Days Inns Canada: Shoes, Breakfast and Project Dawn

LAS VEGAS — Enhancing the setting makes breakfast buffets

Walking with Irwin (left) Day One.

Walking with Irwin (left) Day One.

LAS VEGAS — Employee engagement, guest satisfaction and capital improvements are three key items where hotel owners and operators can have some degree of control.

“Why these?” Irwin Prince, president and COO of Realstar Hospitality, master franchisor for Days Inn Canada, asked delegates at the Canadian Days Inns session at the Wyndham Hotel Conference held in Las Vegas late last month. “Because taken together, they make us better operators and that drives revenue. Here’s my simple math: Employee engagement = guest satisfaction = greater revenues! Of course, you need to continually invest capital, but that’s not something we all have control over.”

To prove his point, Prince noted that in the first eight months of 2019, Days Inns Canada’s top quartile hotels achieved 75 per cent occupancy at a rate of $134 yielding an impressive RevPAR of $101.

Walking with Irwin Day 2.

Walking with Irwin Day 2.

Over the last three years, Days Inns Canada has been on a journey to build a Surprise and Delight team culture of engagement. Play! Be There! Make Their Day! and Choose Your Attitude! Those are the tools to encourage and enhance engagement. The Days Inner Circle staff recognition initiative provides hotels with the groundwork for team member recognition. 

The statistics indicate the employee engagement measures are working. Twenty-six Days Inns have received TripAdvisor’s 2019 Certificate of Excellence award, and 90 Canadian Days Inns are participating in the Days Inner Circle staff recognition program.

Prince spoke briefly about Human Trafficking, indicating that they would be sending delegates collateral and a link so that every person at every hotel can take BEST’s 20-minute training program on what to be on the look-out for at your hotel. “This is critically important and we truly need your full support,” said Prince. “I encourage you to attend the training session hosted by BEST – our partner in Canada.”

The third controllable item is capital improvements, specifically high guest impact items such as beautiful lobby art and luxury vinyl flooring in lobbies. 

Bedding is another great example and one in which Canadian Days Inns are leading the way for the brand.

“Tomorrow, Patrick Breen, president of Days Inns Worldwide, will introduce Project Dawn, a fresh new FF&E package that is just now being finalized,” Prince told the delegates. “A key element of Patrick’s announcement is a new brand standard top sheet. Any guesses? I’m thrilled to tell you that Days Inns Worldwide has adopted our Standard Textile cumulous sheet. And that is fabulous news!” he said.

Days Inns breakfasts are made using nationally recognized brands, and the variety offered at most hotels is quite good, with more and more hotels are offering hot dishes such as omelets and breakfast meats, Prince said. But “looking at our breakfast rooms across the country, we saw a wide variety of settings – some great, some not-so-great. No real consistency except for our Daybreak Café sign. What to do?”

Working with the same creative agency that completely transformed Days Inns' collateral, a company that has knowledge of the franchise and food and beverage experience, Days Inns Canada showed them photos of every breakfast room in the country. They suggested improving the breakfast experience by enhancing the setting. Days Inns Canada gave them an almost blank canvas, with a request to leave the flooring and cabinets alone. Everything above the counter-top was fair game: paint the wall, add a few rows of ceramic tile for colour, texture and practicality, add some clever graphics to highlight the breakfast offering with some tongue-and-cheek humour, and then tie everything together with a welcoming “Breakfast is on us” sign.

Days Inn Orillia has adopted these ideas, and they look great.

Prince’s early morning walks, dubbed “Cardio, Conversation, Caffeine and Charity,” are part of every Days Inns Canada or Wyndham Hotel Group conference. Days Inns Canada made a donation for each early riser on each day they participated. The charity of choice was Shoe Bank Canada which provides shoes to ensure that Canadians in need have access to new footwear. It’s about giving men, women and children a chance to walk with self-esteem. To coincide with Irwin’s annual morning walks at the onference, Days Inns Canada will be donating $5,000 to Shoe Bank Canada. For more information, visit shoebankcanada.org.

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