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October 5, 2021 (Vancouver, BC) – The BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) is delighted to announce that it has given a total of over $1 million to hospitality and tourism workers facing financial crisis due to a health condition experienced by themselves or a family member. Beneficiaries of the charity include not only restaurant chefs and servers, hotel workers, and baristas, but many behind-the-scenes workers such as delivery drivers, sales representatives, writers, brewmasters, winemakers, and vineyard workers.

The BCHF was created in 2006 in response to the situation of longtime local wine agent Michael Willingham. When Willingham had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, his friends and colleagues rallied around him, raising $50,000 to purchase a machine that would enable him to breathe at night. Willingham was deeply grateful for the assistance, but he also recognized that there were many others in the hospitality industry who needed help, so he requested that a charity be set up to assist those in need. In the past 15 years the BCHF has provided financial assistance to 254 people.

Over the years the BCHF’s mandate has expanded to include a scholarship program to foster the development of the next generation of hospitality industry workers and leaders. The charity has now given over $230,000 to more than 260 students, providing tangible support that shows we value our homegrown talent.

BCHF Executive Director Dana Harris says the organization “is based on the idea that we in the hospitality and tourism industry work together to help our own. We couldn’t have reached this significant milestone without the support of everyone in the hospitality and tourism sector, as well as our Board members and many volunteers. Thank you!

 
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Whistler, B.C. – October 5, 2021 – Condé Nast Traveler today announced the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards with Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside recognized as one of the top five Best Resorts in Canada.

More than 800,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers submitted responses rating their travel experiences across the globe, to provide a full snapshot about the places they can’t wait to return to next. The Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry.

“It’s a great honour to be recognized by travellers as one of the Best Resorts in Canada,” said Julie Lanteigne, general manager of Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside. “We pride ourselves on providing a slope-side sanctuary, welcoming guests to replenish and experience true contentment after a long day of skiing or exploring Whistler. With travel restrictions easing, we are thrilled to welcome back visitors from across Canada, and those from further afield.”

The award-winning property – named Canada’s Best Ski Hotel for eight consecutive years – is conveniently located in the heart of the village, and at the gondolas to both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, with complimentary ski and bike storage available for all-season activities. Following a day of adventuring, their heated outdoor salt-water pool and two hot tubs invite guests to soothe tired muscles, while the onsite Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub beckons travellers to satiate their hunger, enjoy a perfect pint of Guinness, and unwind with foot-tapping live music.

Every one of the hotel’s suites is a fully outfitted home-away-from-home, with fully-equipped kitchens, modern amenities and warm accents blended to create a comforting haven to meet all of your needs. Guests can enjoy stunning mountain and village views from their private balcony, or bask in the warmth of their in-room fireplace.

The 2021 Readers' Choice Awards are published on Condé Nast Traveler's website at cntraveler.com/rca and celebrated in the November issue.

 
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Hotels are turning to technology to improve efficiency at a time when they are short staffed, but technology alone can’t improve operations or help boost revenue without a clear plan and measured research into the technology solution that actually meets their needs. Hoteliers across the hotel industry are considering investing in cloud-based property-management systems to increase mobility property wide and better manage operations, but many hotels still don’t know what technology is right for them, nor the differences or options between vendor offerings.

For the hotelier looking to change their PMS tech stack, be aware that several myths continue to persist about the nature of cloud-based technology, confusing what it can and cannot do. These tools have requirements that may not be obvious up front that all hotels should know about in advance, so let’s focus on the truths.

Truth #1: Integration is Complex

Regardless of how easy and seamless vendors may tout their ability to mix and match integrations with others, there are real world complexities that impose the onus on hoteliers to ensure they can coexist. It is imperative to review on a granular level, the integrations supported within the PMS suite of modules that your property requires or plans to add, even when offered from a single vendor. The limitations here are not always clear without doing an internal assessment of the hotel’s detailed operational requirements and ensuring a clear understanding of the inner workings of the proposed solution being offered. Without one, it may come as a surprise what is and is not available for cloud integration, and for seamless operations across all departments over the Internet. These could range from niche amenities, such as an on-property golf pro shop, to condo management, in-room devices, and guest facing applications.

To avoid surprises, hotel operators should do a full analysis of what is and isn’t available for cloud integration with a given PMS provider in advance of investing in such a system. Hoteliers should first assess what their goals are for improving revenue or operations, and how cloud-based integrations will benefit them. Will they achieve a truly centralized system in the cloud on a single database to house important guest data? Will they have seamless cross department communications and integrations in the cloud or will they be required to house data on their own servers to complete the connections? Understanding these factors will help operators identify the partnerships necessary to reach their goals, helping them avoid costly investments into technology that are not able to move the dial in meaningful ways.

Truth #2: Training is Necessary

Simply being attached to the cloud does not simplify the act of operating a hotel, but operating a hotel is easier in the long run if hotel employees are well trained. This is increasingly necessary as the level of software sophistication permeates operations, from more complex bookings with amenities and activities to implementing advanced revenue management strategies. Much of this can be automated, but with fewer employees on property the level of accountability increases, along with the need for proper training.

Hotels adopting a cloud-based PMS will still need to monitor internal operating procedures to ensure the transition to new technology goes smoothly, and new employees are confidently guided through the onboarding process. It’s important here to understand the scope of your hotel’s technology needs once again before investing in integrations, which will also impact the level and focus of employee training. It’s a wasteful exercise to invest in new technology designed to improve efficiency, only to under-train staff or provide unnecessary instruction on tools staff won’t use.

Truth #3: Data Does Not Take Care of Itself

Access to the cloud does not mean hotels can wash their hands when it comes to data security. Not only are hoteliers liable for maintaining the data they store in the cloud, even if it is physically off site, they must also take care to ensure they remain PCI compliant for any data residing locally. This applies to any on property location where guests are still using credit cards, from the front desk to the lobby bar. While data in the cloud is typically backed up and secured automatically, it is a hotel’s responsibility to manage this within their local systems. The cloud remains separate, and none of these requirements go away if you adopt a cloud-based system for operations.

Operators can control this by creating a clear line of communication between their cloud-based server hosts and local IT team in charge of managing on property data. Hotels must also remember that PCI compliance is simply the bar set for security standards regarding payment processing — a starting point for data security, not the solution. Operators must work with their IT teams to regularly secure and back up local data and keep this practice on par with their hosted cloud-based systems to avoid liability and brand erosion should a data violation occur.

Truth #4: Cloud-Based Technology Does NOT Solve Everything

When the need for new technology arises, it’s important to start the search with an understanding of the hotels primary goals for investing in that new technology. The features and capabilities of a solution to make the investment valuable may negate the cloud vs. on-premises debate. Never settle for a solution based on a platform if it won’t meet your operational needs. Hoteliers understand when to offer the right amount of hospitality and when to step back and let guests enjoy their stay, and likewise it is important to understand when the technology is the right fit to address your needs and when it is not. Hotel operators should not assume they need a specific system without understanding its full feature set and the impact it will have on their guests, their staff, and their operations.

To get the best value for their investment, hoteliers are advised to pick software and integrations based on the merits of how they solve their operational needs, rather than working within software constraints. This starts with a thorough understanding of your hotel’s needs, the unique guest experience that is desired and how the technology flexibly meets those goals. The most successful implementations are those where the hotel’s IT and operations teams identify and clearly articulate their needs to vendors, while clearly understanding the options available and the responsibility to their own IT team. Technology must serve a purpose, improve staff efficiencies and guest experiences, and respond to management’s need to meet future service goals.

 
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Victoria, B.C. (October 4, 2021) – In recognition of British Columbia’s teachers and their efforts over the past year and a half, Accent Inns is providing complimentary hotel stays to one lucky teacher and their entire faculty (teacher assistants and custodians included) to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day.

To mark Teacher Appreciation Day this year, employees from all five Accent Inns locations visited local schools in Kamloops, Richmond, Burnaby, Victoria and Kelowna to personally thank teachers and present gift baskets containing custom bubble baths and signature Accent Inns rubber duckies with special discount promo codes for their next stay.

The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation recently conducted an online survey that saw most teachers (83 per cent) experiencing worsening mental health since the pandemic began. Having to pivot to online learning and then navigating changing public health guidelines in relation to classroom learning also meant more work and stress for teachers.

“School workers are heroes in our communities and they all need a well-deserved getaway,” said Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accent Inns. “We wanted to take the time to thank B.C. teachers and school workers for all their hard work, especially during this pandemic. We love you!”

In addition, all school staff in British Columbia have the chance to win a two-night free stay for their entire school staff on Accent Inns’ Facebook page until October 8, 2021. To win, Facebook users must nominate an awesome school worker to be entered into the draw. The winner will receive a two-night stay at any Accent Inns hotel for them and every employee at their school. 

Accent Inns has been supporting B.C.’s frontline workers since the onset of COVID-19. In March 2020, the company launched ‘Hotels for Frontline Workers’ fund with the United Way of Greater Victoria that enabled B.C.’s essential workers to isolate themselves in an Accent Inns hotel room safely without worrying about bringing the virus home to their families. This fund raised over $120,000 in community-donated room nights.

On Transit Driver Appreciation Day earlier this year, Accent Inns employees went out into their communities to hand out gift cards to local bus drivers while they were on their routes to show their appreciation for all their work during the pandemic.

These activations have been received favorably within the community, resulting in positive reactions and a letter to the editor from Al Peressini, the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Kelowna.

 
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Fairmont Empress’ signature restaurant Q at the Empress will be reopening for dinner service starting Friday, October 1, welcoming back locals and visitors alike to enjoy Pacific Northwest inspired cuisine in Victoria’s most storied dining room.

Led by the culinary direction of Executive Chef Morgan Wilson, Q at the Empress showcases the best of British Columbia’s farmers and artisans, utilizing locally sourced and seasonal ingredients that pay homage to the fresh and abundant flavours of the Pacific Northwest.

The restaurant’s reopening comes on the heels of receiving its fourth consecutive Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, a coveted honour that Q at the Empress has received every year since it was reimagined in 2016.

“The menu direction of Q at the Empress was developed with the goal to offer diners a creative approach to coastal fine dining,” says Executive Chef Morgan Wilson. “With a chef team dedicated to honouring our region’s bountiful produce and culinary offerings, and an award winning wine list that pays respect to both local and international varietals, Q at the Empress is excited to reopen its doors and bring back Victoria’s premier dining experience as a thoughtfully curated celebration of food and wine pairings.”

Diners can look to enjoy menu staples such as starters like the Farro & Flax Bread with Empress Honey Butter & Bee Pollen or the Local Oysters with Blackberry Mignonette & Gojuchang, as well as new main dishes for the fall season like Olive Oil Poached Chinook Salmon with Watercress Potato Gnocchi or the Venison Osso Bucco with Malted Barlotta and Roasted Roots.

 

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