NEWS BRIEFS as of May 28, 2019

Motels are cool again! 

The Globe & Mail reported last week that millennials are making motels cool again, noting that nostalgia and a desire for flare are driving a revival of “midcentury oddities,” according to writer Gayle MacDonald.

In the early ’70s, the motels with their eccentric architecture and drive-up-to-the-door convenience were popular with road warriors and families on tight budges, MacDonald said. And then they lost their allure — as tastes gravitated to mass-market hotels. 

These motor hotels are enjoying something of a renaissance, and a new breed of hoteliers buys run-down properties, giving them a new look at marketing them to people who don’t need all the bells and whistles. In her article, MacDonald gives two examples from Ontario’s Prince Edward County — the Drake Motor Inn, part of the Drake Hotel property chain, and the June Motel, whose owners  April Brown and Sarah Sklash want the guests to feel as though they are in a bit of a time warp. Next summer, Brown and Sklash will open the June Motel and Swim Club in Sauble Beach, Ont., after an extensive reno of a 50-year-old property.

Another example is Hotel Zed (formerly Jamie’s Rainforest Inn), which Accent Inns will open on four acres of rainforest in Tofino, B.C. This will be the third Hotel Zed, with others already open in Victoria and Kelowna.

Canadian Lodging News carried a story in the last issue about Roger Bloss, who is opening cannabis wellness hotels in the U.S. “As long as a hotel has balconies, I’m interested,” said Bloss. “This includes one and two-storey hotels with exterior corridors, like the 1960s motor court with a pool.”

HAC on taxation of e-commerce

OTTAWA — The Hotel Association of Canada held a press conference on May 10, urging the government to take action following the Auditor General’s Report on Taxation of E-Commerce.

Alana Baker, director of Government Relations, Hotel Association of Canada, and
Xavier Gret, président directeur général de l’Association hôtellerie Québec were on hand at the West Block of Parliament Hill.

The Taxation of E-Commerce report highlights that Canadian businesses are disadvantaged over foreign e-commerce businesses. This includes digital products and services — such as accommodation sharing platforms like Airbnb – that consumers in Canada purchase from foreign vendors. 

The report made a number of recommendations that support amending the Canadian sales tax system to ensure that businesses are treated consistently under the GST/HST framework. The Hotel Association of Canada urges the Federal Government to move forward with the Auditor General’s recommendations without delay.

MTCC generates $556 million 

TORONTO — The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) announced that it generated $556 million in economic impact for Toronto and the Province of Ontario during its 2018/19 fiscal year. 

Aside from the centre’s key contribution to the economy, the end of year results also highlight how the MTCC supports local businesses, helps fight hunger in the community and continues to lead by example in terms of sustainability.

How the MTCC helped boost the economy in fiscal year 2018/19:

— $556 million created in economic impact. Economic impact is created when conference, trade and public show attendees who reside outside of Toronto spend on dining, hotel nights, shopping, transportation and more in the city. This number is based on events that have taken place at the MTCC from April 2018 to March 2019.

— Over 6,000 jobs sustained in the community.

— $143 million generated in federal, provincial and municipal taxes.

— The facility secured 13 citywide conventions for future years, many of which will take place before 2023. These secure economic impact to the community in the future.

In 2018, the Convention Centres of Canada recognized the MTCC as the top performing convention centre by measurement of economic impact, gross revenues and profitability among 21 centres across Canada.

Hotels close temporarily due to Norvirus

VANCOUVER — A pair of hotels at Vancouver International Airport was forced to close at least partially or completely as a result of a norovirus outbreak earlier this month. Citing Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Global News reported about 40 staff members and 40 guests from the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel had been affected by the illness.

Meanwhile, a food handler from the nearby Hilton Vancouver Airport who was assisting at the Sheraton on Friday and two bartending staff members also fell ill, according to VCH.

The Sheraton, which hosted a large conference that weekend, was completely shut down until the property was fully cleaned, including the kitchen, the Starbucks and Harold’s Bistro in addition to the hotel’s rooms and public areas.

The kitchen and restaurant at the Hilton were closed for cleaning as well. However, the hotel remained open, Global News reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes norovirus as a “very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea” that can affect anyone. People can fall ill by having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water and or putting their unwashed hands in their mouth after touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms can last up to three days.

In January, 277 guests and crew fell ill from a norovirus outbreak aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. However, the CDC recently announced a drop in outbreaks, reporting that only 10 cruise ships reported major outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses in 2018.

IHG’s 20 per cent off sale

ATLANTA — IHG is having a global 20 per cent off sale on hotels and resorts this summer. This gives guests the opportunity to save at least 20 per cent on the Best Flexible Rate at participating hotel stays this season. IHG Rewards Club members will receive additional savings. 

The Global Sale promotion began on May 14, for IHG Rewards Club members — May 21 for all guests — and runs through July 31, 2019 and is valid for stays across the globe. Members can begin to take advantage of this offer and start earning bonus points for stays from May 14 through Sept. 15, 2019. 

Guests will automatically receive the discount when booking ihg.com/globalsale.  Guests must book 3 days in advance.

Adapting to Ontario Bill 148

TORONTO — The intense and varied reactions to several provinces and territories raising their minimum wages in recent years provided ongoing media fodder and much speculation on the outcomes, both short and long term, according to an article in the ORHMA Insider.

In late 2017, Ontario passed new legislation (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, also known as Bill 148) that changed a number of labour laws, including a January 1, 2018, increase of its general minimum wage from $11.60 to $14.00 per hour and its liquor server wage from $10.10 to $12.20 per hour.

That February, Archan Consulting published a report on the early trends and impacts of Bill 148 on the restaurant sector in Ottawa. This led to an Ontario-wide study, surveying full- and limited-service restaurants on the impact of the new legislation, with a focus on independently owned businesses.

Released earlier this month, Managing the Shift: Adapting to the Impact of Bill 148 on Ontario’s Restaurant Sector analyzes the responses of over 300 restaurants to this study. 

Millennials and Gen Z don’t regret travel debt

What happens when YOLO (you only live once) meets FOMO (the fear of missing out)? According to a new Credit Karma survey, debt.

About half of millennial and Gen Z respondents have gone into debt for summer travel—and very few regret it. Many (23 per cent) have yet to pay off the debt from last year’s travel and a majority (56 per cent) of respondents who have gone into debt said they’d be willing to go into debt again to travel this summer.

Millennials were more likely than Gen-Z to have more than $500 into debt for summer travel with 37 per cent of millennials indicating they were willing to spend more than they had compared to 17 per cent of Gen-Z respondents.

While many may not regret going into debt for their summer vacations, there is a high price to pay. In the Credit Karma survey, nearly 20 per cent of respondents said they’ve gone into debt to the tune of $1,001 to $5,000 to fund summer travel, with 43 per cent of respondents putting those charges on a credit card.

Pangea Pod hotel uses RFID wristbands

WHISTLER — ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions has partnered with Pangea Pod Hotel, Canada’s first pod-based property, to provide its guests with hassle-free RFID wristband entry. By implementing Essence door locks at property entrances and select areas, the hotel is now able to provide its guests with secure enhanced convenience, in addition to its seamless self check-in kiosk functionality and ability to use wristbands as a form of payment.   

Sherrard Kuzz training portal

TORONTO — Sherrard Kuzz’s new SK Portal provides useful, up-to-date employment law templates when subscribers need them.The portal provides subscribers with immediate and direct access to user-friendly precedents and tools designed to assist their organization.

Current content includes:

— Employment Agreements: Start each employment relationship on the right foot with an employment agreement that addresses key terms and conditions. 

— Workplace Policies: An important (and in some cases, required by law) tool for every employer.  Our template policies can be customized for any organization, and include policies mandatory in Ontario workplaces.

— Workplace Accommodation Tools: Obtain the right medical information and determine how to accommodate an employee’s medical restrictions in the workplace.

— Webinars: Exclusive access to two webinars in each calendar year.

Coming soon, the portal will also include training materials, user-friendly training material that will educate workplace leaders on an employer’s rights and responsibilities under occupational health and safety, human rights and other Ontario workplace legislation.

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