HAC features awards, timely issues

JJ Hilsinger walks the Red Carpet.

TORONTO — Award winners strode the Red Carpet, and individuals and panels presented on timely issues such as coronavirus, millennials, short-term rentals, human trafficking, technology, labour shortages, sustainability, engaging staff, travel intentions and the end of the upcycle. It was an information-filled and buzz-worthy 24 hours, ending with keynote Ron Tite and the third annual Women’s Leadership Reception.

JJ Hilsinger, proprietor of the Water Tower Inn in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., won the Humanitarian Award for his charitable activities that included raising $53,000 to help those affected by the fires in Fort McMurray in 2016; and bicycling to support AIDS relief in Africa.

Josef Ebner (centre) with HAC president Susie Grynol and presenter Ian Milford of JRoss Hospitality Recruiters.

Josef Ebner, regional VP Canada and managing director of the Chelsea Toronto, accepted the Human Resources Award. The Chelsea Hotel, Toronto has been a recognized employer in downtown Toronto for 45 years and is currently employing 644 hospitality professionals. Fondly known as the CHELSEA “U”, the hotel has successfully developed and groomed hospitality leaders who are now leading hospitality and tourism organizations, not just in Toronto but across Canada and throughout the world. The Chelsea Hotel enjoys a Colleague Engagement Score of 89% – with a participation rate of 99%.  With talent recruitment and retention continuing to be a challenge in the hospitality industry and with an employee turnover rate of over 25%, our hotel enjoys an enviable turnover rate of just 7.8% (2019). These two key metrics are testament to the Chelsea Hotel Toronto being a truly outstanding employer.

“I would like to dedicate this award in memory of my dear friend and colleague, Bud Harvey, who led the HR team at the Chelsea for 18 years,” said Ebner. “He created an engaged culture, focusing on retention and recruitment, which became the core of the hotel. Bud saw the best in everyone and ensured that all employees were provided with future growth opportunities. We are proud of our admirable reputation.”

Sylvie Allard receives the Green Key Environment Award from Kurt Watson of Ecolab.

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu received the Green Key Environment Award. Sylvie Allard, sees manager, was on hand to receive the award. Environmental measures implemented by the hotel include electric vehicle charging stations, elimination of plastic bottles and straws, high-efficiency shower heads, use of rainwater for pools, and minimizing of food waste.

Simran Gill’s acceptance speech.

Simran Gill was the winner of this year’s Aspiring Hotelier Award. She is assistant guest service manager of the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites.

Lydian Chen of InnVest (centre) with Susie Grynol, president and Jonathan Lund, chair of HAC.

Lydia Chen, CEO of InnVest Hotels, accepted the award for Most Impressive Hotel Repositioning. In 2017, InnVest took the former Trump Hotel, with a mandate to purchase, renovate and rebrand the 206-room property. The renovation was completed on time and on budget, and the signature restaurant LOUIS LOUIX in what is now the St. Regis Toronto, is packed every night and has won numerous awards.

HAC president Susie Grynol, Gary Farstad, Lori Poirier and presenter Harrison Fox of IDEAS, a SAS company.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Sudbury won the award for Revenue Performance Team of the Year. Current general manager Lori Poirier and Gary Farstad, former GM, accepted the award. One of the few extended stay hotels in Sudbury, the hotel had a record year in 2018, with revenue increasing by 4.7 per cent. In 2019, following an aggressive marketing and loyalty campaign, the hotel raised ADR by 3.0 per cent. TownePlace Suites has demonstrated spectacular efficiency in balancing the short-term needs and long-term positioning of the hotel, attributing their success to strategic planning and collaboration.