InnFocus Summer 2021


InnFocus magazine for hoteliers in British Columbia

Understanding Traveller




The Potential of





Summer 2021


200-948 Howe Street,

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1N9

T 604-681-7164 1-800-663-3153

How the LGBT+ Community Will Lead the Recovery

And what you should do to welcome them at your property

Cover Photo Courtesy of Brentwood Bay Resort






Ingrid Jarrett

President & CEO

Mike Macleod

Director Member

and Business Development

Karissa Bourgeault

Project Manager & Board Liaison

Kelsey Millman

Communications Manager

Dylan Tomlin

Energy Analyst

Samantha Glennie

Member Services Coordinator

2020/2021 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Bryan Pilbeam – Chair, Delta Kamloops

Jonas Melin – Vice Chair,

Harbourfront Pinnacle Hotel, Vancouver

John Kearns – Past Chair,

Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel

David McQuinn – Treasurer, Coast Bastion, Namaimo

David MacKenzie – Director,

Pemberton Valley Lodge

Stephen Roughley – Director,

Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour

Vivek Sharma – Director, Fairmont Hot Springs


Doug Andrews, The Listel Hotel, Whistler

Brady Berushi, Best Western Plus, Revelstoke

Ravinder Dhaliwal, Mundi Hotels

Angie Eccleston, Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge

Stewart Instance, Best Western Tin Wis Resort

Scott Johnson, Holiday Inn Express Metrotown

Brian Rohl, Coast Coal Harbour by APA

Eleanor Ryan, Pomeroy Inn & Suites & Stonebridge

Chris Watson, Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza

Barry Zwueste, St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino






Understanding Traveller Behaviour

And creating a strategy for summer business and beyond

Hospitality Financial Leadership in a Time of Crisis

Reviewing the three pillars our business is built on

The Potential of Productivity

How cross-training can help boost productivity

4 BC Hotel Association Report

12 Trends & Insights – Top 21 Trends for 2021

14 Go Green: A Journey Towards Sustainability

19 What’s New?

23 Leader of the Future: Heather Riddick

28 Names in the News

28 BC Hospitality Foundation

29 Hotelier Feature: Sandra Gregory

30 BCHA Member Engagement


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16 Comfort in the Wild:

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InnFocus is published quarterly

by EMC Publications - a division

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19073 63 Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3S 8G7

t 604-574-4577 1-800-667-0955

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InnFocus 3

y Ingrid Jarrett, President & CEO

We’re nearly halfway through 2021 and the effects of the pandemic

continue to wear on us all. We miss visiting friends, hugging our family

members, dining in restaurants, and freely engaging with others at

events and gatherings so desperately. And for our industry in particular,

we miss travel.

While the tourism and hospitality industry has suffered greatly this

past year, recent months have truly tested the strength of our sector

more than ever with the introduction of tightened restrictions on travel.

Despite knowing that it is ‘social behaviour’ and not ‘travel’ itself that

causes transmission of the virus, one thing became clear with the arrival

of the third wave: our industry’s role in the fight against COVID-19 was

nowhere near finished.

The BC hotel industry was once again called upon. This time, to

discourage BC residents from taking part in the activity that lays the

foundation for our sector and connects us all as tourism operators—


Prior to the restrictions being announced, I, along with industry

representatives at our partner organizations, met with the provincial

government to better understand the data that supported the need

to significantly reduce all non-essential travel. It became clear that we

needed to take action to not only protect our communities, but to curb

the spread of COVID-19 in order for us to see travel return in time for

our critical summer season.

We developed a plan that would support our industry and staff, while

continuing to advocate for critical financial aid and a reopening plan that

our sector so desperately needs. And yet again, we witnessed our hotel

community prove its strength and embrace the Emergency Programs

Act (EPA) order.

While we celebrate our community for undertaking this overwhelmingly

challenging role, we recognize the heavy toll that revenue loss has

extolled. Our once vibrant $3.2 billion hotel industry has been ravaged,

with many hotels on the brink of insolvency. Forecasted overall provincial

occupancy between January to September 2021, is currently sitting at

38%—a sobering statistic that none of us could have imagined in 2019.

As a result of advocacy efforts, restrictions were thankfully met with

increased funding for our sector; and while we are grateful for this

support, it continues to scratch the surface of what is needed in order for

our industry to survive. Our hotel community was included in the circuit

breaker expansion, which allocated $25 million for accommodators

alone, upping the total amount available to $125 million.

In the April budget announcement, we saw significant investments

made to tourism that included $100 million to support tourism recovery

including help for major anchor attractions; $20 million for community

destination development grants to help with new tourism infrastructure

like trails and airport improvements; $83 million (over 3 years) in operating

and capital funding for BC Parks to expand and improve services; and $6

million in capital improvement grants for the Arts Infrastructure Program.

We continue our resolve to make the programs and financial support

more accessible to our members. Currently, 47% of our industry is

ineligible for the small and medium-sized business grant, and we have

heard loud and clear that this—along with the long lead time to gain

access to the support—is completely unreasonable given the dire straits

of the industry.

Federally, there have been some significant wins, including the

extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until

September. We recognize how essential this program is and continue

our work to extend this to the end of December, at least, and to ensure

revenue is compared to 2019. As part of the Federal Budget rollout, our

tourism industry also received $1.5 billion in support. A new digital tax

on short-term rentals was also introduced which was a significant victory

in our aim to ensure all types of accommodators are following the same

rules and regulations.

In partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada, we continue to

push for federal advocacy priorities, which include expanding eligibility

of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to

also include businesses with foreign ownership and/or multiple property

ownership. Further to this, we continue to keep key priorities surrounding

the labour market, fixed cost air travel, and rehiring top of mind, while

also addressing the issue of insurance in order to mitigate the sky-high

rates that we saw last year.

Finally, due to ongoing restrictions on travel and ‘travel-shaming’ there

is considerable work that will need to be done to rebuild consumer

confidence and repair sentiment surrounding travel. Our partners

at go2HR have created the BSafe program to support consumer

confidence, train our teams, look to recovery, and rebuild resiliency. I

encourage each of you to explore this program to ensure you have the

tools needed to have the successful and prosperous summer season

that you each deserve.

4 InnFocus


the LGBT+


Will Lead the


And What You Should Be Doing to

Welcome Them at Your Property

by Joanne Sasvari

InnFocus 5

Courtesy of The Cove Lakeside Resort

We’ve been here before, after 9/11, after

SARS, after the 2008 financial crash. Each

time a crisis devastates the travel industry,

one specific sector of the market has led

the recovery, and studies suggest the same

people will be the first to hit the road this

time, too.

We’re talking, of course, about the wellheeled,

well-travelled LGBT+

community. But is your property

really ready to welcome them?

“We all like to think we are inclusive,

and we all have the best intentions,

but are we actually delivering that?

There’s always opportunity to

improve and make sure front-line

staff are up to speed,” says Darrell

Schuurman, CEO of Canada’s

LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), a

national not-for-profit organization that seeks

to create a more inclusive economy. “How do

we actually make them feel welcome?”

As Gordon Sombrowski, executive director

of Park Place Lodge in Fernie, points out:

“LBGT travellers are really quick to recognize

6 InnFocus

when they are not welcome. It’s not just being

tolerated, but being celebrated.”

Bigger Spenders, More Frequent


After a long, brutal pandemic year, the hotel

industry can finally see a glimmer of hope

on the horizon, though it will likely be a

The LGBT+ market

generally has a higher

disposable income.

while before international travellers return en

masse. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the

CGLCC last year showed that some 90% of

LGTB+ people were keen to explore Canadian


“They are anxious to travel again and they

have the ability to travel again,” Schuurman

says. “When you start to look at discretionary

income, this is a market that spends on travel.

This market can help with that recovery that

everyone is looking for.”

Studies have shown that the LGBT+ market

generally has a higher disposable income,

is nearly four times more likely to travel for

vacations than other demographics and

will, on average, spend seven times as

much money on a trip. Pre-COVID, they

spent more than US $218 billion a year

globally on travel, US $7.1 billion of that

in Canada, according to the consulting

group Out Now.

And the benefits go beyond the purely

financial. “We benefit because we have a

higher occupancy and we have a more

diverse clientele. The more inclusive

our community becomes, the more tolerant

we become,” says Natasha Richardson,

general manager of Brentwood Bay Resort

on Vancouver Island.

She adds: “What’s the purpose of hotels?

I think it’s important to support inclusion and

diversity and break down those barriers.”

Diversity vs. Inclusion

Businesses can embrace diversity all they like, but that doesn’t mean

they’re actually being inclusive. As Bobby Bissessar, director of sales and

marketing at The Cove Lakeside Resort in West Kelowna, says, “We can

put pictures on the website showcasing diversity, but if guests come in

and it’s unfriendly . . . that’s where inclusion comes in. Inclusion means

those behaviours that make people feel heard.”

Schuurman’s research has found that the number one factor that LGBT+

travellers look for is a sense of safety—not just physical safety, but a sense

of being welcomed and accepted for who they are. This should be easy.

After all, he notes, “The hospitality industry is one where that is the goal

of what they do.”

Yet, awkward situations still arise. “Pronouns are a big thing. The risk of

mis-gendering people is a big consideration,” Schuurman explains. “That

makes a big impact on the experience right away.”

The solution starts with the kind of training the CGLCC offers (see

sidebar). That means not just learning to use the right pronouns and treating

LGBT+ people with the same courtesy as other guests, but knowing how

to step in if there is a problem, for instance, if another guest complains

about a gay couple kissing by the pool.

“They want to feel that they are completely the same, and completely

protected,” says Richardson, who has trained her staff to deal with just

these sort of issues. It helps that the resort is adult-oriented and has a

diverse staff. “We don’t deliberately seek out that diversity, we just naturally

attract it. Our guests feel included when they come here because we allow

our staff to represent themselves how they like.”

Above all, that inclusivity has to be authentic. As Sombrowski says. “If

you don’t have that authenticity, it’s not something you can fake.”

Beyond Four Walls

Of course, the hotel is only part of the travel experience.

“It’s a conversation that really needs to happen at the local and regional

level,” Schuurman says. “We know that guests don’t just stay in the four

walls of the property. So it’s important to have the conversations in the


That’s especially true as LGBT+ travellers venture outside large urban

centres to small communities and remote wilderness resorts. “There has

been a growing interest among LGBT+ travellers to go to places that are

not necessarily the kinds of places people expect them to go,” Sombrowski

says and echoes what Schuurman has reported: “They are looking for

places that reflect who they are. People who are LGBT+ have always

looked for places where they feel safe. Safety is the number one criterion.”

Fernie, for instance, has long welcomed LGBT+ mountain bikers and

skiers from Calgary. “I think there has been an evolution generally in

society. But I think Fernie is a bit on the leading edge of that curve,” says

Sombrowski noting the creation of Pride Fernie has been a big part of that

evolution. “It’s been not just accepted, but celebrated in the community.”

Pride has also been a huge factor in Kelowna, whose strategic tourism

plan emphasizes the LGBT+ market. “Pride is already the biggest tourism

draw for the city,” says Bissessar, who is also the festival’s communications

director. In fact, the city just won the bid to host the 2022 conference for

Fierté Canada Pride, the national association of Pride organizations.

But being welcoming goes beyond one festival. It’s a year-round effort

that speaks to the authentic hospitality that hoteliers naturally want to

offer their guests, no matter who those guests are. “We want everything

to be approachable and we don’t want anyone to worry about offending

anybody,” Richardson explains. “It’s not just about the LGBT+ community.

It’s just that kind of culture we want to support.”

Or as Bissessar says, simply, “It’s not them and us. It’s us.”

Courtesy of Brentwood Bay Resort

Create a Welcoming Space

Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce offers

workshops and other tools for people in the tourism

industry. Among them is a certification program that

includes an online course that addresses language, the

creation of safe spaces, and other issues. “It’s certainly

really valuable for operators in the hospitality sector,”

says CEO Darrell Schuurman. “There’s a lot of really

good information.” For info, visit

InnFocus 7




and Creating a Strategy for Summer

Business and Beyond

by Nancy Flello and Kristen Learned

on behalf of Destination BC

8 InnFocus Courtesy of Destination BC Photo credit Tanya Goehring

*Disclaimer: this article was written in April 2021 based on available

data, forecasting, and predictions for travel resumption at that time.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Destination BC has continued

to work in lock-step with Provincial Health Orders and recommendations,

and encourages the tourism industry to do the same.

Courtesy of Destination BC Photo credit Hubert Kang

After what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years to

date for the tourism industry, we are beginning to see a light at the end

of the tunnel. The weather is getting warmer, residents are signalling

that they’ll be ready to travel in the months and year ahead, and it is

anticipated that by the end of June, a majority of British Columbian

adults will have received at least one dose of the vaccine, allowing

us greater herd immunity and more opportunities to resume activities

around the province.

As we look ahead to what we hope will be the beginning of recovery

for tourism in BC this summer,

we need to ensure that we are

Our three key domestic markets

of BC, Alberta, and Ontario

will be a primary focus.

prioritizing the right people,

at the right time, with all of

our marketing and business

activities. We recognize that

timing can change, and we

encourage you to see updates

on our website at www. When creating your strategy for the summer and

beyond, there are five main areas that should be considered:

1. Key markets

2. Market performance

3. Resident sentiment & traveller behaviours

4. Local tourism performance within your community

5. Your own audience

Key Markets for BC

To understand and assess BC’s key markets, Destination BC

produces Market Profiles that are updated annually, and provide

a quick summary of details for each market including volume,

expenditure, traveller and trip characteristics as well as insights

and trends. The profiles are a valuable resource that our tourism

businesses can leverage to more effectively and efficiently reach

visitors to BC.

For this summer and beyond, once restrictions are lifted and

leisure travel can once again be

encouraged, we know that our three

key domestic markets of BC, Alberta,

and Ontario will be a primary focus,

provided that health circumstances

in each area allow travel. Of those

markets, BC—in particular families, as

well as couples without kids—provides

the most immediate opportunity to

re-ignite travel around the province. As we move past the summer

looking into fall and winter, we hope to be able to expand our

marketing programs to Alberta and Ontario, if and when appropriate.

We expect international visitors to resume travel to BC once borders

open and quarantine measures are removed. We do not expect this

to occur until fall 2021 and expect that overseas travel will primarily

resume in spring and summer 2022, whereas the US may travel to

BC earlier given their proximity.

InnFocus 9

Courtesy of Kootenay Rockies Tourism Photo credit Mitch Winton featuring Hume Hotel, Touchstones Museum

Market Performance

Beyond identifying what those markets are, it’s also crucial to understand

what the opportunity is with these markets. Destination BC provides a

number of tools to source the latest information and ensure marketing

programs and funds are being directed to the right places, thereby

helping us drive more business to

To be successful it’s essential

that we have the support and

buy-in of BC residents.


Environics Analytics’ mobility data,

VisitorView, tracks domestic visits,

trips and total nights to BC and its

tourism regions monthly, and is soon

expected to distill that information

even further at the regional district

level. This data is published in a weekly Research Round-up, allowing

tourism businesses to use this information to assess the latest travel

patterns of key markets and determine whether a shift in how they

market, including how they position themselves within a destination

experience, is needed.

While we know that international travel is not likely for a little while

longer, it is important to note that once borders do open and we’re

able to welcome back our international visitors, there are a number of

data sources we can continue to leverage to compete on the global

stage. In addition to standard tourism performance indicators such

as international visitor arrivals, Destination

BC has also launched a Signals and

Sentiments Dashboard: an easy-to-access

dashboard to monitor what is happening in

each of our core geographic markets. The

dashboard data helps us, and BC’s tourism

industry, quickly understand which markets

and audiences can start travelling again,

and when—helping us make informed decisions about when to restart

marketing activities and in which geographic markets.

We encourage all businesses to leverage these resources when

creating their strategies as we move forward toward recovery.

10 InnFocus

Resident Sentiment & Traveller Behaviours

While the go-ahead for travel from our Provincial Health Officer—

as well as health authorities throughout our key markets—is the

primary driver toward recovery, in order to be successful it’s

essential that we have the support and buy-in of BC residents. We

know that BC resident views on travel are likely to change regularly

with the dynamic health situation and as vaccination increases.

We also recognize that as part of this shift and resumption of

activities, when and how people intend to travel may also look

vastly different than what we’ve seen before. For example, many

travellers are now looking increasingly to outdoor experiences,

such as patio dining, adventure activities, or outdoor wine tastings.

To understand both willingness to travel and travel intentions—

signals that will be key to reaching residents and visitors as

we navigate our new post-pandemic world—Destination BC is

conducting a BC Residents’ Public Perception study every two

weeks to monitor resident sentiment on these topics. This data

is crucial to informing our industry, and your businesses, on the

best ways and times to reach our residents. These reports can

be found at

Local Tourism Performance

In addition to understanding market performance, it is also helpful

to understand the performance of our local and surrounding

areas, many of which are available in Destination BC’s recently

launched Tourism Industry Dashboard. The dashboard includes

a range of tourism statistics such as provincial and community

room revenue, commercial restaurant receipts, provincial and

regional occupancy rates, and average daily room rates. For

accommodation providers, the community occupancy rates

provide a good indication of how local accommodations are

performing over time and over different seasons, and identifies

strong areas of opportunity based on capacity—whether there

is an opportunity to grow visitation in a certain season, or where

marketing funds could be re-directed as capacity remains

consistently strong with existing visitation. The dashboard can be

found on our website at

Leveraging Resources for Collective Success

Tourism in BC is an industry whose success to date has been driven

by collaboration, an approach that has also continued to guide us

through the challenges of the past year. As we navigate the road

ahead together, we encourage you to stay connected with us, to

leverage the resources we have available, and to find opportunities

for alignment in our collective work to once again see BC tourism

flourish. Here are some things you can do right now to help create

your strategy for summer:

• Visit for the latest research and analytics,

including tools and publications mentioned in this article.

• Request a copy of Destination BC’s marketing strategy for further

details by emailing

• Email to discuss how you

can sub-license PRIZM or commission a custom PRIZM analysis.

• Register for our regular tourism industry calls, where we

share updates on government programs, Destination BC

initiatives and marketing plans, and new tools for industry,

by emailing Recordings of

past calls are also available through our website.

• Connect with your local CDMO to determine how your business

or product fits into their summer marketing plans.

Destination BC looks forward to continuing to work together toward

eventual, collective recovery.

Knowing your own Audience

Understanding your own niche mix of the provincial and community

visitation is critical to standing out and resonating with potential

visitors. To help identify and understand your travellers, a helpful

tool for tourism businesses to access is PRIZM by Environics

Analytics: a segmentation system that categorizes households

into one of 67 segments for Canada, and 68 for US PRIZM

segments. The segments identify consumer behaviours that are

mapped down to the postal and zip codes, and provides insights

on how to best appeal to and reach them. Tourism organizations

can email to express interest

in becoming a sub-licensee and/or commissioning a PRIZM

analysis, and Destination BC’s research team will follow up to

understand the business objectives and recommend the most

appropriate approach for you.

InnFocus 11


by Greg Klaasen

Top Trends for 2021

Twenty31 Consulting, working on behalf of the Tourism Industry

Association of Canada (TIAC), compiled the following top 21 trends,

insights, and predictions from leading travel and tourism sources

to support industry stakeholders frame the future of travel and

tourism in 2021.

2021 will be a year of slow transition. Barring any unexpected

catastrophes and a continuation of vaccinations, individuals, the

travel and tourism industry, and society can slowly begin looking

forward to shaping futures through a lens of innovation and


1. Embracing Work from Anywhere

With a wholesale shift to remote working and keeping in touch

with the office via digital technologies, the world is now everyone’s

office; 2021 will see an entirely new movement of “untethered”

professionals—free from the constraints of offices, commutes and

homes in the city—with the opportunity to temporarily relocate to

places more beautiful, inspiring and for longer periods of time.

2. Travel with Intention and Impact

Sustainability will be more than a buzzword as people across the

globe consider how to travel with a holistically green conscience;

‘Regenerative Travel’ continues to gain pre-COVID momentum with

both companies and travellers seeking to minimize the negative

effects of tourism on the planet while simultaneously making a

positive impact on their host destinations.

3. The Return of Consumer Confidence

Although travel restrictions forced 53% of surveyed US travellers

to cancel or rebook travel plans this past year, many added

international destinations to their future travel wish lists; 43% of

travellers have winter trips planned for early 21—with nearly half

(44%) travelling to beach destinations and 24% to more remote

ski spots.

4. Hygiene over Fees

Travel decisions will be dramatically influenced by cleanliness

standards; with increased scrutiny on hygiene due to COVID-19.

Search data cites that 45% of travellers included enhanced cleaning

within their top three decision-making factors.

5. The Rise of Rural

Search data is already showing that nearly 90% of overall searches

are for trips to rural areas; cabin rentals are expected to be

especially popular, accounting for 33% of total accommodation

searches in 2020, a drastic +143% increase from 2019.

6. The Slow Travel Movement

After a year of international lockdown, travel agents predict that,

overall, travellers have acquired a taste for a slower pace; slow travel

aims to give travellers a rich understanding of life in their destination

through interactions with local people and opportunities to experience

a community on a deeper level. This is especially important if multiple

COVID-19 negative tests are required and long quarantine periods are

needed, as this would make the quick trip far less likely.

7. Wellness Tourism

It’s time to embrace the future of wellness travel; the habits of travellers

have changed, and more people are favouring a wellness staycation

with demands for immunity boosting retreats, socially distanced trips,

private jet journeys, and personal health and fitness holidays.

8. Travel is a Luxury

As travel bans lift and borders open, travel will become one of the

most valuable investments of time and money as people now see the

ability to fly and explore our planet as a privilege; travel at any level

will become more precious, more exotic, and more adventurous.

9. Last Minute Bookings

When it comes to flexibility, more travellers are booking spontaneous

last-minute trips; the average number of days between booking to

check-in is now 50 days, down -37.5% from the average pre-pandemic

lead time.

10. Travel Agent Value Surge

The mass chaos and confusion caused by COVID-19 has strengthened

the travel manager’s resolve to significantly reduce, if not prohibit,

unmanaged travel; with travellers less likely to leave home without

one, travel professionals will grow their influence exponentially.

11. Younger Travellers

On the heels of a pandemic that posed the greatest threat to

seniors and baby boomers, the average age of travellers has

dropped precipitously across all categories; as age and generational

demographics of travellers shift to Gen X and those younger travellers

that follow, it’s likely that other consumer travel trends—such as

experiences on offer, popular destinations, preferred accommodations

and amenities—will follow suit.

12. Business Travel Will Resume, Responsibly

2021 will usher in the era of responsible travel, with a particular focus

on business travel; those who must travel—members of the C-suite,

salespeople and essential workers—will remain as early adopters

with the expectation that travel providers may require disclosure of

COVID-19 health status until a vaccine is widely adopted.

12 InnFocus


13. No Fee Trip Changes

With rules and regulations for travel changing on a daily basis, travellers

will require the flexibility to change their hotel or flight booking at no

extra cost to book with confidence; for some businesses, this will

reinforce the other 2021 trend, which is doing more with less.

14. Supporting Local

With many borders still closed, and the potential of provincial

quarantines looming, domestic locations in national parks, winter

ski and beach towns will gain even more traction as preferred tourist

choices; the focus on domestic tourism will continue to signal a

massive departure from international and regular seasonal travel

over the year to come.

15. Values-Driven Brand Authenticity

The intensity of the pandemic and the whole of 2020 have shed

more light on the global issues faced by the collective; as we move

into 2021 consumers will re-examine their values and seek the “new

luxury”—brands with a conscious. The travel industry is no exception.

16. Digital Transformation

COVID-19 accelerated the digitization of every industry, including

tourism; the capacity for tourism businesses of all sizes to evolve their

business models, adopt digital technologies to effectively participate

in global value ecosystems, and take up new ways of data-driven

working will shape productivity, social and economic wellbeing in

the future.

17. Cruise Control

The cruise industry has suffered losses in the billions from a

catastrophic year; although the companies have developed stringent

hygiene concepts. Whether the cruise industry can truly recover in

2021 will depend, above all, on the effectiveness of vaccination.

18. “Vaxications”

Pent-up demand for travel, the promise of vaccines for the general

public by summer, and border/quarantine restrictions potentially

being lifted by internationally coordinated digital health passports

will result in a rush of vaccine-enabled vacations.

19. Travel Testing, Proof of Vaccinations and Quarantines?

Many countries around the world will require proof of a negative

coronavirus test for all arriving international travellers, and they may

impose additional tests upon arrival or a few days later. Airports and

hotels will add testing facilities, and airlines will enhance mobile apps

with health features to prove negative tests. Testing may continue

in spite of proof of vaccinations. And destinations may still require

quarantine periods of up to 14 days in spite of proof of vaccinations

and multiple negative tests.

20. Solo Travel Takes a Pause

Solo travel is taking a downturn in the year ahead; in 2020, the share

of bookings for single accommodations on HomeToGo dropped

by 44% compared to 2019, with most looking to travel with an

average of six companions. That said, solo women travellers are

predicted to be on the rise.

21. Destination Asia

As borders gradually open and more people are planning to

travel in 2021, destinations within Asia are the most searched for

international travel, as revealed by the 2021 Expedia Travel Trends

Report. With all the positive global media coverage around Asia’s

early handling of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that many are

looking east for a glimpse of recovery.

This article in its entirety can be seen on TIAC’s site at


InnFocus 13



A Journey Towards

Sustainability – Watermark

Beach Resort Case Study

by Dylan Tomlin

Courtesy of Watermark Beach Resort

Located just steps from the beach, marina, and a wide variety of dining

and shopping options, Watermark Beach Resort, in Osoyoos, is the ideal

location for those wanting to discover the South Okanagan ‘Good Life’.

With effortless access to a myriad of exciting activities and entertainment,

the lakeside resort is highly regarded for delivering a seamless guest

experience that distinguishes it as a must-visit destination within the

world-renowned Okanagan wine


While Watermark’s overwhelming

commitment to hospitality is at

the forefront of its operations, the

beach resort’s dedication to guests

extends further than its amenities. The

Watermark team remain acutely aware

of the property’s responsibility to the

land it occupies and the need to protect it, taking significant strides to

reduce its environmental impact and proudly communicate this green

policy to guests and stakeholders.

Among the many sustainable solutions the operations team has

implemented are a recycling program, an eco-conscious food and

beverage program, and electric vehicle charging stations throughout the

14 InnFocus

The Watermark team was

able to reduce their annual

operating costs by $27,500.

resort, which aim to promote green transportation throughout the Okanagan

and beyond. Similarly, the property is dedicated to becoming carbon and

waste neutral, consistently auditing and measuring their progress, while

administering solutions that will help reduce the resort’s footprint.

As an important step in this process, the Watermark team employed

GreenStep Solutions’ EcoFund Program, in February of 2018, to identify

green solutions that would not only support

their sustainability mandate but aid in

reducing operating costs.

Project: Identifying Opportunity

Inefficient lighting significantly drives up

wasteful energy consumption and electricity

bills in hotels, so upgrading this is an

intelligent investment for an efficient future.

Following an in-depth sustainability consultation with Watermark, GreenStep

Solutions was able to identify a Lighting Retrofit as an opportunity for positive

change, advising that the resort opt for LED lights over their incandescent

counterparts. LEDs—short for light-emitting diodes—are a proven solution

for operators seeking sustainable tools, offering an exceptional blend of

opportunity and efficiency along various colour options and controllability.

Solution: Lighting Retrofit

Following the advice of GreenStep Solutions, Watermark conducted

an extensive LED Retrofit across the entire property. Remarkably, by

replacing 1,825 LED lights, the Watermark team was able to reduce

their annual operating costs by $27,500 and their annual energy

consumption by over 200,000 kwh—this has provided them with a

return on investment of over 300%.

Furthermore, through the GreenStep EcoFund program, Watermark

raised well over $100,000 and a portion of the EcoFund was used to

wholly finance the LED Retrofit. They now have a sizable EcoFund left

to employ towards future projects that will help them move forward in

their commitment to greener operations.

While the team at Watermark has already taken significant strides

towards sustainability, they continue to look to the future. This resort

is an exceptional example of how we can all work together to improve

our planet.

The property is currently in the process of undertaking an Energy

Assessment through the BC Hotel Association’s (BCHA’s) GoGreen

Programme. As the BCHA Energy Analyst, I am working alongside

the Watermark team to help them identify the next phase in their

commitment to green operations. Through this work, I will also

determine what rebates and incentives exist from FortisBC to help

lower the overall cost of the project.

No matter where you are in your own journey towards sustainability, I

encourage you to follow the lead of resorts like Watermark Beach Resort

and routinely look for opportunities to become more eco-friendly. Reach

your sustainability and efficiency targets faster by utilizing benefits

offered through your membership with the BCHA. I commend the

Watermark team for the substantial work they have done to meet their

sustainability goals and I look forward to helping you reach yours.

InnFocus 15


in the


Three BC Wilderness

Resorts that Offer

Luxurious Getaways

by Joanne Sasvari

After a year of being cooped up at home, who

doesn’t want to head for the hills? Especially

when you can stay in a luxurious resort that

serves gourmet meals amid spectacular

scenery? Most years, British Columbia’s

wilderness resorts attract an international clientele.

This year, these beautiful destinations are all ours.

Here are three to visit—when we can.

West Coast Wilderness Lodge

Twice a day, as the tides change, 200 billion gallons

of water rush through the Skookumchuck Narrows

that connect Sechelt and Jervis Inlets. Its spectacular

whirlpools comprise one of the great whitewater wonders

of the world—and a largely local secret. “We don’t brag

about the Skookumchuck like we should,” says Paul Hansen.

He should know. In 1997, he and his wife Patti bought a

piece of land in the nearby community of Egmont and turned

it into a wilderness retreat, mainly for schoolchildren. “In the

1990s, nobody went to the Sunshine Coast,” he says. “Even

now it’s like going back to the ’70s. There’s hardly any traffic.”

By 2003, they’d rebranded the West Coast Wilderness Lodge

as a luxury ecotourism resort, and international visitors soon

followed. “When you’re managing kids in the outdoors, timing and

food are everything, and it’s the same thing with tourists,” Hansen

says with a laugh.

Today the resort features a 7,000-square-foot main lodge and 26

guest rooms throughout five mini-lodges, all with spectacular views.

The main lodge houses the Inlets Restaurant, which offers a popular

Fly N’ Dine experience where guests can swing by for dinner via floatplane

from Sechelt or Vancouver. Pacific Yachting Magazine called Inlets “the

best waterfront restaurant dining room in this part of the world.”

Courtesy of West Coast Wilderness Lodge

16 InnFocus

The resort offers hiking, kayaking, boating, spa services, and

all the outdoor experiences a visitor could crave. Plus, compared

to some resorts, WCWL is both accessible and affordable. “Our

philosophy has always been accessible outdoors,” Hansen says.

“Get out there and get a taste of the world around us.”

Nimmo Bay Resort

At the end of a remote inlet in the Great Bear Rainforest, Nimmo

Bay Resort is far away from just about anywhere. Or maybe it just

feels that way. “It’s an incredible area for wild biodiversity,” says

Briana Sloan, the resort’s manager of marketing and reservations.

“It’s the Canadian safari.”

The resort was created by Craig and Deborah Murray, who

towed the original 1930s floating fishing lodge to the inlet in 1980

and started welcoming guests soon after. The family still owns

the resort, though the next generation is running it these days.

In 2020, they replaced the old main lodge with a brand-new one that

houses a bakery and a sumptuous fly-in fine-dining restaurant called

Little River. “It’s totally custom-built for the purpose,” Sloan says.

Guest accommodation is in the nine rustic-elegant two-bedroom

cabins. “Our occupancy rate is 18 to 20 people at any time, and we

have up to 35 staff on site at any time,” Sloan says. “We do really

curated, customized personal experiences.”

Guests fly in—there is no road access—for a high-end, all-inclusive

experience that covers food, drink, accommodation, hiking, kayaking,

paddle-boarding, and wildlife viewing. Helicopter tours, wilderness

safaris, and wellness experiences are optional add-ons. This is a

seriously luxurious getaway amid some of the most pristine wilderness

on the planet. And most years, it’s one that’s unavailable to locals.

“We used to get a lot of inquiries from Canadians, but we’d be fully

booked,” Sloan says. “I hope Canadians realize there’s going to be a

huge, pent-up demand from the international market. The message

is, travel now.”

Courtesy of Nimmo Bay Resort, Photo credit Jeremy Koreski

InnFocus 17

Emerald Lake Lodge

Located in Yoho National Park, not far from the Alberta border,

Emerald Lake Lodge is designed for those who want to unplug and

get close to nature. But that doesn’t exactly mean roughing it. The

lodge’s parent company, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, is

known for offering exceptional cuisine and luxuriously comfortable

accommodation, and this resort is no exception to that rule.

“The lodge has been around for ages,” says Caitlyn Murphy, CRMR’s

marketing manager. “The O’Connor family, the owners of Canadian

Rocky Mountain Resorts, bought it in 1979 and before that it was a

campground. A lot has changed since then.”

The lodge perches on a 13-acre car-free peninsula in the middle of

glacier-fed Emerald Lake (visitors take a shuttle across a bridge to reach

the resort), and features a main building that houses the restaurant and

lobby, as well as 85 guest rooms divided among 24 cabins. “They

are scattered all around the property,” Murphy says. “Some are in

the forest, some are by the lake itself.”

Cozy mountain tradition is the ambience here, from the centuryold

fireplaces and an oak bar salvaged from an 1890s Yukon saloon

to the hand-hewn timbers, quiet reading rooms, and “epic hot tub”

with surrounding mountain vistas. Guests can hike and paddle in

summer, and ski and snowshoe in winter.

“It’s a place you can go any season,” Murphy says. “There’s a loop

that goes around the lake—it’s about an hour walk, and in winter that

turns into a cross-country ski trail. I like to do a nice loop around the

lake and then have a glass of wine on the patio.”

She adds: “It’s a great, relaxing destination. It’s just the perfect

place to detach from your phone.”


in the


18 InnFocus

Courtesy of Emerald Lake Lodge

y Deb Froehlick

Courtesy of Destination BC

Integral Services Group’s MediDefense mPulse Hand Sanitizer is a

revolutionary new formula that provides eight hours of protection against

harmful microbes. Using advanced antimicrobial technology approved

by Health Canada, it is odourless, free of VOCs, and moisturizes skin.


VI Banking’s 2021 ATMs provide large screens, fast transactions

with Internet connection, and processing for all international cards


Inntegrated Hospitality Management Ltd. has a new human

resource administration service tailored for owner/operators that

reduces administrative workload and fully administers the human

resource function.

MTech Locks’ STAYmyway System includes a mobile key delivered

to guests’ smartphones, which enables digital access to guestrooms

and other hotel areas. It reduces touchpoints, saves time and costs,

and streamlines check in. The system is compatible with MTech Locks

and leading industry lock brands.

LOC International Inc.’s new Nonstop product line, exclusively

for Canada, features modern alarm clocks, wireless chargers, Bluetooth

speakers, and UV sanitizers. They are approved by Marriott, Hyatt, and

Hilton and can be custom branded to include your hotel’s logo and more.

Sunco’s new SIP for Business is reliable, cost-effective SIP trunking

for business communication systems. This system enables consolidation

of phone numbers from multiple locations, maintaining existing phone

numbers, fast activation of new phone numbers, unlimited long distance

across most of North America, comprehensive failover options, and the

potential to use existing telephone systems without requiring upgrades.

Royal Roads University is introducing three new specialization

streams for their Master of Arts in Tourism Management: Social

Entrepreneurship, Disaster and Emergency Management, and


Nespresso Professional is proud to introduce the Momento

100. Awarded the iF Design Award, it is aesthetically pleasing and

easy to use. A touchscreen display with touch-free capabilities

makes it perfect for self-serve or high-volume coffee environments.


GreenStep Solutions Inc.’s Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge is a

new initiative that provides an opportunity to tourism businesses and

accommodations across Canada, the United States, and beyond, to

commit to measuring and improving their sustainability performance

between now and 2030. It’s free to sign up – the only investment is your


InnFocus 19



Leadership in

a Time of


by David Lund

20 InnFocus

We have just completed a year that has been

unprecedented. It has re-written the goalposts

for so many things, especially for the hotel and

other service industries where people are the

main ingredient in what we offer. This article

is about the lessons we should take from the

past 12 months and how we can go forward

with better tools and insight.

Our business is built on three pillars. They are

the guests, the colleagues, and the money, or

as some would call the third pillar the financials,

or even the owner. When we think about pillars,

we naturally incorporate the idea that they are

even and capable of holding their own share of

the burden and the success of our hospitality

enterprise. I am going to explore how the three

pillars fared in the last year, how

they may recover, and how they

can be stronger in the future.

Pillar 1 – The Guests

First and foremost, let us start

with the guests. Without guests,

our business is a non-starter, and

it goes without saying that we are

ready to welcome them back so long as we can

all do it safely. How we welcome them back is

the question and at what price? Average rates

have fallen by 30% on average and occupancy

by over 50% compared to the pre-COVID

norms in Canada. That is a whopping 70%

when expressed as RevPAR. When guests

start to return in significant numbers, what will

they pay?

Some forecasts put occupancy at above

50% for the full year of 2021 and average rates

off by 15-20% from 2019’s stabilized range. In

BC in 2019, we had a record year with an ADR

of just under $200 and occupancy of 70%,

equaling a RevPAR of $139. If we use this as a

base and apply the forecasted occupancy and

rate reduction, we’re looking at 2021 RevPAR

in the $80 - $90 range. This is obviously an

average and many will fare better mainly

because of location and business mix. None

the less that means our collective measure of

what guests pay us will take a 40% haircut

from 2019 levels.

We all know that getting a strong room rate

and occupancy takes time, momentum, and

a healthy market. Losing it happens literally

overnight. Now more than ever it’s critical to

have solid revenue management intelligence

Investing in and developing

our people is what hospitality

is all about.

and practices in place. Relying on experience

and market knowledge is a serious gamble with

very unattractive odds this time around. If you

don’t have a credible revenue management

strategy in play with the proper tools, you’re

going to come up short-changed. Penny-wise

perhaps, but definitely pound-foolish.

Pillar 2 – The Colleagues

The second pillar is the colleagues. I think we

have really shot ourselves in the foot with this

one. Investing in and developing our people is

what hospitality is all about. Our industry trades

long days and hard work for recognition and

advancement. How many people reading this

article can say they came to the hotel business

because they wanted and planned to. If you

are like me and most, you came for a summer

and stayed a lifetime—managers, leaders, and

colleagues alike.

What we have done this time around is really

going to cost us dearly in the long run. Letting

go, furloughing, and laying off our employees

at every level for more than a year means they

are gone. They have left the stage, and who can

blame them? If we did not do all we could to

keep them and help them during the last year,

then shame on us.

I know for many of you, this stings

and that would have been a luxury,

but I think it all comes down to choice

and priorities. Mortgages and debts

can be renegotiated. I have been

working with an independent hotel

in Western Canada for the past three

years. During the initial part of the

pandemic, revenues fell by 75% and

that meant negative profits for many months.

But their commitment to their staff was the

number 1 priority. Why? Because the business

will come back. We can rebuild our markets

and some think relatively quickly because of

demand (it’s still there). We cannot do the same

with people because the supply available to

hospitality is extremely limited.

The labour supply was already on empty

in many markets because of legislation and

demographics. Now with COVID, we will have

even fewer candidates to choose from. But

InnFocus 21

you know what? My client still has all his staff because he saw that as

the most important aspect of his business. The lesson here is we need

people to make our business work for the long run. Let us not make the

same mistake next time. Use every means and every program and every

cent to keep our people whole and intact, even if that means dipping into

our own pocket.

Pillar 3 – The Numbers

Pillar three is the numbers, the

financials or the owner, they are

all the same. When you look

through the 3rd pillar, it’s really a

result of the first two, the guests

and the colleagues, but hold

on because we now have an

opportunity to re-create how we manage our business.

A hotel is simply the sum of its parts. In practical terms, this means it

is the equivalent of all of its departments. Each one plays a vital role in

the execution of the business strategy and each department needs a

well-oiled financial plan to function effectively. Without these plans, we

are akin to a drifting ship.

Each department needs

a well-oiled financial plan

to function effectively.

Someone once shared that he had a recent discussion with a

government official and the comment made to him was, “our industry

is not very professional.” That can mean a lot of things, but let’s not

get all emotional. What that means to me is our business needs to up

its game when it comes to how we manage the financials. That means

monthly financial statements using

the accrual accounting process, not

an annual statement based on the

cash method. That means annual

budgets and rolling 30-, 60- and

90-day forecasts that are prepared

by department managers. That

also means the same managers

have staffing guides and formulas

alongside a zero-based system for

expenses and a balanced checkbook. The numbers will never be perfect,

and they are not going away, so let’s get our act together.

We can do better, but only if we look at what we do with the correct

lens. We do have the ability to manage better going forward, but that

means we invest in our business for the long term. A quote from JFK

sums things up: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” We know the tide will return,

but the height to which we rise depends on us.

22 InnFocus

Leader of the Future:

Heather Riddick,

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

by Jacquie Maynard

Now, in her role at Black Rock Oceanfront

Resort, she gets to do what she loves in a

place that she loves.

“I’m very social,” she laughs. “Hospitality

is where my heart feels right. Plus, I get to

live somewhere that’s on someone’s travel

bucket list.”

Over the years, Riddick transitioned from

banquet and event planning into more guest

service-oriented roles, giving her the big

picture of what guests are looking for.

“Guest service is guest service; it doesn’t

matter which department you’re in,” she says.

“What’s important is the ability to learn from

guests and listen to what they have to say so

that you can give them a great experience.”

Heather Riddick, Director of Sales and

Marketing at Black Rock Oceanfront

Resort in Ucluelet, never expected to

land in a sales and marketing position,

but now that she has, she’s found that it’s

the perfect fit. After more than 25 years in

the hospitality industry, working in nearly

every department, her experiences have

culminated to bring her to where she is

now: one-third of a powerhouse team of

women hoping to make their community

better and maybe change the status quo

of the industry while they’re at it.

Finding Home in Ucluelet

With a father in the Air Force, Riddick had

the opportunity to see all that our country

has to offer, but she says that Vancouver

Island is where she and her husband, a

Red Seal Chef, have always wanted to

settle down.

Luckily, after opportunities that took

them to places like Vancouver, Whistler,

Sun Peaks, and Kananaskis, the couple

were offered jobs in the Ucluelet area and

Riddick got her wish.

We scrutinize every decision we make to

determine how it impacts our community,

business, and the environment.

Data Geek

Although, according to Riddick, guests aren’t

the only beneficial source of information. “I’ve

become a bit of a data geek,” she says with

a laugh.

In one of her previous positions, Riddick

says she discovered all of the data available

to her about the business and how she could

use it to optimize operations. “I got to learn

about revenue management and discovered

all this data we have and how subtle shifts in

things like pricing and packaging can shift

the bottom line really quickly by just pivoting

a little bit,” she continues. “That’s the part that

I get excited about—when I see something

that isn’t working to just adjust it slightly and

see the results.”

Black Rock’s Green Journey

This excitement for improvement is

something that she puts to good use at

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, which is

working towards becoming a zero-waste

model hotel.

The resort, with a whole new leadership

team including Riddick, has just achieved

green certification with the Vancouver

Island Green Business Collective for its

spa and restaurant, and that’s just the

beginning. The new team has also gotten

rid of single-use plastics and the miniature

bottles in suites in favour of refillable bottles

that are topped up by The Den, the local

refillery, and has swapped out all cleaning

products with a line of all-natural, essentialoil-based

products developed by local

business Mint Cleaning.

The resort even rebranded its gift shop,

which sells the same signature-scented

body products offered in the suites, as well

as other locally made and sourced goods

and works of art. “It’s about creating that

circular economy,” she says. “We scrutinize

every decision we make to determine how

it impacts our community, business, and

the environment. We’ve been seeing that

visitors are looking for more than just a

stay. They want to stay and come to a

community that embodies their values,

and it gives us pride to know that we are

doing such great things and impacting the

community in a positive way.”

InnFocus 23

The Potential of


How Cross-Training Can Help Boost

Productivity in a Post-Pandemic World

by Chantel Wellman

24 InnFocus

“Productivity is doing things you were never able to do before.”

Franz Kaftka

Almost overnight the world changed in March 2020 and now, as we

slowly emerge and discover the “new normal”, it allows businesses a

chance to reimagine their work processes and offers an opportunity to

improve productivity.

In addition to the new acronyms

we’ve learned over this past year, like

PPE and mRNA, words like “adapt” and

“pivot” are now a part of our everyday

vocabulary, and rightfully so—they have

been the cornerstone to success for

many during the pandemic.

COVID-19 has had an extraordinary

impact on working arrangements. Many of us have had to adapt to

online technologies, pivot to working remotely, and develop new work

processes that allowed the business to remain operational.

As we prepare to welcome travellers back this summer, now is the

time to reimagine our work processes. We should ask ourselves how we

can re-engage with our staff while optimizing labour productivity. One of

Consider utilizing

cross-training to harness the

power of existing employees.

the takeaways from the pandemic is that our workforce is flexible and

capable of many things, and cross-training and upskilling are a prime

example of how we can optimize the workforce we have.

Consider utilizing cross-training to harness the power of existing

employees and not restrict someone to a narrow view of their job.

As managers and leaders, we need to challenge our assumption of

what one person can accomplish and

contribute to the workforce. Setting our

sights on increasing productivity while

increasing employee engagement and

satisfaction will be paramount to any

business’ success.

The need for cross-training and

upskilling is not unique to the pandemic

(or hospitality), the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report

2018 cites that by 2022 “54% of all employees will require significant

re- and upskilling” and that two-thirds of employers expect workers

to adapt and pick up skills in the course of their changing jobs. As we

move towards increased automation in the hospitality industry around

the world, from app-based check-in or text-based communication with

InnFocus 25

guests, it is important that we concentrate on improving workflow


The goal of cross-training is to help employees expand and

develop new skills to allow them to perform multiple functions

throughout the operation, with a focus on eliminating or reducing

both duplication of tasks between departments and classifications

or inefficiencies found in certain positions. Think about these

practical examples:

• Night audit learning laundry functions (even just folding towels)

for those quiet periods throughout the night hours

• Front desk learning the function of a lobby coffee bar to assist

during rush periods in the morning

• An accounts payable employee learning how to do payroll to

cover a leave of absence or vacation

• Using an additional server rather than adding a host

• Extending the hours of a breakfast cook so he has time to do

dishes and eliminate the dishwasher hours

The examples above increase efficiencies allowing your business

to reduce hiring needs while maximizing the current workforce.

Cross-training can also pay dividends by making employees more

effective, and is commonly used to alleviate pressures of unexpected

illness resulting in absences, vacation coverage, and employee

departures. Some practical examples of that include:

• Having two people trained on payroll to cover a leave of absence

or vacation

• Training dishwashers on food preparation and some menu items

• Having housepersons, laundry, and room attendants all crosstrained

An added bonus to cross-training is that it should improve

customer satisfaction as well. Cross-training and upskilling your team

will enable them to engage fully with your guests and answer the

customer’s questions about many different areas of the hotel. Guests

appreciate and value having their questions answered in one place

quickly and effectively, which in turn improves the overall experience

of the guest. An additional significant benefit is the empowerment

and confidence your team member has developed. The staff begin

to build ownership and confidence over not just their role, but the

entire guest experience.

As we think about jobs and tasks in terms of cross-training or

upskilling, look for opportunities to engage with staff as well. Start

26 InnFocus

To test both efficiency and

effectiveness of the work

done at your property, ask

yourself two questions:

1. What more is each

individual employee capable

of doing?

2. What can be done to

encourage more sharing of

work across different job


with asking them where they see opportunities. It is important

to communicate to staff throughout the cross-training process.

By getting them on board with cross-training opportunities, their

confidence in their positions will grow, which in turn will improve

their morale and productivity. Communicate the message to your

employees that cross-training is

designed to enhance their work

experience (including providing

more steady hours), not overwork

them. We want to amplify their

abilities, not burden them.

In advance of establishing

a cross-training program, it

is important to engage with

employees to understand their personal interests and areas

where they would like to expand their knowledge base. Getting

employee buy-in will go a long way to boost their motivation and

productivity. Engaging with staff about cross-training and upskilling

will help to grow their sense of loyalty to the business as well as

enhance their morale—this will likely improve employee retention

as well. As with any changes made in the workplace, make sure

We want to amplify

their abilities,

not burden them.

that when implementing cross-training initiatives you do so in a

fair and inclusive manner. Communicate that the goal of crosstraining

is to expose them to a wider range of work in the amazingly

interesting and diverse hospitality industry and open up future

opportunities for them.

COVID-19 has kept all businesses

on their feet and if we have learned

anything over the course of this

pandemic it is that adapting and

pivoting are the only ways to survive.

Thinking outside the box and using

your existing team of employees to

help usher you into the “new normal”

through cross-training and upskilling

will help your operation be more resilient and adaptable as we

navigate a time when increasing labour productivity is paramount

to your success.

Chantel Wellman is an LR/HR Consultant with HR West. HR West

provides human resource and labour relations consulting support to

organizations in various sectors across BC.

InnFocus 27


by Deb Froehlick

The BCHF is fortunate to continue receiving

support from a variety of businesses in the

local tourism and hospitality industry, and

we hope you’ll help support our supporters

(and the BC economy) by choosing products

that will result in a donation to our charity.

From June 6 to July 3, 2021, for example,

Univins and Spirits import agency will

donate $1 per 4-pack of Lulu Spritz sold to

the BCHF. The blend of Italian Pinot Grigio

Frizzante, tonic water, and natural flavours

from Sicilian orange bitters is a patio and

camping favourite, particularly because it

comes in convenient Apero cans. Lulu Spritz

will be $1.50 off for the period mentioned, so

a 4-pack will be only $9.49 plus taxes. Please

check the BCHF’s “Shop Our Supporters”

page for information about additional


We’re grateful for these and other

initiatives, but we’d also appreciate it if your

business would consider making the BCHF

your Charity of Choice. Our organization was

founded on the idea that we in the hospitality

industry work together to help our own,

and this is just as true during tough times

as it is when things are going well. Please

contact our Executive Director, Dana Harris,

at, if you would like more

information about this option.

We are pleased to announce that we have

awarded more than 45 scholarships in 2021.

These include:

• Culinary, Sommelier, and Hospitality


28 InnFocus

• BC WISE scholarships for individuals

working to become winemakers, viticulturalists,

and wine business executives

• Legacy scholarships in the names of Chef

Nik Lim, Valerie Soon, Greg King, and Emily


• The Food, Beverage, and Hospitality

Scholarship presented by Lulu Spritz

• Industry scholarships to children with

parents working in hospitality

We hope you will help spread the word about

the BCHF’s medical beneficiary program. We

provide financial support to hospitality and

tourism workers facing financial crisis due

to a serious health condition experienced by

themselves or a family member. The funds

we provide help our beneficiaries cover

such things as basic living expenses, pay for

essential medication, and travel to medical

appointments in other cities. We want to

know about people who need our help, so

please keep us in mind when talking with your

coworkers and colleagues.

We wish everyone a safe and happy

summer. Thank you for your support!

New Members

The BC Hotel Association welcomes these

new associate members:


Talent Employment Inc.


The BC Chamber of Commerce is pleased to

announce the appointment of Fiona Famulak

as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Famulak brings to the role more than three

decades of international experience working

in both private and not-for-profit sectors.

Fiona Famulak

Jean-François Vary

Jean-François Vary was appointed as

General Manager of Fairmont Waterfront in

Vancouver. His most recent role was General

Manager of Fairmont Winnipeg.

OPUS Vancouver is excited to announce

the appointment of Sarah Vallely as General

Manager. With plans in place to re-open

this summer, Sarah is well underway to a

splashy and successful opening. At 35 years

of age, she is the youngest female leading

a boutique hotel as GM in the country.


Sandra Gregory

by Becky Dumais

Sandra Gregory’s

list of both life and work

experience— the two so closely

intertwined because it fed her

wanderlust—traverses across

more than 30 countries and carries

countless stories and connections.

“I’ve learned there’s some very intriguing people in the world. No surprise,”

she states.

While her LinkedIn profile illustrates her as a successful, experienced

hospitality manager with experience across operations, F&B, outlet

management, leadership, training, and customer service management,

there’s more to her than that (including a few harrowing experiences

involving cobras, sharks, and sheep).

Gregory is General Manager at the dreamy, remote Halcyon Hot

Springs Resort and she’s “eternally grateful to the ownership for the

opportunity.” She values their unwavering dedication to a high quality level

of service and their continued investment to help innovate – even during

a pandemic. “That’s incredible. They’re very focused on progressing and

providing innovation and opportunity for others, and building a reputation

as a top employer,” she says. They also provided the opportunity for

her to take ownership to make extensive changes to the operation and

brand. The team here is driven and dedicated to elevating our operation.

There’s more than a touch of entrepreneurial spirit within her, although

she might not quite see it that way. “I know that I was, and have continued

to be, extremely fortunate in my life—a lot of my success was because

someone created a platform of opportunity for me,” she reasons. “Even

if it’s telling me I’m not right for a position or turning me down for a

promotion. People had patience with me to share skills that I couldn’t

have possibly learned without utilizing their experience. If I can create

platforms of opportunity for others to reach their potential, then I’ve had

a good life.”

That’s part of what landed her there. “That’s kind of what I live

by across the board and why I’m doing what I’m doing now. If you

surround yourself with people that can do something better than you,

all you’re going to do is learn.”

Gregory loves connecting with fellow entrepreneurs and volunteers

as a business advisor in third world countries with women and youth.

She loves the creation of ideas. “Halcyon is that on every level for me. I

work with such amazing people, but I wouldn’t be where I am without

those who helped.” Sure, job titles look good on paper or for legal

purposes, but she says it’s never been important to her. “If anything

it’s been a detriment. I’m used to being the younger person in the

room, especially one with so much responsibility (especially in maledominated

environments, from the Australian Outback to West Africa).”

Remote work, Gregory says, is a shift in culture. She landed her first

remote role at 18 at a backcountry lodge in the Rockies. It’s not for

everyone, especially if frolicking grizzlies blocking your commute to the

lodge gives you anxiety about being late. “Remote work and being a

manager is a very niche thing. You constantly have to be aware. You’re

the landlord, the caretaker, the business developer, you’re whatever

you need to be at the time,” she laughs, which on the day we spoke,

was housekeeper.

She admits jokingly that her dream job would be Santa Claus,

flying around the world doling out excitement and joy. “If you’re in the

industry, you’re planning someone’s vacation. That’s the excitement

for me: when you get to be able to say, ‘I’m going to give you the best

experience possible and create a memory.’”

InnFocus 29

y Mike Macleod

I recently came across an online article that poked fun at COVID-19

business buzzwords and phrases that we all have come to know and

loathe these last many months—phrases like ‘unprecedented’, ‘fluid

situation’, and ‘the new normal’. Along with the restrictions that have

plagued our lives, we would all like to ‘pivot’ and put these terms, and

times, behind us.

All repetitive jargon aside, the article had me thinking about other

words and expressions I see and hear regularly like ‘partnership’ and

‘collaboration’. I think it is safe to assume that our sector has never been

more open to working together for a common goal and to share in the

benefit that those relationships bring.

Partnership, by literal definition, means a business partnership

that consists of two or more legal entities pooling their resources to

operate a shared business. In the figurative sense, it possesses a

more intangible quality, relating to the spirit of business relationships.

Despite these definitions, one thing is certain: partnership most often

means opportunity. It is incumbent on all of us now to sow the seeds

of partnership, to seek new opportunities, to focus on development,

and above all else, encourage each other to reimagine what can be

accomplished in the recovery.

Foundational to this relationship is collaboration, which goes far beyond

mere contribution to a project. True collaboration is distinct. It is unified,

interdependent, and cooperative. Ultimately, it is an ongoing process of

working towards a common goal. It requires the willingness and drive of

all involved parties to pursue and meet this shared objective.

Though devastating, the pandemic has delivered its silver linings. Our

industry is inherently social, but beyond this, we are resilient. For many,

the pandemic offered an opportunity for us all to reassess circumstances,

short- and long-term objectives, and discover opportunities for

reinvention and growth through partnership and collaboration.

Since March of 2020, we have been amazed at how attitudes towards

partnership and collaboration within our membership have completely

transformed and expanded. We have heard countless stories of regions,

suppliers, and operators of all sizes coming together to achieve a common

goal, and in turn, sharing the rewards.

We recognize that these are extremely challenging times for the hospitality

industry and survival is on the minds of hoteliers; similarly, it is also on the

minds of our supplier community. The BCHA presents an opportunity to be

a catalyst to start conversations surrounding partnership and collaboration.

The ability to bring our industry together to exchange ideas, provide

networking opportunities, make introductions, and incubate projects is a

position that we value greatly. We want you to know that we are tireless

in our pursuit of uncovering new ideas and we invite you to bring those

forward to us.

In support of greater communication, collaboration, and creating

opportunities, please be on the lookout for new programs coming soon

from BCHA. Firstly, we are in the discovery stage of creating an online

community platform, which will be an innovative way for all members to

connect, peer to peer, and access resources. This platform will also allow

the association to deepen its relationship with member hotels while ensuring

that hotels maximize their participation. Secondly, we are looking at new

ways to ensure hotel members have the latest information from our key

suppliers. As the anticipated restart gets under way, there is an expectation

that availability of products will be impacted as demand starts to gain steam

across North America.

Our commitment, as always, is to advocate, communicate, and educate—

that commitment has never been more important.

For more information, please feel free to contact the Membership team

at or 604-443-4753.




BC Hospitality Foundation 30

Cloverdale Paint 4



Integral Hospitality 11

TELUS Business


Tex-Pro Western Ltd 13

Western Financial Group 15

30 InnFocus

InnFocus 31

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