside

their guestrooms to minimize

health risks. Yet, although

seemingly representing a

loss of revenue, avoidance of

public areas does not mean

guests don’t expect their

food-and-beverage needs

to be met at the property.

Instead, they’ll expect more

options to be made available

to them within the

safety of their guestroom.

With remote-management

capabilities, online minibars

and monitored dry-goods

Hoteliers are now

beginning to recognize

that solutions such as

minibars provide an ideal

means of addressing the

decreasing use of

restaurants and bars

by guests, and are

increasingly becoming

open to exploring new

options as a way of

maintaining physicaldistancing

abilities while

still generating revenue

trays can allow hoteliers to

provide flexible options for

guests, while respecting their

desire to maintain physical

distances. With the addition

of enhanced cleanliness

measures that ensure minibars

and its products are sanitized

before each new guest arrives,

a guestroom-centred minibar

food-and-beverage strategy

can enhance guest satisfaction

and confidence while allowing

hoteliers to recoup profits that

may have otherwise been lost

due to the declining use of

other property amenities.

“As hotels welcome back

guests during this unique

time, it’s critical to project

safety and cleanliness at every

touchpoint and creating an

environment of confidence

and trust in your F&B operations

yields strong results,

reviews and return visits,”

says Deana Kay, managing

partner at California-based

gourmet-food supplier Torn

Ranch. “At the property,

communicating and taking

visible steps to enhance guest

comfort and safety is central.

The in-room offering is a key

part of the equation.”

Forbes Travel Guide

reiterated Kay’s stance in a

recent post, adding tips on

how to accomplish a safe and

healthy guestroom environment

for guests, suggesting

hotels offer pre-packaged,

outer-sealed, multi-snack

item delivery options as

part of their full or limited

room-service program; have

packaged snacks available in

the room and let the guest

know at check-in; and add

non-food items, such as a PPE

welcome kit.

Sharing a similar viewpoint

on the importance of revising

food-and-beverage operations

to incorporate a more

guestroom-centric approach

is Ray Burger, president and

founder of U.S.-based

Pineapple Hospitality.

“Hoteliers are now beginning

to recognize solutions

such as minibars provide an

ideal means of addressing the

decreasing use of restaurants

and bars by guests and are

increasingly becoming open to

exploring new options as a

way of maintaining physicaldistancing

abilities while still

generating revenue.”

Guestroom minibars can

also be tailored to meet a

wide range of guest-consumption

needs, including

full meals or even customized

alcoholic beverages.

“Properties could offer

pre-made meal options that

a guest can purchase via a

hotel’s website at the time of

booking and that could be

brought up and stored in the

guestroom minibar prior to

arrival,” says Burger. “This

ability can even extend to

making popular items such as

cocktails available for order

online by providing guests

with an easily accessible menu

of options. By providing these

updated service alternatives,

hotels can demonstrate their

commitment to cleanliness,

while still ensuring that guests

have everything that they

need to experience an

enjoyable stay.”

More recent advances in

minibar technology have

provided hoteliers with

even greater flexibility in

making products available

for in-room purchase that

go beyond refrigerated items

or even food and beverages.

With guests likely to avoid

onsite or offsite retail outlets

as they would restaurants

and bars, such items can

include electronics, toiletries,

hand sanitizers, gloves or

face masks.

“The ability to monitor door

openings on an automatic

minibar system is an ideal

tool to combat the spread

of COVID-19 and other

potential contaminants, as it

provides electronic contact

tracing,” says Bruno Agrario,

VP of Sales at U.S.-based

Bartech Systems International.

“Once a minibar

is sanitized, guests can be

assigned to rooms that are

certified as safe, since it’s

possible to ensure that the

minibar door has not been

opened since the last sanitation.

With automated minibar

systems, this information is

collected by a central server,

instead of requiring a staff

member to visit all rooms in

order to check. This not only

helps to ensure guest safety

by limiting guestroom entry

by staff, but also minimizes

labour costs.”

By considering the benefits

a minibar solution can

provide, hoteliers can strike a

balance between prioritizing

the health and safety of guests

and staff, while fulfilling

essential-service expectations

and ensuring their ability to

increase their revenuesearning

opportunities. ◆

38 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com

Connect with KML


Whether you’re looking for daily news on the foodservice or hotel industry, searching for resources to help you improve

your business offerings or just eager to learn from the industry’s icons and innovators, KML offers compelling and relevant

information that will keep you informed, inspired and educated.







For more than 50 years, KML has been

the foodservice and hospitality industry’s

leading publisher, producing the most

recognized magazine brands: Foodservice

and Hospitality is published 11 times a

year and features insightful analysis of

the trends impacting the $90-billion

industry, statistical reports that allow

operators to benchmark and measure

their own success, as well as profiles of

the hottest concepts, restaurateurs and

chefs in the industry.

Hotelier magazine, celebrated its 30th

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industry’s leading national publication.

Published eight times a year, the

magazine features timely stories on the

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Whether you’re looking for daily web

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Women in Tourism & Hospitality, WITH



Your one-stop source for all things hospitality


Re-opening Support




Forbes Pivot Shield offers a mobile solution to social

distancing without feeling confined. These shields

are made of a clear acrylic material, which allows your

guests to feel safe while still providing a clear view of your

spaces. The shields stand a full 80-plus inches, with easy-

roll casters that offer quick setup and protection.


Front Desk


Times have changed. Leave one of these

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To meet the demand in the

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Rosie is a safe and cost-efficient

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Rosie also acts as an indoor, mobile-data

platform to empower management with

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40 | JULY/AUGUST 2020 hoteliermagazine.com





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