By Jason Cheskes,
Special to CLN
VICTORIA — On April 3rd and 4th
approximately 240 of BC’s hospitality industry professionals attended the BC
Hotel Association’s (BCHA) and Alliance of Beverage Licensee’s (ABLE BC) annual
Summit held this year in Victoria. Following the success of last year,
attendees from both BCHA and ABLE joined to gain insight into what is taking
place in the industry, attend topical seminars, and to celebrate the 100th
Anniversary of the BC Hotel Association.
In tandem with a robust Marketplace of 40 vendors and service providers, the conference opened with James Chase, president and CEO of BCHA, updating delegates on a number of issues,
particularly the impact of Airbnb on the province’s housing availability. Chase also unveiled a new modernized logo for the association.
Cheskes spoke on the state of the supply industry, which has been heavily
affected by the dollar but particularly by the consolidation of companies on
both the hotel and vendors sides. Cheskes also provided approaches on how to best make purchasing decisions, including
utilizing BCHA’s Member Benefit Programs.
Jordan McKay then discussed the value
and reduced costs that Check In Canada can offer to hotels. As a consortium of
Canada’s hotel associations, Check In Canada works to reduce OTA costs through
redirection to a hotel’s own booking sites.
The first session closed with the new president
of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), Susie Grynol, who discussed the association’s priorities going forward and shared that she intended to refocus
HAC into a few key priorities from the many areas that have been engaged in
over the years.
Grynol also gave members an overview of a planned strategy to
address the sharing economy. The goal is to level the playing field at the
federal level, and support our provincial and municipal partners in the same
fight. “A unified voice across the country will allow us to present a united
front” she stated and added, “It is so energizing to meet with members from
coast to coast. Keeping our finger on the pulse of the membership allows us to
stay focused on the right advocacy issues.”
The evening event was a dinner prepared by
the Fairmont Empress Culinary Team which was enjoyed as guests received a
fascinating historical look back at the ties between the hotel industry and the
liquor industry in BC, as well as the awarding of the conference’s four key
awards (see BCHA & ABLE BC announce winners of 2017 awards), and energizing
entertainment by Victoria’s own renowned artist, Kytami.
The second day of the conference opened
with the Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Honourable Naomi
Yamamoto, who shared the fact that “there is a better than 1 in 3 chance that
Coastal BC will be hit by a major earthquake in our lifetimes.” A sobering
thought to start the day.
Following the BC Hospitality Foundation’s
presentation of several scholarships to
hospitality students, the conference went on to cover the potential impacts of
marijuana legalization and retailing as well as a host of other relevant topics
including engaging the millennial workforce, creating financially engaged
leadership, data security, and others.
The closing session saw Tod Maffin, past
CBC analyst and digital marketing professional, speak on how to work with
Facebook and how to “game” it to your advantage. He pointed out that even for
those following you, only 10 per cent ever see when you post a link to something unless
you pay. His key to success? Ask for engagement and ask a question when you
post. He also reminded the audience that the Internet doesn’t forget, so take
care in what you put on it, and remember that Facebook is tracking everything
By all accounts, Summit 2017 was a great
success, and plans are actively underway to announce 2018’s date and location.