NEWS BRIEFS update as of June 23, 2020

Choice Gold and Platinum Award Recipients

Quality Inn & Suites, Val D’Or, Que., was among the Platinum Award recipients.

TORONTO, Ont. Choice Hotels Canada, one of the country’s largest hotel franchisors, recently announced the recipients of its coveted Platinum and Gold Guest Satisfaction Awards. These annual awards celebrate Canadian properties for their operational excellence and dedication to superior service.

“Though we continue to be in the midst of these unprecedented times, now more than ever, we feel it is important to recognize the outstanding work our owners and operators are doing on a daily basis,” said Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada. “These are the properties that are going above and beyond to make outstanding hospitality and service a top priority.”

The annual awards are based on a comprehensive ranking system that examines key performance indicators, including guest survey results. Platinum recipients represent the best of the best and are among the top three per cent of hotels in the Choice Hotels Canada portfolio of more than 330 properties, while Gold recipients are among the top four to 10 per cent.

Below is the full list of the 2020 Platinum and Gold Guest Satisfaction Award recipients.

Platinum Recipients:

Ascend Hotel Collection

Midscale Brands – Urban 

Midscale Brands – Suburban 

Economy Brands

Gold Recipients:

Midscale Brands – Urban

Midscale Brands – Suburban

Economy Stay Brands

For more information or to make a reservation at any of these award-winning hotels, visit www.choicehotels.com.

Motel 6 announces Clean@6 Program

TORONTO — Motel 6 Canada, in collaboration with G6 Hospitality, has launched ‘Clean@6’ — a comprehensive initiative designed to ensure guests feel confident when staying at any Motel 6 or Studio 6 locations across Canada and the U.S.

“The health and safety of our hotel associates and guests are of the utmost importance to us,” says Irwin Prince, president & COO, Realstar Hospitality. “The Clean@6 program exemplifies our commitment to providing the travelling public with a clean and comfortable stay.”

The “Clean@6” initiative focuses on three critical touchpoints:

  • Enhanced Cleaning & Sanitization
    • frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces
    • hand-sanitizer stations in public spaces
  • Physical and Social Distancing
    • social distancing encouraged in all common areas and at the back of the house
    • plexi-glass hygiene guards installed at front-desk terminals
  • Safe Behavioural Practices
    • recommended use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all hotel staff
    • employees trained to perform frequent hand washing by using soap and sanitizing stations

A long-standing member of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), Motel 6 Canada will join other global brands and follow the Safe Stay guidelines for hotel cleaning. This joint initiative between the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and HAC standardizes industry cleanliness in response to COVID-19.

“We’re very proud of the extraordinary degree of care our franchise community is demonstrating while serving guests and local communities during these unprecedented times,” adds Prince.

Trump’s 4K to Travel Idea

Back in May, President Donald Trump mentioned the concept of an “Explore America” tax credit during a roundtable with hospitality leaders. The credit would give American families up to $4,000 per household to use for domestic travel, including visits to restaurants. While there had been seemingly little follow-up to the idea, media reports say that lobbyists are working on the concept with officials in Congress. The credit would apply to travel expenses through the end of 2021, according to an article in Travel Agent Central.

Tori Emerson Barnes, executive VP, public affairs and policy at U.S. Travel Association, said the concept is modeled after a tax credit for first-time homebuyers that Congress passed in response to the housing bust and financial crisis from 2007 to 2009.

Hilton CleanStay rolled out

MCLEAN, Va. — Last week, Hilton began a worldwide roll-out of a new program to deliver an industry-leading standard of cleanliness and disinfection to Hilton properties. Hilton CleanStay, created in collaboration with Lysol and Dettol maker RB and Mayo Clinic, includes new procedures to help Hilton guests enjoy an even cleaner and safer stay starting this summer.

Hilton and RB have expanded this partnership to support the global portfolio of hotels and the trusted RB family of products will be used in multiple markets around the world. 

“For more than a century, our top priority has been the safety and security of our guests and Team Members. As the hospitality industry evolves to address travelers’ changing expectations – especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic – Hilton CleanStay is the latest evolution of our commitment to providing the peace of mind and confidence our guests need to travel freely, while protecting our Team Members,” said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton.

“Though our hospitality may look different in the short term, around the world we are eager to welcome our guests once more and create the unforgettable experiences they have come to expect from Hilton.” 

Hilton guests can expect to begin seeing changes in some hotels around the world starting next week, with Hilton CleanStay implemented across Hilton’s 18 brands by mid-July.   

Hilton CleanStay from Check-in to Check-out 

  • Online: Even before they travel, guests will find a new landing page at Hilton.com/cleanstay which will detail what they can expect during their stay. In addition, property websites will be updated to indicate that the new cleaning protocols and procedures have been implemented.
  • The Lobby: Guests who desire a contactless arrival experience can check-in, choose their room, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check-out using their mobile devices through the free Hilton Honors mobile app. This option is available at more than 4,700 participating Hilton properties worldwide for guests who book direct via the Honors app or at Hilton.com. For guests who prefer a traditional check-in, physical distancing measures will be in place directing guests on how to move through the in-person check-in and check-out process in a safe way. 
  • The Guest Room: The first point of contact with the guest room will be with the Hilton CleanStay room seal, placed on the door upon being thoroughly cleaned. The room will have extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guests room areas – light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more. It will be de-cluttered, with items like pens and paper removed. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in every room for guest use. 
  • Housekeeping Service: Guest rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guests. Housekeeping service during a guest stay will be based upon guest preference, recognizing that some guests may not want staff entering their room. Additional amenities such as linens and toiletries will be available upon request, delivered in protective packaging and placed at the guest room door. 
  • The Public Spaces: There will be increased frequency of cleaning public areas. For instance, fitness centers may be closed for cleaning multiple times daily. Equipment will be properly adjusted and placed to enable physical distancing, and the number of guests in the center may be limited. Pool and pool areas will be cleaned frequently throughout the day, and physical distancing measures will be in place. Stations with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available throughout the property at primary entrances and in key high traffic areas. 
  • Food and Beverage: In hotel restaurants, tables and chairs will be spaced to ensure proper physical distancing. Biodegradable, disposable dishes/utensils will be available upon request. During breakfast, restaurants will offer a range of options including grab & go, pre-plated covered items, à la carte and assisted service. When ordering room service where it is provided, guests will experience contactless delivery, with orders and single-use serviceware placed outside their guestroom door. 
  • Meetings & Events: The upcoming Hilton EventReady with CleanStay program will set a new standard for meetings and events at Hilton. This program will deliver cleanliness, flexibility, safe and socially responsible solutions, along with creative food and beverage, the latest technology and sustainable practices. With a dedicated focus on health and wellness, the event experience from planning to execution is backed by Hilton’s world-class hospitality with responsive service from dedicated Team Members. 

Since the initial announcement of the partnership, RB has worked with Hilton to deploy plans for global execution of Hilton CleanStay. In the United States and Canada, Hilton CleanStay will be implemented using Lysol products and the program will be referred to as Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection.

IHG updates travel cancellation policy

TORONTO — IHG has announced an update to the company cancellation policyBookings made prior to April 6, 2020 at IHG hotels can be changed or cancelled for stays up to August 31, 2020, noting that:

  • Hotels are subject to local law in the market in which they operate. Therefore, government legislation and regulations may supersede this policy in specific circumstances. (including the type and timing of the refund).
  • If you cancel a rate which required a deposit or payment in advance, we will do everything we can to process your refund as quickly as possible. Refunds (which may be vouchers where allowed by local law) may take up to 90 days for hotels to process from the date of cancellation. Reservations may be changed without a fee but may result in different pricing.
  • Exclusions may apply for time periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks.

Destination Indigenous Campaign

Torngat Mountains National Park.

COAST SALISH TERRITORY (VANCOUVER, B.C.) — Last week, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) announced the launch of their new Destination Indigenous marketing campaign in an effort to encourage, highlight and educate travellers about the many Indigenous experiences that will welcome Canadians this summer.

Rolling out on Sunday, June 21, in line with National Indigenous People’s Day, the marketing campaign includes the release of an experience Web booking platform that will link travellers with export-ready Indigenous tourism business who will be accepting visitors this summer; a series of Zoom backgrounds showcasing Indigenous-experience imagery from each province and territory; and a video campaign called Virtually Yours to entice tourists.

“As a global leader in advancing Indigenous tourism, our goal is to help create, support and market Canada’s Indigenous cultural experiences in a memorable and authentic way that embraces our collective efforts, honours our traditions and demonstrates our unity,” says Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “To help achieve this, we’ve created Destination Indigenous to simplify the process for visitors wanting to discover the heritage of our country by providing a one-stop-shop where they can find the amazing experiences that our Indigenous communities have to offer.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting global tourism, Canada’s Indigenous tours, activities and communities welcomed visitors from around the world – sharing rich, transformative travel experiences that showcase a modern, authentic culture. Destination Indigenouscelebrates this once-thriving sector in the hopes of leading it on a path to recovery, linking travellers to an emotional experience that flows from: a grounding with the natural environment; a sense of welcome; positive interactions; a feeling of vibrancy; and a desire to connect.

“Now more than ever, in light of the drastic effects that COVID-19 has had on the Indigenous tourism sector, it is important to promote and support the Indigenous tour, activity and experience operators that have welcomed visitors from around the world into their communities,” says Henry. “With over 40,000 people employed by this industry, we have turned our efforts to advocacy – requesting much-needed federal financial relief for businesses – and now, towards the promotion of domestic tourism through the Destination Indigenous campaign.”

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada represents 1,700 SMEs with the aim of sharing rich, transformative travel experiences that showcase a modern, authentic culture.