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Victoria, BC (November 23, 2020) - Accent Inns and Hotel Zed are proud to announce that at last night’s RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Virtual Awards Gala, CEO Mandy Farmer was awarded the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award. 

For 28 years the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards has been the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful and impactful women who have demonstrated excellence across multiple sectors. This year there were 8,600 nominations across the country. Farmer’s win speaks to her unwavering commitment to her community, employees and business during what has been a difficult year for many. 

“For me, this award reflects the work of my whole team who have been heroes during this pandemic,” said Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accent Inns and Hotel Zed. “They service cancer patients who stay with us, frontline service workers that need to self-isolate away from their families and essential workers that need to travel to work on important projects around the province. I am so proud of them.” 

Farmer’s approach to an award-winning business starts with her employees. In a recent employee survey that saw participation from 93 percent of staff, 98 percent of employees said they were happy or extremely happy in their jobs. Farmer’s approach, however, isn’t just about company culture, it’s about truly caring for her employees. 

When COVID-19 hit, Farmer sent $250 grocery gift certificates to all her employees - including employees that were temporarily laid off - because she didn’t want anyone to worry about how they were going to put food on their table during a global pandemic.

Showing that happy employees make for a successful business, Farmer’s businesses consistently outperform their competitors and they have more than doubled profits in the past five years, with a 52 percent increase in revenue.  

However, Farmer’s work extends beyond just her businesses, as she is also instrumental in helping local communities. 

When COVID-19 hit, all Accent Inns hotels across BC kept their doors open to health care staff and essential workers. Additionally, they partnered with United Way to create the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund that allowed donors to help cover the costs of accommodations for essential service workers. This allowed frontline workers to have a safe and comfortable place to stay without the worry of covering large costs. 

You can find out more information about the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards at womenofinfluence.ca.

 
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COAST SALISH TERRITORY (Vancouver, BC) – November 23, 2020 -- With the continued impacts of COVID-19 ravaging the global tourism Industry, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has put out an urgent call to the federal government for a new dedication of financial funding in the amount of $18.5M to support Indigenous tourism businesses or risk watching the industry irrevocably collapse.

With international borders still closed and health units across the country once again limiting domestic travel to prevent further spread of COVID-19, the Indigenous tourism industry has been especially affected. To date, based on research conducted with the Conference Board of Canada, ITAC is reporting a 65.9% decline in Canada’s direct gross domestic product (GDP) and an anticipated loss of over 1,000 Indigenous tourism businesses, affecting over 21,000 people and their families. 

“With many local businesses relying on tourism to survive, the initial funding provided by both the federal government and from ITAC directly has been paramount in keeping businesses afloat and keeping food on the table for many families until now,” said Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC. “This second wave is well ongoing and will continue to lead to the closure of even more of our establishments and institutions. These losses are not just another number; these are 1,000 Indigenous owned and operated businesses that support communities -- including rural and remote areas. On top of the financial loss, there is also a loss of heritage and culture, traditional languages, history and storytelling, and the awareness around reconciliation that we have fought so hard to preserve. It is imperative we do everything we can to protect these already at-risk communities from further impoverishment and save the industry, which is not only a significant driver in the Canadian economy as a whole but equally important, a portal into Canada’s culture and heritage. We implore the federal government to do everything they can to keep these communities and business alive and help us stabilize the progress we have made since the creation of ITAC.”

And while the federal government did provide initial COVID-relief funding in June in the sum of $16M, which supported over 600 Indigenous businesses across the country, those funds were only able to address the immediate needs of businesses to keep them open and cover expenses for the loss of the summer season. In order for the industry to withstand and build resiliency in the second wave, further funding is necessary. Therefore, on behalf of the industry, ITAC is working hard to help salvage the livelihoods of Canada’s Indigenous populations, whose businesses showcase the cultural experiences and diversity of the nation. 

ITAC is recommending another emergency investment of $18,535,000 in additional financial support to further stabilize the industry from more infrastructure and economic losses brought on by the second wave of the pandemic. These funds are to be distributed to Indigenous tourism businesses to be invested in tools (creating or updating online platforms, advertising, etc.) that will allow them to market their businesses, generate revenue and increase consumer traffic directly rather than relying on the Association’s support of the industry overall. It is crucial these funds be distributed immediately and dispersed through ITAC, which has a proven track record in administering multi-million dollar projects simultaneously and achievement in advancing Indigenous tourism in Canada through an Indigenous-led strategy.

The breakdown of ITAC’s second wave emergency response plan is as follows:

$6,000,000 in innovative domestic marketing to:

  • Create a new Indigenous travel incentive program
  • Launch domestic marketing campaigns to encourage Canadians to visit Indigenous tourism experiences close to home
  • Be a resource in coaching and training tourism operators to build out sales and marketing materials and virtual experiences

$12,075,000 in Wave 2 stimulus grants for:

  • Emergency stimulus access for Indigenous tourism businesses that did not access funds from the current program (approximately 150 businesses) and secondary funding for the 683 recipients of Wave 1 grants

$460,000 for the Indigenous Tourism Business Crisis Call Centre to:

  • Provide members with one-on-one help for businesses to identify and access federal relief initiatives and offer supports for mental health and industry relief
  • Provide emergency capacity support for provincial and territorial partners
  • Provide support to consumers and operators participating in the travel incentive program
  • Provide members with easy access to resources for marketing and business development

ITAC has been tireless in advocating for Indigenous-led solutions and stimulus grants and insists the only way the industry will survive is with additional federal investments. Earlier this year, ITAC also launched a four-year, $50 million strategic recovery planwith the goal to respond, recover and rebuild the Indigenous tourism industry across Canada to levels experienced in 2019 by 2024. The new call for federal funding is for additional funds above the $50M ask currently tabled and ITAC is still hoping to also receive funding from the Federal government for its Recovery Plan.

“We hope the government understands that the situation is more than serious, businesses are shutting down, operators are in distress. We need to support our operators from mental breakdown and help them access some of the federal programs, as they often fall through the cracks of the system,” says Henry. “Our Industry is resilient but there is a limit to what it can take. Our goal is to partner with the federal government and work together to the survival of our industry by having solutions to sustain businesses immediately and through the winter“

To view an infographic of ITAC’s Second Wave Response, click here

For more information on the ITAC’s COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund, clickhere.

To view all of ITAC’s communications around COVID-19 and the resources available, click here.

 
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TORONTO (November 19, 2020) Choice Hotels Canada recently announced the national winners of its annual prestigious APEX Awards (Awards for Property Excellence). In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and its devastating effects on the industry, these 11 properties from across the country continued to stand out as top performers. The awards recognize stellar performance, ongoing commitment to guest service and operational excellence.

“This year has been unprecedented for the hospitality industry but despite the pandemic, our properties have continued to persevere and excel,” says Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada. “Because of everything going on in the world, we feel it’s more important than ever to applaud our top performers, who continue to raise standards in hospitality excellence through these most difficult times.”

The 2020 national APEX winners include:

  • Highest Guest Satisfaction (Top LTR): Rodeway Inn, Pikogan, QC

This award recognizes the property that achieved the highest Likelihood to Recommend (LTR) score in Choice Hotels’ guest survey results over the last year.

 

  • Highest Choice Privileges Elite Recognition: Comfort Inn, Sturgeon Falls, ON

This award recognizes the property that has achieved the highest Elite Recognition score within Choice Hotel’s guest survey over the last year.

 

  • Highest Choice Privileges Enroller Rate: Comfort Inn Airport West, Mississauga, ON

This award recognizes the property that has achieved the highest Choice Privileges conversion rate. The Choice Privileges conversion rate is calculated based on the total possible enrollments per available room in the last year. This property has won this distinction two years in a row.

 

  • Sales Excellence Award: Lisa Leroy, Comfort Inn & Suites, Airdrie, AB

This national award recognizes an individual who demonstrated outstanding sales efforts. The winner will have been quick to respond to local opportunities or those from Choice to capture incremental room nights, leverage tools and resources as well as engage with Global Sales Canada.

 

  • Renovation of the Year Award: Quality Suites, Whitby, ON

This award recognizes achievements in outstanding on-brand renovations that drove guest satisfaction increases.

 

  • Leader of the Year Award: Colleen Kendall, Comfort Inn, Halifax, NS

This peer-based award recognizes an individual, selected by the Choice Canada Franchise Advisory Board (CCFAB), whose achievements include outstanding operational practices or team building.

  • Developer of the Year Award: Harinder Brar, whose currentprojects under development in Ontario include the Quality Inn & Suites in Thunder Bay, Comfort Inn & Suites in Bradford, Comfort Inn & Suites in Cochrane, and the Comfort Inn & Suites in Carleton Place
  • Best New Entry – New Build Mid-Market Brands: Comfort Inn & Suites, Goderich, ON

 

  • Best New Entry – Conversion Mid-Market Brands: Quality Inn Centre-Ville, Montreal, QC

 

  • Best New Entry – Economy Brands: Rodeway Inn, Edson, AB

 

Best New Entry – Ascend Hotel Collection: Le Noranda Hotel & Spa, Rouyn-Noranda, QC

 
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WASHINGTON (November 18, 2020)With a resurgence of COVID-19 and renewed travel restrictions enacted in many states, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the hotel industry will continue to face devastation and significant job loss without additional relief from Congress.

Seven in ten hoteliers (71%) said they won’t make it another six months without further federal assistance given current and projected travel demand, and 77% of hotels report they will be forced to lay off more workers. Without further government assistance (i.e. second PPP loan, expansion of Main Street Lending Program), nearly half (47%) of respondents indicated they would be forced to close hotels. More than one-third of hotels will be facing bankruptcy or be forced to sell by the end of 2020.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, urged Congress to move quickly during the lame duck session to pass additional relief measures.


“Every hour Congress doesn’t act hotels lose 400 jobs. As devastated industries like ours desperately wait for Congress to come together to pass another round of COVID-19 relief legislation, hotels continue to face record devastation. Without action from Congress, half of U.S. hotels could close with massive layoffs in the next six months,” said Rogers.

 

“With a significant drop in travel demand and seven in 10 Americans not expected to travel over the holidays, hotels will face a difficult winter. We need Congress to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis. A relief bill would be a critical lifeline for our industry to help us retain and rehire the people who power our industry, our communities and our economy.”

AHLA conducted the survey of hotel industry owners, operators, and employees from November 10-13, 2020, with more than 1,200 respondents. Key findings include the following:

  • More than 2/3 of hotels (71%) report that they will only be able to last six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels absent any further relief, with one-third (34%) saying they can only last between one to three more months
  • 63% of hotels have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time
  • 82% of hotel owners say they have been unable to obtain additional debt relief, such as forbearance, from their lenders beyond the end of this year
  • 59% of hotel owners said that they are in danger of foreclosure by their commercial real estate debt lenders due to COVID-19, a 10% increase since September
  • 52% of respondents stated their hotel(s) will close without additional aid
  • 98% of hoteliers would apply for and utilize a second draw Paycheck Protection Program loan

The hotel industry was the first impacted by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. Hotels are still struggling to keep their doors open and unable to rehire all their staff due to the historic drop in travel demand. According to STR, nationwide hotel occupancy was 44.2% for the week ending November 7, compared to 68.2% the same week last year. Occupancy in urban markets is just 34.6%, down from 79.6% one year ago.

A recent national consumer surveycommissioned by AHLA shows that many Americans are not expected to travel this holiday season. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Americans said they were unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% were unlikely to travel for Christmas. Meanwhile, business and group travel are not expected to return to peak 2019 levels until 2023, compounding the challenges for the hotel industry during this public health crisis.

 
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November 18, 2020

We are pleased to present the new Braidwood Tavern, a craft kitchen and social house. The vibrant new hub of our recently renovated hotel, Braidwood is a contemporary take on the classic mountain cabin. A sleek blend of classic cabin architecture and modern detailing along with stunning mountain vistas–the cozy and chic space is the ideal spot to unwind après ski for visitors and locals alike.

 

The menu of craveable American favorites is paired with a lively cocktail menu and craft beer selections from the best micro-breweries across the Sea-to-Sky region.

 

In addition, we welcome guests this winter to experience an elevated evening at the newly renovated SIDECUT Steakhouse. In-step with our resort’s recent revitalization, the newly-conceived space epitomizes sophisticated fireside evening dining.

 

Both outlets are opening on December 15th following maximum capacity and health and safety guidelines. 

Find more details on both of our restaurant openings here:

 

https://press.fourseasons.com/whistler/hotel-news/2020/new-braidwood-tavern/

https://press.fourseasons.com/whistler/hotel-news/2020/sidecut-reopening/

 

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