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Bethesda, Maryland and MARKHAM, Ontario (December 1, 2021) — Silverware and Curator Hotel & Resort Collection (“Curator”) today announced a partnership agreement that enables hotels in the Collection to use Silverware’s point-of-sale, mobile ordering, and contactless guest-facing digital solutions. Hoteliers within Curator can deploy these technologies to elevate their guests’ dining experiences, improve speed of service, increase check averages, boost operational efficiencies, and keep guests and staff safe. Silverware POS solutions drive efficiency and enhance the profitability of restaurants by delivering the most innovative solutions on the market.

“Curator is pleased to partner with Silverware to help our member hotels create exceptional dining experiences, whether they are seated in a restaurant, ordering for in-room dining, or ordering another round on their phone poolside,” said Austin Segal, Curator’s Vice President. “From full-service POS to digital menus, mobile ordering, and mobile payments, Silverware has a flexible POS solution that’s right for each member’s environment. As the industry continues to recover, efficiency and digital experience will be key for hotels facing evolving guest expectations and staffing challenges.  Silverware is an ideal partner for our members to both enhance their food and beverage service offerings and profitability.”

Silverware is trusted by the most notable brands and large venue operations around the globe. The company’s point-of-sale solutions — including fixed and mobile point-of-sale, contactless guest ordering and payment solutions, CRM loyalty, inventory management, kitchen display systems, and reservations systems — are designed and delivered specifically for organizations that are fanatical about providing exceptional experiences. The company offers the best in server and cloud technology, arming staff with the ability to turn tables faster and bust line-ups quicker.

“Due to ongoing labor shortages, the hospitality industry is operating with a permanently smaller workforce,” said Silverware Executive Vice President Lucky Thalas. “Our purpose-built fully integrated guest-facing contactless digital solutions offer an incredible guest ordering experience unique to each venue in the hotel or the guestroom.  We are giving diners complete control over their mobile phones' ordering, re-ordering, tipping, and payment process. Guests can identify allergies, split checks, and post payments directly to their room or credit card. Wait times to place orders are shrinking and satisfaction increases, leading to higher check averages, faster table turns, and more positive online reviews. We are excited to introduce the full line of Silverware solutions to the Curator Collection and drive profitability for their member hotels and resorts.”

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection is an owner-centric hospitality platform that offers a competitive alternative for independent lifestyle hotels to amplify their performance. Curator provides member hotels with best-in-class operating agreements, services, reporting, technology, and other benefits while associating together as part of the Curator Hotel & Resort Collection—allowing members to retain their independence and what makes them unique.

 
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(Ottawa, ON) - The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Adrienne Foster as Vice-President, Policy & Public Affairs.

As Vice-President, Adrienne will spearhead the industry’s recovery efforts including a focus on public policy that supports tourism and hospitality growth, urgency and attention on the labour crisis and ensuring a level playing field amongst all
accommodation providers.

Adrienne has been championing the travel industry in Canada for over ten years. With both public and private sector experience, she brings an in-depth understanding of policy development, the machinery of government and government relations to the role.

Since 2016, Adrienne was the Director of Strategy & Corporate Planning at Destination Canada's Ottawa office where she worked with Parliamentarians and government officials in key departments on travel industry issues. Prior to this role, Adrienne worked
at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) as Director of Research & Public Affairs, where she developed an extensive industry network and advocated on policy issues including increased investments in global marketing, aviation cost structure, visa
policy and labour issues.

Adrienne will start in December 2021.

 
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PLAINFIELD, IL, NOVEMBER 30, 2021 — Stay-in-place orders, travel restrictions, and cancellations intended to control the spread of COVID-19 caused a severe drop in hotel occupancy and revenue. Even the best marketing has not prevented the most enticing hotels from becoming victims of the pandemic. Famed names like the Renaissance Grand & Suites Hotel in St. Louis, the iconic Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Washington, D.C.’s century-old Marriott Wardman Park, and The Blakely New York have all fallen into bankruptcy. More hotel bankruptcies may be on the horizon as lenders lose patience with defaulting property owners.
 
Against this less than optimistic backdrop, however, a recovery is ramping up. Just as they did following the Great Recession, opportunistic investors willing to look beyond the current crisis are sweeping in to purchase distressed hotel properties, REITs and trusts. Confident in hospitality’s recovery they are actively seeking distressed assets in this space, often acting as both investors and managers. Several closed hotels are now set to reopen anew, rebranded, as a result.

Why Rebrand?
Rebranding plays an oversized role in investment strategies. Changing brands or “flags” can breathe new life into a distressed hotel that has developed a poor reputation. It can also help attract new customer types.
 
At minimum, rebranding requires a makeover to replace signature design elements that are synonymous with the previous flag. Or in other cases, a total renovation of the property is needed to meet the new flag’s current branding standards, including carpeting, tub-to-shower conversions, wallcoverings, furniture, smart technology and more. Investors should be aware that major renovations often trigger new building code requirements, as well as life safety and ADA updates, that add to costs.
 
PIP Top Shape
More times than not, rebranding a distressed hotel is a complex process requiring meticulous, strategic planning laid out in the Property Improvement Plan (PIP) written by the new brand’s franchisors. Additionally, basic maintenance may have been deferred in a long closed hotel. This, too, can have an impact on the scope of the renovation of a distressed hotel.

To provide some guidance, I’ve compiled a few tips on how to go about rebranding successfully.
 

  • Painstakingly review the PIP. Besides typical upgrades to corridors, guest rooms, and lobbies, PIPs can mandate upgrades to security systems, electrical and plumbing, and landscaping, as well as the addition of a fitness room, business center, meeting rooms or ballrooms.
  • In the same vein, it is not uncommon for franchisors to oversimplify PIP elements with words like “all” or “throughout the property” that results in contractors having to price in the most expensive scenarios. For example, does “all” Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) include both the moveable and non-movable furniture? Does the FF&E requirement extend itself to elevators, public restrooms and hallways?
  • Identify negotiable items in the PIP agreement. Items like flooring tiles or wall finishes can vary widely in price. A general contractor to break out the price since these might be the first things to propose as value engineering points to the franchisor.
  • During rebranding, sometimes franchisors allow PIPs to be broken into several stages that coincide with the hotel’s cash flow and business cycles. While this sounds good in theory, it usually increases the overall PIP cost because the contractor has to repeatedly re-stage. Don’t take the bait.
  • Stay open or closed? From a pure construction standpoint, shutting down a hotel allows for greater speed, ease and flexibility. From a cashflow standpoint, this is a nightmare. Valued members of your staff leave, bookings are lost or deferred, and operating income drops to zero while fixed costs continue to pile up.
  • For this reason, most hotel renovations are completed while the property continues to operate. Guestrooms are often renovated floor by floor or by grouping two adjacent floors at a time. Vertical renovations are ideal for bathroom conversions where access to plumbing requires taking stacked rooms out of service or where noise traveling through plumbing shafts is a problem.
  • Given today’s supply chain issues, before getting started an investor will want to discuss the implications of shortages with the franchisor as it effects deadline requirements and possible penalties. The franchisor will need to agree to a modified time frame so that you avoid delay penalties. Get that in writing.
  • Audit marketing assets. Before re-introducing the hotel, audit marketing assets to improve content performance. Review the inventory of photos, videos, blogs, presentations, email formats and infographics used by the previous owner to ensure they are up-to-date and on-brand with new franchise standards.

Once the investor has settled on the scope of the PIP with the franchisor, they will need to select a team of contracting professionals who specialize in hospitality renovations. Without extensive experience in the hotel industry, the contractor will lack the needed skill set for this highly detailed work.
 
Checking Out
Like other stages in purchasing a distressed hotel, PIPs are negotiable in both their scope and completion timeframe. New owners should negotiate as much as they can upfront before signing off on a PIP agreement, and before sharing the PIP with other potential investors. Keep in mind that it is the end-goal of the franchisor to not only make the best deal, but to maintain the highest brand standards and the best appearance for the hotel. The key is to find a balanced cost solution that meets brand requirements and the investor’s long-term financial goals.

 
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Are hotels making the most out of the technology they have? This is becoming a crucial question for leaders to ask as technology takes on a greater share of daily operations. Hotel property-management systems provide a vast array of capabilities, but it’s up to the technology provider to keep operators informed of what those capabilities are. Otherwise, operators could spend unnecessary time and money moving from one perfectly capable system to an unfamiliar and less effective one, costing them valuable time, capital, and resources for implementation and training, only to find they are no better off and in fact, regret making a change at all.

There is no room for things that don’t work, and hoteliers are right to seek alternatives when the services or technologies they invest in fall short of their needs and expectations. Before hotels decide to part ways with their tech partners, however, they should take stock of what they already have, develop their needs list, and ask the incumbent vendor the big questions.

A Critical Eye

First, it is worth the time investment for hoteliers to do a full internal assessment of their hotel’s procedures, needs, and any frustrations they may have with their available technology. If a hotel’s operations or revenue management team are consistently encountering challenges or limitations with the technology they are working with, it’s important to first identify where these pain points can be sourced.

Which integrations does your hotel require that are not yet in place? What is getting in the way of introducing new technology or services to your property and who will spearhead the change process? When do you plan to implement new technology? And, what is your hotel’s technology aspiration over the next five years? By asking these questions, hoteliers can identify issues to raise with the PMS partner and work towards developing a workable plan to address all the above.

Assessments are also useful for identifying potential shortcomings across your hotel’s tech stack. The hotel PMS serves as a gateway to nearly all areas of a hotel’s digital operations. Sometimes glitches deep within your hotel tech stack manifest themselves through the PMS, and occasionally these issues may even provide clues as to where a hotel’s tech strategy needs improvement.

When hoteliers bring concrete, actionable questions to their PMS vendor’s attention, it often presents an opportunity for both parties to better understand each other’s needs and work cooperatively to pave a path towards success. Sometimes hoteliers can be made alerted to existing or new capabilities within their PMS which they were not otherwise aware of, and when identified, often provide a solution to their concerns.

Money Well Spent

Hospitality is a fast-paced industry and hotel professionals don’t always have the time to stay on top of every new development that comes to the technology they use. Many hotels have struggled to operate recently under the strain of a prolonged labor shortage, leading to a slower adoption of some aspects of new technology. This, paired with staff turnovers and gaps in communication, can lead to poor usage and a lack of understanding as to what their existing tools are even capable of or have available, often with no cost software updates.

It’s also not uncommon that issues resulting from the complexities of a hotels tech stack, for example their booking engine or digital guest engagement tech, are throwing a wrench in their operational success. Hoteliers may run into trouble diagnosing these types of issues on their own, and these concerns are often best addressed by a hotel’s technology consultants. Your PMS vendor should also be able and willing to be transparently confronted on technology concerns in a way that provides clarity and an opportunity to work together to address those concerns.

Real Support

It’s up to tech providers to provide the necessary information, education and follow up to ensure their hotel partners know exactly what they have access to and what is available in their current solutions, but it’s also hoteliers’ responsibility to educate themselves and speak up when they have an issue. If hotel leaders have concerns about technology and feel their concerns are not being addressed, they should let their technology partners know, giving them the opportunity to address their concerns as part of their aftercare service. On many occasions what is a headache for hoteliers may be deemed a simple fix or upgrade to a newer version without the need to go to market for a new technology solution. Tech vendors are competing over the value their tools provide to business owners and having a frank discussion regarding your hotel’s needs and goals goes a long way toward finding where operational bottlenecks or disconnects are taking place on property.

While most technology vendors offer e-learning tools and email blasts with pertinent information on new technology and its capabilities, it’s easy for this all to get lost in the deluge of electronic communications hotels are fielding each day. These are critical systems that need consistent attention to maximize their usefulness, and hotels would be well served to identify someone on property who can take the lead when handling communications with technology partners and champion the systems’ performance and strategy.

Revenue managers, IT managers, or whoever else takes on this responsibility can learn a great deal about the way their tech capabilities have evolved with annual or bi-annual strategy calls with vendors. Additionally, technology support personnel tend to be some of the most knowledgeable sources when learning about a service’s new capabilities. If your property is looking for new solutions to old problems, support staff may have an answer or even advice about how to use features. Listen to your team members, promote and educate new champions to replace champions that have moved on, collect information from your current technology providers, and you just may find that what you were looking for was there all along.

The operational byproduct of enhanced automation, digital interactions, and predictive data analysis has made the business of running hotels more complicated. However, hotels do not have to manage all these moving parts alone. By making use of their partnerships and fully leveraging their existing tools, operators have the potential to tap into capabilities they may not even know they have, until they ask.

 
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Vancouver, BC (November 25, 2021): The BC Hotel Association is pleased to see Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19 introduced in the House of Commons, that will be a lifeline to tourism and hospitality operators across British Columbia and Canada. This is the first Bill introduced to support the new Liberal Government’s commitments to save businesses and jobs that are critical to Canada’s economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant devastation to the entire tourism and hospitality sector, resulting in catastrophic losses due to restrictions such as border closures, travel bans, heightened health protocols, and the temporary erasure of the events and international tourism markets.

“These past 20 months have been incredibly taxing on our provincial accommodation community and we have heard from business owners time and again that Federal support programs have been the single greatest resource to keep doors open and workers employed,” said Ingrid Jarrett, President and CEO of the BC Hotel Association. "Without this legislation, businesses would close, our economy would take a tremendous hit, and we would see a devastating impact on each and every community in our province. We are so grateful that this Bill recognizes our industry, our employees, and that our voice has been heard.”

This legislation was made possible because of the incredible efforts of the Hardest Hit Coalition along with the engagement of the federal Cabinet and the broad-base support among all Members of Parliament in the House of Commons.

“While we celebrate this recognition, there is still considerable work to be done as our industry's immediate focus is getting the legislation passed before the holiday season,” said Jarrett. “We are working hard to engage with MPs, urging them to pass this Bill as quickly as possible, with the aim of ensuring continued support to the tourism network in Canada.”

 

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