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Following two years that have seen the hospitality industry severely impacted by the effects of the global pandemic, contemporary Interior Design and Branding Studio Aylott + Van Tromp has identified 4 key trends that are expected to emerge throughout 2022.

The studio’s founders Nathan Aylott and James Van Tromp, who are also co-creators of the Hytte modular hotel and retreat concept, share their hospitality trend predictions for the coming twelve months.

Modular hotel design

“Design-led, sustainable cabins created specifically for the hotel and leisure industry will become highly sought-after, delivering both off-the-shelf designs and bespoke co-branded cabins for hoteliers and leisure operators alike. The Hytte modular concept allows landowners, developers, and operators a commercially flexible and personally tailored offering, whether a start-up or multi-national brand. The innovative ‘hotel-in-a-box’ concept is advantageous because it allows developers to control the quality, budget and consistency of the product from a single manufacturing location while reducing the construction timescale substantially (by almost 50%). Developers can begin small with a handful of units, then decide to scale up to create a small, village-like community.”

Secluded stays

“On one hand, there is a natural and personal reaction to mass-market holidays, overbearing commercialism, and a growing sense of environmentalism. Then throw into the mix Covid-19 and you have the perfect storm. Whether it will be shorter localised getaways reachable by car, bike, or foot, or opting for an increasingly isolated accommodation, much of our newly acquired social distancing habits are here for the long haul. Travelers are looking for off-grid destinations with an abundance of private space to allow them to remain in their own social bubbles, while still enjoying all of the amenities they would expect from a traditional hotel complex. A Hytte resort is a hotel without indoor corridors; cabins are instead connected by interweaving outdoor decking which creates a far safer social environment in these pandemic-ridden times.”

A renewed connection to nature

“Travellers will continue to seek escapism and comfort that retains a raw feeling, capturing the emotive sense of camping in the wild and being close to nature. To reinforce a sense of escapism, a minimalist Nordic aesthetic is captured in every Hytte construction, with each one blending seamlessly into its natural surroundings and offering an immediate connection to nature through the use of oversized picture windows and skylights to create carefully placed vistas.”

Alternative destinations on the rise 

“For years the main Cities have been the focal point of hospitality and rightly so; people would head to London, Paris or Edinburgh as a treat, visiting the sights or seeing a show. Times however have changed, and the trend is heading towards low-key, softer tourism. Alongside off-the-grid locations, cultural centres with an abundance of history, such as St.Albans where our latest hotel venture The Samuel Ryder for Tapestry Collections opens in January, are becoming fashionable because it matches peoples ideals. They want to experience something different and unique, far from the madding crowd.”

 
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WASHINGTON (December 8, 2021) – Supply chain disruptions are impacting the operations of more than eight in ten surveyed hotels, and nearly three in four hotel operators say the disruptions are negatively impacting their business revenue, according to a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association members.

Eighty-six percent of respondents reported that supply chain disruptions were having a moderate or significant impact on their operations. More than half (52%) say the problem has grown worse over the past three months. Seventy-four percent say supply chain issues are having a negative impact on business revenue.

The impact on operations could have repercussions for employment, underscoring the need for targeted federal relief for hotel employees, such as the Save Hotel Jobs Act.

“Hotels have a complex supply chain that requires regular procurement of a wide range of goods and services each day. And whether it’s production backups or shipping delays, supply chain disruptions are compounding hotels’ existing problems and increasing operating costs during an already tough time,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA. “This survey highlights just how widespread these challenges are for hoteliers. That’s why now is the time for Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act, so hotel employees can get the relief they need during these difficult times.”

Respondents do not expect the supply chain disruptions to be resolved any time soon, with 46% saying they expect disruptions to last six months to a year and another 36% expecting them to last more than a year.

Other survey highlights include:

Percentage of hotels experiencing a lack of availability for:

  • Linens and other soft goods: 85%
  • Food and beverage supplies: 76%
  • Day-to-day cleaning and housekeeping supplies: 72%

Percentage of hotels experiencing increased costs for:

  • Day-to-day cleaning and housekeeping supplies: 79%
  • Linens and other soft goods: 77%
  • Food and beverage supplies: 77%

The survey of more than 500 AHLA members was conducted November 8-22, 2021.

 
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MARKHAM, Ontario, December 7, 2021

Maestro is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Kelly as a Senior Solutions Consultant. A Maestro veteran for 23 years, Kelly has been an active part of the Maestro service and management teams since 1996, previously serving as Senior Product Strategist. With extensive experience as a senior sales engineer, Kelly had been a key contributor to the development of Maestro during his tenure. Following a brief two-year post with another PMS vendor, Kelly returns to Maestro to help drive business development, collaborate on new products, reconnect with customers and prospects alike, and re-emerge as one of the company’s trusted advisors.

“As someone who thrives in an environment of client engagement and relationship management, Mark is highly motivated to reconnect with customers, meet with new prospects, and execute a sales plan that will support our company’s continued growth in the coming year,” said Warren Dehan, Maestro President. “As more and more independent hotels, luxury resorts, and multi-property groups turn to Maestro for our suite of flexible software, contactless guest engagement, and mobile PMS solutions, we are well-positioned to meet their needs and exceed expectations. We are confident Mark will play a pivotal role in developing new business and contributing to our line of emerging technologies that will keep Maestro at the forefront of PMS technology. Mark . . . welcome home.”

Service Culture Brought Him Back

As Senior Solutions Consultant, Kelly will be instrumental in building and maintaining rapport with prospective Maestro customers throughout the entire sales process. He will closely monitor the installation process and work alongside the Maestro teams to support customer satisfaction and longevity. Kelly is based in Toronto.

“Maestro’s service culture is unlike anything I have ever experienced throughout my career,” Kelly said. “After leaving the company I quickly recognized what a great organization Maestro is, and I longed to be part of it again. This company was built to make hoteliers’ IT lives easier. I’m proud to have played a role over the last two decades in developing solutions with the Maestro team that create an efficient and seamless operation. More importantly, their service culture is centered around accessibility and continuity. At this pivotal time in history when the pandemic has closed doors and made independent operators feel stranded, Maestro remains connected to its customers. Through access to live call agents and in-app live chat support, hoteliers are getting the help they need instantly. And, as properties struggle to attract new employees, Maestro’s online training is helping new recruits learn at their own pace and get up to speed quickly.

“In this time of constant change, it’s critical to know that hoteliers can get answers to urgent questions when they need it and that they have a PMS partner that is ahead of the competition in developing forward-thinking solutions,” Kelly said. “2022 is the right time to be a Maestro customer. There is no PMS provider more relevant and ahead of the curve in emerging technology than Maestro.”

Maestro is the only hotel PMS company that offers an innovative and feature identical Web browser-based or Windows PMS suite with the option to host on-premises or in a private cloud, as well as SaaS cloud-hosted. All environments support the latest mobile, contact-free, and web-based technologies to enhance the digital guest and staff experience; with the added benefit of an extensive collection of APIs to support more than 800 third-party integrations. Regardless of which implementation model a hotel chooses to support its business objectives today, management can switch to a different option tomorrow without going to market for a new system provider and incurring additional licensing fees. Maestro offers a painless transition in migrating from on-premises to cloud-hosted or vice versa.

 
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On November 18th, the MHA hosted a Hotel Industry Mixer for Hotel and Allied members. It was great to be back with members in-person at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg to enjoy some networking and refreshments. The MHA would like to thank everyone who attended.

Event sponsors were as follows:

•           Gold Sponsors: Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, QUASEP, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, and Travel Manitoba

•           Beverage Sponsor: Labatt

•           Bronze Sponsor: POS Systems

•           Supporting Sponsors: National Payments, National Sales, Integral Services Group, Shaw Business, Westport Manufacturing, Mercury Publishing                   and Western Hotelier.

 
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Working together is essential to pulling the Western Canadian hospitality industry through its most extreme challenge in recent history: COVID-19. While lively competition has occurred between hotel chains in the past, the current times require putting that aside to shore up the industry, rebuild and move forward.

In the words of rock and roller, Axl Rose, “All we need is just a little patience.”

Recovery won’t look the same for every property in every region. The variables that allowed remote resorts to stay afloat while they welcomed home-bound-weary domestic visitors are different from the variables that saw downtown conference centre properties scale back when international guests stopped arriving and events dried up like a roast left in the oven for far too long.

Everyone in the industry is more than familiar with what’s been happening over the last two years and the labour issues that were already bad prior to COVID (but moved from bad to worse). The questions are, what now? What’s next? And how do we do better going forward? The Western Canadian Lodging Conference held in Vancouver on November 15 and 16th attempted to provide answers.

 

Lobbying for the Hotel Industry’s Survival

In a video update from Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada, the benefits of fighting for the life of the industry through lobbying Parliament Hill were outlined along with shifts for the future.

“We were the first impacted, the deepest impacted and it will take us the longest to get back,” she says of the fallout from COVID-19 control measures. “Almost overnight we went from record highs to the lowest lows.”

There was a certain sense of apathy in Canada towards the hotel industry due to the mistaken belief that the majority of properties are owned by international billionaires as opposed to hardworking local individuals. The story needed to be told to gain the ear of government as well as support of fellow Canadians.

“Telling that story in the way that resonated with the general public moved us,” she says. Talking about local people and independent properties allowed the association to gain both public and government support.

The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses was formed to bring a strong united voice to travel and hospitality businesses facing seemingly insurmountable issues.

“We were able to come together under core advocacy issues,” she explains. “We used the strength of our coalition.”

The coalition helped highlight the asset base of the hotel industry to ensure deep subsidies from the government like the Tourism and Hospitality recovery Fund.

“I really view this program as a ventilator,” she says. “It’s a safety net for any operator experiencing a 40 per cent loss or greater over the winter.”

With this work has come increased costs for the association and Grynol announced fee increases that will allow for continued work to help the industry rebound.

The Varied Faces of Recovery

As the industry begins to rebound, there will be a range of scenarios seen throughout Western Canada as explained by Carrie Russell, senior managing partner with HVS Canada and Greg Kwong, executive vice-president and regional managing director with CBRE Hotels. Using 2019 data as the baseline, the duo explained that Canadian RevPAR declined overall by 62 per cent in 2020.

“BC, which is our national playground, got around that at 58 per cent,” Russell says.

She notes that declines were similar to those seen in Europe. Deep and harsh. While hoteliers south of the border were slightly less impacted with about a 48 per cent decline.

“The good news is that for the next few years, it will be double digit increases,” she adds. “We just don’t grow like that in Canada.”

However, while the US is getting closer to normal rates again, Canada and Europe still lag behind.

“Leisure is one of the big things bringing people back to hotels,” she says. “I don’t think anyone has heard about Tofino so much in their lives. We need to get people back to travelling corporately again and to events, festivals.”

Russell predicts a national recovery by 2024. Some regions are close to normal levels already. Others will take longer. The larger centres will take the longest, so Vancouver properties will likely stay moderate in growth while other areas like the Thompson Okanagan have already seen strong growth.

The downside once again, is labour. When some markets began to recover, they simply couldn’t make rooms available because they lacked in staffing. This will continue to be a key factor.

In terms of investment in the industry, Kwong says hotels are still a pretty safe bet.

“You’re going to see some investment [in property upgrades] because people aren’t willing to go through building [from scratch],” he says. “The gap between bid and ask is closing again. We’ll see foreign investment come back with US investors first.”

 

Coming Together for the Greater Good

The ongoing refrain about supply chain issues covers just about everything that isn’t going right. A stalled renovation, changes to typical case goods, even access to restaurant food is all hampered by troubled links in the formerly smooth chain. Martin Stitt, senior vice-president operations, Canada with Hotel Equities speaks about the mad dash to get things done.

“All of a sudden there’s a scramble. There’s a pressure on owners not just on what you’re buying but when you’re buying it,” he says. “It’s definitely impacting all sides of the business. But the underlying factor is that the human capital issue will still be the leading problem.”

He explains that the industry has grown entrenched with the concept of putting an order in and receiving the required goods, but when it could take up to a month to receive soap, new plans were required.

“We have to instill in our people the confidence to solve these problems,” he says.

Robert Pratt, president and CEO with Sandman Hotel Group and Sutton Place Hotels noted that flexibility is required and supplier relationships are making a difference to operations.

“The reality is, suppliers are taking care of the clients who are most loyal to them and are most profitable,” he says. “You just want to make sure you are that favourite so you get what you need.”

This means continuing to build relationships with suppliers and also diversifying when supply issues crop up. However, supplies can’t do anything to resolve the labour issue.

“Getting back those people that we had to lay off was very, very challenging,” Pratt says. “We’re going through that now. That’s going to be a long process.”

Stitt says working together is the only answer.

 

“We better change and work together on this issue,” he says. “We’ve got to get the pie [of people] bigger before we fight over who gets the best piece of the pie. It’s certainly something we will unite over as an industry.”

Programs that elevate the industry and talk about the experiences of those like Pratt and Stitt who both have enjoyed decades in the industry, are the types of things needed for a strong push to individuals exploring and considering career options.

Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO of the British Columbia Hotel association summarized that the labour issue is the number one file she is concerned with. Her focus is on working with governments and other stakeholders to ensure there is an inflow of talent, as well as training and upskilling of those already in the industry.

The climb back to what hotel operators experienced in 2019 isn’t going to be easy. There are still challenges to be had. However, through working together recovery will come more quickly. It may be too early to celebrate just yet, but the time is coming.

 

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