The Saskatchewan Hotels and Hospitality Association (SHHA) today announced that it has rebranded to become Hospitality Saskatchewan and enhanced its mandate to now serve as the tourism industry association for the province.

“Hospitality Saskatchewan will focus on advocacy, collaboration, and the education of operators and our industry partners,” said Board Chair Gary Hoffert. “We will continue to work closely with our national, provincial and municipal tourism partners on issues that affect operators in this great province.”

The rebranding has been in the making for the last three years as the SHHA began advocating for a more diverse membership that includes restaurants, conference/convention centres, tourism and cultural attractions and even cannabis producers. This is in addition to its traditional membership, which includes hotels, motels, taverns, pubs and offsale outlets.

This advocacy reached a peak last year when the pandemic devastated the hospitality sector and put pressure on the association to engage governments at all levels. The association found itself in the position of advocating for the entire tourism industry thereby providing governments with a single point of contact. With the association acting as the de facto unified voice for the industry, today’s announcement formalizes those efforts into a new organization.

“I would like to congratulate Hospitality Saskatchewan on their launch,” Minister Responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan Jeremy Harrison said. “Saskatchewan’s tourism sector has been hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic and as our economy recovers, a strong and growing tourism sector will be an important part of that recovery.”

The new association is being warmly welcomed by both the tourism and business sectors in the province.

“Tourism Saskatchewan values its longstanding relationship with the SHHA,” said Tourism Saskatchewan CEO Mary Taylor-Ash. “Partnerships, collaboration and mutual support are fundamental to tourism recovery in the wake of COVID-19. We look forward to working with Hospitality Saskatchewan and its members.”

“The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to see the launch of Hospitality Saskatchewan as the new private sector advocate for the hospitality sector. The expansion of the mandate of the hotel association is a much needed addition to better serve the important tourism and hospitality sector in Saskatchewan. We fully support the move and will do all we can assist in their success, because when business in any sector succeeds, we all win,” said Steve McLellan, CEO, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Despite the challenges facing the industry today, Jim Bence, Hospitality Saskatchewan’s President & CEO said Saskatchewan’s visitor economy has an incredibly bright future. “Our province can offer the world a unique tourism experience unlike anything on the planet, and we are ready for that challenge,” he said.

The association’s roots stretch back to 1906 when a small group of enthusiastic and ambitious hotel operators met and decided that an industry association was needed to confront the many common issues facing hotel owners in the province. In that spirit Hospitality Saskatchewan will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of the entire visitor economy.


WASHINGTON (January 21, 2020) The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today released “AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021” outlining the forecasted state of the hotel industry in 2021 and into the immediate future. The report examines the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel, and consumer travel sentiments.

The pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce, which is down nearly 4 million jobs compared to the same time in 2019. While some 200,000 jobs are expected to be filled this year, overall, the accommodations sector faces an 18.9% unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty in 2021.

Business travel, which comprises the largest source of hotel revenue, remains nearly nonexistent, but it is expected to begin a slow return in the second half of 2021. Among frequent business travelers who are currently employed, 29% expect to attend their first business conference in the first half of 2021, 36% in the second half of the year and 20% more than a year from now. Business travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024. 

Leisure travel is expected to return first, with consumers optimistic about national distribution of a vaccine and with that an ability to travel again in 2021. The report found that heading into 2021, consumers are optimistic about travel, with 56% of Americans saying they are likely to travel for leisure or vacation in 2021. While 34% of adults are already comfortable staying in a hotel, 48% say their comfort is tied to vaccination in some way.

The top findings from this report include:

  1. Hotels will add 200,000 direct hotel operations jobs in 2021 but will remain nearly 500,000 jobs below the industry’s pre-pandemic employment level of 2.3 million employees. 
  2. Half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty.
  3. Business travel is forecasted to be down 85% compared to 2019 through April 2021, and then only begin ticking up slightly. 
  4. 56% of consumers say they expect to travel for leisure, roughly the same amount as in an average year.  
  5. Nearly half of consumers see vaccine distribution as key to travel.
  6. When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices rank as guests’ number two priority, behind price. 

“COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of hotel job growth. Yet the hallmark of hospitality is endless optimism, and I am confident in the future of our industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

“Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry, we are resilient. Hotels across the country are focused on creating an environment ready for guests when travel begins to return. AHLA is eager to work with the new Administration and Congress on policies that will ultimately help bring back travel, from helping small business hoteliers keep their doors open to ramping up vaccine distribution and testing. Together, we can bring back jobs and reignite a continued investment in the communities we serve,” said Rogers.

The resurgence of COVID-19, the emergence of new strains, and a slow vaccine rollout have added to the challenges the hotel industry faces this year. With travel demand continuing to lag normal levels, national and state projections for 2021 show a slow rebound for the industry and then accelerating in 2022.

The hotel industry experienced the most devastating year on record in 2020, resulting in historically low occupancy, massive job loss, and hotel closures across the country. Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic after travel was forced to a virtual halt in early 2020, and it will be one of the last to recover. The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry so far has been nine times that of 9/11.


JANUARY 20, 2021 – CALGARY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Travelodge Canada is pleased to announce that sixteen of its properties from across the country have been honored with a 2021 Traveller Review Award.

Recognized based on the collection of countless guest reviews from across the country, the Travelodge by Wyndham Blairmore, Travelodge by Wyndham Edson, Travelodge by Wyndham Lethbridge, Travelodge by Wyndham Pincher Creek, Travelodge by Wyndham Spruce Grove, Travelodge by Wyndham Strathmore, Travelodge by Wyndham Prince George, Travelodge by Wyndham Victoria Airport Sidney, Travelodge Suites by Wyndham Moncton, Travelodge Suites by Wyndham Saint John, Travelodge Suites by Wyndham New Glasgow, Travelodge by Wyndham Sydney, Travelodge by Wyndham Kapuskasing, Travelodge by Wyndham Niagara Falls At The Falls, Travelodge by Wyndham Alma and Travelodge by Wyndham Weyburn consistently offered outstanding hospitality, while ensuring their guests were able to make the most of the limited domestic travel options available to them during this difficult year.

“To be honored with a Traveller Review Award during the challenging year that was 2020, is a fantastic achievement” said Trevor Hagel, Executive Vice President, Operations, Travelodge Canada. “We are thrilled to offer our congratulations to each of these sixteen exemplary Travelodge by Wyndham properties across Canada, as well as all of the other deserving recipients across the hospitality industry.”

This marks the ninth year that has handed out the Traveller Review Awards, which recognize partners for exceptional hospitality and service throughout the year. Winners are selected based on receiving outstanding average review scores that guests have left at the conclusion of their stay.


Toronto, ON (January 19, 2021) – Despite the challenges of the last year in the industry, Choice Hotels Canada is going into 2021 strong. Armed with a new sales strategy and department overhaul, one of the country’s leading lodging franchisors has rolled out a new multi-tiered approach to sales which will further strengthen the company as it plans for the future.

Changes include a reorganization of its sales division and strategy to place its hotels and brands in a progressive position at all levels of sales. This starts, effective immediately, with the appointment of Derrick Britt as Director, Sales Canada. With over 20 years of diverse hotel management experience, Derrick will lead the sales team through the transformation that will grow sales delivery to its more than 330 hotels across Canada. Prior to this, he was a Franchise Performance Consultant for the company.

“Our franchisees are the heart of our business, and this investment is critical to their success, particularly after the challenges the industry has – and continues to face – due to COVID-19,” says Julie Chan-McConnell, Senior Director, Commercial Strategy & Performance at Choice Hotels Canada. “I am thrilled with the team we’ve assembled and confident that under Derrick’s leadership, we will take our sales efforts to the next level.”

Other key appointments include Katie Anderson and Peter Sellick. Katie has been promoted to Senior Manager, Sales Operations. She joined Choice Hotels Canada in 2017 as Regional Sales Manager for Ontario and Manitoba and has been able to turn that experience into valuable insights when optimizing sales operations effectiveness.

Peter will move into the newly created Manager, Market Sales position, increasing the company’s value to franchisees through incremental brand and local sales delivery. He will also lead broader sales training for all hotels. Previously, he held the role of Regional Sales Manager in Western Canada.


Toronto, ON (January 18, 2021) – Choice Hotels Canada is pleased to announce the recipient of its first-ever Mark Pearce Memorial Scholarship. Cathy Stephens, Director of Operations at the Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba was chosen to receive this inaugural honour.

The scholarship was created in memory of Mark Pearce, who was Senior Vice President, International Division, for Choice Hotels International and former head of the Canadian office. Mark embodied the spirit of hospitality and always went above and beyond to make sure everyone felt 'Welcome, Wanted and Respected'. The $2,500 legacy scholarship in his name is designated for post-secondary education in the hospitality and tourism industries.

“Cathy has a true passion for hospitality and is dedicated to growing and improving her skills, making her the perfect recipient for the scholarship,” said Brian Leon, President, Choice Hotels Canada. “She embodies the qualities that Mark most admired - even in her personal motto of ‘Learn more, grow more, give more’.”

Cathy Stephens has been in the hospitality industry since she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg in 1990. It began when she answered an ad to be a Room Attendant at a hotel in the middle of the Alaskan Highway. In 2016, she applied to the online Masters of Tourism Management program at Royal Roads University, despite having been out of university for 25 years. In 2020 she was recruited by the new owners of the Fort Garry Hotel, having previously worked there from 2001 – 2008, as their new Director of Operations. At the time, the hotel was joining Choice Hotel Canada’s Ascend Hotel Collection and Cathy credits her ongoing eduation as key to assisting with that transition.

“I am absolutely thrilled to receive this honour, especially in the name of a man so well recognized and admired in the industry,” said Cathy. “I'd like to recognize the owners and employees of the Fort Garry Hotel along with my colleagues and friends in the Winnipeg tourism and hospitality community who continue to support and encourage me on this journey.”

The Mark Pearce Memorial Scholarship is intended to help support careers in the hospitality and tourism industry and elevate the next generation of industry leaders with a focus on hotel or restaurant management. Jointly funded by Choice Hotels Canada and the Choice Canada Franchise Advisory Board (CCFAB), applications are open to franchise owners, hotel level associates, Choice Hotels Canada head office staff, as well as their dependent children. The Mark Pearce Memorial Scholarship will be accepting 2021 applications later this year.

The announcement of the Memorial Scholarship follows the Mark Pearce Spirit of Hospitality Award, which was awarded to Tammy Cayen, Assistant General Manager at the Comfort Inn in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario last September.

For more information and hotel reservations, visit


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