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TORONTO, ON (March 4, 2021) – Realstar Hospitality is delighted to announce that its franchise location in Headingley, Manitoba is the proud recipient of the 2020 Canadian Franchisee of the Year Award , presented by G6 Hospitality. To ensure our franchise community's safety, the 2020 CEO Awards ceremony took place virtually last week, with over 200 guests in attendance online.

This esteemed award is given to the property with outstanding quality scores from the past fiscal year, focusing on guest relations, staff friendliness, room cleanliness, and year-over-year growth in revenue. In addition to top scores, the team at Motel 6 - Headingley does extraordinary work in their community. For many years, the hotel has been involved with charitable efforts such as Clean the World and Koats for Kids. Over the past few months, they have expanded their philanthropic efforts to show appreciation for front line workers by providing truck drivers with a place to take a break, grab a cup of coffee and a hot shower, completely free of charge.

"During such difficult times for everyone, it is gratifying to be recognized by the brand," said Morgan Beaudry, General Manager, Motel 6 - Headingley. "This award would not have been possible without our incredible team members," added Beaudry. "We look forward to continuing to offer exceptional service and a clean, comfortable stay to our guests."

"This achievement is well deserved by the entire team at Motel 6 - Headingley, congratulations!" said Irwin Prince, President & COO, Realstar Hospitality. "This award is a credit to the hard work and dedication showcased by the entire team." added Prince.

Located at 4400 Portage Avenue, Motel 6 - Headingley offers 70 spacious guest rooms with free Wi-Fi, LCD TVs, an expanded cable channel line-up, mini-fridges and microwaves. Guests can enjoy complimentary morning coffee and an indoor swimming pool and hot tub.

 
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On July 6, 2020, 239 scientists sent an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) calling the agency to revise its statements on the transmission of COVID-19. The virus, they said, is not merely transmitted through large respiratory droplets that immediately fall to the floor—as the agency had thought—but also through much smaller droplets that permeate the air. That means when people walk into a room previously occupied by an infected person, whether they are six, 12, or 18 feet apart from each other frankly matters very little. Social distancing will not keep us safe when the virus spreads via particles 10,000 times smaller than a human hair that can be suspended in the air for hours and travel up to 30 feet.

It’s normal for public policy to lag behind the best available science. Remember how long it took us to implement adequate safety regulations to rid buildings of asbestos? New scientific insights on important problems for our health and well-being are first shared in academic papers. They are then picked up by popular science journalists, whose reports find their way into the mainstream media and trade magazines like this one. Then they stir public opinion and, finally, push policymakers to take action.

This time around, we simply don’t have the time to wait for the normal process to unfold. 500,000 people have died in the United States thus far and, sadly, we expect to lose many thousands more in the coming months.

Did you know that Americans spend on average 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are two to five times higher than typical concentrations (source: EPA)? The importance of indoor quality has been known for decades, yet so little has been invested. Such invisible problems are often ignored and it’s to our detriment. When will enough be enough?

Worse, this is a country of aging buildings. In 2012, the median age of the commercial building stock nationwide was 32 years (source: EIA). In 2021, this hasn't changed. Our buildings were built to be as energy-efficient as possible, which is a good thing in and of itself, but the result is that they were designed to keep INSIDE as much as possible! Therein lies the dilemma: recirculating inadequately filtered or ventilated air makes indoor air more dangerous. This pandemic has proved to us just how dangerous it can be.

It's true that facilities and building administrators can, and often do, upgrade existing HVAC configurations and settings, but this is only part of the solution. As with any complex problem, the answer is complex—with some decisions requiring tradeoffs. Can my HVAC system run continuously while a building is occupied? Can it handle the “beefed-up” filtration required to improve air cleaning? Is it enough protection? Will I be able to convince my staff and customers that it’s now safe to enter? The answer to these questions is a resounding “maybe?”

Now what?

Upgrading HVAC systems can be daunting, slow, and expensive. Thankfully, there is a better way. We can look to tried-and-true technology. Professional (not consumer grade) portable, medical HEPA and UVC units are powerful tools to address inadequate ventilation and indoor air safety (see for example this CDC recommendation on indoor air ventilation). They’re also remarkably practical and affordable. With decades of track record and improvement, they certainly don’t need fancy marketing buzzwords or pandemic fear-mongering. They just work. 

A professional air cleaning system, whether it’s portable or built-in, will change the air at least six times an hour. In extremely crowded environments, more systems may be needed to achieve appropriate air changes per hour. Modular, portable solutions can help make this easier. For infection control at hospitals, the air is changed at least 12 times an hour, but their need is more a function of the viral dose of their occupants than of the sheer number of people inside. It does not hurt to change the air a bit more often than strictly needed. But changing the air less than six times an hour will hardly move the needle; it simply won’t clean the air fast enough to fight this or any other airborne virus. At that point, building administrators are probably better served to save their money and simply require everyone to wear N95 masks.

Air purification systems form part of engineering controls that are not only very efficient in keeping the air clean, but are also dependable. They do not get distracted, or sloppy. They do not ignore guidelines. Machines are simply switched on and run continuously. They flank, but don’t replace, all the other common risk-mitigation factors in place today. Even in a building where the air is being treated, it is still recommended that people mask and socially distance, as these precautions are yet another layer that protects us from the risks of close contact with large infectious particles.

If schools, businesses, and government agencies want their students, workers, and staff back anytime soon, they will have not only to create safe conditions, but also to have solutions in place that are visible. Obvious measures that improve indoor air quality will reassure anyone who enters a building that they are secure. Portable air purifiers are such a measure that says, “We’re doing everything we can to keep you safe.”

We need to keep our people healthy, our buildings healthy, and our communities healthy. Portable, professional-grade air cleaning systems are a powerful tool to help us achieve this. Although this pandemic is our most urgent crisis, if there’s a silver lining, it’s that we’ve gotten a lot smarter about why indoor air safety matters. Cleaning air is the next, common-sense hygiene habit—like hand washing and wearing seat belts—that we urgently need to adopt.

 
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Turning the page doesn’t always assure a better result. After the worst performing year on record, the hotel industry was ready for 2021, but resigned to the fact that a new year doesn’t mean things automatically get better. The harsh reality is a global pandemic that has ceased to fully recede.

Still, there is cause for optimism. Though travel remains stunted across the world, some regions are showing signs of sustained performance positivity. Include Asia-Pacific and the Middle East on that list.

APAC Consistency

Though there remains a wide chasm in year-over-year comps, APAC has now had eight consecutive of positive gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR), with January hitting $5.48. And though positive, it’s the lowest recorded since June and 88.1% off from the same time year ago. (YOY comps will shrink as 2021 unfolds based off when each region swooned due to COVID.)

APAC’s relative success compared to other global regions in containing the spread of COVID-19 has, and continues to have, a positive impact on domestic travel and, by extension, its hotel industry.

Occupancy in the region did recede in January to 35.4%, leading to RevPAR of $39.21, which was 55% down from the prior year. From a segmentation standpoint, APAC continues to push out rosy numbers considering the operating environment. Consider conference volume mix percentage, which, at 22.4%, was identical to the same time a year ago. Even better, corporate volume mix percentage was up 7.8 percentage points to 22.7%. The positive numbers illustrate a willingness by the traveling public to get back to some semblance of everyday normalcy.

Total revenue (TRevPAR) was recorded at $75.1o, 52.8% off from the same time last year, as ancillary revenue continued to lag. Meanwhile, costs continue to stay down, such as labor, which has leveled off since October, and down 31.4% YOY.

At 7.3%, profit margin was positive, but down almost 20 percentage points from the month prior and 21.6 percentage points from the same time a year ago.

Middle East Encouragement

The Middle East has now recorded six straight months of profit positivity. GOPPAR in January was recorded at $37.30, close to December’s $38.74 GOPPAR, which was the highest the region has attained since February 2020.

January RevPAR was, like GOPPAR, similar to December, but at $71.40 was still down 41.9% YOY. And while occupancy was down a couple percentage points from December, average rate of $171.01 was 2.6% higher than at the same time last year—a propitious sign for the rest of the year and indicative of escalating stability in the region.

Expenses in the month stayed muted. Total labor costs were down 29.2% YOY, while total overheads were down 25.3%, both on a per-available-room basis.

European Headache

Continued lockdowns and restrictions across Europe have impeded hotel performance in the region—and it could be getting worse, as the European Union weighs how to deal with the virus amid new variants of the virus. EU leaders are expected to announce further restrictions on non-essential travel, hampering any rebound for the region’s hotels.

In a worrisome sign, GOPPAR across Europe in January decreased its most on a YOY basis since the start of the pandemic, dropping 144.9% to €-13.06, the lowest recorded number since June. Naturally, profit margin was well down at -70.3%, a 92.3-percentage-point drop over the same time a year ago.

The profit problem was a function of a dearth in revenue. Occupancy in January checked in at a meager 12.9%, which was 49.9 percentage points lower than at the same time last year and the lowest recorded since June’s 8.6%. RevPAR in the month was down 86.8% YOY to €11.31 and TRevPAR was down 85.9% to €18.58.

The depletion in revenue was accompanied by a complementing decrease in expenses, which has been the case throughout the pandemic. Both labor and overheads were down more than 50% YOY.

U.S. Uniform

The best thing that can be said about U.S. performance is that it’s relatively changeless. GOPPAR continues to hover around the break-even mark, with January recorded at $-1.81, a 102.5% YOY decrease. Since March 2020, the U.S. has recorded 10 months of negative GOPPAR, with October reaching a high mark of $4.98.

Occupancy continues to hang around the 20%-plus range, which, despite relative rate progression, is keeping RevPAR at around the same level it’s been since August. Like RevPAR, TRevPAR remains stuck in neutral, not varying much from August. At $55.30 in January, it was down 77.7% YOY, the result of stunted ancillary revenue from the likes of food and beverage.

Labor expense has not shown a meaningful uptick since dropping precipitously in April as a reaction to COVID-19 and hoteliers seeking to cur expenses to cushion the bottom line. It’s been rather steady since October and down 69% YOY in January to $31.76 on a per-available-room basis.

As in prior months, all operated and undistributed expenses were down YOY, including utilities, which were down 28.1% YOY.

Profit margin in January was slightly negative at -3.3%, a 32.8-percentage-point decrease over the same time a year ago.

 

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