AHLA's 98th Convention an absolute success

JASPER, Alta. — The AHLA’s 98th Annual Convention and Trade Show was an absolute success, with over 200 properties in attendance, and so many exciting programs and events that it’s hard to even keep track.

Delegates from the Alpine Village Inn networking at the AHLA convention.

Delegates from the Alpine Village Inn networking at the AHLA convention.

By Nicole Barber

The Alberta Hotel & Lodging
Association’s 98th Annual Convention and Trade Show was an absolute success,
with over 200 properties in attendance, and so many exciting programs and
events that it’s hard to even keep track. It kicked off with the only
accommodation industry trade show in Alberta, where attendees discovered new
products, met new potential suppliers, and witnessed the latest technology available
on the market.

This year’s opening keynote, sponsored by
Western Financial Group, focused on leading talent development with speaker
Michael Timms. Delegates learned key elements that set industry-leading
companies apart from their competitors, and how to turn their properties into a
“talent magnet”. Timms teaches that the biggest difference between
industry-leading organizations and mediocre ones is the ability to consistently
develop their employees. Delegates left knowing the strategies that a
world-class leadership and talent development program uses, and the necessary
steps to implement one of these strategies themselves.

AHLA director Corbett Fertig (right) quizzes a delegate at the Housekeeping Awards Gala.

AHLA director Corbett Fertig (right) quizzes a delegate at the Housekeeping Awards Gala.

Following that, the sessions were informative
and thought-provoking as always. This year featured sessions where experts
discussed workplace culture, the upcoming legalization of marijuana, employment
law, and many more hot industry topics.

“It
is always a pleasure to see old friends and meet new people. Seeing new
products and services and attending informational sessions reinvigorates and
motivates our team,” said Barbara Koziak, Chateau
Louis Hotel & Conference Centre.

A stand-out session was “Insight on
Government”, offering an insider’s view of what is driving Alberta’s politics
and government decision making. Attendees gained significant knowledge on how
hotels can influence government actions as our political landscape continues to
evolve. The “Room for Accessibility” session, in partnership with the Voice of
Albertans with Disabilities (VAD), was both educational and engaging.

The Honourable Ricardo Miranda, left, presents Castle Mountain Chalets, Banff, with their Housekeeping Award. With him are Rian Ferrell and Jenelle Gartner.

The Honourable Ricardo Miranda, left, presents Castle Mountain Chalets, Banff, with their Housekeeping Award. With him are Rian Ferrell and Jenelle Gartner.

The Housekeeping Awards Gala is an event
that many look forward to, where attendees join together to recognize the hard
working housekeepers who deliver the highest level of cleanliness to visitors.
Front line staff from all over Alberta celebrated the hard work and attention
to detail that goes into achieving the coveted Housekeeping Award at this
legendary industry event. The Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Honourable
Ricardo Miranda, presented the award enthusiastically to each and every
recipient, adding to the excitement of the evening.

The next morning, delegates headed into
more business sessions, this time highlighted by the “Alberta Accommodation
Outlook” where a panel from CBRE presented market intelligence on the state of
Alberta’s lodging sector, current existing economic and market conditions, and
projected hotel supply and demand.

The AHLA’s Gold Key Award celebrates
employees at all levels who exemplify the attitude and dedication needed to
serve guests and promote Alberta’s tourism industry. Recipients were awarded a
certificate and gold lapel pin to recognize their commitment to the hospitality
industry at the Gold Key Luncheon on Tuesday. It was wonderful to celebrate
with the employees who have committed themselves to Alberta’s tourism &
hospitality industry!

Michael Timms took the stage once again for
the Closing Session, where he switched gears and spoke on legendary leadership.
Michael says that all leaders, even bad ones, are always teaching, and that
people are constantly watching their leaders for cues on how to behave or what
to do. The difference between true leaders, and those who merely occupy
leadership positions, is that leaders regularly ask themselves “what am I
teaching?” followed by “what do I want to be teaching?” They then establish
simple practices to become the type of leader that others want to follow.

Everyone can (and should) be a leader. This
session was not only beneficial for managers, but for anyone who wants to be
intentional about the impact they have on others. Michael Timms showed our delegates
how to be a leader whose influence goes beyond personal reach, lasting for
generations.

AHLA president and CEO Dave Kaiser (left) and outgoing chair Perry Batke speak to delegates at the Opening Breakfast.

AHLA president and CEO Dave Kaiser (left) and outgoing chair Perry Batke speak to delegates at the Opening Breakfast.

Finally, the convention ended with the Chairman’s Dinner, where Perry Batke, outgoing chair of the AHLA’s
Board of Directors, honoured the properties that achieved the 2017 Employer of
Choice designation. As a special treat, delegates headed outside after the chairman’s dinner for a bonfire complete with hot chocolate and s’mores, a
first for the convention and an event unique to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Leanne Shaw of the Country Inn and Suites Calgary Airport is the incoming AHLA chair.

The convention was incredible from start to
finish, and next year’s promises to be superb as the AHLA celebrates their
centennial year at the Fairmont Banff Springs April 14-16, 2019. See you there!